The project is considered essential, as daily trips in the area are estimated to increase 49% & rail traffic by almost 70% by 2040.

On August 21, 2021, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced a notice of funding opportunity that made available nearly $362 million through its Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Grant Program.

“CRISI is an opportunity to invest in safety and economic progress across the rail networks that support and connect America,” FRA Deputy Administrator Amit Bose said. “As the nation continues to recover from the pandemic, these projects will create jobs and improve communities. We expect applicants to address necessity, accountability, racial equity, and climate change.”

On Tuesday, U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), and U.S. Representative Michael Guest (R-MS) welcomed the approval of a $1.5 million CRISI grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to help construct a new rail crossing on Highway 18 in Brandon, Mississippi.

The project would eliminate an at-grade crossing and replace it with a grade-separated bridge and an additional travel lane over the Kansas City Southern Railway (KCS).

Senator Wicker said that for far too long, drivers along Highway 18 looking to get to school, the airport, or to work have faced delays because of the current rail crossing in Brandon.

“Improving this crossing will play a key role in reducing congestion, improving safety, and boosting commerce in Rankin County as it continues to grow,” Wicker said.

Senator Hyde-Smith stated that the steady and projected growth of Brandon and Rankin County requires important infrastructure improvements.

“This important project is exciting because it will expand rail and traffic capacity, while boosting safety in a significant way,” Hyde-Smith said.

Congressman Guest applauded his colleagues and local state, and federal stakeholders for their efforts to advance this project.

“Rail is a critical piece of Mississippi’s infrastructure, and creating a more modern rail system in Mississippi will help ensure that our economy remains competitive in the years to come,” Guest said.