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FHWA Home / Safety / Legislation & Policy / Rail-Highway Crossings Program (Section 130) Questions & Answers

Rail-Highway Crossings Program (Section 130) Questions & Answers

Federal Share

  1. Q: What is the Federal Share of rail-highway crossing projects?

    A: Under 23 U.S.C. 130(f)(3), the Federal Share of rail-highway crossing projects using Section 130 set-aside funds is 90 percent. Rail-highway crossing projects funded with other Federal-aid funding sources, such as Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funds, may qualify for increased Federal Share up to 100 percent for projects under 23 U.S.C. 120(c)(1). For more information on Federal Share for Selected Programs, see the guidance Fact Sheet at www.fhwa.dot.gov/fastact/factsheets/federalsharefs.cfm.

  2. Q: Are Section 130 set-aside funds eligible for increased Federal Share under 23 U.S.C. 120(c)(1)?

    A: No. Section 130 set-aside funds are not eligible for increased Federal Share for projects under 23 U.S.C. 120(c)(1) because 23 U.S.C. 130(f)(3) sets the Federal Share of Section 130 set-aside funds at 90 percent.

  3. Q: To which program codes does the 90 percent Federal Share of Section 130 set-aside funds apply?

    A: The 90 percent Federal Share applies to the following Section 130 FMIS program codes:

    LS40 and LS50 – SAFETEA-LU (P.L. 109-59)
    LS4E and LS5E – SAFETEA-LU Extension (P.L. 111-068 as amended)
    LS4R and LS5R – Restoration of SAFETEA-LU Rescinded Funds (P.L. 111-147)
    MS40 and MS50 – MAP-21 (P.L. 112-141)
    MS4E and MS5E – MAP-21 Extension
    ZS40 and ZS50 – FAST Act (P.L. 114-94)

  4. Q: Why does 23 U.S.C. 130(a) reference 23 U.S.C. 120 if an increased Federal Share per Section 120 does not apply to Section 130 set-aside funds?

    A: The increased Federal Share under 23 U.S.C. 120(c)(1) applies to rail-highway crossing safety improvement activities using formula funds apportioned under 23 U.S.C. 104.1 The 90 percent Federal share only applies to rail-highway crossing safety improvement activities funded with Section 130 set-aside funds apportioned in accordance with 23 U.S.C. 130(f).

  5. Q: Can soft match be used to meet the 10 percent match requirement for Section 130 set-aside funds?

    A: Yes, "soft match" can be used to meet the non-Federal match requirement with required adequate documentation per 2 CFR 200.403(g). This would allow the project to be entirely funded with Section 130 set-aside funds and soft match.

  6. Q: Can toll credits be used to meet the 10 percent match requirement for Section 130 set-aside funds?

    A: Toll credits are eligible match in accordance with 23 U.S.C. 120(i). Available toll credits may be retroactively added to the project agreement as a soft match to meet matching share requirements associated with the use of Section 130 set-aside funds.

  7. Q: How should projects authorized with a soft match be reflected in FMIS?

    A: Section 130 set-aside projects authorized with a soft match (e.g., toll credits) should be authorized showing a Federal prorate share of 90 percent.  The total Section 130 set-aside funds on the project may effectively account for 100 percent of the project with the credits appropriately recorded, but the maximum allowable share should always be recorded to ensure any adjustments take into account this limitation and appropriate credits are also applied to the project.  It has been noted some State financial systems cannot follow this recording method and must show 100 percent with the soft match to facilitate proper billing.

  8. Q:   How should projects authorized for advance construction be reflected in FMIS?

    A: Projects using a Section 130 set-aside program code for an advance construction (AC) project agreement should be authorized with a Federal Share of no more than 90 percent. The FHWA division office must also ensure the 90 percent Federal Share is applied when Section 130 set-aside funds are obligated on a project to convert AC identified with a higher Federal Share. 

  9. Q: If funds for Construction must be obligated or reduced to a 90 percent Federal Share, does the previously obligated funds for Preliminary Engineering also need to be converted to 90 percent Federal Share?

    A: Absent mitigation, any obligations of Section 130 set-aside funds, including additions to prior obligations, made after April 14, 2016, must be reduced to or authorized at 90 percent Federal Share. Obligations made prior to April 14, 2016, do not require adjustment. Potentially, a project may have two different Federal shares due to addition of applicable funds to the project agreement after the effective date.

  10. Q: How are modified project agreements affected by the Federal Share?

    A: All projects modified to add costs or for AC conversions must be modified in such a way that the Federal Share does not exceed 90 percent.

  11. Q: Does a sliding scale rate apply to Section 130 set-aside funds?

    A: No. 23 U.S.C. 130(f)(3) establishes the Federal Share of Section 130 set-aside funds at 90 percent.

  12. Q:  May an increased Federal Share for innovative project delivery under 23 U.S.C. 120(c)(3) be applied to Section 130 set-aside funds?

    A:  No.  An increased Federal Share for innovative project delivery may only be used for certain programs. Section 130 set-aside funds are set-aside from HSIP which is not a program eligible for increased Federal Share under 23 U.S.C. 120(c)(3).

  13. Q: Can HSIP funds or another Federal funding source be used for the 10 percent non-Federal match requirement?

    A: No. Federal funds, including HSIP funds, cannot be used for a Federal match requirement unless otherwise provided by law (2 CFR 200.306(b)(5)). Per 23 U.S.C.120(k), specified title 23 funds may be used for the non-Federal Share of a project.2 For projects authorized after April 14, 2016, with a Federal Share greater than 90 percent, all Section 130 set-aside funds on the project may be replaced with other Federal-aid funds apportioned under 23 U.S.C. 104, such as Surface Transportation Block Grant Funds or HSIP funds, to qualify for increased Federal Share up to 100 percent for projects under 23 U.S.C. 120(c)(1). Federal Share obligations with Section 130 set-aside funds incorrectly recorded as greater than 90 percent Federal share between April 14, 2016, and the end of Fiscal Year 2018 may be mitigated by reclassification through Fiscal Year 2019.

  14. Q: Can Section 130 set-aside funds be used as the local match required under 23 U.S.C. 130(h)?

    A: Yes. Under 23 U.S.C. 130(h), if a State law allows State funds to be used for a railroad-highway crossing project where a local match is required, Section 130 set-aside funds may be used for the local match required by State law, provided the State funds are at least 10 percent of the project costs.  However, the Federal Share of a railroad-highway crossing project funded with Section 130 set-aside funds may not exceed 90 percent of the total cost of the project.

  15. Q: Where can I find additional information on Federal Share requirements for the Section 130 set-aside funds?

    A: November 25, 2014 memo on Increased Federal Share under 23 U.S.C. 120(c)(1): www.fhwa.dot.gov/federalaid/141125.cfm

    Most recent Federal Share guidance for all programs: www.fhwa.dot.gov/fastact/factsheets/federalsharefs.cfm

    FAST Act fact sheet: www.fhwa.dot.gov/fastact/factsheets/railwayhwycrossingsfst.cfm

    MAP-21 Act fact sheet: www.fhwa.dot.gov/map21/factsheets/rhc.cfm

    SAFETEA-LU fact sheet: www.fhwa.dot.gov/safetealu/factsheets/railcrossings.htm

    "Elimination of Hazards at Railway-Highway Crossings" page of the Guide to Federal-Aid Programs and Projects: www.fhwa.dot.gov/federalaid/projects.cfm

    FHWA Office of Safety RHCP webpage: https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/hsip/xings/

General Eligibility

  1. Q: Are blocked crossings eligible for Section 130 funds?

    A: Yes. 23 U.S.C. 130(a) was amended by the FAST Act to include "projects at grade crossings to eliminate hazards posed by blocked grade crossings due to idling trains".3

  2. Q: Can Section 130 funds be used to develop a State Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Action Plan?

    A: Yes. Section 11401(d) of the FAST Act allows for Section 130 funds to be made available "to provide States with funds to develop a State highway-rail grade crossing action plan… or to update a State action plan."

  3. Q: Does the 2 percent limit for compilation and analysis of data in support of Rail-Highway Crossings Program annual reports apply to the development of State Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Action Plans?

    A: No. Section 130 funds used to develop or update a State action plan are not restricted to the 2 percent of funds under 23 U.S.C. 130(k) for compilation and analysis of data in support of Rail-Highway Crossings Program Annual Reports.

  4. Q: What are the requirements for State Action Plans?

    A: The FAST Act requires the Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to develop and distribute requirements for State Action Plans.4 Rulemaking for State Action Plans from the FRA is forthcoming and will stipulate required plan content, review process, and deadlines. The FHWA and FRA developed a model grade crossing action plan for States that wish to update existing State Action Plans or develop a new State Action Plan to address grade crossing safety. The Highway-Railway Grade Crossing Action Plan and Project Prioritization Noteworthy Practices can be downloaded from the FHWA Office of Safety Rail-Highway Crossings Program web page at https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/hsip/xings/.

  5. Q: Are crossing surface improvements eligible for Section 130 set-aside funds?

    A: Yes. Crossing surface improvements are an eligible activity for Federal-aid funds if they are identified as a project for the elimination of hazards of railway-highway crossings as part of the State’s data-driven project selection and prioritization processes in accordance with 23 CFR 924.9(a)(4)(ii). As noted above, the Federal Share for projects carried out with Section 130 set-aside funds is fixed at 90 percent of the cost of the project.

  6. Q: How are Section 130 set-aside funds distributed to the States?

    A: Funds are apportioned by formula to States each year in accordance with 23 U.S.C. 130(f). Per 23 U.S.C. 130(e)(1), funds are set aside from the Highway Safety Improvement Program for the elimination of hazards and installation of protective devices at railway-highway crossings.

  7. Q: How are Section 130 funds used within a State?

    A: The Rail-Highway Crossings Program (Section 130) is a Federally-funded, State-administered program. In accordance with 23 CFR 924.9(a)(4)(ii), States shall use State-specific, data-driven processes for managing their Rail-Highway Crossing Programs that (A) consider the relative risk of public railway-highway grade crossings based on a hazard index formula, (B) include onsite inspection, and (C) emphasize standard signing and markings at all public crossings. States may utilize various processes to select and prioritize projects.

  8. Q: Does FHWA award Section 130 set-aside funds under a competitive award process?

    A: No. Because Section 130 set-aside funds are distributed by formula pursuant to 23 U.S.C. 130(f), FHWA does not award Section 130 set-aside funds under a competitive award process.


1 Increased Federal Share for certain safety projects using other eligible funds is limited to 10 percent of all funds apportioned under 23 U.S.C. 104 (23 U.S.C. 120(c)(1)).

2 Exceptions include tribal transportation program funds under 23 U.S.C. 202 and Federal lands transportation program funds under 23 U.S.C. 203.

3Pub. L. 114-94, § 1412

4Pub. L. 114-94, § 11401

Page last modified on August 14, 2018
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