ICC Grade Crossing Protection Fund Project Applications – Due January 15, 2020


The Illinois Commerce Commission’s (ICC) Transportation Bureau will accept Grade Crossing Protection Fund (GCPF) project applications until January 15, 2020. Project applications submitted by that date will be considered for the FY 2021- FY 2025 Crossing Safety Improvement Program 5-Year Plan. 

“Each year the ICC prioritizes safety improvement projects at public highway-rail crossings on the local roads system and authorizes the use of GCPF funds to help counties, townships and municipalities in paying for eligible safety improvements at highway-railroad crossings on local roads and streets,” said ICC Rail Safety Program Administrator Brian Vercruysse. “Now is the time for local jurisdictions to submit an application to have important projects in their communities be considered for the 5-Year Plan.” 

Since Fiscal Year 2010, each month $3.25 million in state motor fuel tax receipts are transferred from the Motor Fuel Tax (MFT) Fund to the Grade Crossing Protection Fund. This amount provides the GCPF with around $39 million annually to be used for safety improvements at highway-rail crossings on local roads and streets. GCPF funds cannot be used for safety improvements at highway-rail crossings on the state road or highway system. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) pays much of the cost of safety improvements on state roads through the State Road Fund.

The GCPF is typically used to help pay for the following types of projects:

·         Warning Device Upgrades:  Installation of automatic flashing light signals and gates at public grade crossings currently not equipped with automatic warning devices; installation of automatic flashing light signals and gates at public grade crossings currently equipped only with automatic flashing light signals; signal circuitry improvements at public grade crossings currently equipped only with automatic warning devices;

·         Grade Separations – New and Reconstructed:  Construction, reconstruction, or repair of bridges carrying a local road or street over railroad tracks (overpass); construction, reconstruction, or repair of bridges carrying railroad tracks over a local road or street (subway);

·         Grade Separations – Vertical Clearance Improvements:  Lowering the existing highway pavement surface under a railroad bridge to improve vertical clearance for motor vehicles;

·         Pedestrian Grade Separations:  Construction of a bridge to carry pedestrian/bicycle traffic over or under railroad tracks;

·         Interconnects:  Upgrading the circuitry at grade crossings where warning signals are connected to the adjacent traffic signals so that the two systems operate in a synchronized manner;

·         Highway Approaches:  Improvements to the portion of the public roadway directly adjacent to the crossing surface;

·         Connecting Roads:  Construction of a roadway between a closed crossing and an adjacent open, improved crossing;

·         Remote Monitoring Devices:  Sensor devices in the circuitry of grade crossing warning devices which immediately alert the railroad to any failures in warning device operations;

·         Crossing Closures: Provide an incentive payment to local agencies for the voluntarily closure of public highway-rail grade crossings; and

·         Crossing Surface Renewals: Up to $2 million in assistance annually can be allocated for crossing surface improvements.

Due to the large number of applications submitted each year, projects are prioritized based on several criteria, including the relative safety of the existing crossing, as well as the volume and types of existing train and highway traffic. Other factors considered by the ICC when prioritizing projects include engineering requirements and geographic location to ensure crossing safety improvements are addressed equitably throughout the state.

Project selection for the Commission’s FY 2020-2025 Crossing Safety Improvement Program Plan will begin in January 2020. If the project you submitted is selected for the FY 2021-2025 Plan, it will be included in the document that is to be published in April of 2020.  Each unit of local government in the state of Illinois will be notified when the 5-Year Plan is posted on the Commission’s website (www.icc.illinois.gov). 

If your project is submitted by January 15th, but not selected for the FY 2021-2025 Plan, it will be considered again for future plans.  Likewise, project applications submitted after January 15th will be held for consideration as part of the FY 2022-2026 Plan.

The Grade Crossing Protection Fund Project Application form and Resource Guide may be accessed under Rail Safety on the ICC website:  https://www.icc.illinois.gov/rail-safety

A copy of the current 5-Year Plan (FY 2020-FY 2024) can be viewed by using the following link: https://www.icc.illinois.gov/icc-reports/report/CrossingSafetyImprovementProgram

***Report Courtesy of The Illinois Commerce Commission***

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