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Section 2: Programs and Finances

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Highway Construction Projects

Individual signal projects may be proposed for highway or street crossings on the Federal-Aid Urban Systems in cities, although these projects are generally in conjunction with roadway construction projects. These projects are not subject to the statewide priority system and are financed from district construction allocations.

Automatic warning devices generally should be installed or upgraded for crossings within the limits or near the terminus of a construction project. The FAPG Title CFR 23, Part 646B, Section 646.214 design requires the installation of automatic warning devices where one or more of the following conditions exist:

  • multiple main line railroad tracks
  • multiple tracks at or in the vicinity of the crossing which may be occupied by a train or locomotive so as to obscure the movement of another train approaching the crossing
  • high speed train operation combined with limited sight distance at either single or multiple track crossings
  • a combination of high speeds and moderately high volumes of highway and railroad traffic
  • any combination of:
    • a high vehicular traffic volume
    • high number of train movements
    • substantial number of school buses or trucks carrying hazardous materials
    • unusually restricted sight distance
    • continuing crash occurrences
  • a diagnostic team’s recommendation.

Financing. Financing for the devices is included in construction projects at the programming stage.

Coordination. As roadway planning advances, the district should furnish TRF a letter-size location map for advancing the project with the Design Division (DES) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). TRF should be advised which construction project the crossing project applies to, the project letting date, and furnished a preliminary layout showing the existing and proposed roadway.

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Federal Programs

The Federal Railroad Signal Program is funded under the Surface Transportation Program (STP), Federal Section 130 of the current federal transportation act. Highway-rail grade crossing warning devices and grade crossing hazard elimination projects are funded by the safety set-aside portion of the STP. Railroad crossing hazard elimination projects may include improving roadway alignment, consolidating and closing redundant, non-essential grade crossings, removing sight distance obstructions, etc. All public highway-rail grade crossings are eligible for the Federal Railroad Signal Program, except for industry spur track crossings located on the state highway system where the spur track crossed an existing highway. (See Section 3 of this chapter for detailed information on the Federal Railroad Signal Program.)

School Bus Program. The Federal Railroad School Bus Signal Program is included as a part of the federal program of work funded by STP. All unsignalized public highway-rail grade crossings used by school buses carrying students are eligible for this program, with the exception of industry spur track crossings located on the state highway system where the spur track crossed an existing highway. Districts are responsible for furnishing updated school bus moves over public crossings to TRF for updating in the state crossing inventory. Districts should obtain this information from the school districts on an annual basis. (See Section 3 of this chapter for detailed information on the Federal Railroad School Bus Signal Program.)

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Railroad Signal Maintenance Payment Program

The Railroad Signal Maintenance Payment Program is a state funded program to provide a fixed annual unit payment to the railroads for maintenance of railroad signals on the state highway system only. This program is managed under the bank balance allocation procedures and submitted for approval by Transportation Commission Minute Order in the annual Project Development Plan (PDP).

Payment is based on the type of warning device in place as of August 31st of each program year. Payment is provided based on the following schedule.

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Type of Warning Device

Annual Payment per DOT Numbered Location

Mast Flashers

$300

Cantilever Flashers

$400

Gates and Flashers

$800



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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. TRF coordinates these verifications through the districts, the Transportation Planning and Programming Division (TPP), and the railroad companies. TRF normally requests that the districts verify the type of warning device in place at each crossing located on the state highway system between December and March, following the August 31 cut-off date to verify payment is warranted.

The district is responsible for verifying the type of warning device in place and forwarding any corrections to TRF for verification and coordination with TPP and the railroads companies.

TRF is then responsible for issuing a recommended payment amount to the railroad and requesting their concurrence in the payment amount. After the railroad acknowledges the agreed upon amount and any discrepancies are reconciled, TRF sends the approved Form 132 Billing Statement to the Finance Division (FIN) to process payment to the railroad company.

TRF furnishes corrections to the crossing inventory to TPP for updating with the Federal Railroad Administration.

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