[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 33 (Tuesday, February 19, 2008)]
[Notices]
[Pages 9162-9165]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-3018]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Railroad Administration


Solicitation of Applications and Notice of Funding Availability 
for the Capital Assistance to States--Intercity Passenger Rail Service 
Program

AGENCY: Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Department of 
Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Notice of funding availability; solicitation for applications.

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SUMMARY: Under this Notice, the FRA encourages interested State 
departments of transportation to submit applications for grants to fund 
capital improvements and planning activities necessary to support 
improved or new intercity passenger rail service.

DATES: FRA will begin accepting grant applications on Monday, March 18, 
2008. Applications may be submitted until the earlier of Wednesday, 
September 30, 2009, or the date on which all available funds will have 
been committed under this program. The last-mentioned date will be 
announced in the Federal Register.

ADDRESSES: Applications must be submitted electronically to http://
www.grants.gov (``Grants.Gov''). Grants.Gov allows organizations 
electronically to find and apply for competitive grant opportunities 
from all Federal grant-making agencies. Any State wishing to submit an 
application pursuant to this notice should immediately initiate the 
process of registering with Grants.Gov at http://www.grants.gov. Please 
confirm all Grants.Gov submissions by e-mailing paxrail@dot.gov.
    For application materials that an applicant is unable to submit via 
Grants.Gov (such as oversized engineering drawings), applicants may 
submit an original and two (2) copies to the Federal Railroad 
Administration at the following address: Federal Railroad 
Administration, Attention: Peter Schwartz, Office of Railroad 
Development (RDV-11), Mail Stop 20, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, 
SE., Washington, DC 20590.
    Due to delays caused by enhanced screening of mail delivered via 
the U.S. Postal Service, applicants are encouraged to use other means 
to assure timely receipt of materials.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Peter Schwartz, Office of Railroad 
Development (RDV-11), Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey 
Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590. Phone: (202) 493-6360; Fax: (202) 
493-6333, or Desmond Brown, Grants Officer, Office of Acquisition and 
Grants Services (RAD-30), Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590. Phone: (202) 493-6152; Fax: 
(202) 493-6171.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Capital Assistance to States--Intercity 
Passenger Rail Service Program (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance 
(CFDA) Program Number 20.317) will be supported with $30,000,000 of 
Federal funds provided to FRA as part of the Transportation, Housing 
and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008 
(Division K of Pub. L. 110-161 (December 26, 2007)). Funds provided 
under this program may constitute no more than 50 percent of the total 
cost of a selected project, with the remaining cost funded from other 
sources. FRA anticipates awarding grants to multiple eligible 
participants. Eligible projects include capital improvements (fixed 
facilities and rolling stock) necessary to support improved or new 
intercity passenger rail services, and planning activities that lead 
directly to the development of a passenger rail corridor investment 
plan. FRA anticipates that no further public notice will be made with 
respect to selecting grantees under this program.
    Purpose: In 2002, then-Secretary of Transportation, Norman Y. 
Mineta, announced a number of principles to guide the future of 
intercity passenger rail in the United States. One of these principles 
was to ``establish a long-term partnership between States and the 
Federal Government to support intercity passenger rail.'' In 
furtherance of that principle, the President's Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 
Budget proposed, and the Congress enacted, a program that would 
increase the States' role in intercity passenger rail development by 
establishing Federal-State partnerships for intercity passenger rail 
investment along the model of those that currently exist for other 
modes of transportation. This program makes $30,000,000 in Federal 
funding available directly to States through grants to fund up to 50 
percent of the cost of capital investments and planning activities 
necessary to achieve tangible improvements to, or institute new, 
intercity passenger rail service. Examples of such improvements include 
(but are not strictly limited to) the purchase of passenger rolling 
stock, the improvement of existing track to allow for higher maximum 
speeds, the addition or lengthening of passing tracks to increase 
capacity, the improvement of interlockings to increase capacity and 
reliability, and the improvement of signaling systems to increase 
capacity and maximum speeds, and improve safety.
    Authority: The authority for the Program can be found in the 
Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies 
Appropriations Act, 2008 (Division K of Pub. L. 110-161 (December 26, 
2007)).
    Funding: The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and 
Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008, provides $30,000,000, and 
directs FRA to award one or more grants covering up to 50 percent of 
the cost of capital investments (and limited planning activities) 
necessary to support improved intercity passenger rail services. The 
funding provided under these grants will be made available to grantees 
on a reimbursement basis. It is anticipated that the available funding 
could support the projects proposed by multiple applicants. FRA may 
choose to award a grant or grants within the available funds in any 
amount. Funding made available through grants provided under this 
program, together with funding from other sources that is committed by 
a grantee as part of a grant agreement, must be sufficient to complete 
the funded project and achieve the anticipated improvement to intercity 
passenger rail service.
    Schedule for Capital Grant Program: FRA will begin accepting grant 
applications on Monday, March 18, 2008. Applications must be submitted 
by Wednesday, September 30, 2009 or the date (to be announced) on which 
all available funds will have been committed. Due to the limited 
funding

[[Page 9163]]

available under this program: (1) Applicants are encouraged to submit 
their applications at the earliest date practicable in order to 
maximize the consideration of their application in the competition; and 
(2) FRA may request that an applicant submit a revised application 
reflecting a refined scope of work and budget. FRA anticipates making 
the first award(s) pursuant to this notice during FY 2008.
    Eligible Participants: The department of transportation of any 
State (including, for the purposes of this program, the District of 
Columbia) is eligible to apply for funding under this Notice, provided 
that the applicant State includes intercity passenger rail service as 
an integral part of statewide transportation planning as required under 
section 135 of title 23, United States Code. If the proposed project is 
in more than one State, a single State department of transportation 
should apply on behalf of all the participating States.
    Eligible Projects: Eligible projects must be for the primary 
benefit of intercity passenger rail service. Only new projects will be 
eligible; projects that have either commenced before the time of award 
or have been completed will not be considered. Proposed projects must 
be specifically included in the applicant State's Statewide 
Transportation Improvement Plan at the time of application to be 
eligible. Matching funding must be in the form of new financial 
commitments toward the proposed project by the applicant and/or its 
partners. Expenditures which occurred prior to the passage into law of 
the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies 
Appropriations Act, 2008, and expenditures on unrelated projects will 
not be considered.
    Eligible Planning Projects: Congress has allowed up to ten percent 
($3,000,000) of the funding available under the program to be used for 
planning activities that lead directly to the development of a 
passenger rail corridor investment plan. Only proposed planning 
projects that incorporate the methodologies set forth in FRA's 
publication, entitled ``Railroad Corridor Transportation Plans: A 
Guidance Manual,'' available at http://www.fra.dot.gov/Downloads/RRdev/
corridor_planning.pdf, will be given priority for consideration, 
subject to the Selection Criteria outlined below.
    Selection Criteria: The following will be considered to be positive 
selection factors in evaluating applications for grants under this 
program:
    1. The ability of the proposed project to result directly in 
appreciable benefits to intercity passenger rail services, including, 
but not limited to, improved safety (particularly at railroad-highway 
at-grade crossings), and improved intercity passenger rail reliability 
(particularly involving a commitment by host freight railroads to an 
enforceable on-time performance standard of 80 percent or greater).
    2. The extent to which, following the completion of the proposed 
project, the total, fully allocated operating expenses of the intercity 
passenger rail service benefiting from the project are projected to be 
offset by the total of (a) revenues attributable to the service, and 
(b) committed state financial support, with little or no need for 
Federal operating support.
    3. The extent to which the proposed project involves a commitment 
by States or railroads of financial resources to improve the safety of 
highway/rail grade crossings over which the passenger service operates.
    4. The relative emphasis of the proposed project on the 
implementation of tangible capital improvements, rather than planning.
    5. The ability of the proposed project to result in reduced and 
reliable line-haul and/or total travel times for intercity rail 
passengers, increased intercity passenger service frequencies, and/or 
enhanced service quality for intercity train passengers.
    6. The extent to which the project promotes seamless intermodal 
connections between passenger rail service and other modes of 
transportation, such as mass transit and commercial air service.
    7. The extent to which the proposed project has stand-alone value 
as a transportation improvement, and the extent to which the benefits 
resulting from the project are not contingent upon future additional 
Federal funding, or on additional capital investments other than those 
to which the applicant or the applicant's partners have committed at 
the time of the submission of the grant application.
    8. For proposed grant-funded projects involving improvements or 
alterations to, or use of, assets owned or used by other entities (such 
as freight or commuter railroads), the extent to which the applicant 
has completed written agreements (covering issues including, but not 
limited to, project design, project implementation, and assurance and/
or enforcement of achievement of anticipated project benefits) between 
the applicant and the other affected entities.
    9. The existence and quality of a comprehensive, realistic 
transportation plan (a) covering the rail line(s), facilities, and 
services employed or affected by the benefiting project and (b) 
reflecting the improved operation of the benefiting service.
    10. The progress toward completing any environmental documentation 
or clearance required for the proposed project under the National 
Environmental Policy Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, 
section 4(f) of the DOT Act, the Clean Water Act, or other applicable 
Federal or State laws and regulations (federal environmental and 
historic preservation review requirements will apply to all projects 
funded through the Capital Assistance to States--Intercity Passenger 
Rail Service Program).
    11. The projected lapse in time between a grant award and the 
initiation and completion of, and realization of the benefits resulting 
from, the proposed project, and the veracity of such projections.
    12. The extent to which the State commits funds or contributions as 
a match for the funds potentially available under this program for the 
project of a value in excess of 50 percent of the total cost of the 
project, and the extent to which such funds are from non-Federal 
sources. For purposes of this criterion, all monetary and other 
resources of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) are 
considered to be Federal sources.
    13. The extent to which matching funds or contributions committed 
by the State would be contributions from private or other non-State 
entities, such as host freight railroads and local governments, and the 
extent to which the commitment by the host freight railroad of 
financial resources is commensurate with the benefit expected to their 
operations.
    Requirements for Grant Applications: The following points describe 
the minimum content which will be required in grant applications. These 
requirements may be satisfied through a narrative statement submitted 
by the applicant, supported by spreadsheet documents, tables, drawings, 
and other materials, as appropriate. Each grant application will:
    1. Designate a point of contact for the applicant and provide their 
name and contact information, including phone number, mailing address 
and e-mail address.
    2. Include a complete Standard Form 424, ``Application for Federal 
Assistance'', and, as applicable, Standard Form 424B, ``Assurances--
Non-Construction Programs'' or Standard Form 424D, ``Assurances--
Construction Programs.'' Also include signed copies of FRA's Additional 
Assurances and Certifications, available

[[Page 9164]]

at http://www.fra.dot.gov/downloads/admin/
assurancesandcertifications.pdf.
    3. Identify and provide background information on the intercity 
passenger rail services that the proposed project is intended primarily 
to benefit. The required content under this heading will differ 
according to the purpose of the project:
    a. Grant applications related to projects that are targeted toward 
improving existing intercity passenger rail services. Describe in 
detail the current state of the benefiting services. Include 
descriptions of the geographic markets served, the current operating 
characteristics of the services (including timetables, consist 
diagrams, and measures of service reliability), and the financial 
characteristics of the service (including profit and loss statements 
and descriptions of past and/or current state financial support for 
operations and capital investments). Describe the current annual 
passenger utilization of the service (train ridership; passenger-mile 
volumes; and train boardings plus alightings at each station), any 
existing contractual arrangements for the operation of the service, the 
characteristics of other rail service (e.g. commuter and freight) 
currently operating on the route, and the extent to which the 
benefiting service falls within the geographic scope of one or more 
Federally-designated high-speed rail corridors. In addition, describe 
and compare the existing transportation facilities and service 
offerings (including travel times, frequencies, prices or perceived 
costs, reliability, and service quality) afforded by other public and 
private modes of transportation, as well as intercity passenger rail, 
in the geographic market area.
    b. For grant applications related to projects that are targeted 
toward the introduction of new intercity passenger rail service. 
Describe the characteristics, including trip time and frequencies, of 
any past intercity passenger rail service that has served the same 
general geographic markets as the proposed service. Describe the 
characteristics of other rail service (e.g. commuter and freight) 
currently operating on the route. Describe the geographic market to be 
served by the new service, the current level of completion and nature 
of the planning for the new service, the extent to which the benefiting 
service falls within the geographic scope of one or more Federally-
designated high-speed rail corridors, and the existing transportation 
facilities and service offerings (including travel times, frequencies, 
prices or perceived costs, reliability, and service quality) afforded 
by other public and private modes of transportation in the geographic 
market area.
    4. Define the scope of work for the proposed project and the 
anticipated project schedule. Describe the proposed project's physical 
location (as applicable), and the extent to which the proposed project 
consists of planning and/or implementation of capital improvements. 
Include any drawings, plans, or schematics that have been prepared 
relating to the proposed project.
    5. Present a detailed budget for the proposed project. At a 
minimum, the budget should separate total cost of the project into the 
following categories: (1) Administrative and legal expenses; (2) Land, 
structures, rights-of-way, and appraisals; (3) Relocation expenses and 
payments; (4) Architectural and engineering fees; (5) Project 
inspection fees; (6) Site work; (7) Demolition and removal; (8) 
Construction labor, supervision, and management; (9) Materials, by type 
(e.g. ties, rail, signals, switches, rolling stock; (10) Equipment; 
(11) Miscellaneous; and (12) Contingencies. For each cost category, 
specify (as defined under OMB Circular A-87, ``Cost Principles for 
State, Local and Indian Tribal Governments'') the amount of costs that 
are allowable for participation, and the amount of non-allowable costs. 
Also specify the amount of allowable costs in each category that are 
proposed to be funded under this program, and the amount to be funded 
by non-program matching funds.
    6. Describe the operating changes to the target intercity passenger 
rail services that are anticipated to result from the project, and 
assess the operational feasibility of the proposed project. The 
required level of detail for the descriptions of anticipated operating 
changes and the feasibility assessment will depend upon the nature of 
the project, as follows:
    a. Projects intended to improve the reliability of existing 
intercity passenger rail services, but which are not intended to affect 
the trip times, service frequencies, or passenger capacity of the 
benefiting services. Describe, in quantitative terms, the delays that 
would be incurred by the benefiting intercity passenger rail service 
were the proposed project not to be completed. Describe, in 
quantitative terms, the delays that would be avoided as a result of the 
completion of the proposed project. Address proposed means for ensuring 
and/or enforcing that the anticipated reliability improvements will be 
realized following the completion of the proposed project.
    b. Projects, particularly those involving the purchase of rolling 
stock, intended to increase capacity on existing intercity passenger 
rail services, but which are not intended to affect the trip times or 
service frequencies of the benefiting services. Describe evidence of 
current under-capacity of the benefiting services, and the extent to 
which such under-capacity conditions are projected to change in the 
future. Include results of modeling performed using train performance 
calculators demonstrating that current schedules may be maintained 
following the introduction of the proposed new equipment. Address the 
adequacy of existing infrastructure (e.g. station platforms, 
maintenance facilities, passing tracks, and wyes) to accommodate any 
proposed increased consist lengths. Present evidence that the proposed 
new equipment meets the clearance requirements of the infrastructure 
over which it is intended to operate, or provide details of what 
infrastructure modifications will be required to achieve the physical 
clearances required for the operation of the proposed new equipment. 
Present evidence that existing or anticipated future station access 
limitations (e.g. lack of transit access, shortage of parking), will 
not create a capacity constraint that would limit the utility of 
additional on-train capacity.
    c. Projects which, either by design or otherwise as a direct 
consequence thereof, would affect trip times and frequencies of 
existing intercity passenger rail services, or which are related to the 
introduction of new intercity passenger rail service. Describe the 
operating plan intended for the benefiting service following completion 
of the grant-funded project. Include operating details, such as 
proposed timetables, equipment consists, track charts of the proposed 
route, descriptions of maintenance of equipment and maintenance of way 
arrangements, station access plans, and quantitative projections of 
operating reliability. Include the outputs, such as stringline (time 
and distance) diagrams, of train performance calculator modeling and 
dispatching modeling undertaken as part of the preparation of the 
proposed operating plan. These outputs shall include all other rail 
services--intercity, freight, and commuter--that will share facilities 
with, or otherwise impact or be impacted by, the services that will 
benefit from the improvements proposed in the application. Such 
coverage of other services shall address both current conditions and 
projected

[[Page 9165]]

service levels in the time horizon year adopted in the application. 
Address the operating feasibility of the proposed service, and 
summarize any identified risks associated with the operating plan. 
Describe any contractual arrangements that will be in place for the 
operation of the service. Include a description of the methodology 
employed in developing the operating plan. Operating plans developed in 
accordance with FRA's publication, entitled ``Railroad Corridor 
Transportation Plans: A Guidance Manual,'' available at http://
www.fra.dot.gov/Downloads/RRdev/corridor_planning.pdf, will be 
considered to fulfill these requirements. Address proposed means for 
ensuring and/or enforcing that the anticipated operating plan will be 
implemented with a high degree of reliability following the completion 
of the proposed project.
    7. Describe any additional planning activities or capital 
improvements, beyond those project elements included in the grant 
proposal, that would be required in order to realize the operating 
benefits intended to be generated by the proposed project. Indicate the 
extent to which funding from other sources has been committed to and/or 
work has commenced on these additional requirements.
    8. Describe proposed project implementation and project management 
provisions. Include descriptions of expected arrangements for project 
contracting, contract oversight, change-order management, risk 
management, and conformance to Federal requirements for project 
progress reporting.
    9. Present a financial plan reflecting the anticipated financial 
performance of the benefiting service following completion of the 
grant-funded project. Include a detailed projected profit and loss 
statement, along with forecasts for revenues, ridership, passenger-
miles, and expenses generated by the proposed service. Demonstrate the 
extent to which the benefiting service will not require Federal 
financial assistance to support its operation following the completion 
of the grant-funded project.
    10. Describe the benefits forecasted to result from the proposed 
project, specifically as they relate to improvements in safety 
(particularly at railroad-highway grade crossings) and increases in 
intercity passenger rail reliability (particularly to the extent the 
proposed project would result in a commitment by host freight railroads 
to an enforceable on-time performance standard of 80 percent or 
greater).
    11. Describe the extent to which the proposed project will result 
in reduced line-haul and/or total travel times for intercity rail 
passengers, increased intercity passenger service frequencies, and/or 
enhanced service quality for intercity train passengers.
    12. Describe the source(s) and amount(s) of matching funding to be 
committed to the project by the applicant.
    13. Describe the anticipated ownership arrangement for the project 
following completion.
    14. Describe any written agreements (or progress in negotiations) 
between the applicant and other entities regarding proposed grant-
funded projects involving improvements or alterations to, or use of, 
assets owned or used by other entities.
    15. Describe progress toward completing any environmental 
documentation or clearance required for the proposed project under the 
National Environmental Policy Act, the National Historic Preservation 
Act, section 4(f) of the DOT Act, the Clean Water Act, or other 
applicable Federal or State laws.
    16. Describe the degree to which intercity passenger rail is 
included as an integral part of the applicant State's statewide 
transportation planning, as required under section 135 of title 23, 
United States Code, and present evidence that the specific proposed 
project is included or mentioned in the applicant State's Statewide 
Transportation Improvement Plan.
    Format: Excluding spreadsheets, drawings, and tables, the narrative 
statement for grant applications may not exceed fifty pages in length. 
With the exclusion of oversized engineering drawings (which may be 
submitted in hard copy to the FRA at the address above), all 
application materials should be submitted as attachments through 
Grants.Gov.
    Spreadsheets consisting of budget or financial information should 
be submitted via Grants.Gov as Microsoft Excel (or compatible) 
documents.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on February 12, 2008.
Mark E. Yachmetz,
Associate Administrator for Railroad Development.
[FR Doc. E8-3018 Filed 2-15-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-06-P