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BNSF Commits To Railroad Safety Project

BNSF appears to be committed to improving railroad safety in Roosevelt County.

Officials have recently informed Rodney Miller, Fort Peck Tribes’ economic development director, that BNSF will be willing to cover the cost of the grant application and benefit cost analysis that would be required for the Railroad Crossing Elimination grant effort.

The commitment includes $94,220 for HDR to put the application together.

Since last August, there have been six deaths on railroads in Roosevelt County. Montana Operation Lifesaver has continued its efforts to educate the public regarding railroad safety by running ads in the newspaper.

Deadline to submit a railroad crossing elimination grant application is Oct. 4. The grant program has specific money set aside for rural and tribal projects. The federal government will pay for no more than 80 percent of the project. The other 20 percent needs to be local matching funds. This program makes available $573 million in funding for highway-rail or pathway- rail grade crossing improvement projects that focus on improving the safety and mobility of people and goods.

Ideas have included installing a fence near the tracks or building a pedestrian overpass. Separate grants are available for planning and for the actual construction of the project. The planning portion could include the developing of the scope and how to make the project forward.

The railroad crossing elimination grant program has been approved for five years. It’s possible for an entity to receive a grant for funding and then later be awarded a grant for the construction phase.

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