Chapter 10: Other Rail-Highway Programs

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Section 1: Railroad Signal Maintenance Payment Program

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Overview

The Railroad Signal Maintenance Payment Program is managed under Category 10 (Supplemental Transportation Projects) of the Unified Transportation Program (UTP) as a bank balance allocation program to provide a fixed annual unit payment to railroad companies for maintenance of railroad signals. Each year, the Texas Transportation Commission authorizes the total amount of funding for the program.

Only open, public, in service, active at-grade crossings on the state highway system are eligible for the program, excluding any industry spur track crossings located on the state highway system covered by a rail spur permit. It is funded with 100% state funds. Funding for the program is typically around $1.1 million annually, and payment is provided per crossing on the following schedule:

  • Mast Flashers: $289
  • Cantilevers: $385
  • Gates: $770.

Payment for a crossing is made based on the highest level of protection present at the crossing. For example, if a crossing includes both gates and cantilevers on both approaches, $770 would be paid for the entire crossing.

Schedule of payment is subject to change on an annual basis.

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Verification of Warning Devices

Before payment to the railroad company can be made under the Railroad Signal Maintenance Payment Program, the type of warning devices in place must be verified. The Traffic Operations Division-Rail Safety Section (TRF-RSS) runs an inventory report annually via the TRIMS database and sends a letter with the following information to each railroad company:

  • listing of all public on-system at-grade crossings listed as active or passive
  • type of warning devices at each of the active crossings.

A warning device must be in place at the beginning of TxDOT’s fiscal year to be eligible for payment for that fiscal year. TxDOT’s fiscal year begins September 1 and runs through August 31.

For example, if a mast flasher was upgraded to a gate on September 15, 2015, payment for a gate would not occur until fiscal year 2017. For fiscal year 2016, payment would be paid for a mast flasher.

Any discrepancies are coordinated by TRF-RSS with the railroad company and District Railroad Coordinator. If necessary, TRF-RSS will update inventory data in TRIMS.

The railroad company must sign and return the letter verifying inventory prior to TxDOT issuing payment.

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Payment of Rail Safety Inspection Fee

TxDOT rail safety investigators conduct safety inspections of railroad facilities and equipment. Each year, railroad companies are required to pay a fee to TxDOT, authorized under 43 TAC §7.41, in support of this program.

TxDOT will not pay a railroad company under the Railroad Signal Maintenance Payment Program until the railroad company is current in payment of TxDOT rail safety program fees.

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Programming

TRF-RSS will request a single CSJ to be set up each program year by the Finance Division Letting Management Section based on funding for the program in that year.

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Payment to Railroad Companies

After concurrence is reached on the inventory list between TxDOT and the railroad company, TRF-RSS issues a memo to FIN to pay the railroad company, and the railroad company has paid any rail safety inspection fees. Payment is made prior to the end of the TxDOT fiscal year.

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