Railroad Safety Technology Grants


To facilitate the deployment of train control technologies, train control component technologies, processor-based technologies, electronically controlled pneumatic brakes, rail integrity inspection systems, rail integrity warning systems, switch position indicators and monitors, remote control power switch technologies, track integrity circuit technologies, and other new or novel railroad safety technology.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Federal Railroad Administration, Department of Transportation
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
B - Project Grants
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2016 In 2008, Congress mandated PTC implementation on the main lines of Class I railroads and entities providing regularly scheduled intercity or commuter rail passenger transportation over which any poisonous or toxic by inhalation hazardous materials are transported, or over which intercity or commuter rail passenger transportation is regularly provided. Since Congress extended the original PTC implementation deadline from December 31, 2015 to at least December 31, 2018, these grants will help make the nation’s rail system safer by facilitating deployment of PTC collision avoidance systems.
Fiscal Year 2017 These grants will continue to facilitate the implementation of PTC that prevents certain train-to-train collisions, over-speed derailments, incursions into established work zone limits, and trains going to the wrong tracks due to improper switching. Many grant projects will help railroads achieve interoperability among the different PTC systems that railroads are deploying.
Fiscal Year 2018 Seventeen Positive Train Control (PTC) grant projects are underway, and seven PTC projects have been completed under this grant program.
Fiscal Year 2019 Sixteen Positive Train Control (PTC) grant projects are underway, and ten PTC projects have been completed under this grant program to facilitate the implementation of PTC.
Fiscal Year 2020 FRA anticipates completing the remaining PTC projects under this grant in FY 2020 and early FY 2021.
Section 105 of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 as modified by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, Division L, Title I (Public Law 114-113 (December 18, 2015), Public Law 114-113, 49 U.S.C. 20158
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
Not applicable.
Beneficiary Eligibility
Passenger and freight railroad carriers; Railroad suppliers; and State and local governments for projects that have a public benefit of improved safety and network efficiency. To be eligible for assistance, the above entities subject to 49 U.S.C. 20157(a) must have submitted a revised Positive Train Control Implementation Plan (PTCIP) to FRA as required by 49 U.S.C. 20157(a). FRA considers the development and submission of a revised PTCIP under 49 U.S.C. 20157(a) to meet the eligibility requirement related to submitting a plan required under 49 U.S.C. 20156(e)(2) containing an analysis of the impact, feasibility, costs and benefits of implementing PTC system technology. FRA believes that any submission connected to sec. 20156(e)(2), which has yet to be incorporated into a Federal regulation, would merely be duplicative of what a railroad analyzed when it developed and submitted a revised PTCIP. Thus, FRA considers the submission of a revised PTCIP to meet the eligibility requirements in 49 U.S.C. 20158(b)(3) for purposes of this NOFO. If an applicant is not required to comply with either sec. 20157(a) or sec. 20156(e)(2), the applicant must demonstrate that to FRA's satisfaction in its NOFO application Individuals are not eligible for these awards
U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Railroad Administration Assurances and Certification forms https://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/Details/L05284 Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, and Other Responsibility Matters-Primary Covered Transactions, , Certification Regarding Drug-Free Workplace Requirements, Certification Regarding Lobbying, Assurances-Non-Construction Programs, SF 424E, Certificate of Indirect Costs, Assurances - Construction Programs SF-424D
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is required. This program is eligible for coverage under E.O. 12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.
Application Procedure
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. Required documents for an application package are: Project Narrative, Statement of Work, Benefit-Cost Analysis, Environmental Compliance Documentation, SF424 - Application for Federal Assistance, SF 424C - Budget Information for Construction, or, for an equipment procurement project without any construction costs, or SF 424A - Budget Information for Non-Construction, SF 424D - Assurances for Construction, or, for an equipment procurement project without any construction costs, or SF 424B - Assurances for Non-Construction, FRA's Additional Assurances and Certifications, SF LLL - Disclosure of Lobbying Activities.
Award Procedure
Applications selected for funding will be announced in a press release and on FRA's website after the application review period. FRA will contact applicants with successful applications after announcement with information and instructions about the award process. This notification is not an authorization to begin proposed project activities. A formal grant agreement or cooperative agreement signed by both the grantee and the FRA, including an approved scope, schedule, and budget, is required before the award is considered complete.
Contact the headquarters or regional location, as appropriate for application deadlines
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
Not applicable.
Not applicable.
Not applicable.
How are proposals selected?
Applications proceed through a three-part application review process, as follows: o Screening applications for completeness and eligibility; o Evaluating the technical merit and benefits of eligible applications; and o Selecting projects for funding Evaluation criteria included: PTC Deployment Benefits; Technical Merit; and Project Development approach. The following selection criteria ensured that the projects selected for funding advance FRA's current mission and key priorities: 1) Alignment with the DOT Strategic Goals and Priorities 2) Project Delivery Performance 3) Region/Location 4) Innovation/Resource Development.
How may assistance be used?
The Railroad Safety Technology Grants Program funds projects that enhance railroad safety by implementing a Positive Train Control (PTC) system or benefiting overall PTC implementation on freight, intercity passenger, and commuter railroads. These projects focus on development and deployment of technologies that will lower the costs, speed implementation, increase interoperability, and improve the reliability of PTC systems. The FRA is particularly interested in development and deployment on the following topics related to PTC: elimination of PTC communications interference; configuration management of multi-railroad PTC software and firmware deployments; and host-tenant railroad PTC interoperability/system certification. In addition, the establishment and management of collaborative interoperability coordination groups, that may be used to resolve industry-wide PTC technical and management issues, were eligible for funding. Examples of eligible projects include the following: • Costs for implementation, installation, and testing of PTC systems; • Costs for shared PTC infrastructure (e.g., back office systems, CAD systems); and • Costs to advance PTC interoperability, such as pilot programs, standardization committees, development of standard processes, and spectrum acquisition, sharing, and desensitization.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Performance Reports: Grant recipients will be monitored periodically by FRA to ensure that the project goals, objectives, performance requirements, timelines, milestones, budgets, and other related program criteria are being met.
No additional requirements.
During the course of its activities under a grant agreement and for three years thereafter, the applicant must agree to retain intact and to provide any data, documents, reports, records, contracts, and supporting materials relating to its performance under the agreement as FRA may require. Reporting and record-keeping requirements are set forth in 2 C.F.R. Part 200 for private non-profit and for-profit Grantees. Closeout does not alter these requirements.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory formula is not applicable to this assistance listing.

Matching is voluntary. Federal funds for any eligible project shall not exceed 80 percent of the total cost of such project. FRA cannot consider any other Federal funds, nor any non-Federal funds already expended (or otherwise encumbered), towards the matching requirement. Additionally, FRA is limiting the method for calculating the non-Federal match to cash contributions only, ‘‘in-kind’’ contributions will not be accepted. Matching funds provided in excess of the minimum requirement will be considered in evaluating the merit of an application.

MOE requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
No restriction on period of time the assistance normally is available. FRA will award grants for the full federal amount, however, recipients shall receive funds on a reimbursable basis. Funding will only be obligated and disbursed as milestones are achieved.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
If necessary to contact a regional office, the contact information will be in a grant agreement.
Headquarters Office
Felicia Young
Chief of Grants Management Division, Office of Program Delivery
1200 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.,
Washington, DC 20590 US
Phone: 202-493-6441
Website Address
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Project Grants) FY 18$14,791,070.00; FY 19 est $0.00; FY 20 est $67,347.00; FY 17$13,005,150.00; FY 16$1,275,000.00; Estimate Not Available -
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
The range was between $771,070 to $3,000,000, and the average was $2,465,178 in FY 2018.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
The Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-432) and associated regulations.
Examples of Funded Projects
Fiscal Year 2016 An example of a project awarded in FY 16 includes a Wireless Communications Analysis, Security Plan, and System Specification and Implementation Plan. Another project awarded in FY 16 will assist the North American rail industry in developing strategies for identifying and mitigating disruptions to GPS service and 220 MHz ITC radio communication service due to equipment malfunctions or malicious attacks, and to help define interoperable standards and recommended practices to support PTC message security among Class I railroads and commuter and short line railroads.
Fiscal Year 2017 An example of a project awarded in FY17 is one that will sustain uninterrupted freight rail interchanges, and rail service to eighty-eight (88) rail-served businesses in North Texas. The Grantee will purchase equipment, and communications systems necessary to operate as a tenant railroad via trackage rights on the Burlington Northern Santé Fe, Union Pacific Railroad, Trinity Railway Express, and TexRail Railroad, where PTC is applicable. The Project will consist of the following: 1) Procurement and installation of Locomotive on-board equipment for nine (9) locomotives; 2) Procurement and installation of 220 MHz Radios; 3) Procurement of Crew Initialization Back Office Server (CI-BOS) that will be used for on-board equipment testing; and 4) Employee Training/Certification that meets the host railroads’ standards.
Fiscal Year 2018 Examples of projects completed in FY 2018 focused on establishing an interoperable communications network across multiple railroads deploying positive train control (PTC) systems and communication upgrades and best practices.
Fiscal Year 2019 Examples of projects completed in FY 2019 include PTC interface specification verification and validation, cyber security enhancement of train communications systems, and systematic implementation of secure wireless networking and key management.
Fiscal Year 2020 Projects completed in FY 2020 will facilitate the implementation of PTC that prevents certain train-to-train collisions, over-speed derailments, incursions into established work zone limits, and trains going to the wrong tracks due to improper switching. Many grant projects will help railroads achieve interoperability among the different PTC systems that railroads are deploying.


Federal Grants Resources