Florida is ranked at No. 11 for states with train accidents that cause death and 27th for accidents that lead to injuries. Every year, nearly 16% of total railroad-related accidents in the state have resulted in a fatality and 25% resulted in injury. Now, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recently awarded more than $192,000 in Railroad Trespassing Enforcement Grants to law enforcement agencies in Florida to support life-saving trespass abatement.
“The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is grateful for the Federal Railroad Administration’s continued commitment to rail safety in Florida and across the nation,” said Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Kevin J. Thibault, P.E. “The funding for the enforcement of rail safety laws is crucial and aligns with the department’s statewide Operation STRIDE rail safety initiative to prevent fatalities on or near rail crossings. Rail safety would not be possible without the hard work of Florida’s law enforcement officers, and this funding is a testament to just how important their work is to protecting Floridians.”
The FRA announced funding totaling $528,028 for 11 projects in six states: California, Florida, Massachusetts, Montana, North Carolina and New Jersey. The FRA also awarded the Broward Sheriff’s Office Railroad Trespassing Enforcement Grant which is up to $80,000, the city of Jacksonville Railroad Trespassing Education and Enforcement Project up to $20,100, the Hollywood Police Department Trespassing Pilot Grant Program Operation Fast Track up to $50,000 and the Tampa Police Department Trespassing Prevention Program up to $41,920.
FRA awarded states with the highest numbers of trespass-related incidents. FRA also considered geographic diversity and applicants using innovative approaches to saving lives. Between 2014 and 2018, FRA research confirmed 4,721 trespass incidents resulting in 2,412 deaths in the United States.
Law enforcement agency grantees are required to report their programmatic outcomes to ensure agencies meet project goals through the activities negotiated in their agreements with FRA. Agencies are also required to provide other activity details, such as rationale for the selected enforcement activities.
The FD received Best in Construction Awards from the Florida Transportation Builders Association (FTBA) for 14 projects throughout Florida.
Each year, the FTBA recognizes those companies and individuals who have responsibly executed outstanding road and bridge construction projects across the state.
“FDOT is proud to work with industry partners to continue to provide a safe transportation system that fits the lifestyles of Florida’s residents and visitors,” said Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Kevin J. Thibault.