Minnesota gets $8.5M federal grant for dangerous railroad crossings

The state of Minnesota will get more than $8.5 million from the federal government to address three dangerous railroad crossing projects.

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced the grant Monday as part of its Railroad Crossing Elimination Grant Program, which is giving around $570 million in funding for 63 projects across the country.

Officials say the money will go toward building bridges or underpasses at certain crossings. The three Minnesota projects are:

  • Building a bridge for Highway 27 to cross a BNSF line and the Mississippi River in Little Falls. The city will provide a 20% match for the $3.2 million grant.
  • Construction of an overpass above a BNSF line for Highway 55 in Kandiyohi County. The county is committing a 50% match to the $4.8 million grant.
  • A planning study of a 112-mile segment of BNSF’s Hinckley subdivision, which stretches from the Wisconsin border to the Twin Cities area. The Minnesota Department of Transportation is contributing a 20% match to the $480,000 grant.

“Every year, commuters, residents, and first responders lose valuable time waiting at blocked railroad crossings – and worse, those crossings are too often the site of collisions that could be prevented,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said.

FRA Administrator Amit Bose added that the projects “will save lives and reshape infrastructure in ways that allow individuals to move through their neighborhoods seamlessly and safely.”

The funding was part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that was passed by Congress.

“Blocked rail crossings not only inconvenience drivers, but also delay emergency vehicles and threaten public safety,” U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said. “This federal funding will help boost efficiency and improve safety along this rail line. Investments in our infrastructure serve as a down payment on the long-term economic well-being of our state.”

“Investing in transportation infrastructure has ripple effects throughout our state, making the entire economy more productive and resilient,” U.S. Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) added. “These investments – from overpasses and bridges to highway improvements – will enhance safety and efficiency for our drivers and railroads. Whether it’s helping kids get to school on time, shortening commutes, or making sure first responders can respond to an emergency, I’m proud of our work to help secure these investments through President Biden’s Infrastructure Law and will continue working to improve transportation systems across our state.”