COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) is encouraging local highway authorities to apply for available state-funding for rail grade crossing upgrades in their communities.
With over 5,700 public rail grade crossings in Ohio, the PUCO works with local highway authorities and rail companies to ensure that rail operations and infrastructure are safe and in compliance with federal and state regulations.
There are two state-funded programs that may be applicable for local communities: the state grade crossing upgrade program and the supplemental assistance program.
The state-funded Grade Crossing Upgrade Program allows local communities to share the cost of installing safety devices with the state and local railroad. Communities who utilize this program may be required to share in a small portion of the project costs but each case will be assessed on an individual basis.
To apply for this program, the local highway authority must simply submit this short application to the PUCO for approval.
The PUCO will conduct a field diagnostic review with local officials to determine if a financial proposal will be extended to upgrade the crossing. The financial proposal will apply objective criteria to determine the appropriate level of funding assistance. If the local highway authority agrees to the financial proposal, then a contract will be executed and the project will then be approved by the Commission for construction.
The PUCO also administers a supplemental assistance program to provide safety enhancements at crossings at which state or federal installation of active warning devices (gates and/or lights) is pending, as well as at crossings that have only crossbucks (the standard “X” signage). The PUCO provides up to $5,000 for physical improvements around the crossing such as rumble strips, illumination, improved signage, vegetation cut-back or other safety enhancements.
To apply for this program, the local highway authority must simply submit this one-page form to the PUCO for approval. Once the PUCO approves the project, construction is then completed and is reviewed by a PUCO inspector, the local highway authority submits the costs for reimbursement up to $5,000.
For further information regarding the programs listed above, please contact the PUCO Railroad Division at (614) 466-1150 or by accessing the rail industry section of the PUCO website at www.PUCO.ohio.gov.
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) is the sole agency charged with regulating public utility service. The role of the PUCO is to assure all residential, business and industrial consumers have access to adequate, safe and reliable utility services at fair prices while facilitating an environment that provides competitive choices. Consumers with utility-related questions or concerns can call the PUCO Call Center at (800) 686-PUCO (7826) and speak with a representative.