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Home / federal funds

Railroad projects in Riverside County receive federal funds

Two railroad grade separation projects in Riverside County were among dozens nationwide awarded millions in federal funds, it was announced Monday.

The Federal Railroad Administration said that $64.5 million in Railroad Crossing Elimination Grant Program funds was earmarked for projects in California, including one in Banning and another in Riverside.

The disbursals are part of a $570 million distribution for 63 projects in 32 states, the FRA said.

“The Railroad Crossing Elimination Grant Program is another critical tool that FRA is using to make a lasting impact on the safety and transportation needs of communities nationwide,” FRA Administrator Amit Bose said. “With these project selections and the many more that are to come, we will save lives and reshape infrastructure in ways that allow individuals to move through their neighborhoods seamlessly and safely.”

The Hargrave Grade Separation Project in Banning received $2.8 million.

The enterprise remains in the planning stage but will ultimately involve reconstructing the at-grade crossing for the Union Pacific line and create an underpass that separates rail and vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Long delays for motorists waiting on trains to transit the location are common.

“The Hargrave Grade Separation Project is a critical piece of the city’s infrastructure needs,” Banning City Manager Doug Schulze said. “Completion of this project will not only improve traffic congestion and emergency response in Banning, but throughout the (San Gorgonio) Pass Area.”

The city and Western Riverside Council of Governments have committed a one-third match to the federal appropriation.

The Third Street Grade Separation Project in Riverside received $15 million from the FRA.

The project is also in the planning and design phase but will, by the end of 2026, result in construction of an underpass to separate vehicular and foot traffic from dozens of freight and Metrolink commuter trains that transit the Burlington Northern Santa Fe line at Third and Commerce streets daily, according to officials.

BNSF, the California Public Utilities Commission and the California Transportation Commission have committed a two-thirds funding match to the FRA outlay.

“The project involves building a four-lane underpass, realigning three mainline BNSF railroad tracks to improve train speeds, and realigning Commerce Street to support traffic circulation,” according to Riverside officials. “The BNSF mainline carries 66 freight trains and a total of 20 Amtrak and commuter trains, all of which will benefit from more efficient service, fewer delays and improved safety.”

The project still needs an additional $10 million before construction can begin, and the Riverside Public Works Department is seeking grants to cover the remaining cost, officials said. 

“This crucial funding moves us forward on this important infrastructure project that links the Eastside and our broader communities to the Downtown.” Riverside Mayor Pro Tem Clarissa Cervantes said in a statement. “I look forward to us finding the remaining funds we need and creating stronger local workforce opportunities with projects like this.”

More information is available at https://railroads.dot.gov/elibrary/railroad-crossing-elimination-rce-program-program-fy2022-selections.

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