[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 119 (Tuesday, June 23, 2009)]
[Notices]
[Pages 29899-29929]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-14692]



[[Page 29899]]

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Part IV





Department of Transportation





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Federal Railroad Administration



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 High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (``HSIPR'') Program; Notice

Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 119 / Tuesday, June 23, 2009 / 
Notices

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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Railroad Administration

[Docket No. FRA-2009-0045]


High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (``HSIPR'') Program

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

ACTION: Notice of funding availability; issuance of interim program 
guidance.

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SUMMARY: On April 16, 2009, President Obama, together with Vice 
President Biden and Secretary of Transportation LaHood, announced a new 
vision for developing high-speed rail in America. They called for a 
collaborative effort among the Federal Government, States, railroads, 
and other key stakeholders to help transform America's transportation 
system through a national network of high-speed rail corridors. This 
notice builds on this ``Vision for High-Speed Rail'' (available on 
FRA's Web site) by detailing the application requirements and 
procedures for obtaining funding for high-speed rail projects under the 
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) and the 
Department of Transportation Appropriations Acts of 2008 and 2009 (FY 
2008/2009 DOT Appropriations Acts), while laying the foundation for a 
longer-term program to establish a network of high-speed rail 
corridors.
    The evaluation and selection criteria in this notice are intended 
to prioritize projects that deliver transportation, economic recovery 
and other public benefits, including energy independence, environmental 
quality, and livable communities; ensure project success through 
effective project management, financial planning and stakeholder 
commitments; and emphasize a balanced approach to project types, 
locations, innovation, and timing.
    This notice describes multiple funding paths to accommodate 
projects at different stages of development, while also rationalizing 
the variety of statutory and administrative requirements underpinning 
the program. FRA recognizes the unique challenges and opportunities 
presented, and will seek, to the maximum extent permitted under law and 
administrative procedures, to work collaboratively with applicants and 
stakeholders throughout the process.

DATES: 
    Public comments. Public comments on this notice are due no later 
than July 10, 2009.
    Preapplications. Preapplications for all funding Tracks are due no 
later than July 10, 2009. (FRA encourages earlier submission of 
preapplications).
    Applications. Applications for funding for Track 1 (Projects), 
Track 3 (Planning), and Track 4 (FY2009 Appropriations Projects) are 
due no later than August 24, 2009; applications for funding Track 2 
(Service Development Programs) are due no later than October 2, 2009. 
(See Section 1.6 in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this 
notice for descriptions of each funding Track, and Section 4.3.6 in the 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this notice for additional 
information on deadlines for both preapplications and applications.) 
FRA reserves the right to modify these deadlines, based on comments 
received on this notice.

ADDRESSES: 
    Public comments. To ensure that comments are not entered into the 
docket more than once, please submit comments, identified by docket 
number [FRA-2009-0045], by only one of the following methods:
     Web site: The U.S. Government electronic docket site is 
http://www.regulations.gov. Go to this Web site and follow the 
instructions for submitting comments into docket number [FRA-2009-
0045];
     Mail: Mail comments to U.S. Department of Transportation, 
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Docket Operations, MS-30, Room W12-140, 
Washington, DC 20590;
     Hand delivery or courier: Bring comments to the U.S. 
Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Docket 
Operations, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 
20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal 
holidays; or
     Fax: Telefax comments to 202-493-6330.
    Instructions for submitting public comments: The agency name 
(Federal Railroad Administration) and the docket number [FRA-2009-0045] 
for this notice must be submitted with any comments. If comments are 
submitted by mail or by hand, please submit two copies of the comments. 
For confirmation that the Federal Railroad Administration has received 
the comments, a self-addressed stamped postcard must be included. Note 
that all comments received by any method will be posted without change 
to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information 
provided, and will be available to Internet users. The Department's 
complete Privacy Act Statement is available for review in the Federal 
Register published April 11, 2000, (65 FR 19477), or by visiting http://www.regulations.gov.
    Preapplications. Preapplications must be submitted to the HSIPR 
Program Manager electronically via e-mail at [email protected]. Pre-
applicants should receive a confirmation e-mail, but are advised to 
request a return receipt to confirm transmission. Only preapplications 
received via e-mail as provided above shall be deemed properly filed.
    Applications. Applications and supporting documentation must be 
submitted through http://www.grantsolutions.gov. If problems with 
http://www.grantsolutions.gov are encountered, applications and 
supporting documentation may be submitted to the HSIPR Program Manager 
electronically via e-mail at [email protected]. Supporting materials that 
cannot be submitted electronically may be mailed or hand delivered to: 
U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration, 
1200 New Jersey Avenue, MS-20, Room W38-202, SE., Washington, DC 20590 
Attn. HSIPR Program. Applicants are encouraged to use special courier 
services to avoid shipping delays. Pre-application and application 
forms are available at http://www.fra.dot.gov/us/content/2243.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information regarding this 
notice and the grants program, please contact the FRA HSIPR Program 
Manager via e-mail at [email protected], or by mail: U.S. Department of 
Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey 
Avenue, MS-20, SE., Washington, DC 20590 Attn. HSIPR Program.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Table of Contents

Overview
1. Funding Opportunity Description
2. Award Information
3. Eligibility Information
4. Application and Submission Information
5. Application Review Information
6. Award Administration Information
7. FRA Contacts
List of Acronyms Appendix 1: Additional Information on Eligibility
Appendix 2: Additional Information on Planning and Engineering
Appendix 3: Additional Information on Award Administrations and 
Grant Conditions

Overview

    FRA is soliciting public comment on this document through Docket 
Number FRA-2009-0045 (http://www.regulations.gov). While the interim 
guidance in this document does not

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constitute a rulemaking, FRA will consider all comments received by 
July 10, 2009 and will publish any resultant clarifications or 
revisions to this document in the Federal Register and on FRA's Web 
site (http://www.fra.dot.gov). FRA began this comment process during 
its outreach sessions in May and June, in which over 1,100 stakeholders 
attended seven sessions around the country; in addition, a public 
docket was established for comment, and 110 comments were received as 
of June 15, 2009. FRA has already adjusted the approach contained 
herein based on this initial feedback.
    Preapplications are required and the deadline for submissions (for 
all Tracks) is July 10, 2009. Applications may not be considered if 
preapplications are received after July 10, 2009; FRA encourages 
submission of preapplications earlier than the July 10 deadline. FRA 
will work with pre-applicants if necessary during the period prior to 
the application deadlines to ensure eligibility, appropriateness of 
application Track, and structure of project or program; applicants 
should work on completing full grant applications concurrent with 
preparation and review of preapplications.
    Deadlines for submission of full grant applications under the four 
Tracks (see Section 1.6 for track descriptions) are: Track 1 
(Projects), Track 3 (Planning), and Track 4 (FY2009 Appropriations 
Projects)--August 24, 2009; Track 2 (High-Speed Rail/Intercity 
Passenger Rail Service Development Programs)--October 2, 2009. To give 
prospective applicants adequate time to complete their applications 
(while incorporating any guidance clarifications or revisions), FRA may 
adjust application dates to allow for a minimum of 30 days for 
application submission following any material changes to guidance that 
arise from comments. For full details on these deadlines and how to 
satisfy them, prospective applicants should consult Section 4.3.6 of 
this guidance.

Section 1: Funding Opportunity Description

1.1 Authority

    This program guidance and financial assistance announcement 
pertains to FRA's new High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program 
(``HSIPR''), which consolidates the following recently-authorized and 
closely-related programs:
     The High-Speed Rail Corridor Development program, 
authorized under Section 501 of the Passenger Rail Investment and 
Improvement Act of 2008 (``PRIIA,'' Division B of Pub. L. 110-432, 
October 16, 2008, codified at 49 U.S.C. 26106);
     The Intercity Passenger Rail Service Corridor Capital 
Assistance program, authorized under Section 301 of PRIIA (codified at 
49 U.S.C. chapter 244);
     The Congestion Grants program, authorized under Section 
302 of PRIIA (codified at 49 U.S.C. 24105);
     The Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 Capital Assistance to States--
Intercity Passenger Rail Service program, authorized and funded under 
the Department of Transportation Appropriations Act, 2009 (``FY 2009 
DOT Appropriations Act,'' Title I of Division I of Pub. L. 111-8, March 
11, 2009); and
     The FY 2008 Capital Assistance to States--Intercity 
Passenger Rail Service program, authorized and funded under the 
Department of Transportation Appropriations Act, 2008 (``FY 2008 DOT 
Appropriations Act,'' Title I of Division K of Pub. L. 110-161, 
December 26, 2007).
    This document incorporates both (i) interim guidance required for 
this program pursuant to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 
2009 (``ARRA,'' Pub. L. 111-5, February 17, 2009); and (ii) interim 
guidance required pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 24402(a)(2). The funding made 
available under this financial assistance announcement was appropriated 
under ARRA, and the FY 2008/2009 DOT Appropriations Act. The funding 
opportunities described in this guidance are available under Catalog of 
Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) numbers 20.317 and 20.319.

1.2 Program Description and Legislative History

    This program guidance and funding opportunity announcement 
represents the second major milestone in the implementation of the new 
HSIPR Program. It follows and builds upon Vision for High-Speed Rail in 
America, the Administration's April 2009 high-speed rail strategic plan 
for the implementation of this program (available at http://www.fra.dot.gov/us/content/31).
    As one of President Obama's foremost transportation priorities, the 
HSIPR Program helps to address the nation's transportation challenges 
by investing in an efficient High-Speed Rail/Intercity Passenger Rail 
network that connects communities across America.
    Congress established the framework for the program through the 
passage of three key pieces of legislation:
     Capital Assistance to States--Intercity Passenger Rail 
Service--In the FY 2008 DOT Appropriations Act, Congress established a 
new pilot program for joint Federal-State intercity passenger rail 
capital investment, known as Capital Assistance to States--Intercity 
Passenger Rail Service. Under this program, $30 million in Federal 
funding was made available to States on a competitive basis to fund up 
to 50 percent of the capital cost of improving Intercity Passenger Rail 
service; up to 10 percent of the $30 million was available for rail 
corridor planning grants. An additional $90 million was appropriated 
under similar terms as part of the FY 2009 DOT Appropriations Act.
     Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 
(PRIIA)--Enacted in October 2008, PRIIA represents the most sweeping 
Congressional action on intercity passenger rail since those that 
created the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) and the 
Northeast Corridor Improvement Project during the 1970s. In addition to 
reauthorizing Amtrak, PRIIA established three new competitive grant 
programs for funding High-Speed Rail/Intercity Passenger Rail capital 
improvements, each of which, as authorized, require a 20 percent non-
Federal match:
    [cir] Intercity Passenger Rail Service Corridor Capital Assistance 
(Section 301)--Under this section, the broadest of PRIIA's three new 
funding programs, States (including the District of Columbia), groups 
of States, interstate compacts, and public Intercity Passenger Rail 
agencies established by one or more State(s) may apply for grants for 
capital improvements to benefit all types of Intercity Passenger Rail 
service, including high-speed service. Amtrak may participate through a 
cooperative agreement with a State(s). To be eligible for funding under 
this program, proposed projects must meet a number of requirements 
(e.g., inclusion in a State Rail Plan).
    [cir] High-Speed Rail Corridor Development (Section 501)--Although 
similar in structure, criteria, and conditions to Section 301, 
eligibility for this program is restricted to projects intended to 
develop Federally-designated High-Speed Rail corridors for Intercity 
Passenger Rail services that may reasonably be expected to reach speeds 
of at least 110 miles per hour (mph). Applicant eligibility under 
Section 501 is broadened from Section 301 to include Amtrak as well.
    [cir] Congestion Grants (Section 302)--This program authorizes 
grants to States or to Amtrak (in cooperation with States) for 
facilities, infrastructure, and

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equipment for high-priority rail corridor projects to reduce congestion 
or facilitate Intercity Passenger Rail ridership growth.
     American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA)--The 
$8 billion in High-Speed Rail/Intercity Passenger Rail funding under 
ARRA ``jump starts'' the widespread improvement of High-Speed Rail/
Intercity Passenger Rail service in the United States. The 
appropriation references the authorities included in Sections 301, 302, 
and 501 of PRIIA but states the ``Federal share of the costs for which 
a grant is made * * * shall be, at the option of the recipient, up to 
100 percent.'' It also does not require that proposed projects be 
included in a State Rail Plan (and it excludes the costs of preparing 
such plans from eligibility for ARRA funding).

1.3 Selection Process and Priorities

    The application process begins with a preapplication. The 
preapplication is a simple form intended to give FRA an early 
assessment of the universe of projects and programs, and to provide 
pre-applicants with any feedback necessary to complete their 
applications (e.g., eligibility issues, most appropriate application 
Track to pursue, etc.). It also allows FRA and preapplicants to start a 
collaborative process for ensuring early program success. 
Preapplications should be submitted as early as possible, but no later 
than July 10, 2009; applicants should not wait for submission of, or 
any comments on, a preapplication before preparing their full 
applications. In recognition of a variety of considerations, including 
the urgency of project implementation as reflected in ARRA and the 
complexities of launching a new HSIPR program, FRA considers the 
preapplication to be an essential component of the application 
submission and decision making processes. As a result, FRA will only 
consider applications that were not supported by a timely filed 
preapplication only if there are special, compelling circumstances. 
Complete applications for Tracks 1, 3 and 4 are due on August 24, 2009 
and for Track 2 on October 2, 2009. Once an application is received, it 
will proceed through a three-step process.
     Screening for completeness and eligibility (both applicant 
and project eligibility);
     Evaluation panel review process, applying ``evaluation 
criteria''; and
     Final review and selection, applying ``selection'' 
criteria.
    See Section 5 for a full description of the review process and 
criteria.
1.3.1 Application Screening
    Screening will confirm applicant and project eligibility, and 
ensure that the application provides complete and sufficient 
information for the evaluation process.
1.3.2 Evaluation Criteria
    Eligible applications in all Tracks will be individually reviewed 
and assessed against seven evaluation criteria--organized into three 
categories--detailed below. For each of the applicable criteria, the 
application will be assigned a rating of between one and five points, 
based on the application's fulfillment of the objectives of each 
criterion. These individual criterion ratings will then be accounted 
according to priority of criteria (which vary by Track, as described in 
Section 5), to arrive at an overall rating for the application.
    FRA will require a rigorous analysis of benefits and costs of 
proposed projects, with a focus on the transportation service and 
output measures that are fundamental to estimating other public 
benefits. Applicants must provide requested benefit and cost 
information the best available tools in order to ensure adequate 
assessment of business cases for projects.
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    \1\ See Section 4 for a detailed summary of submission 
requirements, and Section 5 for additional detail on evaluation and 
selection criteria.

                                               Evaluation Criteria
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  Evaluation criteria\1\                 Example factors                           Key documentation
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                                           Public Return on Investment
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1. Transportation           Improved Intercity Passenger Rail   Service Development Plan
 Benefits                   service                                     (including business case; assessment of
                            Transportation network              benefits and public investment).
                            integration (including intermodal
                            connections)
                            Transportation safety benefits
2. Economic Recovery        Preserving and creating jobs--      Quantitative output measures
                            particularly in economically-distressed     (service--reliability, schedule,
                            areas                                       capacity; and transportation--passenger-
                                                                        miles, including sources--aviation,
                                                                        highway, induced).
3. Other Public Benefits    Environmental quality
                            Energy efficiency
                            Livable communities
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                                             Project Success Factors
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1. Project Management       Organizational capacity             Project management plan.
 Approach                   Track record of comparable          Financial plan (capital and
2. Sustainability of        projects                                    operating).
 Benefits                   Adequacy of engineering             Stakeholder agreements.
                            Reasonableness of schedule
                            Progress toward NEPA compliance
                            Thoroughness of management plan
                            Sufficiency of safety and
                            security planning
                            Sufficiency of stakeholder
                            agreements
                            Reasonableness of financial
                            estimates
                            Availability of operating
                            financial support
                            Quality of planning process
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                                                Other Attributes
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1. Timeliness of Project    Project readiness                   Project schedule.
 Completion                 Reasonableness of completion
                            schedule
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1.3.3 Selection Criteria
    After being assessed against the evaluation criteria, applications 
for each Track will collectively be reviewed to ensure consistency and 
to balance projects against national priorities and schedules. For this 
review, the FRA Administrator may consider several cross-cutting 
comparative criteria before final award determinations are made. The 
table below summarizes these additional selection criteria.

                           Selection Criteria
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    Selection criteria (balance and
               diversity)                        Example factors
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1. Region/location.....................   Geography and economic
                                          conditions.
2. Innovation..........................   Technology and
                                          industrial/capacity
                                          development.
3. Partnerships........................   Multi-State
                                          agreements.
4. Tracks and round timing.............   Project costs and
                                          schedules.
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1.4 Program Implementation Opportunities and Challenges

    In addition to the fiscal constraints currently affecting States, 
local governments, and businesses, the development of a comprehensive 
High-Speed Rail/Intercity Passenger Rail network faces challenges 
specific to this program and the rail industry. For instance, FRA 
recognizes the challenges associated with the need for agreements among 
multiple States and with private railroad companies, as well as the 
shortage of engineering professionals, planners, and managers with 
experience in High-Speed Rail/Intercity Passenger Rail development with 
project implementation in the United States.
    The intent to establish a pipeline of future High-Speed Rail/
Intercity Passenger Rail programs and projects poses a further 
challenge. The traditional pipeline for major transportation 
investments progresses from alternatives analysis to investment 
planning, preliminary engineering (PE) and environmental clearance, 
final design (FD), construction, and operations. With very narrow 
exceptions, States have historically lacked a Federal funding partner 
in High-Speed Rail/Intercity Passenger Rail development; thus, many 
States have no High-Speed Rail/Intercity Passenger Rail program at all, 
and others find their limited High-Speed Rail/Intercity Passenger Rail 
development efforts stalled at various points along the typical 
progression.
    This situation necessitates a Federal funding approach that is 
flexible enough to support the High-Speed Rail/Intercity Passenger Rail 
development efforts of each State--whether, for example, the State has 
just initiated High-Speed Rail/Intercity Passenger Rail planning, or 
has prepared for capital investments to enhance existing services, or 
has readied itself to construct new infrastructure to accommodate new 
High-Speed Rail/Intercity Passenger Rail service. With such disparate 
situations among the States, the Federal funding approach must 
accommodate different situations, offering an array of possibilities to 
dovetail with the States' diverse aspirations, capabilities, and 
resources.

1.5 Environmental Review and Approval

    Central to High-Speed Rail/Intercity Passenger Rail Program 
implementation--and crucial to each applicant's choice of Track for a 
proposal--is the environmental review process required by the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and related laws and regulations.\2\ 
NEPA applies to all federal grant programs and requires Federal 
agencies to integrate environmental values into their decision-making 
processes by considering the environmental impacts of their proposed 
actions and reasonable alternatives to those actions. Agencies must 
also make information on these impacts and alternatives publicly 
available before decisions are made and actions occur. NEPA also 
mandates that all reasonable alternatives be considered, and to that 
end, an alternatives analysis is typically conducted during the 
environmental review process.
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    \2\ The National Historic Preservation Act, Clean Water Act, 49 
U.S.C. 303 relating to parks, wildlife refuges and historic sites 
(commonly referred to as Section 4(f)), and the Endangered Species 
Act are examples.
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    FRA--as the Federal sponsoring agency--has primary responsibility 
for assuring NEPA compliance while accomplishing the purposes, 
priorities, and requirements of the HSIPR Program. While NEPA 
compliance is a Federal agency responsibility and the ultimate 
decisions remain with the Federal sponsoring agency, FRA encourages 
applicants to take a leadership role in NEPA documentation development, 
consistent with existing law and regulations. In the varied and 
flexible HSIPR Program, with its four Tracks and multiple 
authorizations, no single approach to NEPA compliance will work for 
every proposal and applicant. Therefore, FRA will work closely with 
applicants to assist in the timely and effective completion of the NEPA 
process in the manner most pertinent to the applicant's proposal.
    NEPA reviews should focus on the issues that are ripe for decision 
at each stage of project or program development. To help focus 
environmental reviews, the Council on Environmental Quality encourages 
agencies to tier their environmental reviews, whereby general matters 
or broader programs are covered in a Tier I NEPA document, such as a 
corridor-wide (or ``service'') environmental impact statement (EIS) or 
environmental assessment (EA); and narrower more site-specific projects 
or actions are addressed in site-specific EISs, EAs or categorical 
exclusion (CE) documents.

1.6 Funding Approach

    In order to accommodate the variety of potential applicant goals 
and stages of

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project development, while meeting the statutory and program 
constraints, this guidance provides four funding ``tracks'' in which 
applications may be submitted. FRA has adopted this four-Track approach 
to aid in near-term economic recovery efforts and to establish the path 
to realize a fully-developed national High-Speed Rail/Intercity 
Passenger Rail network. The deadlines for FRA obligation and project(s) 
completion for each Track reflect the imperatives of ARRA, balanced 
with the longer-term development goals. (See DATES above.)
1.6.1 Track 1--Intercity Passenger Rail Projects Funded Under ARRA 
(``Track 1--Projects'')
    This track is aimed at chiefly addressing the economic recovery 
goals of ARRA through--(a) FD/construction of ``ready-to-go'' 
projects--i.e., those with completed site-specific NEPA documentation 
(project-level final EIS, final EA or CE documentation) along with PE; 
and (b) completion of project-level NEPA and PE to prepare projects for 
FD/construction grants that may be available under future 
solicitations. Track 1 projects should be completed within two years of 
award. These projects are funded through either Section 301 (Intercity 
Passenger Rail Corridor Capital Assistance) or Section 302 (Congestion 
Grants) of PRIIA, for the benefit of existing services, including those 
that support development of High-Speed Rail. Eligible projects include 
infrastructure, facilities, and equipment, and must have independent 
utility.\3\ The Federal funding share can be up to 100 percent, 
although evaluation criteria favor projects that leverage federal 
funding with non-federal investments.
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    \3\ While ARRA-funded projects are exempt from State Rail Plan 
requirements, evaluation preference is given to those that are part 
of a planning process that includes a prioritized list of capital 
projects supporting a corridor service development plan; equipment 
projects should be consistent with Section 305 of PRIIA, which calls 
for the establishment of a standardized next-generation rail 
corridor equipment pool (see Section 3.6.3).
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1.6.2 Track 2--High-Speed Rail/Intercity Passenger Rail Service 
Development Programs (``Track 2--Programs'')
    This track is aimed at developing new High-Speed Rail corridor and 
Intercity Passenger Rail services, or substantial upgrades to existing 
corridor services, eligible under Section 501 (High-Speed Rail Corridor 
Development) and Section 301 (Intercity Passenger Rail Corridor Capital 
Assistance) of PRIIA. It is intended to fund development of a set of 
inter-related projects that constitute the entirety or a distinct phase 
(or geographic section) of a long-range service development plan--
projects which collectively produce benefits greater than the sum of 
each individual project.\4\ Under this Track, not all projects need to 
be ready-to-go; the Federal Government provides a commitment to fund 
the entire program, generally through a Letter of Intent (LOI), and 
obligates funds for FD/construction projects through cooperative 
agreements as soon as they are deemed ready-to-go. Track 2 LOIs and 
cooperative agreements must include specific milestone deadlines for 
completion of environmental, engineering, design and other work.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ A group of projects that collectively advance the entirety, 
or a ``phase'' or ``geographic section,'' of a corridor service 
development plan are referred to here as a ``program.''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    To be eligible for awards under Track 2, Service Development 
Programs (``SDP''--defined in Section 2.2) must include completed: (a) 
A corridor-wide ``service'' NEPA study, such as a programmatic or Tier 
I EIS; and (b) a High-Speed Rail/Intercity Passenger Rail SDP, or an 
equivalent approach that provides a business and investment 
justification with sufficient project cost and benefit estimates. Key 
elements of an SDP or equivalent business case include: (i) An overview 
of program rationale (including purpose and need); (ii) a service and 
operations plan, and a prioritized capital investment plan for 
infrastructure, fleet and stations/facilities; and (iii) an 
implementation approach, including schedule, project management plan, 
stakeholder agreements, and a financial plan for funding both capital 
and operations. See Appendix 2.1 for a summary of expectations for a 
SDP.
    Track 2 programs will generally address infrastructure, equipment 
and stations/facilities investments in a comprehensive fashion. While 
these programs are the most complicated and need a particularly 
rigorous project management approach, Track 2 programs represent the 
long-term emphasis of the HSIPR Program, and thus FRA expects to focus 
its collaborative efforts on this Track. The Federal funding share can 
be up to 100 percent, although evaluation criteria favor projects that 
leverage federal funding with non-federal investments.

1.6.3 Track 3--Service Planning Activities funded under the FY 2009 and 
FY 2008 DOT Appropriations Acts (``Track 3--Planning'')
    This track is aimed at helping establish a pipeline of future High-
Speed Rail/Intercity Passenger Rail projects and service development 
programs by advancing planning activities for applicants at an earlier 
stage of the development process. Under Track 3, FRA will enter into 
cooperative agreements for preparation of SDPs, State Rail Plans and 
service-level environmental documents.\5\ This Track provides States an 
opportunity to complete the prerequisite work needed to submit 
applications under Tracks 1 and 2, so that applicants may be ready for 
potential future solicitations. Under the terms of the FY 2008/2009 DOT 
Appropriations acts, planning activities funded under this Track 
require a 50 percent non-Federal match.
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    \5\ Project-level NEPA documents are eligible for funding under 
Tracks 1 and 2.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

1.6.4 Track 4--FY2009 Appropriations-Funded Projects (``Track 4--FY2009 
Appropriations Projects'') \6\
    Track 4 provides an alternative for projects that would otherwise 
fit under Track 1, but for State applicants offering at least a 50 
percent non-Federal share of financing. This Track offers applicants 
simplified grant agreement terms, and up to five years to complete 
projects (vs. two years under Track 1). Applicants providing at least a 
50-percent project match are strongly encouraged to submit project 
applications under Track 4 (those submitting project application(s) 
under Track 4 may also request concurrent consideration of such 
application(s) under Track 1).
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    \6\ A total of $90 million was appropriated under the FY 2009 
DOT Appropriations Act under the heading of Capital Assistance to 
States--Intercity Passenger Service, of which no more than ten 
percent, or $9 million, may be made available for planning 
activities. In addition, a total of $540,500 in planning funding, 
and at least $1,352,573 in FD/construction funding also remained 
available until expended following the award of grants under the FY 
2008 Capital Assistance to States--Intercity Passenger Service 
program.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

1.7 Opportunity for Public Comment

    FRA is soliciting public comment on this document through Docket 
Number FRA-2009-0045 (at http://www.regulations.gov). While the interim 
guidance in this document does not constitute a rulemaking, FRA will 
consider all comments received no later than July 10, 2009 and will 
publish any resultant clarifications or revisions to

[[Page 29905]]

this document in the Federal Register and on FRA's Web site (http://www.fra.dot.gov). FRA began this comment process during its outreach 
sessions in May and June, in which over 1,100 stakeholders attended 
seven sessions around the country; in addition, a public docket was 
established for comment, and 110 comments were received as of June 15, 
2009. FRA has already revised the approach contained herein based on 
this initial feedback. To give prospective applicants adequate time to 
complete their applications (while incorporating any guidance 
clarifications or revisions), FRA may adjust application dates to allow 
for a minimum of 30 days for application submission following any 
material changes to this guidance that arise from comments.

Section 2: Award Information

2.1 General Award Information

    ARRA appropriated a total of $8 billion under three Intercity 
Passenger Rail capital investment programs authorized by the PRIIA: 
Section 501 (High-Speed Rail Corridor Development), Section 301 
(Intercity Passenger Rail Service Corridor Capital Assistance), and 
Section 302 (Congestion Grants). ARRA left the mix of funding among the 
three PRIIA programs to the discretion of the Secretary of 
Transportation. As described in the Department's April 2009 strategic 
plan for high-speed rail, Vision for High-Speed Rail in America, FRA 
will not allocate funding among the three PRIIA programs in advance, 
but will cumulate the amounts under each PRIIA section from the funding 
sources identified in the selected applications, subject to the overall 
$8 billion ARRA limit. In addition to the ARRA appropriation for High-
Speed Rail/Intercity Passenger Rail, this funding opportunity 
announcement also solicits applications for up to $9,540,500 for 
Intercity Passenger Rail planning activities, and at least $82,352,573 
in FD/construction funding appropriated under the FY 2008/2009 DOT 
Appropriations Acts.\7\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \7\ A total of $90 million was appropriated under the FY 2009 
DOT Appropriations Act to remain available and unexpended under the 
heading of Capital Assistance to States--Intercity Passenger 
Service, of which no more than 10 percent, or $9 million, may be 
made available for planning activities. In addition, a total of 
$540,500 in planning funding, and at least $1,352,573 in FD/
construction funding also remained available until expended 
following the award of grants under the FY 2008 Capital Assistance 
to States--Intercity Passenger Service program.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This funding and announcement solicits applications for funding 
appropriated through ARRA, the FY 2008/2009 DOT Appropriations Acts 
under the four distinct Tracks described above:
     Track 1--Projects (ARRA funds);
     Track 2--Programs (ARRA funds);
     Track 3--Planning (annual appropriations funds for 
Interstate Passenger Rail planning from FY 2009 and remaining from FY 
2008); and
     Track 4--FY2009 Appropriations Projects (annual 
appropriations funds for Interstate Passenger Rail non-planning from FY 
2009 and remaining from FY 2008).
    FRA anticipates making multiple awards under each of the four 
Tracks. While the entire $9,540,500 under Track 3 and at least 
$82,352,573 under Track 4 may be awarded, FRA may choose not to award 
through this solicitation the full amount available for Tracks 1 and 2, 
to allow for potential future rounds of solicitations and awards which 
occur after 2009. There is no predetermined allocation between Tracks 1 
and 2 or between this and any future solicitations; all such 
distributions will cumulatively reflect the nature and timing of the 
selected applications (as referenced in Section 5, selection criteria).

2.2 Definitions of Key Terms, Concepts, and Milestones for Track 
Selection

    A prospective applicant under this solicitation should first 
determine into which Track the applicant's proposal would most 
appropriately fit. The choice of Track largely reflects the scope of 
the proposed undertaking and the proposed effort's achievement of key 
milestones within the project development process. Below are 
definitions of key terms, concepts, and milestones for the HSIPR 
Program that affect the selection of a Track. Section 2.3 is then 
intended to assist an applicant in selecting a Track based on the 
proposed investment's relationship to these terms, concepts, and 
milestones.
    Corridor--For the specific purposes of the HSIPR Program, a 
corridor is an existing or proposed Intercity Passenger Rail route of 
approximately 100-600 miles in total length, linking population centers 
at its endpoints and typically points in between. Corridors may cross 
State or national boundaries and thus require a regional, multi-
jurisdictional approach to planning and development.\8\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \8\ Federal investment in corridor projects may be limited to 
the United States.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Final Design--The last phase of project development, including: 
right-of-way acquisition, utility relocation, the preparation of final 
design plans, construction management plans, system safety plans for 
construction management & operations, safety certification, any 
required collision hazard analysis, final construction cost estimates, 
and detailed specifications, as well as procurement of construction 
services and equipment. During this phase, any remaining uncertainties 
or risks associated with minor changes to design scope and the 
procurement processes are fully addressed, and plans for financing the 
project or program would be updated and refined to reflect accurately 
the expected year-of-expenditure costs and cash flow projections.
    Financial Plan--The financial plan documents the recent and 
forecasted financial condition of the applicant agency and other key 
partners that will provide capital or operating funding for project 
development and/or implementation. The Financial Plan describes the 
current financial health of the aforementioned agencies, documents 
projected capital and operating costs and revenues, and details key 
assumptions and methodologies. A financial plan also details the 
sources, reliability and feasibility of funding for both capital and 
operating expenses and provides an overview of the project sponsor's 
strategies to address potential project cost increases.
    FRA Obligation--Commitment of Federal funding made through 
execution of a grant agreement or cooperative agreement.
    High-Speed Rail--Intercity Passenger Rail service that ``is 
reasonably expected to reach speeds of at least 110 mph'' (49 U.S.C. 
26106(b)(4)).
    Independent Utility--A project, group of projects, or Service 
Development Program (or phase of a Service Development Program) is 
considered to have independent utility if it will result, upon 
completion, in the creation of new or substantially improved High-Speed 
Rail/Intercity Passenger Rail service, and will provide tangible and 
measurable benefits even if no additional investments in the same High-
Speed Rail/Intercity Passenger Rail service are made. Typical examples 
of these benefits would include on-time performance improvements, 
travel-time reductions, and higher service frequencies resulting in 
increased ridership.
    Intercity Passenger Rail--Defined in statue as ``rail passenger 
transportation except commuter rail passenger transportation'' (49 
U.S.C. 24102(4)); it subsumes both High-Speed Rail and conventional 
intercity passenger

[[Page 29906]]

services. Commuter rail is defined at as ``short-haul rail passenger 
transportation in metropolitan and suburban areas usually having 
reduced fare, multiple ride, and commuter tickets and morning and 
evening peak period operations'' (49 U.S.C. 24102(3)); Federal funding 
for commuter rail projects is available from Federal Transit 
Administration programs.
    Intercity Passenger Rail Service--An Intercity Passenger Rail 
service consists of a group of one or more scheduled trains 
(roundtrips) that provide Intercity Passenger Rail transportation 
between bona fide travel markets (not constrained by State or 
jurisdictional boundaries), generally with similar quality and level-
of-service specifications, within a common (but not necessarily 
exclusive or identical) set of identifiable geographic markets. An 
Intercity Passenger Rail service is considered ``substantially 
changed'' when its inherent nature or market focus is altered, or when 
its operating frequencies (roundtrips per day) are increased 
significantly; a substantial change in service may include adding 
short-distance corridor-type trains where only long-distance service 
operates, or service restoration where trains ceased to operate several 
years before. See Appendix 1.3 for further discussion of the definition 
of Intercity Passenger Rail.
    Letter of Intent (LOI)--Represents a contingent financial 
commitment by FRA to provide up to a prescribed amount of funding to 
fully implement a service development program (or specific phases of 
such a program), with defined milestones for completion of work 
necessary to ensure successful and timely program development.
    National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Documentation--Includes 
four principal levels (with respect to the HSIPR Program):
     Tier I, ``programmatic,'' or service-level environmental 
impact statement (Tier I EIS)--Addresses actions at a broad level, such 
as a program concept for an entire corridor, and typically does not 
lead directly to project construction.
     Site-specific, or project EIS--Addresses specific 
environmental issues associated with a site or project, and is intended 
to lead directly to construction once applicable permits are secured.
     Environmental assessment (EA)--May be programmatic or 
site-specific, and concisely provides sufficient evidence and analysis 
of the proposal to determine whether to prepare an EIS or a finding of 
no significant impact (FONSI).
     Categorical exclusion (CE)--Documentation that shows how a 
proposal fits a category of predefined actions which do not 
individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human 
environment and for which neither an EIS nor an environmental 
assessment are required.
    Planning--Activities that support the case for investing in 
project(s) or program(s), such as: identification of purpose and need; 
analysis comparing the costs, benefits, and impacts of a range of 
transportation alternatives; studies that assess different levels of 
rail service and investment; service-level, programmatic, or Tier I 
NEPA studies; Service Development Plans; and State Rail Plans.
    Preliminary Engineering (PE)--Sufficient engineering design to 
define a project, including identification of all environmental 
impacts, design of all critical project elements at a level sufficient 
to assure reliable cost estimates and schedules (in turn sufficient to 
complete project management and financial plans), and definition of 
procurement requirements and strategies. The PE development process 
starts with specific project design alternatives that allow for 
assessment of a range of rail improvements, specific alignments, and 
project designs--sufficient to support subsequent NEPA analysis. PE is 
prerequisite to final design (FD) and construction. Appendix 2.2 
contains additional information about PE.
    Project--A High-Speed Rail/Intercity Passenger Rail project is a 
discrete action that has a distinct purpose, such as adding track to an 
existing railroad line, or the purchase of one or more pieces of 
rolling stock.
    Project Management Plan--Approach for ensuring successful 
implementation of a project or program, including: (i) Identification 
of a manager accountable for project or program delivery; (ii) an 
organization/resource plan that describes (e.g., through an 
organization chart) the relationships among entities involved in the 
proposed program and a description of the relationships among the 
entities responsible for the financing, design, construction, 
operation, and maintenance of the proposed program; (iii) any new legal 
entities required, how they would be structured, and their relationship 
to existing entities; (iv) stakeholder agreements with owners of right-
of-way, operators, or other entities critical to successful project/
program delivery;(v) required governmental actions and approvals; and, 
(vi) an appropriate system safety plan for the entire project lifecycle 
consistent with FTA guidance for safety and security management plans. 
The project management plan should address the safety certification 
process and any required collision hazard analysis consistent with the 
FRA guidance. A project management plan generally should also include 
metrics by which the success of the project is defined.
    Right-of-Way--Railroad infrastructure within the property lines of 
an existing, or within the presumed property lines of a proposed, 
railroad useful for Intercity Passenger Rail service.
    Service Development Plan (SDP)--A plan for developing High-Speed 
Rail/Intercity Passenger Rail service, either initiating new service or 
improving existing service (e.g., adding train frequencies and/or 
reducing trip times)--typically developed around distinct phases and/or 
geographic sections of service improvement. A High-Speed Rail/Intercity 
Passenger Rail SDP or equivalent covers three general topics: (i) 
Rationale (including purpose and need), (ii) service/operating plan and 
prioritized capital plan, and (iii) implementation plan (including 
project management approach, stakeholder agreements and financial 
plan). The precise structure of an SDP can vary, but these elements 
must be covered in some fashion. (See Appendix 2.1 for additional 
explanation).
    Service Development Program (``Program'')--Implementation of a 
High-Speed Rail/Intercity Passenger Rail SDP, generally broken into 
discrete phases or geographic sections. Such programs may be for new 
service on an existing or new railroad alignment, or for improved 
service on an existing railroad alignment.

2.3 Guide to Track Selection

    The table below should be used by applicants as a guide for 
determining the appropriate Track for application submissions.

[[Page 29907]]



                                              Track Selection Guide
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Funding track determination questions        Response (yes/no)                       Funding track
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Has new or improved Intercity          No...........................  Track 3--Service Planning.
 Passenger Rail service been selected
 as a promising alternative in the
 transportation corridor where the
 project is located?
                                       Yes..........................  Proceed to Next Question.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Does the project(s) lead to--          No...........................  Proceed to Next Question.
 introduction of High-Speed Rail/
 Intercity Passenger Rail service
 within a corridor where no service
 of that type currently exists, or to
 a substantial change in an existing
 service?
                                       Yes..........................  Track 2--Programs.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Does the project(s) include the        No...........................  Proceed to Next Question.
 rerouting of an existing Intercity
 Passenger Rail service onto a new,
 expanded, or previously abandoned
 right-of-way?
                                       Yes..........................  Track 2--Programs.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Does the investment encompass          No...........................  Proceed to Next Question.
 multiple dispersed projects intended
 to produce a significant benefit to
 one or more Intercity Passenger Rail
 services?
                                       Yes..........................  Track 2--Programs.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Even if no Service Development Plan    No...........................  Track 3--Service Planning.
 exists, have specific Intercity
 Passenger Rail investment projects
 been identified for implementation?
                                       Yes..........................  Proceed to Next Question.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Have preliminary engineering (PE) and  No...........................  Track 1--PE/NEPA only.
 a project-level NEPA document been
 completed for the proposed project?
                                       Yes..........................  Proceed to Next Question.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If PE and project-level NEPA           No...........................  Track 1--FD/Construction.
 documentation is complete, is a 50
 percent (or greater) non-Federal
 match available?
                                       Yes..........................  Track 4--FY 2008/2009 Appropriations
                                                                       Projects (or Track 1--Projects).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    After selecting the appropriate application Track, prospective 
applicants should consult the relevant Track-specific and general 
information contained in the balance of this document.

2.4 Anticipated Award Amounts

    Tracks 1 and 2--Awards under Tracks 1 and 2 will be made using a 
portion of the $8 billion appropriated through ARRA. FRA anticipates 
making multiple awards under Track 1 as a result of this solicitation; 
however, FRA will not award all of the available $8 billion to Track 1 
applicants. Funds will be reserved for award to Track 2 applications 
under this solicitation, and likely to Tracks 1 and 2 in potential 
future rounds of solicitations--as described in Section 5. As the 
authorizations underlying Tracks 1 and 2 are new, the FRA cannot 
provide an average amount of funding per award in previous years.
    Tracks 3 and 4--Awards under Tracks 3 and 4 will be made using the 
$90 million dedicated to Capital Grants to States--Intercity Passenger 
Rail Service in the FY 2009 DOT Appropriations Act, plus the remaining 
funds appropriated for the same purpose in the Capital Assistance to 
States--Intercity Passenger Service Program in the FY 2008 DOT 
Appropriations Act (currently estimated at $1,893,073). In accordance 
with the provisions of the Appropriations Acts, no more than 10 percent 
of appropriated amounts in each fiscal year ($9,540,500 of the 
available funds) may be allocated to Track 3--Planning, with the 
balance available for Track 4--FY2009 Appropriations Projects. These 
funds require a non-Federal match of at least 50 percent of total 
project cost.

2.5 Types of Awards

    The table below summarizes the characteristics of funding awards by 
Track. For specific grant conditions, refer to section 6 and appendix 
3.

                                              Award Characteristics
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                               Track 4--FY 2009
                                   Track 1--projects   Track 2--programs   Track 3--planning    appropriations
                                                                                                   projects
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Legislative Funding Source......   ARRA.....   ARRA.....   FY 2009,    FY 2009,
                                                                           2008 DOT            2008 DOT
                                                                           Appropriations      Appropriations
                                                                           Act.                Act.
Available Funding...............   Portion     Portion     Up to       No less
                                   of $8 B.            of $8 B.            $9.54 M.            than $82.3 M.
Instrument of Commitment........   Final       Letters                 Final
                                   Design/             of Intent.          Cooperative         Design/
                                   Construction                    Agreements.         Construction
                                   Grants.             Cooperative                             Grants.
                                   PE/NEPA     Agreements.
                                   Cooperative
                                   Agreements.
Match Requirement...............   Up to       Up to       At least    At least
                                   100% Federal        100% Federal        50% non-Federal     50% non-Federal
                                   share.              share.              match.              match.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 29908]]

2.5.1 Track 1
    The FRA will make awards under Track 1 through either: (a) Grant 
agreements supporting FD and project construction; or (b) cooperative 
agreements for completion of PE and/or project-level NEPA 
documentation. Construction grants will fund both FD (if not already 
completed) and construction of projects for which PE and project-level 
NEPA documentation is complete at the time of application.\9\ FD/
construction grant recipients will be required to obtain FRA approval 
prior to the commencement of construction activities (the process will 
be set out in the grant agreement). The grant agreement can also be 
structured to cover alternative construction scenarios, such as through 
a design-build type approach. Applicants under Track 1 will be 
considered for funding under either Intercity Passenger Rail Corridor 
Capital Assistance Grants (Section 301 of PRIIA), or Congestion Grants 
(Section 302 of PRIIA). Eligible projects intended to reduce congestion 
by alleviating major rail capacity bottlenecks, particularly those that 
benefit multiple railroad operators (e.g. Intercity Passenger Rail, 
rail freight, and commuter rail) in a congested corridor, will likely 
be considered for funding under the Congestion Grant program. Note that 
where multiple railroad operations benefit from project(s), FRA will 
expect the costs for such project(s) to be shared proportional to the 
benefit each operator accrues from the investment.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \9\ If substantial progress on NEPA documentation has been made 
on NEPA documentation, application may be reviewed for FD/
Construction grant funding; in any case, project-level NEPA 
documentation must be complete at time of grant agreement.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Under Track PE/NEPA cooperative agreements, FRA will be more 
involved in the project through collaborative work with the recipient. 
In addition to providing technical assistance to the recipient, FRA 
will participate in key project meetings, and will assist in the 
preparation of engineering and environmental documents. FRA will also 
be responsible for approving project deliverables at key milestones, 
and providing authorization for progressing with subsequent stages of 
the project.
2.5.2 Track 2
    Under Track 2, FRA may issue Letters of Intent (LOI) for Service 
Development Programs, and make subsequent awards for program components 
through cooperative agreements.
    The issuance of a LOI represents the expression of FRA's full 
support of a Service Development Program, and the funding contingently 
committed through an LOI will be reserved for that Service Development 
Program from the $8 billion in available ARRA funding. An LOI will 
include milestones for completion of work needed to advance the program 
into obligation and completion; if milestone deadlines are not met, 
funding reserved under an LOI will be returned to the pool of funds 
available for future solicitations.
    As milestones under an LOI are reached, FRA will obligate funding 
to implement approved portions of the program through a cooperative 
agreement. Funding to complete remaining PE and project-level NEPA 
would be awarded immediately following the issuance of the LOI. Funding 
for FD/construction would be awarded through a grant or cooperative 
agreement as milestones are reached (e.g., completion of PE and NEPA 
for project(s) with independent utility. Even after funds are converted 
from LOI into a cooperative/grant agreement (i.e., obligated), grantees 
will be required to obtain FRA approval prior to the commencement of 
construction activities. This process will be included in the grant 
agreement (which could also be structured to address options such as a 
design-build implementation approach).
    Recognizing the unique challenges posed by complex new corridor 
programs, a higher level of Federal oversight and support will be 
involved than under standard grant agreements. The substantial Federal 
involvement of FRA will extend across all aspects of Service 
Development Programs and will include technical assistance, review of 
interim work products, support for environmental reviews, review of PE 
and FD, and continuous program oversight.
2.5.3 Track 3
    FRA will make awards under Track 3 using the $9,540,500 available 
under the FY 2008/2009 DOT Appropriations Acts through cooperative 
agreements. The substantial Federal involvement for Intercity Passenger 
Rail planning activities would include agreement on the scope of study, 
review of draft studies, and acceptance of final deliverables. 
Recognizing the importance of planning to the long-term success of the 
HSIPR Program and the limited funding available under existing 
appropriations, FRA will favorably consider applicant expenditures for 
High-Speed Rail/Intercity Passenger Rail project planning when 
evaluating the State share or matching contributions component of an 
evaluation under subsequent solicitations.
2.5.4 Track 4
    Awards under Track 4 will be made using $82 million available under 
the FY 2009 DOT Appropriations Act for non-planning Intercity Passenger 
Rail Capital Assistance to States, as well as remaining non-planning 
funding under the analogous FY 2008 DOT Appropriations Act funding. FRA 
anticipates making one or more awards, and awarding the entire $82 
million under Track 4 as a result of this solicitation.
    Funding under Track 4 cannot exceed 50 percent of a project's total 
cost. States are the only eligible applicants under Track 4, and must 
be able to certify in their applications as to the availability of the 
matching funds. As the source of the Federal funds is a regular annual 
appropriation rather than ARRA, requirements specific to ARRA (e.g., 
job retention and creation as an evaluation factor, and various 
reporting requirements) need not be met, although States are encouraged 
to do so.
    The average amount of Federal funding per non-planning award in the 
analogous FY 2008 program was $2.75 million.

Section 3: Eligibility Information

    Applications will be required to meet minimum requirements for each 
Track in terms of applicant eligibility, project eligibility, and the 
fulfillment of other Track-specific application prerequisites.
    To the extent that an application's substance exceeds the minimum 
eligibility requirements described below, such qualifications will be 
considered in evaluating the merits of an application.

3.1 Eligible Applicant Types

    Eligibility of different types of applicants varies by Track and 
authorization, as summarized below.

[[Page 29909]]



                                              Applicant Eligibility
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    Track 1--projects     Track 2--programs       Track 3--     Track 4--FY 2008/
                                 --------------------------------------------     planning            2009
                                                                             ------------------  Appropriations
                                                                                                    projects
                                    PRIIA      PRIIA      PRIIA      PRIIA       FY2008/2009   -----------------
                                   Section    Section    Section    Section    Appropriations      FY2008/2009
                                     301        302        301        501           acts         Appropriations
                                                                                                      acts
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
States..........................   [check]    [check]    [check]    [check]           [check]           [check]
Groups of States................   [check]   .........   [check]    [check]   ................  ................
Interstate Compacts.............   [check]   .........   [check]    [check]   ................  ................
Public agencies established by     [check]   .........   [check]   .........  ................  ................
 one or more States and having
 responsibility for providing
 Intercity Passenger Rail
 service........................
Public agencies established by    .........  .........  .........   [check]   ................  ................
 one or more States and having
 responsibility for providing
 High-speed Passenger Rail
 service........................
Amtrak..........................   [check]    [check]   .........   [check]   ................  ................
                                       \*\       \**\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\*\ Amtrak may enter into a cooperative agreement with one or more States to carry out an eligible project
\**\ Amtrak is eligible in cooperation with States.

    Further detail on the definitions of ``eligible applicants'' is 
available in Appendix 3 under ``Applicant Types.''
3.1.1 Track 1
    An entity seeking assistance under Track 1 must meet the definition 
of an ``applicant'' under the funding authorization that would pertain 
to its proposal(s)--either Section 301 (Intercity Passenger Rail 
Corridor Capital Assistance) or Section 302 (Congestion Grants) of 
PRIIA. Eligible applicant entities under those sections are as follows:
     Intercity Passenger Rail Corridor Capital Assistance 
(Section 301)--States (including the District of Columbia), groups of 
States, Interstate Compacts, and public agencies established by one or 
more States and having responsibility for providing intercity passenger 
rail service.
     Congestion Grants (Section 302)--States (including the 
District of Columbia), or Amtrak (in cooperation with States).
3.1.2 Track 2
    An entity seeking assistance under Track 2 must meet the definition 
of an ``applicant'' under the funding authorization that would pertain 
to its proposal(s)--either Section 301 (Intercity Passenger Rail 
Corridor Capital Assistance) or Section 501 (High-Speed Rail Corridor 
Development) of PRIIA. Eligible applicant entities under those sections 
are as follows:
     Intercity Passenger Rail Corridor Capital Assistance 
(Section 301)--States (including the District of Columbia), groups of 
States, interstate compacts, and public agencies established by one or 
more States and having responsibility for providing Intercity Passenger 
Rail service.
     High-Speed Rail Corridor Development (Section 501)--States 
(including the District of Columbia), groups of States, interstate 
compacts, and public agencies established by one or more States and 
having responsibility for providing High-Speed Rail service, or Amtrak.
3.1.3 Tracks 3 and 4
    Only States, including District of Columbia, are eligible to apply 
under Tracks 3 and 4.

3.2 Applicant and Key Partner Qualifications

    For an application submitted by an eligible entity to be considered 
under any Track, it must affirmatively demonstrate that the applicant 
has or will have the legal, financial, and technical capacity to carry 
out the proposal. In addition, for FD/construction applications under 
Tracks 1, 2, and 4, the applicant must demonstrate that it has or will 
have satisfactory continuing control over the use of equipment or 
facilities acquired, constructed, or improved by the project, and the 
capability and willingness to maintain such equipment or facilities. 
Further discussion of how applicants can demonstrate compliance with 
these minimum qualifications appears in Appendix 1.2.
    Entities other than States must submit information and 
documentation demonstrating the fulfillment of the minimum applicant 
qualifications described in this section as part of a preapplication 
(see Section 4.3. for complete preapplication information and 
documentation requirements). On the basis of such information, FRA will 
issue a written decision on the entity's eligibility as an applicant.

3.3 Cost Sharing and Matching

3.3.1 Treatment of Applicant Cost Sharing
3.3.1.1 Track 1
    Pursuant to the provisions of the ARRA appropriation for High-Speed 
Rail/Intercity Passenger Rail, the Federal share of the costs of 
projects issued grants under Track 1 of this solicitation will be, at 
the option of the recipient, up to 100 percent.
    The evaluation criteria provide preference to applicants, should 
the applicant choose the option of leveraging federal funds with 
contributions from its own project partners' resources toward the costs 
of its proposed project. These contributions may be considered in 
evaluating the merit of its application (See section 5 for a complete 
description of evaluation and selection criteria).
3.3.1.2 Track 2
    As in the case for Track 1, the Federal share of the costs of 
projects issued grants under Track 2 of this solicitation shall be, at 
the option of the recipient, up to 100 percent.
    Again, the evaluation criteria provide preference to applicants 
that leverage federal funding with non-Federal investment. Applicants 
for Service Development Programs who do not choose to contribute their 
own or their project partners' resources toward the costs of the 
proposed project, and who (i) have not demonstrated continuous, 
sustained support to the proposed program, and (ii) do not have a 
demonstrable history of capital investment in intercity passenger rail, 
may, as a condition of the obligation of

[[Page 29910]]

funding for FD/construction activities, be required to establish a 
Capital Reserve Account funded by their own dedicated financial 
resources. Funds deposited by recipients into a Capital Reserve Account 
would be used to pay for any project cost overruns.
3.3.1.3 Tracks 3 and 4
    Pursuant to the provisions of the FY 2008/2009 DOT Appropriations 
Acts, the Federal share of the costs of projects issued grants under 
Tracks 3 and 4 of this solicitation may not exceed 50 percent.
    If an applicant chooses the option of contributing, from its own or 
its partner project stakeholders' resources, more than 50 percent of 
the costs of its proposed project, such additional contributions will 
be considered in evaluating the merit of its application (See Section 5 
for a complete description of evaluation and selection criteria).
3.3.2 Requirements for Applicant Cost Sharing
    Whether optional (under Tracks 1 and 2) or mandatory (under Tracks 
3 and 4), an applicant's contribution toward the cost of its proposed 
project may be in the form of cash or, with FRA approval, in-kind 
contributions of services, supplies, equipment, or real estate. As part 
of its application, an applicant offering an in-kind contribution must 
provide a documented estimate of the monetary value of any such 
contribution, and its eligibility under 49 CFR 18.24.
    The applicant must provide as part of its application documentation 
that demonstrates that it has committed and will be able to fulfill any 
pledged contribution, including committing any required financial 
resources that are budgeted or planned at the time the application is 
submitted. Furthermore, any applicant under Tracks 1 and 2 who seeks to 
contribute toward its proposed project funds from another Federal 
financial assistance program that itself requires a match, should be 
aware of the prohibition in many such programs of using any Federal 
funding (such as that being applied for under this program) as a 
matching share (See 49 CFR 18.24(b)(3)). Funds from other Federal 
financial assistance programs may not be used to satisfy the 50 percent 
match requirement under Tracks 3 and 4.

3.4 Grantee Responsibility for Project Delivery, Cost Overruns, and 
Contributions Due From States under PRIIA Section 209

    All applicants will be required to demonstrate the ability to:
     Absorb any cost overruns and deliver the proposed project 
with no Federal funding or financial assistance beyond that provided in 
grant or cooperative agreement; and
     Cover all future cash needs associated with the service 
benefiting from the proposed program/project and allocated to States as 
a result of the costing methodology to be developed under Section 209 
of the PRIIA.

3.5 Eligible Projects

3.5.1 Track 1
    Track 1 consists of two sub-Tracks: Track 1 FD/construction and 
Track 1 PE/NEPA work in support of construction projects. To be 
eligible under either Track 1 FD/construction or Track 1 PE/NEPA a 
project for which construction or PE/NEPA funding is sought must be 
eligible under Section 301 (Intercity Passenger Rail Corridor Capital 
Assistance) and/or Section 302 (Congestion Grants) of PRIIA.
3.5.1.1 Intercity Passenger Rail Corridor Capital Assistance (PRIIA 
Section 301) Eligible Projects
    Eligible projects for Intercity Passenger Rail Corridor Capital 
Assistance funding under Track 1 include:
     Acquiring, constructing, improving, or inspecting 
equipment, track and track structures, or a facility for use in or for 
the primary benefit of Intercity Passenger Rail service, including 
High-Speed Rail; expenses incidental to the acquisition or construction 
(including designing, engineering, location surveying, mapping, 
inspecting, environmental studies, and acquiring rights-of-way); 
payments for the capital portions of rail trackage rights agreements; 
highway-rail grade crossing improvements related to Intercity Passenger 
Rail service; mitigating environmental impacts; communication and 
signalization improvements; and relocation assistance, acquiring 
replacement housing sites, and acquiring, constructing, relocating, and 
rehabilitating replacement housing;
     Rehabilitating, remanufacturing, or overhauling rail 
rolling stock and facilities used primarily in Intercity Passenger Rail 
service; and
     Projects to provide access to Intercity Passenger Rail 
service rolling stock for nonmotorized transportation, including 
bicycles and recreational equipment, and to provide storage capacity in 
intercity passenger trains for such transportation, equipment, and 
other luggage, to ensure passenger safety.
3.5.1.2 Congestion Grants (PRIIA Section 302) Eligible Projects
    Eligible projects for Congestion Grants funding under Track 1 
include facilities, infrastructure, and equipment for high-priority 
rail corridor projects necessary to reduce congestion or facilitate 
ridership growth in Intercity Passenger Rail transportation, including 
High-Speed Rail, as mandated in PRIIA Section 302.
    To be eligible for Congestion Grant program funding in Track 1, an 
applicant must demonstrate that the proposed project:
     Has been identified by Amtrak as necessary to reduce 
congestion or facilitate ridership growth in Intercity Passenger Rail 
transportation along heavily traveled rail corridors; or
     Is sufficiently advanced to fulfill the PRIIA Section 302 
purposes on an expedited schedule.
    Applicants should give particular consideration to applying for 
Congestion Grants funding under circumstances in which the proposed 
project meets the eligibility requirements described above and:
     Is anticipated to result in significant joint benefits for 
multiple railroad operators (e.g., Intercity Passenger Rail, rail 
freight, and commuter rail) in a congested corridor, with proportional 
cost sharing among the operators;
     Involves the construction or improvement of infrastructure 
that will significantly benefit, but which will not be directly used 
by, Intercity Passenger Rail service (e.g., freight bypasses); and/or
     Will benefit service within one State, but will be 
physically located within another State--under such circumstances, the 
benefiting State may choose to cooperate with Amtrak or through a 
regional compact to put forward an application for the proposed 
project.
3.5.2 Track 2
    Service Development Programs and phases of such programs, that are 
applied for under Track 2 must consist of a coordinated and 
comprehensive grouping of projects intended to result in the 
introduction of new services or significant improvements to existing 
services that are eligible under PRIIA Section 301 and/or Section 501.
3.5.2.1 Intercity Passenger Rail Corridor Capital Assistance (PRIIA 
Section 301)
    Eligible Projects
    These are listed under Track 1, above.

[[Page 29911]]

3.5.2.2 High-Speed Rail Corridor Development (PRIIA Section 501 
Eligible Projects)
    Eligible projects for High-Speed Rail Corridor funding under Track 
2 include:
     Acquiring, constructing, improving or inspecting 
equipment, track and track structures, or a facility for use in or for 
the primary benefit of High-Speed Rail service; expenses incidental to 
the acquisition or construction (including designing, engineering, 
location surveying, mapping, environmental studies, and acquiring 
rights-of-way); payments for the capital portions of rail trackage 
rights agreements; highway-rail grade crossing improvements related to 
High-Speed Rail service; mitigating environmental impacts; 
communication and signalization improvements; and relocation 
assistance, acquiring replacement housing sites, and acquiring, 
constructing, relocating, and rehabilitating replacement housing. 
Projects must be located on a high-speed rail corridor designated by 
the Secretary pursuant to 23 U.S.C. 104(d)(2).
3.5.3 Track 3
    Eligible planning studies are those that:
     Lead to the completion of a SDP to support future 
applications under Track 2--Programs;
     Identify and compare the costs, benefits, and impacts of a 
range of transportation alternatives, including High-Speed Rail and/or 
Intercity Passenger Rail, as a means of providing decision makers with 
the information necessary to implement appropriate transportation 
solutions;
     Support the preparation of environmental documents that 
are prerequisite to the fulfillment of Service NEPA; and
     Consist of operational analyses and simulations, and 
projections of future service requirements, leading to systematic and 
rational priority lists of projects that could be eligible for PRIIA 
Section 301 or 302 funding, and could ultimately contribute to SDPs.
3.5.4 Track 4
    To be eligible for funding under Track 4, a proposed project must 
be specifically included in the applicant State's Statewide 
Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP) at the time of application. 
Eligible types of projects under Track 4 include (1) acquiring, 
constructing, or improving equipment, track and track structures, or a 
facility for use in or for the primary benefit of Intercity Passenger 
Rail service including High-Speed Rail service, (2) expenses incidental 
to the acquisition or construction (including designing, engineering, 
location surveying, mapping, environmental studies, and acquiring 
rights-of-way), (3) highway-rail grade crossing improvements related to 
Intercity Passenger Rail service, (4) mitigating environmental impacts, 
(5) communication and signalization improvements, and (6) 
rehabilitating, remanufacturing, or overhauling rail rolling stock and 
facilities used primarily in Intercity Passenger Rail service.
3.5.5 Rail Operating Expenses
    In no cases are Federal funds eligible to be used for rail 
operating expenses.

3.6 Other Prerequisites

3.6.1 General Prerequisites
    In general, proposals under all Tracks must meet the following 
additional prerequisites:
     Applications must be complete, as defined in this notice;
     The complete application must demonstrate that the project 
has been identified through a rational planning process (ideally a 
High-Speed Rail/Intercity Passenger Rail SDP);
     The project (except for a planning project under Track 3) 
must be consistent with an overall plan for developing the benefiting 
High-Speed Rail/Intercity Passenger Rail service; and
     The project (except for a planning project under Track 3) 
must result in independent utility, as defined under Section 2.2 of 
this notice.
3.6.2 Prerequisites for Construction Grants
    If the applicant is seeking a construction grant, then the 
application must demonstrate all of the following:
     That PE (as defined under Section 2.2 of this notice) has 
been completed for the proposed project, resulting in project designs 
that are reasonably expected to conform to all regulatory, safety, 
security, and other design requirements, including those under the 
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA);
     That a Project NEPA document (e.g., a CE exclusion 
worksheet, a completed EA, or a completed final EIS, as defined under 
Section 2.2 of this notice) has been completed for the proposed 
project;
     That the applicant has reached, at a minimum, agreements 
in principle with key project partners, including but not limited to 
infrastructure-owning railroads and the railroad that operates or will 
operate the benefiting High-Speed Rail/Intercity Passenger Rail 
service, as to the scope of the proposed project and the realization of 
the operating benefits (e.g., those reflected in changes to schedules) 
it is intended to generate; and
     That the applicant has developed a project management plan 
for managing the implementation of the proposed project, including the 
management and mitigation of project risks; and
     That the applicant has developed a Financial Plan--for 
each phase of service that details the ``sources and uses'' of both 
capital and operating funding.
3.6.3 Prerequisites for Equipment Procurement or Design Grants
    If the applicant is seeking a grant for the procurement or design 
of railroad equipment, the proposed equipment should be consistent with 
Section 305 of PRIIA, which calls for the establishment of a 
standardized next-generation rail corridor equipment pool. Compliance 
with Section 305 of PRIIA will assist in creating the economies of 
scale necessary to achieve the Administration's goal, as outlined in 
FRA's Strategic Plan, of developing a sustainable railroad equipment 
manufacturing base in the United States.
3.6.4 Selection of Proposed Operator (Tracks 1 and 2 only)
    If the applicant has not selected the proposed operator of the 
benefiting High-Speed Rail/Intercity Passenger Rail service 
competitively, then the application must demonstrate why the proposed 
operator is the best choice, taking into account all relevant 
quantitative and qualitative factors, and that use of the proposed 
operator will not needlessly increase the cost of the project or of the 
operations that it enables or improves.
3.6.5 Service Development Plan (Track 2 Only; Desirable for Other 
Tracks)
    All applicants under Track 2 are required to have completed all the 
components of an High Speed Rail/Intercity Passenger Rail SDP, as 
defined in Appendix 2.1 of this guidance.
3.6.6 Positive Train Control (PTC)
    If the project involves improvements to railroad signaling/control 
systems, then the application must demonstrate that the proposed 
improvements are consistent with a comprehensive plan for complying 
with the requirements for PTC implementation under Section 104 of the 
Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (``RSIA,'' Division A of Pub. L. 
110-432, October 16, 2008, codified at 49 U.S.C. 20147).

[[Page 29912]]

3.6.7 Inclusion in STIP (Tracks 3 and 4 Only)
    Proposed projects must be specifically included in the applicant 
State's STIP at the time of application to be eligible.

3.7 Eligibility Restrictions

    Pursuant to the provisions of PRIIA and ARRA, and the funding 
approach described in Section 1.6 of this notice, certain types of 
applications would be subject to various eligibility restrictions. The 
following table shows ineligible types of applications by Track.

                                            Eligibility Restrictions
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                              Ineligible under track
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                                                                       1           2           3           4
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Applications submitted by private entities other than Amtrak.             x           x           x           x
 Amtrak's eligibility as an applicant is restricted to PRIIA
 Section 302 (in cooperation with a State) and Section 501......
For projects for which commuter rail passenger transportation is          x           x           x           x
 the primary intended beneficiary;..............................
For projects involving the development of State Rail Plans or             x           x   ..........          x
 High-Speed Rail/Intercity Passenger Rail SDPs;.................
For projects intended to support the introduction of a new                x   ..........  ..........          x
 Intercity Passenger Rail service (as defined under Section 2.2
 of this notice);...............................................
For projects involving significant construction of railroad               x   ..........  ..........          x
 infrastructure on a new (e.g., greenfield, outside of existing
 railroad rights-of-way) or previously abandoned alignment;.....
For multiple discrete projects that would collectively yield a            x   ..........  ..........          x
 significant benefit to Intercity Passenger Rail services
 operating in one or more corridors. FRA will consider the
 magnitude of the service improvement (e.g., travel-time savings
 and frequency increases), the total cost of the investment, and
 the geographic scope of the proposed projects (e.g., at
 multiple versus contiguous sites within the corridor) in
 determining whether an application (or group of applications)
 falls within the scope of this restriction; or.................
For projects in which the physical improvements are located               x   ..........  ..........          x
 outside of the United States. However, in the case of a joint
 project of a State or group of States and a foreign government,
 in which construction of all physical improvements outside the
 United States will be paid for by the foreign participants,
 planning, PE and NEPA work applicable to both the U.S. and
 foreign portions of the project is eligible if funded on a
 proportional basis.............................................
For any expenses associated with passenger rail operating costs           x           x           x           x
 of rail operators..............................................
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Additional restrictions are fully described in Section 4.3.8 of 
this notice.

Section 4: Application and Submission Information

4.1 Applying Online

    FRA participates in the Grants Management Line of Business (GMLoB) 
E-Gov initiative. As part of that initiative, FRA uses the 
Administration for Children and Families' (ACF) GrantSolutions (GS) 
Grants Management System. All applications must be submitted to FRA 
through GrantSolutions. To access the system, go to https://www.grantsolutions.gov. If you have any problems accessing GS, please 
contact the Custom Applications Support and Training Unit (CAST) 
helpdesk at 1-800-618-0223 or [email protected].
     Applicants must register in GS, obtain a Data Universal 
Number System (DUNS) number and register their organization with the 
Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database prior to applying in GS. 
Applicants should begin the process immediately to meet the application 
submission deadlines.
     Standard application forms (identified in Section 
4.3.3.3), will be available electronically on the Funding Opportunity 
page at http://www.GrantSolutions.gov. The Funding Opportunity screen 
provides applicants with general announcement information and access to 
all application kit materials in order to view and print application 
forms and information. In addition, applicants can apply online through 
this screen.
     Program-specific preapplication and application forms 
(also identified in Sections 4.3 and 4.4 below) may be downloaded from 
FRA's Web site at http://www.fra.dot.gov/HSR_IPR_Program.

4.2 Address to Request Application Package

    If Internet access is unavailable, please write to FRA at the 
following address to request a paper application:
U.S. Department of Transportation,
Federal Railroad Administration,
Attn: HSIPR Program Information (RDV-10),
Mail Stop 20,
1200 New Jersey Ave., SE.,
Washington, DC 20590.

4.3 Content and Form of Application

4.3.1 Preapplication
    All prospective applicants for all Tracks must submit a 
preapplication in order to establish communication with FRA, and to 
afford FRA an opportunity to provide feedback to the prospective 
applicant as to the suitability of their proposed project under the 
Track that the applicant proposes to use. Preapplications should be 
submitted as early as possible, but no later than July 10, 2009, and 
applicants should not wait for submission of, or any comments on, a 
preapplication before preparing their full applications. Prospective 
applicants for potential future funding rounds of solicitations are not 
required to submit a preapplication at this time. FRA will announce any 
corresponding application as needed.
    Preapplications consist of the following components:
     Project Description--A brief overview of the project's 
main features, type of proposed improvement, location, purpose, 
expected outcome, cost, ownership arrangements and the Intercity 
Passenger Rail service(s) that will benefit from the project;
     Project Development Status--The status of key project 
development elements, such as completion of the planning documents 
through which the project was identified, engineering work, and NEPA 
documentation; and
     Applicant Eligibility--Answers to questions regarding cost 
sharing, and applicant and key partners' legal, financial, and 
technical capacity to carry out their proposed project.
    Prospective applicants that do not fall within the definition of a 
State will also

[[Page 29913]]

be required to provide copies of documentation (or references (URLs) to 
such documentation that is located on the Internet) that supports the 
answers provided in the preapplication form. Such supporting 
documentation should include (to the extent available), but need not be 
limited to, copies of laws that established the applicant as a legal 
entity, contractual agreements between States (either as a group of 
States or an interstate compact), financial statements and audit 
reports, and technical reports demonstrating the applicant's technical 
capacity and experience in carrying out projects similar to that 
proposed.
    In an effort to focus application efforts and remedy concerns, FRA 
may contact potential applicants if there are any questions that arise 
from the information submitted in a preapplication, or if the 
information raises questions as to the eligibility of the proposed 
project or its proper classification by Track. For preapplications 
submitted by applicants that do not fall within the definition of a 
State, and for preapplications under Track 2, FRA will contact the 
prospective applicants to kick-off discussions for the preparation of 
the application.
4.3.2 Application Administrative Requirements
    Prior to submitting an application, prospective applicants must 
have completed two administrative requirements: Establishment of a DUNS 
(Data Universal Numbering System) number, and registration in the 
Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database. These requirements need 
not be completed prior to submitting a preapplication, but FRA 
encourages applicants to begin the process immediately to meet the 
application submission deadlines.
    All applicants must include a DUNS number in their application. 
Applications without a DUNS number are incomplete. A DUNS number is a 
unique nine-digit number recognized as the universal standard for 
identifying and keeping track of entities receiving Federal funds. The 
identifier is used for tracking purposes and to validate address and 
point of contact information for Federal assistance applicants, 
recipients and subrecipients. The DUNS number will be used throughout 
the grant lifecycle. Obtaining a DUNS number is a free, simple, one-
time activity. Obtain a number by calling 1-866-705-5177 or by applying 
online at http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform/displayHomePage.do.
    FRA also requires that all applicants (other than individuals) for 
Federal financial assistance maintain current registrations in the CCR 
database. The CCR database is the repository for standard information 
about Federal financial assistance applicants, recipients and 
subrecipients. Organizations that have previously submitted 
applications via http://www.grants.gov are already registered with CCR, 
as it is a requirement for www.grants.gov registration. Please note, 
however, that applicants must update or renew their CCR registration at 
least once per year to maintain an active status. Information about 
registration procedures can be accessed at http://www.ccr.gov.
4.3.3 Application Package Components
    The application package for the HSIPR Program consists of three 
components--(1) program-specific application forms--Narrative and 
Templates Form--available from FRA's Web site at: http://www.fra.dot.gov/us/content/2243, (2) supporting documentation, and (3) 
standard application forms available through http://
www.GrantSolutions.gov. Applicants must complete all three components 
of the application package as required by Track and listed in the 
section 4.2.5 application checklist; failure to do so may result in the 
application being removed from consideration for award. Both the 
standard application forms and the Narrative and Templates Form must be 
submitted through http://www.GrantSolutions.gov--with standard forms 
submitted directly as electronic forms, and program-specific forms 
submitted as attachments to the application.
4.3.3.1 Narrative and Templates Form
    The most significant component of the application package is the 
Narrative and Templates Forms, forms into which the applicant enters 
specific information about the proposed project. The forms include 
templates that have been developed by FRA to capture pertinent 
qualitative and quantitative program-specific information needed for 
FRA to confirm applicant and project's eligibility for the HSIPR 
Program, and information needed for evaluation and selection of 
applications. These forms will be used to conduct a comprehensive 
benefit cost analysis. The forms allow for the applicant to make 
quantitative and qualitative arguments of the public return on 
investment. In order to conduct this analysis FRA requires specific 
quantitative data relating to service outputs (delay reduction, 
schedule improvement, or capacity increases), and transportation 
outputs (increases in passenger-miles traveled on Intercity Passenger 
Rail services, including shifts from other modes of transportation).
    The information entered into the Narrative and Templates Form falls 
into two categories: (1) Narrative information, provided in response to 
specific application questions, with length limitations for each 
response; and (2) structured and/or quantitative information, which is 
entered into tables contained in the Forms. Applicants may track and 
submit the Narrative and Templates Forms through GrantSolutions. 
Separate Track-specific Narrative and Template Forms are tailored to 
corresponding tracks.
    Information requested in the Narrative and Templates Form includes 
information on project overview, planning, purpose and need, project 
development status, project benefits--economic recovery, 
transportation, environmental and livable communities--project 
estimate/budget, applicant qualifications, stakeholder agreements and 
financial and operation information. Completing the FRA-developed forms 
is expected to facilitate information input for required OMB standard 
forms described in section 4.3.3.3 below.
4.3.3.2 Application Supporting Documentation
    In order to provide information referenced in the Narrative and 
Templates Form, applicants must submit additional documentation 
supporting their entries on the forms and confirming their eligibility 
under the proposed Track. The supporting documentation should largely 
include information that applicants developed during project planning 
activities thus, the format and structure of supporting documents is at 
the discretion of the applicant. Supporting documentation may be 
provided one of three ways--(1) as attachments to the application; (2) 
as Internet references (URLs) to documentation that is available 
online; or (3) in hard copy for materials that cannot otherwise be 
provided (such as oversized engineering drawings). Applicants should 
provide any URL references for supporting documentation, along with 
notifications of any documentation being submitted in hard copy, in the 
appropriate section of the narrative and templates form. The supporting 
documentation includes items as specified below:
     PE Materials--Applicants should provide any documents that

[[Page 29914]]

demonstrate the PE status (or FD, if completed) of the proposed 
project. The PE requirements are detailed in Section 2.2 and Appendix 
2.2. The submission of PE Materials is required for Track 1 FD/
construction, Track 2 and Track 4. PE Materials should be submitted as 
attachments to the application in GrantSolutions. If large-format 
materials cannot be submitted electronically, they should be mailed to 
FRA as described in Section 4.3.9
     NEPA Documentation--Applicants should provide any 
documents that demonstrate the NEPA status of the proposed project. The 
NEPA requirements are defined in Appendix 3.2.9 and detailed by track 
in Section 1.6. The submission of NEPA documentation is required for 
Track 1 FD/construction, Track 2 and Track 4.
     Project Management Plan--Applicants should provide a 
project management plan (or equivalent) that documents assumptions and 
decisions regarding the communication, management processes, execution 
and overall project control. The project management plan shall be 
submitted by applicants to Tracks 1 FD/construction, Track 2 and Track 
4. The form and structure of the project management plan (or 
equivalent) is at the discretion of the applicant.
     Stakeholder Agreements--Applicants should provide 
documents that demonstrate the status of all stakeholder agreements 
including agreements with interstate partners, host railroads, right-
of-way owners and contract railroad operator providing service. The 
form and structure of the stakeholder agreements are at the discretion 
of the applicant however, agreements should satisfy the eligibility and 
award requirements listed in Appendix 1.1 and 1.2. Stakeholder 
agreements should be submitted for applicants to Track 1 FD/
construction, Track 2 and Track 4.
     Financial Plan--Applicants should provide a financial plan 
(or equivalent) as per the description of the Financial Plan in Section 
2.2. A financial plan (or equivalent) shall be submitted for 
applications to Track 1 FD/construction, Track 2 and Track 4.
     Service Development Plan--Applicant should provide a 
Service Development Plan (or equivalent) that covers three general 
topics regarding the underlying Service Development Program: its 
rationale, its operating strategy, and its path to implementation. The 
Service Development Plan (or equivalent) is required for Track 2 
applicants only, and is described in more detail in Appendix 2.1.
     Economic Stimulus--Consistent with ARRA, the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) Updated ARRA Implementing Guidance (April 
3, 2009), and Federal laws guaranteeing equal opportunity, applicants 
are encouraged to provide information to assist FRA in assessing (1) 
whether the applicant's proposal will promote the creating of job 
opportunities for low-income workers through the use of best practice 
hiring programs and apprenticeship (including pre-apprenticeship) 
programs; (2) whether the project will provide maximum practicable 
opportunities for small businesses and disadvantaged business 
enterprises, including veteran-owned small businesses and service 
disabled veteran-owned small businesses; (3) whether the project will 
make effective use of community-based organizations in connecting 
disadvantaged workers with economic opportunities; (4) whether the 
project will support entities that have a sound track record on labor 
practices and compliance with Federal laws ensuring that American 
workers are safe and treated fairly; and (5) whether the project 
implements best practices, consistent with the civil rights and equal 
opportunity laws, for ensuring that all individuals--regardless of 
race, gender, age, disability, and national origin--benefit from ARRA.
     Job Creation--Applicants should provide information 
indicating whether the applicant's proposal promotes the short- or 
long-term creation or preservation of jobs and new or expanded business 
opportunities during construction of the project and thereafter, 
including the total amount of funds that will be expended on 
construction and construction-related activities by all of the entities 
participating in the project and, to the extent measurable, the number 
and type of jobs to be created and/or preserved by the project during 
construction and thereafter, and an identification of any business 
enterprises to be created or benefited by the project during its 
construction and once it becomes operational. To the extent possible, 
applicants should indicate whether the populations most likely to 
benefit from the creation or preservation of jobs or new or expanded 
business opportunities are from Economically Distressed Areas. In 
addition, to the extent possible, applicants should indicate whether 
the project's procurement plan is likely to create follow-on jobs and 
economic stimulus for manufacturers and suppliers that support the 
construction industry.
4.3.3.3 Standard Forms
    The Standard Forms are developed by OMB and are required of all 
grant applicants. These forms are available on www.forms.gov and should 
be submitted as attachments to the application in GrantSolutions. Some 
of the information required for these form will be in provided with the 
Narrative and Template Form.
     Standard Form 424, Application for Federal Assistance--
This form should be scanned and submitted as an attachment to the 
application in GrantSolutions. This form should be completed by all 
applicants.
     Standard Form 424A, Budget Information--Non-Construction 
Programs--This form should be scanned and submitted as an attachment to 
the application in GrantSolutions. This form should be completed by 
applicants where applicable.
     Standard Form 424B, Assurances--Non-Construction 
Programs--This form should be scanned and submitted as an attachment to 
the application in GrantSolutions. This form should be completed by 
applicants to Track 1 PE/NEPA and Track 3.
     Standard Form 424C, Budget Information--Construction 
Programs--This form should be scanned and submitted as an attachment to 
the application in GrantSolutions. This form should be completed by 
applicants where applicable.
     Standard Form 424D, Assurances--Construction Programs--
This form should be scanned and submitted as an attachment to the 
application in GrantSolutions. This form should be completed by 
applicants to Track 1 FD/construction, Track 2 and Track 4.
     FRA Assurances Document--This form can be obtained from 
FRA's Web site at http://www.fra.dot.gov/downloads/admin/assurancesandcertifications.pdf. The document should be signed by an 
authorized certifying official for the applicant, scanned into 
electronic format, and submitted as an attachment to the application in 
GrantSolutions. This form should be completed by all applicants.
4.3.4 Additional Information Required Prior to Award
4.3.4.1 For Construction Grants (Tracks 1, where applicable, and Track 
4)
    A project NEPA determination document (a Record of Decision, 
Finding of No Significant Impact, or CE determination) must have been 
issued by FRA prior to award of a construction grant. In addition to 
the supporting documentation required to be included

[[Page 29915]]

with an application, applicants will also be required to submit the 
following documentation prior to their receipt of an award under Track 
1.
4.3.4.2 For all Tracks
    Comprehensive executed partnership agreements, fulfilling all 
requirements for such agreements as set forth in Appendix 1.2.
4.3.4.3 For Tracks 1 and 2
    As a condition of award, to the extent applicable, grant recipients 
must comply with the certification requirements of ARRA. These include 
Section 1201 (Maintenance of Effort); Section 1511 (Transparency and 
Oversight); and Section 1607 (Additional Funding Distribution and 
Assurance of Appropriate Use of Funds). On February 27, 2009, Secretary 
of Transportation LaHood sent a letter to the Governors of each State 
providing guidance and a template for the certifications required by 
ARRA, a copy of which is available on DOT's ARRA Web site, at http://www.dot.gov/recovery/. All applicable certifications must be submitted 
to the DOT at [email protected]. Certifications may be submitted 
via email as electronic, scanned copies, with original signed versions 
to follow via U.S. mail. Additional guidance regarding these 
certifications is included in Appendix 3.2.4.
4.3.5 Application Package Requirements Checklist
    The following application requirements checklist can be used by 
applicants to verify the documents necessary for submission under each 
Track:

                                                                  Application Checklist
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                              Applicable track
                                                                                   ---------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                         Track 1--projects
               Required document                               Format              ----------------------------   Track 2--     Track 3--     Track 4--
                                                                                         FD/                      programs      planning    FY09 funding
                                                                                    construction    PE/ NEPA
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Program Forms
    [ballot] Preapplication....................  Template.........................      [check]       [check]       [check]       [check]       [check]
    [ballot] Narratives and Templates Workbook   Template.........................      [check]       [check]       [check]       [check]       [check]
     (includes information on Project Benefits
     and Cost).
Supporting Documentation
    [ballot] Service Development Plan (SDP) (or  No Specified Format..............  ............  ............      [check]   ............  ............
     equivalent).
    [ballot] Preliminary Engineering (PE)        No Specified Format..............      [check]   ............      [check]   ............      [check]
     Materials.
    [ballot] NEPA Documentation................  No Specified Format..............      [check]   ............      [check]   ............      [check]
    [ballot] Project Management Plan (or         No Specified Format..............      [check]   ............      [check]   ............      [check]
     equivalent).
    [ballot] Stakeholder Agreements............  No Specified Format..............      [check]   ............      [check]   ............      [check]
    [ballot] Financial Plan (or equivalent)....  No Specified Format..............      [check]   ............      [check]   ............      [check]
Standard Forms
    [ballot] SF 424: Application for Federal     Form.............................      [check]       [check]       [check]       [check]       [check]
     Assistance.
    [ballot] SF 424A: Budget Information--Non    Form.............................  ............      [check]   ............      [check]   ............
     Construction.
    [ballot] SF 424B: Assurances--Non            Form.............................  ............      [check]   ............      [check]   ............
     Construction.
    [ballot] SF 424C: Budget Information--       Form.............................      [check]   ............      [check]   ............      [check]
     Construction.
    [ballot] SF 424D: Assurances--Construction.  Form.............................      [check]   ............      [check]   ............      [check]
    [ballot] FRA Assurances Document...........  Form.............................      [check]       [check]       [check]       [check]       [check]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

4.3.6 Submission Dates and Times
4.3.6.1 For Tracks 1, 3, and 4
     Preapplications must be submitted to FRA via e-mail 
[email protected] (as specified in Section 4.3.9) no later than 11:59 p.m. 
EDT, Friday, July 10, 2009.
     The submission date and time will be determined based on 
email header information. FRA will email the applicant to confirm 
receipt of preapplication submissions.
     Full applications must be submitted to GrantSolutions 
(also as specified in 4.1) no later than 11:59 p.m. EDT, Friday, August 
24, 2009. GrantSolutions will send the applicant an automated email 
confirming receipt of the application.
     Supporting documentation that cannot be submitted 
electronically through GrantSolutions may be sent by courier service 
with a waybill receipt stamped no later than 11:59 p.m. EDT, Friday, 
August 24, 2009. FRA will email the applicant to confirm receipt of 
supporting documentation sent by courier service.
4.3.6.2 For Track 2
     Preapplications must be submitted to FRA via e-mail 
[email protected] (as specified in Section 4.3.9) no later than 11:59 p.m. 
EDT, Friday, July 10, 2009.
     The submission date and time will be determined based on 
e-mail header information. FRA will e-mail the applicant to confirm 
receipt of preapplication submissions.
     Full applications must be submitted to GrantSolutions 
(also as specified in Section 4.1) no later than 11:59 p.m. EDT, 
Friday, October 2, 2009? GrantSolutions will send the applicant an 
automated e-mail confirming receipt of the application.
     Supporting documentation that cannot be submitted 
electronically may be sent by courier service with a waybill receipt 
stamped no later than 11:59 p.m. EDT, Friday, October 2, 2009. FRA will 
e-mail the applicant to confirm receipt of supporting documentation 
sent by courier service.

[[Page 29916]]



                                                 Track Deadlines
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                Track 4--FY2009
                                   Track 1--projects   Track 2--programs   Track 3--planning    appropriations
                                                                                                   projects
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Preapplication..................  July 10, 2009.....  July 10, 2009.....  July 10, 2009.....  July 10, 2009.
Application.....................  August 24, 2009...  October 2, 2009...  August 24, 2009...  August 24, 2009.
FRA Obligation..................  ASAP after          No later than       ASAP after          ASAP after
                                   selection (No       September 30,       selection.          selection.
                                   later than          2011.
                                   September 30,
                                   2010).
Project(s) Completion...........  Within 2 years of   September 30, 2017  Within 2 years of   Within 5 years of
                                   obligation.         *.                  obligation.         obligation.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* The FRA account shall be closed on that date and any remaining balance (whether obligated or unobligated) in
  the account shall be cancelled and no funds shall thereafter be available for obligation or expenditure for
  any purpose (31 U.S.C. 1552).

4.3.6.3 For All Tracks
     FRA will make individual arrangements with applicants for 
the submission of other information required prior to award.
     Subject to demonstration of unanticipated extenuating 
circumstances, FRA may consider application materials submitted after 
the deadlines prescribed above.
4.3.7 Intergovernmental Review
    This program has not been designated as subject to Executive Order 
12372 pursuant to 49 CFR part 17.
4.3.8 Funding Restrictions
    In general, only those costs considered allowable pursuant to OMB 
Circular A-87, ``Cost Principles for State, Local, and Indian Tribal 
Governments'' (codified at 2 CFR part 225) will be considered for 
funding. Additionally, the following funding restrictions will apply to 
grants awarded under all Tracks, and must be taken into consideration 
in the development of budget information submitted as part of 
applications.
     Funding may not be used to fund expenses associated with 
the operation of Intercity Passenger Rail service;
     Funding may not be used for first-dollar liability costs 
for insurance related to the provision of Intercity Passenger Rail 
service;
     Funding may not be for any casino or other gambling 
establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, or swimming pool; this 
restriction will be applied generally in this program, regardless of 
the source of funds, and;
     While there is no cap on grant recipient's use of grant 
funds for management and administrative costs, such costs must be 
allowable, reasonable, allocable, and in accordance with applicable OMB 
cost principles cited above.
    For Tracks funded under ARRA, FRA will also consider reimbursement 
of pre-award costs incurred as early as the enactment of ARRA (February 
17, 2009). However, such costs will only be considered for 
reimbursement to the extent they are otherwise appropriate under 
allowable costs principles, are directly related to the award, and 
involve either pre-construction activities (e.g., PE, NEPA, or FD), or 
construction activities that were subject to an environmental 
determination under NEPA made by FRA prior to the commencement of such 
construction activities. Projects for which construction activities 
commenced prior to receipt of an FRA environmental determination under 
NEPA will not be eligible for funding.
    For Tracks funded under the FY 2008/2009 DOT Appropriations, FRA 
will also consider reimbursement of pre-award costs incurred as early 
as the enactment of the FY 2009 DOT Appropriations Act (March 11, 
2009). However, such costs will only be considered for reimbursement to 
the extent they are otherwise appropriate under allowable cost 
principles, are directly related to the award, and involve either pre-
construction activities (e.g., PE, NEPA, or FD), or construction 
activities that were subject to an environmental determination under 
NEPA made by FRA prior to the commencement of such construction 
activities. Projects for which construction activities commenced prior 
to receipt of an FRA environmental determination under NEPA will not be 
eligible for funding.
4.3.9 Other Submission Requirements
    Preapplications should be submitted by e-mail to [email protected]. As 
detailed in Section 4.1 of this guidance, applications, including 
supporting documentation, should be submitted through GrantSolutions. 
Should an applicant encounter technical difficulties using the 
GrantSolutions system that may cause the applicant to miss the 
application deadline, the application may be submitted by e-mail to 
[email protected]. For applications submitted by email, the applicant 
should print, sign, scan into electronic format (preferably Adobe 
Portable Document Format (.pdf)), and attach to the submission e-mail 
copies of all application forms requiring the applicant's signature.
    For supporting documentation (described in Section 4.3.3 2 of this) 
that an applicant is unable to submit electronically (such as oversized 
engineering drawings), applicants may submit an original and two copies 
to the following address:

U.S. Department of Transportation,
Federal Railroad Administration,
Attn: HSIPR Program Information (RDV-10),
Mail Stop 20, Room W38-202,
1200 New Jersey Ave., SE.,
Washington, DC 20590.

    Due to delays caused by enhanced screening of mail delivered via 
the U.S. Postal Service, applicants are advised to use other means of 
conveyance (such as courier service) to assure timely receipt of 
materials.

Section 5: Application Review Information

5.1 Review Criteria

    Once an application is screened for completeness and eligibility 
(both applicant and project eligibility), it will go through a review 
process. This process will involve two steps (detailed further in 
Section 5.2): (i) Evaluation and (ii) selection. For evaluation, 
applications in all Tracks will be individually reviewed and assessed 
against up to seven evaluation criteria--organized into three 
categories--outlined below.\10\ For each of the applicable criteria, 
the application will be assigned a rating of between one and five 
points, based on the application's fulfillment of the objectives of 
each criterion. The ratings will be assigned by professional staff 
employed by FRA and other DOT modal administration

[[Page 29917]]

staff as needed. Experts outside of DOT may also be considered.\11\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \10\ Tracks for which the sources of funding antedated the ARRA 
(i.e., Tracks 3 and 4) will not be rated on Criterion A.2, Economic 
Recovery Benefits.
    \11\ Experts will be selected based on relevant qualifications 
and assurance of lack of conflict of interest.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    These individual criterion ratings will then be combined according 
to priority of criteria (which vary by Track), to arrive at an overall 
rating for the application. The comparative priorities appear in the 
table below.

                                         Evaluation Criteria Priorities
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                     Priority
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                       Evaluation criteria                                                  Track 3
                                                                    Track 1     Track 2      \12\       Track 4
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Public Return on Investment.....................................
    1. Transportation Benefits..................................          2           1           1           1
    2. Economic Recovery Benefits...............................          1           5         n/a         n/a
    3. Other Public Benefits....................................          6           2         n/a           5
Project Success Factors.........................................
    1. Project Management Approach..............................          3           3           2           2
    2. Sustainability of Benefits...............................          5           4         n/a           3
Other Attributes................................................
    1. Timeliness of Project Completion.........................          4           6           3           4
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\12\ The specifics of the relevant Track 3 Planning evaluation criteria will vary somewhat from those of Tracks
  1, 2 and 4 to reflect the unique character of planning activities.

5.1.1 Public Return on Investment
    Applications will be evaluated against the following three criteria 
to assess the proposed project's ability to produce a public return on 
investment, taking into account both forecasted benefits, the overall 
cost of the proposed project, and the amount of Federal funding 
requested. Evaluation against these criteria will consider the 
qualitative factors outlined below, as supported by key quantitative 
metrics. As described in Section 4, applicants for Tracks 1, 2, and 4 
must provide information quantifying the anticipated benefits of the 
proposed project; for Tracks 1 and 4, using service output data (delay 
reduction, schedule improvement, or capacity increases), and for Track 
2, using transportation output data (increases in passenger-miles 
traveled on Intercity Passenger Rail services, including shifts from 
other modes of transportation). For Track 3, public return on 
investment criteria are limited to transportation benefits.
    Careful economic analysis that quantifies and demonstrates the 
monetary value of user benefits and, if available, public benefits will 
be particularly useful to FRA in evaluating the applications. The 
systematic process of comparing expected benefits and costs helps 
decision-makers organize information about, and evaluate trade-offs 
between, alternative transportation investments. FRA will consider 
benefits and costs using standard data provided by applicants and seek 
to evaluate applications in a manner consistent with Executive Order 
12893, Principles for Federal Infrastructure Investments, 59 FR 4233, 
to base infrastructure investments on systematic analysis of expected 
benefits and costs, including both quantitative and qualitative 
measures.
5.1.1.1 Transportation Benefits
    Each application will be assessed based on its demonstration of the 
proposed project's potential to meet the purpose and need and to 
achieve transportation benefits in a cost-effective manner, as set 
forth through the President's strategic transportation goals and the 
objectives of PRIIA. Factors to be considered in assigning a rating 
will include the contribution the proposed project would make to:
     Supporting the development of intercity high-speed rail 
service;
     Generating improvements to Intercity Passenger Rail 
service, as reflected by estimated increases in ridership (as measured 
in passenger-miles), increased on-time performance (as measured in 
reductions in delays), reduced trip time, additional service frequency 
to meet anticipated or existing demand, and other factors;
     Generating cross-modal benefits, including anticipated 
favorable impacts on air or highway traffic congestion, capacity, or 
safety, and cost avoidance or deferral of planned investments in 
aviation and highway systems;
     Creating an integrated Intercity Passenger Rail network, 
including integration with existing Intercity Passenger Rail services, 
allowance for and support of future network expansion, and promotion of 
technical interoperability and standardization (including standardizing 
operations, equipment and signaling);
     Encouragement of intermodal integration through provision 
of direct, efficient transfers among intercity transportation and local 
transit networks at train stations, including connections at airports, 
bus terminals, subway stations, ferry ports, and other modes of 
transportation;
     Enhancing intercity travel options;
     Ensuring a state of good repair of key Intercity Passenger 
Rail assets;
     Promoting standardized equipment (or rolling stock), 
signaling, communications and power;
     Improved freight or commuter rail operations, in relation 
to proportional cost-sharing (including donated property) by those 
other benefiting rail users;
     Equitable financial participation in the project's 
financing, including, but not limited to, consideration of donated 
property interests or services; financial contributions by freight and 
commuter rail carriers commensurate with the benefit expected to their 
operations; and financial commitments from host railroads, non-Federal 
governmental entities, nongovernmental entities, and others; and
     The overall safety of the transportation system, including 
the encouragement of the use of PTC technologies, and commitments by 
States or railroads of financial resources to improve the safety of 
highway/rail grade crossings over which intercity passenger rail 
service operates.
5.1.1.2 Economic Recovery Benefits
    Each application will be assessed based on its demonstration of the 
proposed project's anticipated positive economic and employment impacts 
and

[[Page 29918]]

potential to promote economic recovery in a cost-effective manner, 
consistent with the purposes and principles of ARRA. Factors to be 
considered in assigning a rating will include the contribution the 
proposed project would make to:
     Rapidly promoting new or expanding business opportunities 
including the short- and long-term creation and preservation of jobs, 
during construction and thereafter;
     Increasing efficiency by promoting technological advances;
     Providing long-term economic benefits; and
     Avoiding reductions in State-provided essential services.
5.1.1.3 Other Public Benefits
    Each application will be assessed based on its demonstration of the 
proposed project's potential to achieve other public benefits in a 
cost-effective manner. Factors to be considered in assigning a rating 
will include the contribution the proposed project would make to:
     Environmental quality and energy efficiency and reduction 
in dependence on foreign oil, including use of renewable energy 
sources, energy savings from traffic diversions from other modes, 
employment of green building and manufacturing methods, reductions in 
key emissions types, and the purchase and use of environmentally 
sensitive, fuel-efficient, and cost-effective passenger rail equipment; 
and
     Promoting livable communities, including integration with 
existing high-density, livable development (e.g., central business 
districts with public transportation, pedestrian, and bicycle 
distribution networks, and incorporation of transit-oriented 
development).
5.1.1.4 Public Return on Investment for Track 3--Planning
    Planning projects will be evaluated based on the extent to which 
they meet the President's strategic transportation goals by leading to 
benefits to the public, including transportation accessibility and 
interconnectivity. Planning projects for Intercity Passenger Rail 
service will be evaluated for the extent that they: (1) Lead to 
benefits for Intercity Passenger Rail including travel time reductions, 
increased frequencies, and enhanced service quality; (2) resolve safety 
issues; (3) resolve intercity passenger rail reliability issues; (4) 
are integrated and complementary to the relevant comprehensive planning 
process (23 U.S.C. 135); and (5) support livable communities. Proposed 
planning projects will also be evaluated for their effectiveness in: 
(1) Directly leading to project and/or Service Development Program 
applications and (2) leading to NEPA for route selection; and leading 
to completion of an SDP.
5.1.2 Project Success Factors
    Applications will be evaluated against the following two criteria 
to assess the proposed project's likelihood of successful 
implementation and realization of benefits. Evaluation against these 
criteria will consider the factors outlined below, which take into 
account the thoroughness and quality of the supporting documentation--
the project management plan, financing plan, and SDP (or equivalent 
project planning and programming documents)--submitted with the 
application.
5.1.2.1 Project Management Approach
    While prioritizing projects that will generate tangible 
transportation and economic benefits, each application will also be 
assessed to determine the risk associated with the project's delivery 
within budget, on time, and as designed. Factors to be considered in 
assigning a rating will include:
     The applicant's financial, legal, and technical capacity 
to implement the project including whether the application depends upon 
receipt of any waiver(s) of Federal railroad safety regulations that 
have not been obtained;
     The applicant's experience in administering similar grants 
and projects;
     The soundness and thoroughness of the cost methodologies 
and assumptions, and estimates for the proposed project;
     The adequacy of any completed engineering work to assess 
and manage/mitigate the proposed project's engineering and 
constructability risks;
     The reasonableness of the schedule for project 
implementation;
     The thoroughness and quality of the project management 
plan;
     The sufficiency of system safety and security planning;
     The timing and amount of the project's future noncommitted 
investments;
     The project's progress, at the time of application, 
towards compliance with environmental protection requirements;
     The comprehensiveness and sufficiency, at the time of 
application, of agreements with key partners (particularly 
infrastructure owning railroads) that will be involved in implementing 
the project; and
     The overall completeness and quality of the application, 
including the comprehensiveness of its supporting documentation.
5.1.2.2 Sustainability of Benefits
    Each application will be assessed based on the risk associated with 
the proposed project's capacity to generate, as planned, its 
anticipated transportation and economic benefits. Factors to be 
considered in assigning a rating will include:
     The presence and quality of a financial plan that analyzes 
the financial viability of the proposed rail service;
     The quality and reasonableness of revenue and operating 
and maintenance cost forecasts for the benefiting Intercity Passenger 
Rail service(s);
     The availability of any required operating financial 
support preferably from dedicated funding sources for the benefiting 
Intercity Passenger Rail service(s);
     The quality and adequacy of project identification and 
planning;
     The reasonableness of estimates for user and non-user 
benefits for the project;
     The reasonableness of the operating service plan, 
including its provisions for protecting the future quality of other 
services sharing the facilities to be improved; and
     The comprehensiveness and sufficiency, at the time of 
application, of agreements with key partners (including the railroad 
operating the Intercity Passenger Rail service as well as 
infrastructure-owning railroads) that will be involved in the operation 
of the benefiting Intercity Passenger Rail service, including the 
commitment of any affected host-rail carrier to ensure the realization 
of the anticipated benefits, preferably through a commitment by the 
affected host-rail carrier(s) to an enforceable on-time performance of 
passenger trains of 80 percent or greater.
5.1.3 Other Attributes
    Applications will also be evaluated against the following two 
additional criteria.
5.1.3.1 Timeliness of Project Completion
    Each application will be assessed based on the timeliness of its 
implementation schedule, including:
     The readiness of the project to be commenced; and
     The timeliness of project completion and the realization 
of the project's anticipated benefits.

[[Page 29919]]

5.2 Review and Selection Process

5.2.1 Application Evaluation Process
    Submitted applications will be screened for eligibility and 
completeness. Applications determined to be both complete and eligible 
will be referred to a technical evaluation panel consisting of subject-
matter experts for assignment of ratings, as described in Section 5.1. 
Panel members will use a merit-based approach to review applications 
based on the above evaluation criteria. Ratings assigned by the 
evaluation panels will serve as the basis for a presentation of 
applications to the FRA Administrator, who will determine the final 
selection of applications for awards.
5.2.2 Additional Selection Criteria
    In addition to the ratings against evaluation criteria assigned by 
the technical evaluation panels, the FRA Administrator may take into 
account several cross-cutting and comparative selection criteria to 
determine awards of funding. The Administrator will review the 
preliminary results to ensure that the scoring has been applied 
consistently, and that the collective results meet several key 
priorities essential to the success and sustainability of the program 
as detailed below.

                           Selection Criteria
------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Selection criteria (balance and
               diversity)                        Example factors
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. Region/location.....................  [squf] Geography and economic
                                          conditions.
2. Innovation..........................  [squf] Technology and
                                          industrial/capacity
                                          development.
3. Partnerships........................  [squf] Multi-State agreements.
4. Tracks and round timing.............  [squf] Project costs and
                                          schedules.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Following evaluation of each application by review panels, the 
Administrator will review the preliminary results to ensure that the 
scoring has been applied consistently, and that the collective results 
meet several key priorities essential to the success and sustainability 
of the program. To ensure a balanced national program, this review will 
include:
5.2.2.1 Region/Location
     Ensuring appropriate level of regional balance across the 
country.
     Ensuring appropriate level of balance among large and 
small population centers.
     Ensuring integration and augmentation of the nationwide 
transportation network.
     Addressing the ARRA requirement to provide assistance to 
economically-distressed regions most impacted by the recession.
5.2.2.2 Innovation
     Pursuing new technology and innovation where the public 
return on investment is favorable, while ensuring delivery of near-term 
transportation, public and recovery benefits.
     Promoting domestic manufacturing, supply and industrial 
development, including U.S.-based equipment manufacturing and supply 
industries.
     Developing professional railroad engineering, operating, 
planning and management capacity needed for sustainable Intercity 
Passenger Rail development.
5.2.2.3 Partnerships
     Where corridors span multiple States, emphasizing those 
that have organized multi-State partnerships with joint planning and 
prioritization of investments.
     Employing creative approaches to ensure workforce 
diversity and use of disadvantaged and minority business enterprises.
5.2.2.4 Preservation of Funding for Track 2 Program and Future Award 
Rounds
     While ready-to-go projects are critical for delivering 
early program benefits, the longer-term future of the program depends 
on strong Track 2 corridor program development. Sufficient funds will 
be set aside for Track 2 and, if possible, for future rounds of 
funding.

Section 6: Award Administration Information

6.1 Award Notices

    Upon approval of an application, notification will be sent to the 
grant recipient through GS that the award is waiting acceptance.
    FRA will publicly announce selected projects and funding levels. 
For projects that were not selected, FRA will notify the applicant of 
their decision and provide the following:
     Suggestions on application revisions for any subsequent 
resubmission rounds (if desired by applicant); and
     Guidance regarding subsequent rounds (e.g., new/revised 
guidance, application due dates).

6.2 Administrative and National Policy Requirements

    Grant recipients must follow all administrative and national policy 
requirements including: procurement standards, compliance with federal 
civil rights laws and regulations, disadvantaged business enterprises 
(DBE), FRA's and OMB's Assurances and Certifications, ADA, and NEPA. 
For a complete list of all administrative and national policy 
requirements, refer to Appendix 3.2.

6.3 ARRA-Specific Grant Requirements

    Grant recipients receiving ARRA-funded grants must comply with all 
requirements detailed in ARRA including: The prohibition on using funds 
for certain activities, signage requirements, and certification 
requirements. For a complete list of all ARRA-specific grant 
requirements, refer to Appendix 3.3.

6.4 Program-Specific Grant Requirements

    Grant recipients receiving PRIIA-authorized grants must comply with 
all requirements set forth in PRIIA, including adhering to: Buy 
America, Labor Protection, and Davis-Bacon Act. For a complete list of 
all PRIIA-specific grant requirements, refer to Appendix 3.4.

6.5 General Requirements

    Grant recipients must comply with reporting requirements and, where 
applicable, ARRA-specific reporting requirements. All post-award 
information pertaining to reporting, auditing, monitoring, and the 
close-out process is detailed in Appendix 3.5.

Section 7: Questions and Clarifications

    Questions about this guidance and the application process should be 
submitted to the HSIPR Program Manager via email at [email protected].

[[Page 29920]]



                            List of Acronyms
------------------------------------------------------------------------
           Acronym                              Meaning
------------------------------------------------------------------------
ACF..........................  Administration for Children and Families.
ADA..........................  Americans with Disabilities Act.
April 2009 Strategic Plan....  U.S. Department of Transportation,
                                Federal Railroad Administration, Vision
                                for High-Speed Rail in America, High-
                                Speed Rail Strategic Plan [under] the
                                American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
                                of 2009, April 16, 2009; available at:
                                http://www.fra.dot.gov/Downloads/Finalpercent20FRApercent20HSRpercent20Stratpercent20Plan.pdf.
ARRA.........................  American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of
                                2009 (Pub. L. 111-5).
CAST.........................  Custom Applications Support and Training
                                Unit (GrantSolutions).
CCR..........................  Central Contractor Registration database.
CE...........................  Categorical Exclusion--a class of action
                                for the NEPA process.
CFS report...................  Federal Railroad Administration, High-
                                Speed Ground Transportation for America,
                                September 1997; available at: http://www.fra.dot.gov/us/content/515.
Department...................  The U.S. Department of Transportation.
DUNS.........................  Data Universal Number System.
EA...........................  Environmental Assessment--a NEPA
                                document.
EIS..........................  Environmental Impact Statement-- the most
                                extensive type of NEPA document.
FD...........................  Final Design.
FONSI........................  Finding of No Significant Impact--a
                                possible decision concluding the NEPA
                                process.
FRA..........................  Federal Railroad Administration--an
                                Operating Administration of the U.S.
                                Department of Transportation.
FTA..........................  Federal Transit Administration.
FY...........................  Fiscal Year.
FY 2008 DOT Appropriations     Transportation, Housing and Urban
 Act.                           Development, and Related Agencies
                                Appropriations Act, 2008 --Title I of
                                Division K of Public Law 110-161,
                                December 26, 2007.
FY 2009 DOT Appropriations     Transportation, Housing and Urban
 Act.                           Development, and Related Agencies
                                Appropriations Act, 2009 --Title I of
                                Division I of Public Law 111-8, March
                                11, 2009.
GS...........................  GrantSolutions Grants Management System.
ICC..........................  Interstate Commerce Commission.
LOI..........................  Letter of Intent.
mph..........................  miles per hour.
NEPA.........................  National Environmental Policy Act.
NTD..........................  National Transit Database.
OTP..........................  On-time performance.
PE...........................  Preliminary engineering.
PRIIA........................  Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement
                                Act of 2008 (Division B of Pub. L. 110-
                                432).
PTC..........................  Positive Train Control.
ROD..........................  Record of Decision--a possible decision
                                concluding of the NEPA process.
RSIA.........................  Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008
                                (Division A of Pub. L. 110-432, October
                                16, 2008).
State DOT....................  State Department of Transportation.
State Grant Program..........  Capital Assistance to States--Intercity
                                Passenger Rail Service program--
                                established in FY 2008 DOT
                                Appropriations Act and continued in the
                                FY 2009 DOT Appropriations Act.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Appendix 1: Additional Information on Eligibility

Appendix 1.1 Applicant Types

    State--A State department of transportation (State DOT) which is 
the State-wide instrumentality or agency of a State, in the form of a 
department, commission, board, or official of any State, charged by its 
laws with the responsibility for transportation-related matters within 
the State, including high-speed rail/intercity passenger rail.
    Group of States--A group of two or more States in which an 
agreement has been established to work in coordination to build and 
operate rail projects within specified boundaries and within the 
duration of agreement. The agreement should specify the commitments 
(financial and otherwise) of all parties to developing and maintaining 
rail operations for a specified corridor. This type of agreement 
requires the backing of several political and administrative entities 
within each State. Such agreement should include but not be limited to 
the following: identification of all parties involved, the duration of 
the agreement, governance arrangements, commitment of partners, risk 
and benefits sharing arrangements, liabilities, level of service per 
partner or client, services to be provided, dispute resolution, 
substandard performance, termination, signatories. A group of States 
wishing to submit an application must designate one State within the 
group to serve as the lead State for the application. This lead State 
would be responsible for submitting the application and administrating 
any grant that is awarded to the group of States.
    Interstate Compact--An entity created through an agreement between 
two or more States. Frequently, these compacts create a new 
governmental agency that is responsible for administering or improving 
some shared resource, such as public transportation infrastructure. In 
some cases, a compact serves simply as a coordination mechanism between 
independent authorities in the member States. Article I, Section 10 of 
the United States Constitution provides that no State shall enter into 
an agreement or compact with another State without the consent of 
Congress. Interstate compacts for the purpose of Intercity Passenger 
Rail development have been established previously, based on the implied 
general consent of Congress expressed through Public Law 98-358, in 
which Congress explicitly granted consent to the creation of an 
interstate compact between the States of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, 
Pennsylvania, Illinois, West Virginia, and Kentucky for the purpose of 
developing Intercity Passenger Rail.
    Public Agencies, established by one or more States (Having 
responsibility for providing Intercity Passenger Rail service)--A 
publicly created and owned, not-for-profit agency, other than direct 
instrumentalities of States or agencies created under an interstate

[[Page 29921]]

compact, having responsibility for providing or developing Intercity 
Passenger Rail service. Such agencies would include public authorities 
and joint powers authorities created and authorized under State law, 
and may have responsibilities over a limited geographic scope (such as 
a region within a State), or related to a specific service, project, or 
development effort (such as the construction of a specific 
infrastructure project).
    Amtrak, in cooperation with States--The National Railroad Passenger 
Corporation undertaking a project subject to an agreement with one or 
more States (as defined above).

Appendix 1.2 Minimum Qualifications for Applicant Eligibility

    An applicant must, in addition to demonstrating that it is of an 
eligible type for the track and funding source under which it is 
applying, affirmatively demonstrate that it has or will have the legal, 
financial, and technical capacity to carry out the proposal. In 
addition, for non-planning applications under Track 1, Track 2, and 
Track 4, the applicant must demonstrate that it has or will have 
satisfactory continuing control over the use of equipment or facilities 
acquired, constructed, or improved by the project, and the capability 
and willingness to maintain such equipment or facilities.
    In the following discussion of the means by which applicants can 
satisfy these minimum requirements, the term ``project'' refers 
generally to the substance of the applicant's proposal, regardless of 
the Track under which it is being advanced.
    For an applicant to demonstrate the legal, financial, and technical 
capacity to carry out its proposed project, it will be required to 
address the following qualifications:
     For an entity other than a State, its legal authority to 
undertake the proposed project and apply for Federal financial 
assistance;
     The applicant's ability to absorb potential cost overruns 
or financial shortfalls. For entities other than States, the 
demonstration of such ability should include a description of the 
entity's own financial resources, its ability to raise revenue through 
taxation, dedicated funding sources, or other means, and/or explicit 
financial backing by one or more State governments;
     The applicant's experience in effectively administering 
grants of similar scope and value (including timely completion of grant 
deliverables, compliance with grant conditions, and quality and cost 
controls); and
     The applicant's experience in managing railroad investment 
projects of a nature similar to that for which funding is being 
requested.
    For an applicant to demonstrate that it has or will have 
satisfactory continuing control over the use of equipment or facilities 
acquired, constructed, or improved by the project, it will be required 
to show either:
     That the applicant has or will have direct ownership of 
the equipment or facilities acquired, constructed, or improved by the 
project; or
     That the applicant has secured or has made progress 
towards securing and will have contractual agreements in place with the 
entity or entities (e.g., a local government, or one or more private 
railroads) that have or will have direct ownership of such assets.
    For an applicant to demonstrate that it has or will have the 
capability and willingness to maintain the equipment or facilities 
acquired, constructed, or improved by the project, it will be required 
to show:
     That it has made progress towards, and will have 
contractual agreements in place with, any entity or entities (e.g., a 
local government, or one or more private railroads) that have or will 
have direct ownership of the equipment or facilities acquired, 
constructed, or improved by the project, which address financial and 
operational responsibility for asset maintenance;
     That to the extent financial responsibility will fall to 
the applicant, the applicant has the ability to cover maintenance 
costs. For entities other than States, the demonstration of such 
ability should include a description of the entity's own financial 
resources, ability to raise revenue through taxation, and/or explicit 
financial backing by one or more State governments; and
     The applicant's experience in maintaining assets with 
similar financial and operational maintenance requirements as those for 
the assets for which funding is being requested.
    Information and documentation demonstrating the fulfillment of the 
minimum qualifications described above will be required to be submitted 
as part of full application (see Section 4.3.3.2).

Appendix 1.3 Definition of Intercity Passenger Rail

    ``Intercity rail passenger transportation'' is defined at 49 U.S.C. 
24102(4) as ``rail passenger transportation except commuter rail 
passenger transportation.'' Likewise, ``commuter rail passenger 
transportation'' is defined at 49 U.S.C. 24102(3) as ``short-haul rail 
passenger transportation in metropolitan and suburban areas usually 
having reduced fare, multiple ride, and commuter tickets and morning 
and evening peak period operations.'' In common use, the general 
definition of ``rail passenger transportation'' excludes types of local 
or regional rail transit such as light rail, streetcars, and heavy 
rail. Similarly, both Intercity Passenger Rail transportation and 
commuter rail passenger transportation exclude single-purpose scenic or 
tourist railroad operations.
    The since-terminated Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) 
established six features to aid in classifying a service as 
``commuter'' rather than ``intercity'' rail passenger transportation: 
\13\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \13\ Penn Central Transportation Company Discontinuance or 
Change in Service of 22 Trains between Boston, Mass, and Providence 
R.I., February 10, 1971, I.C.C. 338, 318-333.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

     The passenger service is primarily being used by patrons 
traveling on a regular basis either within a metropolitan area or 
between a metropolitan area and its suburbs;
     The service is usually characterized by operation 
performed at morning and peak periods of travel;
     The service usually honors commutation or multiple-ride 
tickets at a fare reduced below the ordinary coach fare and carries the 
majority of its patrons on such a reduced fare basis;
     The service makes several stops at short intervals either 
within a zone or along the entire route;
     The equipment used may consist of little more than 
ordinary coaches; and
     The service should not extend more than 100 miles at the 
most, except in rare instances; although service over shorter distances 
may not be commuter or short haul within the meaning of this exclusion.
    FTA further refined the definition of commuter rail in the glossary 
for its National Transit Database (NTD) \14\ Reporting Manual. In 
particular, FTA refined the ICC's third ``feature'' by specifying that 
``predominantly commuter [rail passenger] service means that for any 
given trip segment (i.e., distance between any two stations), more than 
50 percent of the average daily ridership travels on the train at least 
three times a week.''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \14\ In additional to serving as a reference database, the NTD 
captures data that serve as the basis for apportioning and 
allocating funding to eligible grantees under FTA's formula grant 
programs.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In judging the eligibility of an application under this 
solicitation, FRA will determine whether the rail passenger service 
that is primarily intended to benefit from the proposal

[[Page 29922]]

constitutes ``intercity passenger rail transportation'' under the 
statutory definition and ICC and FTA interpretations. FRA may also take 
into account whether the primary intended benefiting service has been 
or is currently the direct and intended beneficiary of funding provided 
by another Federal agency (e.g., FTA) for the purpose of improving 
commuter rail passenger transportation and whether the service in 
question is or will be operated by or on behalf of a local, regional, 
or State entity whose primary rail transportation mission is the 
provision of commuter or transit service.

Appendix 2: Additional Information on Planning and Engineering

Appendix 2.1 Service Development Plan (or equivalent)

    A Service Development Plan (SDP) is a plan for developing High-
Speed Rail/Intercity Passenger Rail service, either initiating new 
service or improving existing service (e.g., adding train frequencies 
and/or reducing trip times)--typically focused on distinct phases and/
or geographic sections of service improvement. A SDP or equivalent 
covers three general topics: (i) Rationale (including purpose and 
need), (ii) service/operating plan and prioritized capital plan, and 
(iii) implementation plan (including project management approach, 
stakeholder agreements and financial plan).
    The completion of a SDP is a pre-requisite for eligibility for 
applications for Track 2-Programs. FRA acknowledges the inherent 
complexity of the planning efforts required to develop a SDP. The 
precise structure of a SDP can vary at the discretion of the applicant; 
FRA does not pre-determine SDP form and structure. Only certain 
illustrative topics need to be included in a SDP--thus the applicant 
has the flexibility to tailor the SDP to the needs of their program.
    After receiving the preapplications for Track 2, subject to 
available resources, FRA will be available for a kick-off discussion 
with the prospective applicant that will include a review of the 
contents of the SDP. FRA will provide assistance to Track 2 applicants 
in clarifying whether the information necessary for the SDP is 
complete. FRA will also discuss submission requirements with 
prospective applicants.
    A complete SDP is a planning approach that would need to address 
such topics as the following:
     Illustrative topics dealing with program rationale--The 
SDP includes a description of the corridor's transportation challenges 
and opportunities based on current and forecasted travel demand and 
capacity conditions. Through the SDP, the applicant has the opportunity 
to show FRA and its constituents how the proposed HSIPR Service 
Development Program can cost-effectively address transportation and 
other needs considering system alternatives (highway, air, other, as 
applicable). Qualitative and quantitative assessments of the costs, 
benefits and impacts and risks of the alternatives will provide 
decision makers with sufficient information. The SDP might also explore 
synergies between the High-Speed Rail/Intercity Passenger Rail proposal 
and large-scale goals and development plans within its service region 
and communities.
     Illustrative topics dealing with operations--The SDP 
describes the train service to be provided for each phase of new or 
improved Intercity Passenger Rail service including: the service 
frequency, timetable (including time-distance ``stringline'' diagrams), 
general station locations, intermodal connections, and train consists. 
The SDP would describe the underlying operational analyses, including 
railroad operation simulations and equipment and crew scheduling 
analyses, which in turn reflect such variables as travel demand and 
rolling stock configuration. The planning horizon should be consistent 
with the anticipated useful lives of the improvements to be introduced.
     Illustrative topics dealing with capital needs--The SDP 
describes the rail equipment and infrastructure improvements for each 
discrete phase of service implementation. If applicable, the SDP would 
prioritize improvements for each phase. The SDP presents estimated 
capital costs for projects and project groups, with documentation of 
assumptions and methods. Initial capital expenditures estimates to 
bring the service to its full operating capability, accommodation of 
future traffic growth and ongoing expenditures for replacement of 
system components should be included.
     Illustrative topics dealing with operating and financial 
results--The SDP includes operating and financial projections for each 
phase of the planned intercity passenger rail service. The SDP will 
address the methods, assumptions and outputs for travel demand 
forecasts, the expected revenue from the service, and all operating 
expenses for the train service including maintenance of way, 
maintenance of equipment, transportation (train movement), passenger 
traffic and services (marketing, reservations/information, station, and 
on-board services), and general/administrative expenses. Cost-sharing 
arrangements with infrastructure owners and rail operators should also 
be included.
     Illustrative topics dealing with public benefits--The SDP 
includes a description of user and non-user benefits and, to the extent 
readily quantifiable, the estimated economic value of those benefits, 
with particular attention to topics prominent in ARRA, i.e., job 
creation and retention and potential energy savings.
     Illustrative topics dealing with program implementation--
The SDP presents a Service Development Program schedule for carrying 
out each phase; a preliminary description of the intended techniques of 
project management that will assure quality, cost, and budget control; 
and the financing and organizational plans for carrying out the 
proposed strategy.
    If the High-Speed Rail/Intercity Passenger Rail service 
contemplated under the SDP makes use of facilities that would be shared 
with freight, commuter rail, or other Intercity Passenger Rail 
services, the existing and future characteristics of those services--as 
developed cooperatively with freight, commuter, and Intercity Passenger 
Rail partners--would need to be integral to the High-Speed Rail/
Intercity Passenger Rail SDP. In particular, the SDP needs to show how 
the proposed Service Development Program will protect the quality of 
those other services through a planning horizon year and under 
assumptions mutually agreed to with the other partners.

Appendix 2.2 Preliminary Engineering (PE)

    PE completion is a prerequisite for projects submitted under Track 
1--FD/Construction projects, Track 2--Programs, and Track 4. PE entails 
sufficient engineering design to define a project, including 
identification of all environmental impacts, design of all critical 
project elements at a level sufficient to assure reliable cost 
estimates and schedules (in turn sufficient to complete project 
management and financial plans), and definition of procurement 
requirements and strategies.
    The PE development process starts with the evaluation of project 
design alternatives (a range of rail improvements, specific alignments, 
and project designs) sufficient to support subsequent NEPA analysis. 
The NEPA environmental determination is a prerequisite for FRA to 
obligate

[[Page 29923]]

construction funds. As with the SDP, FRA acknowledges the complexity of 
the work required for PE, and that it will vary depending on the 
project scope. Thus, FRA does not pre-determine the form and structure 
of the PE work. FRA has opted to specify the illustrative contents of 
PE--thus allowing the applicant discretion to pursue the most workable 
approach tailored to its needs and suitable for the proposed project.
    PE results in detailed estimates of project costs, benefits, and 
impacts of the preferred alternative that merit a higher degree of 
confidence than those prepared in earlier stages of planning. FRA 
considers that PE for a major capital investment project is complete 
when:
     The signed environmental Record of Decision (ROD) or 
Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) signals that the NEPA process 
has been completed;
     The project scope, capital cost estimates, and financial 
plan are finalized;
     The project sponsor has adequately demonstrated its 
technical capability to advance the project into FD and construction;
     The project sponsor has adequately demonstrated its 
process and schedule for filing any safety regulatory waivers necessary 
to implement the project; and
     The project sponsor has provided an adequate system safety 
program plan and any necessary collision/derailment hazard analysis.
    The products of PE will include: engineering designs; a detailed 
project description, including provisions for compliance with the ADA; 
a highly accurate project cost estimate (including a description of 
methodologies and assumptions employed in developing the estimate) that 
identifies major components and that includes contingencies that are 
reduced from previous estimates and are broken down by phase and 
functional area, a thorough project management plan suitable for this 
phase of project development; and a solid project financial plan that 
includes Federal and non-Federal funding committed to the project.
    PE documentation will typically include: (1) Scale maps or scale 
aerial photography of existing conditions at a scale of one inch = 100 
to 500 feet depending on location (built-up vs. undeveloped areas); and 
(2) design plan drawings overlaid on the maps/photography. These design 
drawings will typically show: (i) Existing railroad right-of-way limits 
along with the railroad ownership; (ii) Proposed track changes 
including track removals and track installations showing track centers, 
turnout sizes, curve and spiral data, etc.; (iii) Vertical profiles and 
grades of existing and proposed construction; (iv) Public and private 
at-grade highway crossings; and (v) Passenger stations, building(s), 
platforms, parking, access to the primary highway system in the area, 
and public transit services and facilities.
    The detailed project description developed in the PE typically 
includes an assessment of the physical condition and location of the 
existing project area (generally two to three miles beyond the project 
construction limits) and elements associated with the design(s). These 
elements may include: bridges (rail and highway); track including the 
number and location of previously existing railroad tracks on a 
roadbed; buildings (stations and maintenance facilities, etc.); signal 
systems and interlocked detectors, switches, derails, and snow melters; 
utility systems on, over, adjacent to or under the rail line and 
agreements concerning them; electrification systems, if any; 
description of highway crossing warning systems (if any) and daily 
traffic counts at public and private at-grade highway crossings; 
existing and proposed railroad operations and routes of freight, 
commuter and intercity trains with train daily numbers of trains by 
type; a safety and security management plan; and STRACNET routes and/or 
moves for commercial high and wide loads. For maintenance facilities, 
the PE outputs will describe and provide drawings that show the 
location, track and facility layout, specialized equipment (if any), 
office and employee welfare facilities, etc.
    FRA will be available, subject to available resources, to assist 
applicants in clarifying whether the PE is complete and encourages 
applicants to contact FRA to discuss PE.

Appendix 3: Additional Information on Award Administration and Grant 
Conditions

Appendix 3.1 Award Notices

    Upon approval of an application, notification will be sent to the 
grant recipient through GrantSolutions that the award is waiting 
acceptance.
    FRA will publicly announce selected projects and funding levels. 
For projects that were not selected, FRA will notify the applicant of 
its decision and provide the following:
     Suggestions on application revisions for any subsequent 
resubmission rounds (if desired by applicant); and
     Guidance regarding subsequent rounds (i.e., new/revised 
guidance, application due dates)

Appendix 3.2 Administrative and National Policy Requirements

    FRA will make funds available to the grant recipient through a 
grant or cooperative agreement. FRA will decide which vehicle to use 
based upon the level of anticipated FRA involvement in the project. FRA 
will use a grant agreement where limited Federal involvement is 
anticipated and a cooperative agreement in those situations involving 
greater Federal participation.
    Below is a discussion of some of the more important specific 
requirements that are a feature of FRA's typical grant agreement and 
will likely be included in every grant agreement under this program 
(FRA's use of the term grant herein is intended to encompass both grant 
and cooperative agreements):
Appendix 3.2.1 Contracting Information
    A grant recipient's procurement of goods and services must comply 
with the Procurement Standards requirements set forth at 49 CFR 18.36 
or 49 CFR 19.40 through 19.48, whichever is applicable depending on the 
type of grantee (part 18 covers State and local governments and part 19 
covers non-profit and for-profit entities), and with applicable 
supplementary U.S. DOT or FRA directives or regulations.
Appendix 3.2.2 Compliance With Federal Civil Rights Laws and 
Regulations
    The grant recipient must comply with all civil rights laws and 
regulations, in accordance with applicable Federal directives, except 
to the extent that the FRA determines otherwise in writing. These 
include, but are not limited to, the following: (a) Title VI of the 
Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Pub. L. 88-352) (as implemented by 49 CFR 
part 21), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or 
national origin; (b) Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as 
amended (20 U.S.C. 1681-1683, and 1685-1686), which prohibits 
discrimination on the basis of sex, (c) Section 504 of the 
Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. 794), which prohibits 
discrimination on the basis of handicaps; (d) the Age Discrimination 
Act of 1975, as amended (42 U.S.C. 1601-1607), which prohibits 
discrimination on the basis of age; (e) the Drug Abuse Office and 
Treatment Act of 1972 (Pub. L. 92-255), as amended, relating to 
nondiscrimination on the basis of drug abuse; (f) the

[[Page 29924]]

Comprehensive Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Prevention, Treatment and 
Rehabilitation Act of 1970 (Pub. L. 91-616), as amended, relating to 
nondiscrimination on the basis of alcohol abuse or alcoholism; (g) 
Sec. Sec.  523 and 527 of the Public Health Service Act of 1912 (42 
U.S.C. 290 dd-3 and 290 ee-3), as amended, relating to confidentiality 
of alcohol and drug abuse patient records; (h) Title VIII of the Civil 
Rights Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3601 et seq.), as amended, relating to 
nondiscrimination in the sale, rental, or financing of housing, (i) 49 
U.S.C. 306, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, 
national origin, or sex in railroad financial assistance programs; (j) 
any other nondiscrimination provisions in the specific statute(s) under 
which application for Federal assistance was made; and (k) the 
requirements of any other nondiscrimination statute(s) which may apply 
to the grant recipient. Grant recipients must comply with all 
regulations, guidelines, and standards adopted under the above 
statutes. The grant recipient is also required to submit information, 
as required, to the FRA Office of Civil Rights concerning its 
compliance with these laws and implementing regulations, and its 
activities implementing a grant award.
Appendix 3.2.3 Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE)
    The FRA encourages its grant recipients to utilize small business 
concerns owned and controlled by socially and economically 
disadvantaged individuals (as that term is defined for other DOT 
operating administrations at 49 CFR part 26) in carrying out projects 
funded under ARRA, although FRA grant recipients are not required to do 
so. The DOT DBE regulation (49 CFR part 26) only applies to certain 
categories of Federal highway, Federal transit, and airport funds. The 
FRA is not covered under the DOT DBE regulations. The procurement 
standards applicable to grant recipients require grant recipients and 
subgrantees to take all necessary affirmative steps to assure that 
minority firms, women's business enterprises and labor surplus area 
firms are used when possible (see 49 CFR 18.36(e) and 19.44(b)). The 
grant recipient is also required to submit information as required to 
the FRA Office of Civil Rights concerning its activities with respect 
to DBEs in implementing a grant award.
Appendix 3.2.4 Assurances and Certifications
    Upon acceptance of the grant by the FRA all certifications and 
assurances provided by the grant recipient through the application 
process are incorporated in and become part of the grant agreement. 
Applicable Assurance and Certification forms include SF 424(A)/(B), 
SF424(C)/(D) and FRA's Assurances and Certification form. The OMB 
Standard Forms can be accessed at http://www.forms.gov. The FRA 
Assurances and Certifications Document is available at http://www.fra.dot.gov/downloads/admin/assurancesandcertifications.pdf.
Appendix 3.2.5 Debarment and Suspension; and Drug-Free Workplace
    Grant recipients must obtain certifications on debarment and 
suspension for all third party contractors and subgrantees and comply 
with all DOT regulations, ``Nonprocurement Suspension and Debarment'' 
(2 CFR part 1200) and ``Governmentwide Requirements for Drug-Free 
Workplace (Grants),'' (49 CFR part 32).
Appendix 3.2.6 Safety Oversight
    Grant recipients must comply with any Federal regulations, laws, 
policy and other guidance that FRA or DOT may issue pertaining to 
safety oversight in general, and in the performance of any grant award, 
in particular. FRA has in place a comprehensive system of railroad 
safety oversight (see 49 CFR part 209 et seq.) that is applicable to 
railroad operations generally.
Appendix 3.2.7 Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
    Grant recipients must agree to use funds provided under the grant 
agreement in a manner consistent with the requirements of Title II of 
the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, as amended; Section 
504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. 794); and 
both statutes' implementing regulations at 49 CFR parts 27, 37, and 38. 
DOT (through its delegate FRA) has responsibility to offer technical 
assistance for the provisions of the ADA about which it issues 
regulations. 42 U.S.C. 12206(c)(1) reads: ``Each Federal agency that 
has responsibility under paragraph (2) for implementing this chapter 
may render technical assistance to individuals and institutions that 
have rights or duties under the respective subchapters of this chapter 
for which such agency has responsibility.'' Grant recipients are 
strongly encouraged to seek FRA's technical assistance with regard to 
the accessible features of passenger rail systems, to include 
accessibility at stations and on railcars. FRA believes such technical 
assistance is essential where interpretation of DOT's regulatory 
requirements is necessary and/or before the creation of any new rail 
system.
Appendix 3.2.8 Environmental Protection
    All facilities that will be used to perform work under an award 
shall not be so used unless the facilities are designed and equipped to 
limit water and air pollution in accordance with all applicable local, 
State and Federal standards.
    Grant recipients will conduct work under an award, and will require 
that work that is conducted as a result of an award be in compliance 
with the following provisions, as modified from time to time: Section 
114 of the Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. 7414, and Section 308 of the 
Federal Water Pollution Control Act, 33 U.S.C. 1318, and all 
regulations issued there under. Through the grant agreement, grant 
recipients will certify that no facilities that will be used to perform 
work under an award are listed on the List of Violating Facilities 
maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Grant 
recipients will be required to notify the Administrator as soon as it 
or any contractor or subcontractor receives any communication from the 
EPA indicating that any facility which will be used to perform work 
pursuant to an award is under consideration to be listed on the EPA's 
List of Violating Facilities; provided, however, that the grant 
recipient's duty of notification shall extend only to those 
communications of which it is aware, or should reasonably have been 
aware. Grant recipients will need to include or cause to be included in 
each contract or subcontract entered into, which contract or 
subcontract exceeds Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00) in connection 
with work performed pursuant to an award, the criteria and requirements 
of this section and an affirmative covenant requiring such contractor 
or subcontractor to immediately inform the grant recipient upon the 
receipt of a communication from the EPA concerning the matters set 
forth herein.
Appendix 3.2.9 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
    Specific NEPA-related guidance is included in Section 1.6 of this 
guidance. The following is a description of FRA's general or standard 
grant provision on NEPA compliance.
    Generally, grant recipients may not expend any of the funds 
provided in an award on construction or other activities that represent 
an irretrievable commitment of resources to a particular

[[Page 29925]]

course of action affecting the environment until after all 
environmental and historic preservation analyses required by the 
National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4332) (NEPA), the National 
Historic Preservation Act (16 U.S.C. 470(f)) (NHPA), and related laws 
and regulations have been completed and the FRA has provided the grant 
recipient with a written notice authorizing them to proceed.
    In instances where NEPA approval has not been secured at the time 
of grant award, grant recipients are required to assist the FRA in its 
compliance with the provisions of NEPA, the Council on Environmental 
Quality's regulations implementing NEPA (40 CFR part 1500 et seq.), 
FRA's ``Procedures for Considering Environmental Impacts'' (45 FR 
40854, June 16, 1980), as revised May 26, 1999, 64 FR 28545), Section 
106 of the NHPA, and related environmental and historic preservation 
statutes and regulations. As a condition of receiving financial 
assistance under an award, grant recipients may be required to conduct 
certain environmental analyses and to prepare and submit to the FRA 
draft documents required under NEPA, NHPA, and related statutes and 
regulations (including draft environmental assessments and proposed 
draft and final environmental impact Statements).
    No publicly-owned land from a park, recreational area, or wildlife 
or waterfowl refuge of national, State, or local significance as 
determined by the Federal, State, or local officials having 
jurisdiction thereof, or any land from an historic site of national, 
State or local significance as so determined by such officials shall be 
used by grant recipients without the prior written concurrence of FRA. 
Grant recipients shall assist the FRA in complying with these 
requirements of 49 U.S.C. 303(c).
Appendix 3.2.10 Environmental Justice
    The grant recipient will be required to agree to facilitate 
compliance with the policies of Executive Order No. 12898, ``Federal 
Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and 
Low-Income Populations,'' 42 U.S.C. 4321 note, except to the extent 
that FRA determines otherwise in writing.
Appendix 3.2.11 Operating and Access Agreements
    As discussed in the guidance, grant recipients will be required to 
reach a written agreement, approved by FRA, with each of the railroads 
or other entity on whose property the project will be located. Among 
other things, such railroad/owner agreements shall specify terms and 
conditions regarding the following issues: responsibility for project 
design and implementation, project property ownership, maintenance 
responsibilities, and disposition responsibilities, and the owning 
entity's commitment to helping to achieve, to the extent it is capable, 
the anticipated project benefits. If an agreement between the grant 
recipient and the owner which substantially addresses the above-
referenced issues is already in place as of the date of execution of 
the grant agreement, the grant recipient will be required to submit it 
to FRA for FRA's review and determination of adequacy. However, if 
either no agreement is in place as of the date of execution of this 
Agreement, or if an existing agreement has been determined by FRA to be 
inadequate, the grant recipient shall, prior to the grant recipient's 
execution of an agreement with the owner, submit the final draft of 
such an agreement to FRA for FRA's review and approval. A finding by 
FRA that the required approved railroad/owner agreement(s) are in place 
is a prerequisite for reimbursement of construction-related project 
expenses.
Appendix 3.2.12 Real Property and Equipment Management, Discontinuance 
of Service, and Disposition Requirements
    The grant recipient will be required to ensure the maintenance of 
project property to the level of utility (including applicable FRA 
track safety standards) which existed when the project improvements 
were placed in service for a period of a minimum of 20 years from the 
date such project property was placed in service. In the event that all 
Intercity Passenger Rail service making use of the project property is 
discontinued during the 20-year period, the grant recipient will be 
required to continue to ensure the maintenance of the project property, 
as set forth above, for a period of one year to allow for the possible 
reintroduction of Intercity Passenger Rail service. In the event the 
grant recipient should fail to ensure the maintenance of project 
property, as set forth above, for a period of time in excess of six 
months, the grant recipient will be required to refund to FRA a pro-
rata share of the Federal contribution, based upon the percentage of 
the 20-year period remaining at the time of such original default.
    The grant recipient will also be required to acknowledge that the 
purpose of the project is to benefit Intercity Passenger Rail service. 
In the event that all Intercity Passenger Rail service making use of 
the project property is discontinued (for any reason) at any time 
during a period of 20 years from the date such project property was 
placed in service, as set forth above, and if such Intercity Passenger 
Rail service is not reintroduced during a one-year period following the 
date of such discontinuance, the grant recipient will be required to 
refund to FRA, no later than 18 months following the date of such 
discontinuance, a pro-rata share of the Federal contribution, based 
upon the percentage of the 20-year period remaining at the time of such 
discontinuance.

Appendix 3.3 ARRA-Specific Grant Requirements (Apply to ARRA-Funded 
Grants Only)

    ARRA contains several specific requirements associated with funding 
provided in that statute. These include:
Appendix 3.3.1 Prohibited Activities
    None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available in the 
grant agreement may be used by any State or local government, or any 
private entity, for any casino or other gambling establishment, 
aquarium, zoo, golf course, or swimming pool.
Appendix 3.3.2 Recovery Act Funding Announcement
    The grant recipient will be required to post a sign at all fixed 
project locations at the most publicly accessible location and a plaque 
in all purchased or rehabilitated rail cars announcing that the project 
or equipment was funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation, 
Federal Railroad Administration with funds provided through the 
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The configuration of the signs 
or plaques will be consistent with guidance issued by the Office of 
Management and Budget and/or the Department of Transportation and 
approved by the FRA.
Appendix 3.3.3 Certifications
    As a condition of award, to the extent applicable, grant recipients 
must comply with the Certification requirements of ARRA. These include 
Section 1201 (Maintenance of Effort); Section 1511 (Transparency and 
Oversight); and Section 1607 (Additional Funding Distribution and 
Assurance of Appropriate Use of Funds). These Certifications are 
described in following sections.

[[Page 29926]]

Section 1201(a): Maintenance of Effort
    By March 19, 2009, State Governors were required to certify to the 
Secretary of Transportation that the State would maintain its effort 
with regard to State funding for the types of projects funded by the 
appropriation, for each amount distributed to a State or a State agency 
under this program. As part of this Certification, the Governor was 
required to submit to the Secretary a statement identifying the amount 
of funds the State planned to expend from State sources as of February 
17, 2009, during the period between February 17, 2009 and September 30, 
2010, for the types of projects funded by the appropriation. The 
maintenance of effort requirement in section 1201(a) applies to any 
grant recipient that is a State government (or agency thereof) that 
planned, as of February 17, 2009, to expend State funds on the project 
receiving a High-Speed Rail/Intercity Passenger Rail grant under this 
guidance during the period between February 17, 2009, and September 30, 
2010.
Section 1511: Transparency and Oversight
    For grant funds made available to State or local governments for 
infrastructure investments, the Governor, mayor, or other chief 
executive, as appropriate, must certify that the infrastructure 
investment (1) received the full review and vetting required by law; 
and (2) that the chief executive accepts responsibility that it is an 
appropriate use of taxpayer dollars. This certification must be 
executed and posted on a Web site and linked to http://www.recovery.gov 
prior to the recipient of a High-Speed Rail/Intercity Passenger Rail 
grant receiving grant funds. If the project is not included in the 
STIP, a separate certification for the potential High-Speed Rail/
Intercity Passenger Rail project must be executed, attaching the 
relevant information or linking to a public Web site where the 
information may be obtained. This certification must include a 
description of the investment, the estimated total cost, and the amount 
of covered funds to be used, and must be posted online and linked to 
the Web site http://www.recovery.gov. The certification must also state 
that the projects have been properly reviewed and vetted and are an 
appropriate use of taxpayer dollars.
Section 1607: Additional Funding Distribution and Assurance of 
Appropriate Use of Funds
    Section 1607 required that Governors of States receiving funding 
under the Recovery Act certify by April 3, 2009, that, for grant funds 
provided to any State or State agency, the State would request and use 
the funds provided in the Recovery Act and that such funds would be 
used to create jobs and promote economic growth. Alternatively, the 
State legislature could have acted to accept such funds by the adoption 
of a concurrent resolution. States or State agencies ultimately 
receiving High-Speed Rail/Intercity Passenger Rail grant funds must 
ensure that this certification has been completed.
Submission of Certifications Under Sections 1201, 1511, and 1607
    All Certifications, once executed, shall be submitted to the 
Secretary of Transportation, c/o Joel Szabat, Deputy Assistant 
Secretary for Transportation Policy, at [email protected]. 
Certifications may be submitted via e-mail as electronic, scanned 
copies, with original signed versions to follow via U.S. mail. As 
required by ARRA, certifications under Section 1511 shall be 
immediately posted on a Web site and linked to the Web site http://www.recovery.gov.
Appendix 3.3.4 Whistleblower Protections
    The grant recipient will be required to provide the whistleblower 
protections required by Section 1553 of ARRA.
Appendix 3.3.5 False Claims Act
    The grant recipient and sub-recipients will be required to promptly 
refer to the DOT's Inspector General credible evidence that a 
principal, employee, agency, contractor, sub-contractor, or other 
person has submitted a false claim under the False Claims Act or has 
committed a criminal or civil violation of laws pertaining to fraud, 
conflict of interest, bribery, gratuity, or similar misconduct 
involving ARRA funds.
Appendix 3.3.6 Contracting Provisions
    To the maximum extent possible, contracts funded under ARRA shall 
be awarded as fixed-price contracts through the use of competitive 
procedures. Grant recipients will be required to provide a summary of 
any contract awarded with ARRA funds that is not fixed-price and not 
awarded using competitive procedures for posting on the Recovery 
Accountability and Transparency Board's Web site.
Appendix 3.4 Program-Specific Grant Requirements
    These apply to PRIIA-authorized grants, including ARRA grants only, 
and do not necessarily pertain to grants under Track 3 and Track 4 ARRA 
funding is provided through several existing FRA programs principally 
based on programs authorized in PRIIA, and PRIIA includes a number of 
additional program-specific grant requirements, including:
Appendix 3.4.1 Buy America
    Grant recipients must comply with the Buy America provisions set 
forth in 49 U.S.C. 24405(a) which specifically provide that the 
Secretary of Transportation may obligate ARRA funds for a High-Speed 
Rail/Intercity Passenger Rail or congestion project only if the steel, 
iron, and manufactured goods used in the project are produced in the 
United States. The Secretary (or the Secretary's delegate, the FRA 
Administrator) may waive this requirement if the Secretary finds that 
applying this requirement would be inconsistent with the public 
interest; the steel, iron, and goods produced in the United States are 
not produced in a sufficient and reasonably available amount or are not 
of a satisfactory quality; rolling stock or power train equipment 
cannot be bought and delivered in the United States within a reasonable 
time; or including domestic material will increase the cost of the 
overall project by more than 25 percent. For purposes of implementing 
these requirements, in calculating the components' costs, labor costs 
involved in final assembly shall not be included in the calculation. If 
the Secretary determines that it is necessary to waive the application 
of the Buy America requirements, the Secretary is required before the 
date on which such finding takes effect to publish in the Federal 
Register a detailed written justification as to why the waiver is 
needed; and provide notice of such finding and an opportunity for 
public comment on such finding, for a reasonable period of time, not to 
exceed 15 days. The Secretary may not make a waiver for goods produced 
in a foreign country if the Secretary, in consultation with the United 
States Trade Representative, decides that the government of that 
foreign country has an agreement with the United States Government 
under which the Secretary has waived the requirement of this 
subsection, and the government of that foreign country has violated the 
agreement by discriminating against goods to which this subsection 
applies that are produced in the United States and to which the 
agreement applies. The Buy America requirements described in this 
section shall only apply to projects for which the costs exceed 
$100,000.

[[Page 29927]]

Appendix 3.4.2 Operators Deemed Rail Carriers
    A person that conducts rail operations over rail infrastructure 
constructed or improved with funding provided in whole or in part in a 
grant made under this program shall be considered a rail carrier as 
defined in Section 49 U.S.C. 10102(5) for purposes of title 49 of the 
United States Code and any other statute that adopts the definition 
found in 49 U.S.C. 10102(5) including the Railroad Retirement Act of 
1974 (45 U.S.C. 231 et seq.); the Railway Labor Act (43 U.S.C. 151 et 
seq.); and the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act (45 U.S.C. 351 et 
seq.) (see 49 U.S.C. 24405(b))
Appendix 3.4.3 Railroad Agreements
    As a condition of receiving a grant under this program for a 
project that uses rights-of-way owned by a railroad, the grant 
recipient shall have in place a written agreement between the grant 
recipient and the railroad regarding such use and ownership, including 
any compensation for such use; assurances regarding the adequacy of 
infrastructure capacity to accommodate both existing and future freight 
and passenger operations; an assurance by the railroad that collective 
bargaining agreements with the railroad's employees (including terms 
regulating the contracting of work) will remain in full force and 
effect according to their terms for work performed by the railroad on 
the railroad transportation corridor; and an assurance that the grant 
recipient complies with liability requirements consistent with 49 
U.S.C. 28103. Grant recipients that use rights-of-way owned by a 
railroad must comply with FRA guidance regarding how to establish a 
written agreement between the applicant and the railroad regarding use 
and ownership as discussed in Appendix 3.2.11. (See 49 U.S.C. 
24405(c)).
Appendix 3.4.4 Labor Protection
    As a condition of receiving a grant under this program for a 
project that uses rights-of-way owned by a railroad, the grant 
recipient must agree to comply with the standards of 49 U.S.C. 24312, 
as such section was in effect on September 1, 2003, with respect to the 
project in the same manner that Amtrak is required to comply with those 
standards for construction work financed under an agreement made under 
49 U.S.C. 24308(a) and the protective arrangements established under 
Section 504 of the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 
1976 (45 U.S.C. 836) with respect to employees affected by actions 
taken in connection with the project to be financed in whole or in part 
by grants under this program. (see 49 U.S.C. 24405(c)).
Appendix 3.4.5 Davis-Bacon Act
    Projects funded through ARRA are required to comply with the Davis-
Bacon Act (40 U.S.C. 3141 et seq.). The Davis-Bacon Act is a measure 
that fixes a floor under wages on Federal government projects and 
provides, in pertinent part, that the minimum wages to be paid for 
classes of workers under a contract for the construction, alteration, 
and/or repair of a Federal public building or public work, must be 
based upon wage rates determined by the Secretary of Labor to be 
prevailing for corresponding classes of workers employed on projects of 
a character similar to the contract work in the civil subdivision of 
the State in which the work is to be performed.
    Two provisos related to the Davis-Bacon Act are included in ARRA 
related to HSIPR service. The first requires that funded projects must 
comply with the requirements of subchapter IV of chapter 31 of title 
40, United States Code. The second provides that 49 U.S.C. 24405 shall 
also apply to the funded projects. The first proviso mandates 
compliance with the Davis-Bacon Act generally since it is included in 
subchapter IV of Chapter 31 of title 40. The second proviso also 
mandates compliance the Davis-Bacon Act through subsection 24405(c) 
which provides that the Secretary shall require as a condition of 
making any grant that uses rights-of-way owned by a railroad that the 
applicant agree to comply with the standards of Section 24312 of title 
49 with respect to the project in the same manner that Amtrak is 
required to comply with those standards for construction work financed 
under an agreement made under 49 U.S.C. 24308(a). Section 24312 
provides that Amtrak shall ensure that laborers and mechanics employed 
by contractors and subcontractors in construction work financed under 
an agreement made under Section 24308 will be paid wages not less than 
those prevailing on similar construction in the locality, as determined 
by the Secretary of Labor under Sections 3141-3144, 3146 and 3147 of 
title 40 and that wages in a collective bargaining agreement negotiated 
under the Railway Labor Act are deemed to comply with Sections 3141-
3144, 3146, and 3147 of title 40. Section 24308 authorizes Amtrak to 
enter into agreements with rail carriers or regional transportation 
authorities to use facilities of and have services provided by the 
carrier or authority under terms on which the parties agree.
    FRA has concluded that the two Davis-Bacon requirements can be 
reconciled in a manner that allows the HSIPR Program to be implemented 
in a way that is both reasonable and consistent with current practices. 
For projects that use or propose to use rights-of-way owned by a 
railroad, the specific provisions of 24405(c) would apply and 
applicants would be required to comply with the standards of 49 U.S.C. 
24312 (prevailing wages) in the same manner that Amtrak is required to 
comply with those standards for construction projects it might 
undertake. It follows that wages in a collective bargaining agreement 
negotiated under the Railway Labor Act would be deemed to comply with 
Davis-Bacon Act requirements for these projects. For projects that do 
not propose to use rights-of-way owned by a railroad, normal Davis-
Bacon Act requirements would apply and there would be no specific 
exemption for wages arrived at through a collective bargaining 
agreement negotiated under the Railway Labor Act. Wage rates on these 
projects would have to meet the Secretary of Labor's prevailing wage 
standards as described above.
Appendix 3.4.6 Project Labor Agreements
    Executive Order 13502, Use of Project Labor Agreements for Federal 
Construction Projects, issued by President Obama on February 6, 2009, 
authorizes Federal agencies in awarding any contract in connection with 
large-scale Federal government construction projects to, on a project-
by-project basis, require the use of a project labor agreement by a 
contractor where use of such an agreement will (i) advance the Federal 
Government's interest in achieving economy and efficiency in Federal 
procurement, producing labor-management stability, and ensuring 
compliance with laws and regulations governing safety and health, equal 
employment opportunity, labor and employment standards, and other 
matters, and (ii) be consistent with law. At this time, the Executive 
Order does not apply directly to recipients of financial assistance to 
either require or preclude the use of a project labor agreement. 
Rather, the Order directs the Director of OMB, in consultation with the 
Secretary of Labor and with other officials as appropriate, to provide 
the President within 180 days of the date of the Order (August 5, 2009) 
with recommendations about whether broader use of project labor 
agreements, with respect to both construction

[[Page 29928]]

projects undertaken under Federal contracts and construction projects 
receiving Federal financial assistance, would help to promote the 
economical, efficient, and timely completion of such projects. FRA will 
issue additional guidance to applicants following submission of the 
required report and any further action by the President or OMB.
Appendix 3.4.7 Replacement of Existing Intercity Passenger Rail Service
    Grant recipients providing Intercity Passenger Rail transportation 
that begins operations after October 16, 2008 on a project funded in 
whole or in part by grants made under this program, that replaces 
Intercity Passenger Rail service that was provided by Amtrak, unless 
such service was provided solely by Amtrak to another entity as of such 
date, are required to enter into a series of agreements with the 
authorized bargaining agent or agents for adversely affected employees 
of the predecessor provider. (see 49 U.S.C. 24405(d)).

Appendix 3.5 General Requirements

Appendix 3.5.1 Standard Reporting Requirements
     Progress Reports--Progress reports must accompany each 
request for payment, and at a minimum are to be submitted quarterly. 
These reports shall relate the state of completion of items in the 
scope of work to expenditures of the relevant budget elements. The 
grant recipient shall furnish the quarterly progress report to the FRA 
on or before the 30th calendar day of the month following the end of 
the quarter being reported. Each quarterly report shall set forth 
concise statements concerning activities relevant to the project, and 
shall include, but not be limited to, the following: (a) An account of 
significant progress (findings, events, trends, etc.) made during the 
reporting period; (b) a description of any technical and/or cost 
problem(s) encountered or anticipated that will affect completion of 
the grant within the time and fiscal constraints as set forth in this 
agreement, together with recommended solutions or corrective action 
plans (with dates) to such problems, or identification of specific 
action that is required by the FRA, or a statement that no problems 
were encountered; and (c) an outline of work and activities planned for 
the next reporting period.
     Quarterly Financial Status Report (SF-269)--Grant 
recipients must report obligations and expenditures on a quarterly 
basis using the SF-269, which is due within 30 days of the end of each 
calendar quarter (e.g., for quarter ending March 31, the SF-269 is due 
no later than April 30). A report must be submitted for every quarter 
of the period of performance, including partial calendar quarters, as 
well as for periods where no grant activity occurs. The final SF-269 is 
due 90 days after the end date of the period of performance. Financial 
Status Reports (SF-269) must be filed online through GrantSolutions.
     Quarterly Federal Cash Transactions Report--Grant 
recipients will be required to submit a SF-272, Federal Cash 
Transaction Report (and when necessary the continuation sheet SF-272a), 
for grants paid by Treasury Check Advances, or Electronic Transfer of 
Funds. FRA will use this report to monitor cash advanced to the Grantee 
and to obtain disbursement or outlay information. Forecasts of Federal 
cash outlays are required in the ``Remarks'' section of the report. 
Grantees will furnish the quarterly Federal cash transaction report to 
the FRA on or before the 30th calendar day of the month following the 
end of the quarter being reported.
     Interim and/or Final Report(s)--Upon project completion, 
grant recipients will be required to furnish to the FRA a Summary 
Project Report detailing the results and benefits of the grant 
recipient's improvement efforts due by the expiration date of the 
grant.
Appendix 3.5.2 ARRA-Specific Reporting Requirements
     ARRA Section 1201 Report--Periodic Reports--Each grant 
recipient will be required to submit periodic reports to the FRA as 
described in this paragraph not later than February 17, 2010, February 
17, 2011, and February 17, 2012. The Periodic Reports shall include 
information describing: (1) The amount of Federal funds appropriated, 
allocated, obligated, and outlayed under the grant agreement; (2) the 
number of projects that have been put out to bid under the grant 
agreement and the amount of Federal funds associated with such 
projects; (3) the number of projects for which contracts have been 
awarded under the grant agreement and the amount of Federal funds 
associated with such contracts; (4) the number of projects for which 
work has begun under such contracts and the amount of Federal funds 
associated with such contracts; (5) the number of projects for which 
work has been completed under such contracts and the amount of Federal 
funds associated with such contracts; (6) the number of direct, on-
project jobs created or sustained by the Federal funds provided for 
projects under the grant agreement and, to the extent possible, the 
estimated indirect jobs created or sustained in the associated 
supplying industries, including the number of jobs created and the 
total increase in employment since February 17, 2009; and (7) 
information tracking the actual aggregate expenditures by the grant 
recipient from its own sources for projects eligible for funding under 
this agreement during the period beginning on February 17, 2009 through 
September 30, 2010, as compared to the level of such expenditures that 
were planned to occur during such period as of February 17, 2009. DOT 
or FRA may issue additional guidance on the preparation and submission 
of Periodic Reports.
     Section 1512(c)--Jobs Accountability Reports--Not later 
than 10 days after the end of each quarter, each grant recipient will 
be required to submit a Jobs Accountability Report to the FRA that 
contains: (1) The total amount of ARRA funds received pursuant to this 
agreement; (2) the amount of ARRA funds received that were expended or 
obligated to projects or activities; and (3) a detailed list of all 
projects or activities for which ARRA funds were expended or obligated, 
including--(A) the name of the project or activity; (B) a description 
of the project or activity; (C) an evaluation of the completion status 
of the project or activity; (D) an estimate of the number of jobs 
created and the number of jobs retained by the project or activity; and 
(E) detailed information on any subcontracts or subgrants awarded by 
the grant recipient to include the data elements required to comply 
with the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 
(Pub. L. 109-282), allowing aggregate reporting on awards below $25,000 
or to individuals, as prescribed by the Director of OMB. OMB may issue 
additional guidance on the preparation and submission of Jobs 
Accountability Reports. The grant recipient must also register with the 
CCR database or complete other registration requirements as determined 
by the Director of OMB.
     Section 1609: Environmental Reporting--Section 1609(c) of 
ARRA requires that Federal agencies report via the President 
(specifically, to the White House Council on Environmental Quality) 
every 90 days following enactment of ARRA on the status of projects 
funded under ARRA with respect to compliance with NEPA. Grant 
recipients may be requested to submit information to assist FRA in 
completing this report.
     Additional Information--To satisfy the purposes of the 
ARRA, grant recipients may be required to provide

[[Page 29929]]

additional information in response to requests from OMB, the 
Congressional Budget Office, the Government Accountability Office, or 
the Department's Inspector General. FRA will inform grant recipients if 
and when such additional reports or information are required.
Appendix 3.5.3 Audit Requirements
    Grant recipients that expend $500,000 or more of Federal funds 
during their fiscal year are required to submit an organization-wide 
financial and compliance audit report. The audit must be performed in 
accordance with U.S. General Accountability Office, Government Auditing 
Standards, located at http://www.gao.gov/govaud/ybk01.htm, and OMB 
Circular A-133, Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit 
Organizations, located at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars/a133/a133.html. Audit reports are currently to be submitted to the Federal 
Audit Clearinghouse no later than nine months after the end of the 
recipient's fiscal year. In addition, FRA and the Comptroller General 
of the United States shall have access to any books, documents, and 
records of grant recipients for audit and examination purposes. The 
grant recipient will also give FRA or the Comptroller, through any 
authorized representative, access to, and the right to examine all 
records, books, papers or documents related to the grant. Grant 
recipients shall require that sub-grantees comply with the audit 
requirements set forth in OMB Circular A-133. Grant recipients are 
responsible for ensuring that sub-recipient audit reports are received 
and for resolving any audit findings.
Appendix 3.5.4 Monitoring Requirements
    Grant recipients will be monitored periodically by FRA, both 
programmatically and financially, to ensure that the project goals, 
objectives, performance requirements, timelines, milestone completion, 
budgets, and other related program criteria are being met. Monitoring 
will be accomplished through a combination of office-based reviews and 
onsite monitoring visits. Monitoring will involve the review and 
analysis of the financial, programmatic, performance and administrative 
issues relative to each program and will identify areas where technical 
assistance and other support may be needed. The recipient is 
responsible for monitoring award activities, to include sub-awards, to 
provide reasonable assurance that the Federal award is administered in 
compliance with requirements. Responsibilities include the accounting 
of recipients and expenditures, cash management, maintaining of 
adequate financial records, and refunding expenditures disallowed by 
audits.
Appendix 3.5.5 Closeout Process
    Project closeout occurs when all required project work and all 
administrative procedures described in 49 CFR part 18, or 49 CFR part 
19, as applicable, have been completed, and when FRA notifies the grant 
recipient and forwards the final Federal assistance payment, or when 
FRA acknowledges the grant recipient's remittance of the proper refund. 
Project closeout shall not invalidate any continuing obligations 
imposed on the Grantee by an award or by the FRA's final notification 
or acknowledgment. Within 90 days of the Project completion date or 
termination by FRA, Grantees agree to submit a final Financial Status 
Report (Standard Form 269), a certification or summary of project 
expenses, and third party audit reports, as applicable.

Appendix 3.6 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

    As a Federal agency, the FRA is subject to the Freedom of 
Information Act (FOIA) (5 U.S.C. 552), which generally provides that 
any person has a right, enforceable in court, to obtain access to 
Federal agency records, except to the extent that such records (or 
portions of them) are protected from public disclosure by one of nine 
exemptions or by one of three special law enforcement record 
exclusions. Grant applications and related materials submitted by 
applicants pursuant to this guidance would become agency records and 
thus subject to the FOIA and to public release through individual FOIA 
requests. ARRA also mandates broad public dissemination of information 
related to the expenditure of funds through reporting requirements and 
website postings that are addressed in other sections of this guidance. 
President Obama's March 20, 2009 Memorandum for the Heads of Executive 
Departments and Agencies on Ensuring Responsible Spending of Recovery 
Act Funds mandates the strongest possible efforts to ensure public 
transparency and accountability of ARRA expenditures. Consistent with 
these mandates, it is FRA's intention to employ a transparent process 
in distributing and overseeing the expenditure of ARRA funds. FRA also 
recognizes that certain information submitted in support of an 
application for funding in accordance with this guidance could be 
exempt from public release under FOIA as a result of the application of 
one of the FOIA exemptions, most particularly Exemption 4, which 
protects trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained 
from a person that is privileged or confidential (5 U.S.C. 552(b)(4)). 
In the context of this grant program, commercial or financial 
information obtained from a person could be confidential if disclosure 
is likely to cause substantial harm to the competitive position of the 
person from whom the information was obtained (see National Parks & 
Conservation Ass'n v. Morton, 498 F.2d 765, 770 (D.C. Cir. 1974)). 
Entities seeking exempt treatment must provide a detailed statement 
supporting and justifying their request and should follow FRA's 
existing procedures for requesting confidential treatment in the 
railroad safety context found at 49 CFR 209.11. As noted in the 
Department's FOIA implementing regulation (49 CFR part 7), the burden 
is on the entity requesting confidential treatment to identify all 
information for which exempt treatment is sought and to persuade the 
agency that the information should not be disclosed (see 49 CFR 7.17). 
The final decision as to whether the information meets the standards of 
Exemption 4 rests with the FRA.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on June 17, 2009.
Joseph C. Szabo,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. E9-14692 Filed 6-22-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-06-P