Tuesday, April 03, 2018

INDOT launches $125 million Local Trax rail safety initiative

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INDOT launches $125 million Local Trax rail safety initiative Office of Governor Eric Holcomb

The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) shared details of its new "Local Trax" matching grant program, which will make at least $125 million available for high-priority railroad safety projects on local roads statewide.

The funds available through Local Trax will aid Indiana cities, towns and counties interested in pursuing high-priority railroad grade separations, crossing closures and other safety enhancements at railroad intersections with local roads. The initiative requires local governments to provide 20 percent of funding for land acquisition and construction with the state providing the remaining 80 percent.

"Much like Community Crossings, Local Trax is an innovative approach to infrastructure funding that creates a partnership between the state and communities willing to put skin in the game toward improving their local roads," Indiana Gov. Eric. J Holcomb said. "Eliminating at-grade rail crossings on local roads makes our transportation network safer, reduces congestion and better connects our communities."

Officials say the goal of Local Trax is to encourage partnership between the state, local governments, private businesses and railroads to increase safety, improve mobility and enhance the quality of life for Hoosiers.

"The railroad industry is pleased to collaborate with state and local governments on this very important issue," said Kristin Bevil, president of the Indiana Railway Coalition. "This unique program furthers efforts to improve safety at railroad crossings, a matter the railroads take very seriously."

Funding authorization for Local Trax was granted in HEA1002-2017, the long-term, sustainable road funding plan passed by the Indiana General Assembly and signed by Gov. Holcomb in April 2017. Applications for projects will be accepted by INDOT between May and August, with the awarding funds expected to be announced in late summer.