Georgia DOT Receives $9.1 Million in Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement Grants

Staff Report

Thursday, June 16th, 2022

Two Georgia Department of Transportation (Georgia DOT) rail projects were selected by the Federal Railroad Administration to receive $9.14 million in Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement (CRISI) Grant program funding this month. CRISI Grants provide funding for states to complete rail projects designed to modernize our country's rail infrastructure, strengthen supply chains and get people and goods where they need to be efficiently and more affordably. 

"With the Port of Savannah continuing to grow, our railroads play a key role in getting goods where they need to be not only in the state of Georgia but throughout the Southeast," said Georgia DOT Commissioner Russell R. McMurry, P.E. "I'm thrilled these two projects were selected to receive grant funding for improvements that will ensure our rail infrastructure can support the needs of the rail lines." 

The Heart of Georgia Americus Sub Upgrade project on the Heart of Georgia Railroad (HOG) lines received a grant for up to $6.19 million to replace approximately 18 miles of rail, 2,750 crossties, make associated surface and ballast improvements, install an OWLS Diamond switch and 10 turnouts between the cities of Preston and Cordele. These improvements will accommodate for 286,000-pound loads and improve reliability, efficiency and safety by reducing the number of slow-orders along 51 miles of HOG lines that connect at the Cordele Inland Port. 

The Georgia Southwestern Railroad (GSWR) project received a grant for up to $2.95 million to replace approximately nine miles of 100-pound jointed rail with 115-pound rail, and upgrade railroad bridges along 65 miles GSWR between the cities of Lynn and Cuthbert. These improvements will improve the reliability, efficiency and safety of the system by maintaining a state of good repair in order to prevent closures and derailments, and continue supporting 286,000-pound loads and Class II track status (speeds up to 25 mph) in Southwestern Georgia.

Both projects qualify for the statutorily required set-aside for rural investment. The Class III HOG railroad and the Class III GSWR railroad are owned by Georgia DOT and the agency will provide a 50 percent match for both projects. 

CRISI aims to advance intercity passenger and freight rail projects that promote FRA’s key goals of safety, economic growth, transportation equity, and sustainable and resilient infrastructure. CRISI-funded projects will enhance multi-modal connections, address slow orders, and fix up to 100-year-old track to speed up the movement of goods from ports and producers to rail to trucks to shelves. As the nation continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, these upgrades and expansions will help state and local governments and rail carriers meet renewed travel demand and strengthen supply chains.  

A total of 46 projects from 32 states and the District of Columbia were selected representing over $368 million in grants awarded. Projects range from expanding passenger rail and funding conventional and high speed rail to supporting short line railroads and implementing new technology and safety benefits.