By Chase Holmes, News Reporter
TRUSSVILLE — The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced funding approval for a project to improve rail lines that run through Trussville on Monday, Sept. 25.
The Reduce Extended Delays; Enhance Safety; and Invest in Growing Neighborhoods (R.E.D.E.S.I.G.N.) Project will receive funding up to $8 million to improve two segments of Norfolk Southern’s rail lines.
The project will potentially involve the development of track, bridge, signal, road re-alignment, and grade crossing improvements (including grade separations and closure of multiple crossings) along the chosen rails. The project intends to improve community safety and access to schools and residential areas by reducing blocked train encounters while increasing the fluidity of freight and Amtrak’s Crescent passenger rail operations.
A combination of funding from the City of Birmingham, the City of Trussville, and Norfolk Southern Railway will contribute a 20 percent non-Federal match.
Mayor Buddy Choat of Trussville said he was excited to hear the project, which has been over a year in the making, had passed and explained a bit more about what they were looking to do in Trussville.
“What this study is going to do is look into adding more rail to decrease stoppages [at Mary Taylor Road]. There is a chance we may even look into adding a bridge. If it comes to fruition, it increases safer travel options for our citizens. We are glad to hear the news because we weren’t sure if it was going to pass,” said Mayor Choat. “We appreciate Birmingham working with us to get this to pass and our partners at Norfolk Southern.”
FRA Administrator Amit Bose said the projects will go to modernize and strengthen America’s railways.
“For years, the CRISI Program has helped to maintain and modernize America’s freight rail network, and it’s the only federal grant program prioritizing smaller, short line railroads vital to our nation’s economy and regional supply chains. With unprecedented levels of funding through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, FRA is advancing even more projects and laying the groundwork for further transformation,” said Bose. “The selected projects will tackle issues facing communities and invest in a 21st century rail network yielding greater benefits – faster and more reliable deliveries of goods, safer communities, cleaner transportation, and more jobs and workforce development opportunities.”
The total amount being given to Alabama for rail improvement across the state is almost $65 million and covers four rail improvement projects including R.E.D.E.S.I.G.N. The four projects are part of a larger nation-wide railroad initiative that has seen over $1.4 billion invested into 70 railroad projects in 35 states and Washington D.C.