Grade Crossing Closure Program

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

Background

Almost half of all railway-related deaths and injuries result from accidents at crossings. Because of the on-going need to reduce accidents, injuries and fatalities, Transport Canada provides grants to encourage the closure of public and private grade crossings under federal jurisdiction, where an identified safety concern or hazard exists.

Funded under Section 12.1 of the Railway Safety Act (RSA), the Grade Crossing Closure Program (GCCP) provides a grant of $5,000 for the closure of a private crossing, and $20,000 for the closure of a public crossing.

Eligible Crossings

GCCP grants are only available for crossings where a safety concern or hazard exists or where the closing of the crossing will divert users to an adjacent crossing with a higher level of safety. The impacts of a crossing closure on all vehicular and pedestrian traffic movements must be addressed. The closure must not create a potential trespassing situation or a safety concern at other crossings.

Eligible Recipients

Recipients will be a PERSON, as defined in the Railway Safety Act. This is normally a road authority or a private party with rights to a crossing. A railway company cannot receive a grant. The recipient, be it a road authority or a private party, must be the PERSON with whom the right to the crossing resides. The crossing must be on a line of a federally regulated railway, and must have been in existence for at least three years.

Stacking

The goal of this program is to encourage the closing of crossings; therefore, a GCCP grant will not preclude other funding agreements between the parties involved, normally the railway company and the road authority. If the closing of a crossing causes a serious traffic concern, recipients may also consider an application for funding under the Grade Crossing Improvement Program (GCIP) to address the concern. No definition of eligible costs is required, but all other sources of funding for the closure must be disclosed.

FILING AN APPLICATION

The following information must be provided by the applicant in the application:

  • The location of the crossing as described by the road authority or property owner (in the case of a private crossing)and the railway company involved
  • Indicate if the project will be:
    • Located in or in close proximity to any of the following: National Parks, National Park Reserves, National Historic Sites, or Historic Canals;
    • Extended outside of the existing roadway or railway right-of-ways; and
    • Undertaken within 30m of a water body.
  • Details of the train and road (vehicular and pedestrian) traffic using the crossing including official traffic counts and speeds
  • A description of the safety hazard being eliminated
  • Alternative solutions
  • A plan of any related works necessary to support the proposed closing
  • The PERSON'S commitment to see the crossing closed
  • Any other information necessary to support the application
  • Environmental information (if applicable):
    • Provide a summary description of the local biophysical environment, including a description of the environmental components that are likely to be adversely affected by the project;
    • Indicate if the project will result in the likely release of a polluting substance into a water body; and
    • Provide information on other Environmental Assessment regimes to which the project has been or is likely to be subject to (i.e., provincial, territorial, etc).

Applications for a grant to close a crossing should be sent to:

Transport Canada
Surface Infrastructure Programs, Programs Group
Tower C, 19th Floor
330 Sparks Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0N5

Attention: Program Manager, Transit Projects

Copies of the application should also be sent to the appropriate Transport Canada Regional Offices, as well as to the other authorities involved.

REVIEW OF APPLICATION

Applications will be evaluated and audited using a risk-based analysis. An on-site inspection and provision of additional information may be required. In addition, where a closure results in closing a public road, all required approvals pursuant to provincial or municipal legislation must be in place prior to payment of a grant. Confirmation that provincial regulatory requirements have been met should be forwarded to Transport Canada’s head office in Ottawa.

PRIORITIZATION

Due to the limited amount of GCCP funds available in a given year, applications will be prioritized based upon the seriousness of the safety problem or hazard, and the potential for avoiding fatalities, injuries and damage. The following factors are used in prioritizing and in assessing a grade crossing closure:

  • High exposure factors, such as annual average daily number of trains multiplied by annual average daily road traffic
  • High train or road traffic speeds
  • Multiple track crossings
  • Severely restricted sightlines
  • Curved or angled approach, or nearby intersections that distract the motorist or impede the view of approaching trains
  • A history of accidents

NOTE: All applications that do not receive funding in any given year are placed on Transport Canada’s “GCCP Pending List” and will be re-evaluated and prioritized against other projects the following year.

APPROVAL PROCESS

When all the projects have been prioritized, a list of recommended projects is sent to the Minister for approval. Once the projects are approved by the Minister (usually around the end of June), Transport Canada sends a notification to the applicants whose projects were approved. The maximum grant authorized will be either $5,000 or $20,000 depending on whether the crossing is private or public. All crossings approved in a given year must be physically closed by December 31st of that same year.

FUNDED PROJECTS

Funding Agreement

Following approval, an agreement between Transport Canada and the recipient must be signed and registered by Transport Canada’s legal registry in order for the grant to be released. The agreement outlines the recipient’s responsibilities and the terms and conditions for payment of the grant. Once the agreement is finalized, a copy is sent to the recipient for their records.

Grant Payments

Though the railway company is responsible for the physical closure of the crossing, the recipient is responsible for notifying Transport Canada that the closure has been completed and that their rights have been relinquished. This must be done within 30 days of completion. Once Transport Canada has been notified that the crossing is closed, a TC Inspector will inspect the crossing to ensure it has been closed satisfactorily. Upon confirmation, payment will be made to the recipient in one lump sum.

REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS

As stated in Section 12.1 of the RSA, the key requirement of the agreement is that the person's rights relating to the crossing are extinguished. The agreement will be filed with the Canadian Transportation Agency.

Pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA), an environmental assessment (EA) of a project may have to be completed prior to Transport Canada (TC) providing financial assistance for a project to be carried out in whole or in part.

If determined to be necessary, proponents shall conduct the EA of their project proposals, to be completed in accordance with TC instructions, prior to the commencement of any project-related works.

TRANSPORT CANADA OFFICES

Transport Canada
Surface Infrastructure Programs, Programs Group
Mailstop: AHSE
Tower C
330 Sparks Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0N5

Telephone: 613-990-4705
TTY: 1-888-675-6863
Email: railsafety@tc.gc.ca

Regional Offices

APPLICANT GUIDE

Applicant Guide for Crossing Closures (GCCP)