By Steve Schuster and The Associated Press
Wisconsin is among 31 other states where the Biden administration is funding more than $570 million in grants to help eliminate railroad crossings.
As railway safety deregulation was among the list of priorities in the previous Trump administration, the railroad industry is increasingly relying on longer and longer trains to cut costs.
The federal funds heading to the Badger State will go to the Galloway Street Vehicular and Pedestrian Rail Crossing Eliminations and Construction of Galloway St. Rail Overpass in Eau Claire, Wis. Wisconsin is expected to receive up to $9,999,600 in federal funds.
The grants announced Monday will help eliminate more than three dozen crossings that delay traffic and sometimes keep first responders from where help is desperately needed.
There have been examples of ambulance delays resulting in a death and homes burning down while firefighters wait at a blocked crossing. In addition, roughly 2,000 collisions are reported at railroad crossings every year. Nearly 250 deaths were recorded last year in those car-train crashes.
These grants are part of a $3 billion program approved as part of the $1 trillion infrastructure law that President Joe Biden signed in 2021. That money will be handed out over five years.
Neighboring states are expected to receive funds as well.
Illinois – Brush College Road and Faries Parkway Grade Separation Project (Up To $16,000,000) City of Decatur and Village of Franklin Park Grade Separation Project – Connect Franklin Park: Bridging Barriers and Creating Opportunities (Up To $8,000,000) Village of Franklin Park
Iowa – South Concord Street Grade Separation (Up To $7,756,862) City of Davenport
Minnesota – Office of Freight and Commercial Vehicle Operations: Planning Study for Future of Severely Humped Highway/BNSF Rail Grade Crossings for Closure, Consolidation or Improvements. (Up To $480,000) Minnesota Department of Transportation
Michigan – West Side Grade Separation Project (Up To $23,964,400) City of Monroe and Manistee County Safer Southern Rail Route (Up To $424,000) Manistee County