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CRISI Grant Application Information

The FY 2022 CRISI Grants were announced on September 25, 2023.  Short lines projects did exceptionally well, representing 47 of 70 awards, and more than half of the available $1.44 billion in funding.

If you applied for a grant in the FY 2022 cycle and did not receive one, the Federal Railroad Administration is available to answer questions and to review your application.  Please contact

Did you know? If you have received an award, in some cases you may apply for reimbursement of costs incurred between the time the award was announced and when the grant agreement is executed and funding begins.  This is called Pre-Award Authority. Click here for responses to frequently asked questions from the FRA on this topic.

The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for FY23 grants is expected in December or January of 2023.


Be Prepared For CRISI FY 23 — Resources Provided by the FRA

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) hosted an overview on September 15, 2022 covering How To Apply and Best Practices in the areas of: Project Narrative, Statement of Work, Benefit-Cost Analysis and Environmental Readiness.

In addition, recorded webinars and presentation materials are available for each of the Office Hours hosted in 2022:

October 20, 2022 — Efficient Locomotives, Climate Initiatives and Workforce Development

October 27, 2022 — Project Narrative Best Practices

Click here to access the presentation materials and a recording of each event under “Grants and Loans”.

ASLRRA Members (when logged in) can click the titles of each of the sections below, or to the left, for additional, detailed information.

Five Areas to Focus On to Position Your Railroad for Success

Register Your Railroad

Before pursuing funding through CRISI, the applying entity must be properly registered in two federal systems: The System for Award Management (SAM) and Grant applicants must first be set up in SAM to register in and all recipients of federal funds must be registered in SAM. All application materials are submitted through

Coordinate With Partners and Seek Advocates

Some short line projects seeking federal CRISI funds will involve getting the permission of outside parties, so identifying and working on these tasks early in the grant application writing process is important.

A common scenario for short lines is when a Class I freight railroad must approve the proposed grant-funded project. Short lines should review their lease agreements closely, as leases can include clauses specific to pursuit and use of public grant funding. Short lines should also presume that Class I permission will be required if the proposed project could affect the Class I’s property or operations. The fact that a Class I won’t contribute any monetary resources to the proposed funded project does not eliminate the need to meet all legal and operational coordination requirements.

Consider finding regional advocates, such as customers, businesses, or elected officials, who could help write letters of support touting your project’s importance to FRA.

Use the FRA’s Templates

FRA guidance directs grant applicants to templates for three required attachments for their capital grant programs: the Statement of work (SOW), Schedule, and Budget.

These templates have sometimes been confusing to CRISI applicants because they are provided in the form of drafts of what will become the starting point for attachments to a formal federal grant agreement if the application is successful.

Applicants should use these templates as requested by FRA, ideally without modifying the language and structure of the documents as provided. Applicants should insert the requested data where indicated, and as indicated.

Prepare Foundational Documents

Applicants are required to provide three foundational documents as attachments: a project statement of work (SOW); a schedule; and a budget. Completing these three documents at the beginning of the grant writing process reduces the risk of inconsistent information across these three documents. Preparing documents early will also assist with the preparation of other required application elements.

Make the Case for Your Project Using the Transportation Analysis

Effective communication of the transportation analysis supporting a CRISI application is fundamental to making the case for the project. Most CRISI applications will have a forecast for traffic of some type, often in the form of revenue carloads transported over twenty years, sometimes more, from the expected completion of construction.

It is surprisingly easy to provide an excellent data-driven transportation and benefit-cost analysis in the application attachments but neglect to communicate that information well in the grant application narrative. The narrative document must bring forward all important data and findings, including at least summary versions of traffic forecasts and scenarios.

ASLRRA thanks Blank Rome Government Relations staff for the information provided on these pages.


Don’t Forget Other Grant Programs that are Beneficial to Short Lines!