Notice of Funding Opportunity for Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements, 7528-7538 [2018-03534]

Download as PDF 7528 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 35 / Wednesday, February 21, 2018 / Notices Notice of request for extension of currently approved information collection. ACTION: The FHWA invites public comments about our intention to request the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) approval for renewal of an existing information collection that is summarized below under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. We are required to publish this notice in the Federal Register by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. DATES: Please submit comments by April 23, 2018. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by DOT Docket ID Number 2018–0010 by any of the following methods: Website: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Fax: 1–202–493–2251. Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590–0001. Hand Delivery or Courier: U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael Howell, 202–366–5707, Office of Information and Management Service, Federal Highway Administration, Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Title: Generic Clearance for the Collection of Qualitative Feedback on Agency Service Delivery. Background: The information collection activity will garner qualitative customer and stakeholder feedback in an efficient, timely manner, in accordance with the Administration’s commitment to improving service delivery. By qualitative feedback we mean information that provides useful insights on perceptions and opinions, but are not statistical surveys that yield quantitative results that can be generalized to the population of study. This feedback will provide insights into customer or stakeholder perceptions, experiences and expectations, provide an early warning of issues with service, daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:57 Feb 20, 2018 Jkt 244001 or focus attention on areas where communication, training or changes in operations might improve delivery of products or services. These collections will allow for ongoing, collaborative and actionable communications between the Agency and its customers and stakeholders. It will also allow feedback to contribute directly to the improvement of program management. Feedback collected under this generic clearance will provide useful information, but it will not yield data that can be generalized to the overall population. This type of generic clearance for qualitative information will not be used for quantitative information collections that are designed to yield reliably actionable results, such as monitoring trends over time or documenting program performance. Such data uses require more rigorous designs that address: The target population to which generalizations will be made, the sampling frame, the sample design (including stratification and clustering), the precision requirements or power calculations that justify the proposed sample size, the expected response rate, methods for assessing potential nonresponse bias, the protocols for data collection, and any testing procedures that were or will be undertaken prior to fielding the study. Depending on the degree of influence the results are likely to have, such collections may still be eligible for submission for other generic mechanisms that are designed to yield quantitative results. Below we provide FHWA’s projected average estimates for the next three years: Respondents: State and local governments, highway industry organizations, and the general public. Estimated Average Annual Burden: The burden hours per response will vary with each survey; however, we estimate an average burden of 15 minutes for each survey. Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: We estimate that FHWA will survey approximately 21,000 respondents annually during the next 3 years. Therefore, the estimated total annual burden is 5,200 hours. Authority: The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995; 44 U.S.C. Chapter 35, as amended; and 49 CFR 1.48. Issued on: February 13, 2018. Michael Howell, Information Collection Officer. [FR Doc. 2018–03501 Filed 2–20–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–22–P PO 00000 Frm 00079 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Railroad Administration Notice of Funding Opportunity for Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Notice of funding opportunity (NOFO or notice). AGENCY: This notice details the application requirements and procedures to obtain grant 1 funding for eligible projects under the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program. CRISI Program funding is provided by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017, Div. K, Tit I, Public Law 115–31, (Appropriations Act). The opportunities described in this notice are available under Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number 20.325, ‘‘Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements.’’ DATES: Applications for funding under this solicitation are due no later than 5:00 p.m. EDT, June 21, 2018. Applications for funding or supplemental material in support of an application received after 5:00 p.m. EDT on June 21, 2018 will not be considered for funding. Incomplete applications will not be considered for funding. See Section D of this notice for additional information on the application process. ADDRESSES: Applications must be submitted via www.Grants.gov. Only applicants who comply with all submission requirements described in this notice and submit applications through www.Grants.gov will be eligible for award. For any supporting application materials that an applicant is unable to submit via www.Grants.gov (such as oversized engineering drawings), an applicant may submit an original and two (2) copies to Ms. Amy Houser, Office of Program Delivery, Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room W36–412, Washington, DC 20590. However, 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 before the application deadline. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further project or program-related SUMMARY: 1 The term ‘‘grant’’ is used throughout this document and is intended to reference funding awarded through a grant agreement, as well as funding awarded through a cooperative agreement. E:\FR\FM\21FEN1.SGM 21FEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 35 / Wednesday, February 21, 2018 / Notices information in this notice, please contact Ms. Frances Bourne, Office of Policy and Planning, Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room W38–207, Washington, DC 20590; email: frances.bourne@dot.gov; phone: 202– 493–6366. Grant application submission and processing questions should be addressed to Ms. Amy Houser, Office of Program Delivery, Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room W36–412, Washington, DC 20590; email: amy.houser@dot.gov; phone: 202–493– 0303. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Notice to applicants: FRA recommends that applicants read this notice in its entirety prior to preparing application materials. A list providing the definitions of key terms used throughout the NOFO is in Section A(2) below. These key terms are capitalized throughout the NOFO. There are several administrative prerequisites and specific eligibility requirements described herein that applicants must comply with to submit an application. Additionally, applicants should note that the required Project Narrative component of the application package may not exceed 25 pages in length. Table of Contents: A. Program Description B. Federal Award Information C. Eligibility Information D. Application and Submission Information E. Application Review Information F. Federal Award Administration Information G. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES A. Program Description 1. Overview The U.S. rail network is central to the success of the American economy, carrying over 31.3 million passengers on Amtrak services and more than 1.6 billion tons of freight valued at nearly $600 billion. This program provides a comprehensive solution to fund Capital Project development and implementation to support infrastructure safety and improvements for both intercity passenger and freight railroads. Congress authorized this grant program for the Secretary to invest in a wide range of projects to improve railroad safety, efficiency, and reliability; mitigate congestion at both intercity passenger and freight rail chokepoints; enhance multi-modal connections; and lead to new or substantially improved Intercity Passenger Rail corridors. Additionally, the program includes rail safety projects, such as grade crossing VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:57 Feb 20, 2018 Jkt 244001 enhancements, rail line Relocations and Improvements, and positive train control (PTC) deployment. Funds are also available to support rail regional and corridor Planning and environmental analyses. The purpose of this notice is to solicit applications for competitive CRISI Program funding authorized under Section 11301 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, Public Law 114–94 (2015); 49 U.S.C. 24407 and funded in the Appropriations Act. The Appropriations Act did not include funding for projects described in 49 U.S.C. 24407 (c)(11) or (12). 2. Definitions of Key Terms a. ‘‘Benefit-Cost Analysis’’ (or ‘‘CostBenefit Analysis’’) is a systematic, data driven, and transparent analysis comparing monetized project benefits and costs, using a no-build baseline and properly discounted present values, including concise documentation of the assumptions and methodology used to produce the analysis; a description of the baseline, data sources used to project outcomes, and values of key input parameters; basis of modeling including spreadsheets, technical memos, etc.; and presentation of the calculations in sufficient detail and transparency to allow the analysis to be reproduced and sensitivity of results evaluated by FRA. Please refer to the Benefit-Cost Analysis Guidance for TIGER and INFRA Applications prior to preparing a BCA at https:// www.transportation.gov/office-policy/ transportation-policy/benefit-costanalysis-guidance. In addition, please also refer to the BCA FAQs on FRA’s website for some rail specific examples of how to apply the BCA Guidance for TIGER and INFRA Applications to CRISI applications. b. ‘‘Capital Project’’ means a project for: Acquiring, constructing, improving, or inspecting rail equipment, track and track structures, or a rail facility; expenses incidental to the acquisition or Construction including pre-construction activities (such as designing, engineering, location surveying, mapping, acquiring rights-of-way) and related relocation costs, environmental studies, and all work necessary for FRA to approve the project under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and related environmental laws and regulations; highway-rail grade crossing improvements; communication and signalization improvements; and rehabilitating, remanufacturing or overhauling rail rolling stock and facilities. c. ‘‘Construction’’ means the production of fixed works and PO 00000 Frm 00080 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 7529 structures or substantial alterations to such structures or land and associated costs. d. ‘‘Final Design (FD)’’ means design activities following Preliminary Engineering, and at a minimum, includes the preparation of final Construction plans, detailed specifications, and estimates sufficiently detailed to inform project stakeholders (designers, reviewers, contractors, suppliers, etc.) of the actions required to advance the project from design through completion of Construction. e. ‘‘Improvement’’ means repair or enhancement to existing Rail Infrastructure, or Construction of new Rail Infrastructure, that results in efficiency of the rail system and the safety of those affected by the system. f. ‘‘Initiation’’ or ‘‘Initiate’’ means commencing service on a route that did not previously operate Intercity Rail Passenger Transportation. g. ‘‘Intercity Rail Passenger Transportation’’ means rail passenger transportation, except commuter rail passenger transportation. See 49 U.S.C. 24401(3). In this notice, ‘‘Intercity Passenger Rail Service’’ and ‘‘Intercity Passenger Rail Transportation’’ are equivalent terms to ‘‘Intercity Rail Passenger Transportation.’’ h. ‘‘NEPA’’ is a Federal law that requires Federal agencies to assess the environmental impacts of a proposed action in consultation with appropriate federal, state, and local authorities, and with the public. The NEPA class of action depends on the nature of the proposed action, its complexity, and the potential impacts. For purposes of this NOFO, NEPA also includes all related Federal laws and regulations including Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act, Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. (See FRA’s Environmental Procedures at: https:// www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/details/L02561.) i. ‘‘Planning’’ means activities that support the development of a state or regional rail plan or a corridor service development plan. j. ‘‘Positive Train Control (PTC) system’’ is defined by 49 CFR 270.5 to mean a system designed to prevent train-to-train collisions, overspeed derailments, incursions into established work zone limits, and the movement of a train through a switch left in the wrong position, as described in 49 CFR part 236, subpart I. k. ‘‘Preliminary Engineering (PE)’’ means engineering design to: (1) Define a project, including identification of all environmental impacts, design of all critical project elements at a level E:\FR\FM\21FEN1.SGM 21FEN1 daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES 7530 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 35 / Wednesday, February 21, 2018 / Notices sufficient to assure reliable cost estimates and schedules, (2) complete project management and financial plans, and (3) identify procurement requirements and strategies. The PE development process starts with specific project design alternatives that allow for the assessment of a range of rail improvements, specific alignments, and project designs—to be used concurrent with project or service level NEPA and related analyses. PE occurs prior to FD and Construction. l. ‘‘Rail Carrier’’ means a person providing common carrier railroad transportation for compensation, but does not include street, suburban, or interurban electric railways not operated as part of the general system of rail transportation. See 49 U.S.C. 10102(5). m. ‘‘Railroad Infrastructure’’ means intermodal or rail facilities, including track, bridges, tunnels, rail yards, buildings, passenger stations, and maintenance and repair shops. In this NOFO, ‘‘Rail Infrastructure’’ is an equivalent term to ‘‘Railroad Infrastructure.’’ n. ‘‘Relocation’’ is defined by 49 CFR 262.3 to mean moving a rail line vertically or laterally to a new location. Vertical Relocation refers to raising above the current ground level or sinking below the current ground level of a rail line. Lateral Relocation refers to moving a rail line horizontally to a new location. o. ‘‘Restoration’’ means reinstating service to a route that formerly operated Intercity Rail Passenger Transportation. p. ‘‘Rural Project’’ means a project in which all or the majority of the project (determined by the geographic location or locations where the majority of the project funds will be spent) is located in a Rural Area. q. ‘‘Rural Area’’ is defined in 49 U.S.C. 24407(g)(2) to mean any area not in an urbanized area as defined by the Census Bureau. The Census Bureau defines Urbanized Area (UA) as an area with a population of 50,000 or more people.2 Updated lists of UAs as defined by the Census Bureau are available on the Census Bureau website at http:// www2.census.gov/geo/maps/dc10map/ UAUC_RefMap/ua/. r. ‘‘Tier 1 NEPA’’ includes the analysis and evaluation of the potential environmental impacts of an action at a broad level, such as a program concept for an entire corridor, and typically does not lead directly to project construction. It identifies the potential environmental 2 See 74 FR 53030, 53043 (August 24, 2011) available at https://www2.census.gov/geo/pdfs/ reference/fedreg/fedregv76n164.pdf. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:57 Feb 20, 2018 Jkt 244001 impacts of the alternatives being considered for the program, as well as the mitigations that may be needed to address the impacts. The potential environmental impacts and mitigations must be incorporated into each alternative that is evaluated. These are generally Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) that result in the identification of a preferred alternative. s. ‘‘Tier 2 NEPA’’ includes the required analysis and evaluation of the potential environmental impacts of an action at a project-specific level of detail. Tier 2 NEPA should be sufficient to support final design and construction activities and may include an EIS, an environmental assessment (EA), or a categorical exclusion (CE). B. Federal Award Information 1. Available Award Amount The total funding available for awards under this NOFO is $65,232,400 after $680,000 is set aside for FRA program oversight and $2,087,600 is set aside for Special Transportation Circumstances grants that are announced under a separate NOFO at www.GrantSolutions.gov. Under 49 U.S.C. 24407(g) at least $17 million must be made available for Rural Projects. The Appropriations Act directed FRA to award at least $10 million for projects under 49 U.S.C. 24407(c)(2) that contribute to the Initiation or Restoration of Intercity Passenger Rail Service. 2. Award Size There are no predetermined minimum or maximum dollar thresholds for awards. FRA anticipates making multiple awards with the available funding. FRA may not be able to award grants to all eligible applications, nor even to all applications that meet or exceed the stated evaluation criteria (see Section E, Application Review Information). Projects may require more funding than is available. FRA encourages applicants to propose projects or components of projects that have operational independence that can be completed and implemented with the level of CRISI funding available together with other sources. FRA strongly encourages applicants to identify and include other state, local, public, or private funding or financing to support the proposed project. 3. Award Type FRA will make awards for projects selected under this notice through grant agreements and/or cooperative agreements. Grant agreements are used when FRA does not expect to have PO 00000 Frm 00081 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 substantial Federal involvement in carrying out the funded activity. Cooperative agreements allow for substantial Federal involvement in carrying out the agreed upon investment, including technical assistance, review of interim work products, and increased program oversight. The funding provided under these cooperative agreements will be made available to grantees on a reimbursable basis. Applicants must certify that their expenditures are allowable, allocable, reasonable, and necessary to the approved project before seeking reimbursement from FRA. Additionally, the grantee is expected to expend matching funds at the required percentage alongside Federal funds throughout the life of the project. See an example of standard terms and conditions for FRA grant awards at: https://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/Details/ L19057. 4. Concurrent Applications As DOT and FRA are concurrently soliciting applications for transportation infrastructure projects for several financial assistance programs, applicants may submit applications requesting funding for a particular project to one or more of these programs. In the application for CRISI Program funding, applicants must indicate the other programs to which they submitted or plan to submit an application for funding the entire project or certain project components, as well as highlight new or revised information in the CRISI Program application that differs from the application(s) for other federal financial assistance programs. C. Eligibility Information This section of the notice explains applicant eligibility, cost sharing and matching requirements, project eligibility, and project component operational independence. Applications that do not meet the requirements in this section will be ineligible for funding. Instructions for submitting eligibility information to FRA are detailed in Section D of this NOFO. 1. Eligible Applicants The following entities are eligible applicants for all project types permitted under this notice: a. A State; b. A group of States; c. An Interstate Compact; E:\FR\FM\21FEN1.SGM 21FEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 35 / Wednesday, February 21, 2018 / Notices d. A public agency or publicly chartered authority established by one or more States; 3 e. A political subdivision of a State; f. Amtrak or another Rail Carrier that provides Intercity Rail Passenger Transportation (as defined in 49 U.S.C. 24102); g. A Class II railroad or Class III railroad (as those terms are defined in 49 U.S.C. 20102); h. Any Rail Carrier or rail equipment manufacturer in partnership with at least one of the entities described in paragraph (a) through (e); i. The Transportation Research Board together with any entity with which it contracts in the development of railrelated research, including cooperative research programs; j. A University transportation center engaged in rail-related research; or k. A non-profit labor organization representing a class or craft of employees of Rail Carriers or Rail Carrier contractors. Joint applications must identify an eligible applicant as the lead applicant. The lead applicant serves as the primary point of contact for the application, and if selected, as the recipient of the CRISI Program grant award. Entities that are not eligible applicants may be included in an application as a project partner with one or more eligible applicants. daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES 2. Cost Sharing or Matching The Federal share of total costs for projects funded under this notice will not exceed 80 percent, though FRA will provide selection preference to applications where the proposed Federal share of total project costs is 50 percent or less. The estimated total cost of a project must be based on the best available information, including engineering studies, studies of economic feasibility, environmental analyses, and information on the expected use of equipment and/or facilities. Additionally, in preparing estimates of total project costs, applicants should refer to FRA’s cost estimate guidance documentation, ‘‘Capital Cost Estimating: Guidance for Project Sponsors,’’ which is available at: https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0926. The minimum 20 percent non-Federal match may be comprised of public sector (e.g., state or local) and/or private sector funding. FRA will not consider any Federal financial assistance, nor any non-Federal funds already expended (or otherwise encumbered) that do not comply with 2 CFR 200.458 toward the 3 See Section D(2)(a)(iv) for supporting documentation required to demonstrate eligibility under this eligibility category. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:57 Feb 20, 2018 Jkt 244001 matching requirement. FRA is limiting the first 20 percent of the non-Federal match to cash contributions only. FRA will not accept ‘‘in-kind’’ contributions for the first 20 percent in matching funds. Eligible in-kind contributions may be accepted for any non-Federal matching beyond the first 20 percent. In-kind contributions, including the donation of services, materials, and equipment, may be credited as a project cost, in a uniform manner consistent with 2 CFR 200.306. If Amtrak or another Rail Carrier is an applicant, whether acting on its own behalf or as part of a joint application, Amtrak or another Rail Carrier may use ticket and other non-Federal revenues generated from its operations and other sources as matching funds. Applicants must identify the source(s) of its matching and other funds, and must clearly and distinctly reflect these funds as part of the total project cost. Before applying, applicants should carefully review the principles for cost sharing or matching in 2 CFR 200.306. See Section D(2)(a)(iii) for required application information on non-Federal match and Section E for further discussion of FRA’s consideration of matching funds in the review and selection process. 3. Other a. Project Eligibility The following rail projects that improve the safety, efficiency, and/or reliability of passenger and/or freight rail transportation systems are eligible for funding under this NOFO. i. Deployment of railroad safety technology, including PTC and rail integrity inspection systems. Examples include: PTC components; integration of PTC with highway grade crossing systems; broken rail detection and warning systems; track intrusion systems; and electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) braking systems.4 ii. A capital project as defined in 49 U.S.C. 24401(2) relating to Intercity Passenger Rail Service, except that such projects under this NOFO are not required to be in a State rail plan. Examples include: Acquisition, improvement, or rehabilitation of railroad equipment (locomotives and rolling stock); Railroad Infrastructure (grade crossings, catenary, signals, and PTC equipment); and rail facilities (yards, passenger stations, or maintenance and repair shops). iii. A Capital Project necessary to address congestion challenges affecting rail service. Examples include: Projects 4 Only FD and Construction costs are eligible within this project eligibility category. PO 00000 Frm 00082 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 7531 addressing congestion that increase rail capacity; add or upgrade the condition, clearances, and capacity of rail mainlines; enhance capacity and service with less conflict between freight and intercity passenger rail; reduce delays and risks associated with highway-rail grade crossings; and provide more effective rail equipment. iv. A Capital Project necessary to reduce congestion and facilitate ridership growth in Intercity Passenger Rail Transportation along heavily traveled rail corridors. Examples include: Projects addressing congestion that improve stations; increase rail capacity; reduce conflict between freight and intercity passenger rail; reduce delays and risks associated with highway-rail grade crossings; and provide more effective rail equipment. v. A highway-rail grade crossing improvement project, including installation, repair, or improvement of grade separations, railroad crossing signals, gates, and related technologies; highway traffic signalization; highway lighting and crossing approach signage; roadway improvements such as medians or other barriers; railroad crossing panels and surfaces; and safety engineering improvements to reduce risk in quiet zones or potential quiet zones. vi. A rail line Relocation and Improvement project. Examples include projects that: Improve the route or structure of a rail line by replacing degraded track; enhance/relocate railroad switching operations; add or lengthen passing tracks to increase capacity; improve interlockings; and relocate rail lines to alleviate congestion, and eliminate frequent rail service interruptions. vii. A Capital Project to improve short-line or regional Railroad Infrastructure. viii. The preparation of regional rail and corridor service development plans and corresponding environmental analyses. (See the examples under Track 1 and 2 below in Subsections C(3)(b)(i)– (ii) as they apply to regional and corridor rail Planning.) ix. A project necessary to enhance multimodal connections or facilitate service integration between rail service and other modes, including between Intercity Rail Passenger Transportation and intercity bus service or commercial air service. Examples include: Intermodal transportation facilities projects that encourage joint scheduling, ticketing, and/or baggage handling; freight rail intermodal connections; and rail projects improving access to ports. x. The development and implementation of a safety program or E:\FR\FM\21FEN1.SGM 21FEN1 7532 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 35 / Wednesday, February 21, 2018 / Notices institute designed to improve rail safety. Examples include: Employee training; and public safety outreach and education. b. Project Tracks for Eligible Projects An applicant must submit an eligible project under one of the following four tracks: Track 1—Planning; Track 2—PE/ NEPA; Track 3—FD/Construction; or Track 4—Safety Programs and Institutes. Applicants are not limited in the number of projects for which they seek funding. However, under this NOFO, applicants must submit only one application per project, and must designate only one track for that project. For example, an applicant cannot seek funding in the same application or multiple applications for both PE/NEPA and FD/Construction elements of the same project. FRA will only accept one project per application, with one exception: FRA will accept an application that proposes a combination of project elements such as track enhancements and grade crossing improvements if, and only if, (1) those project elements are contiguous or (2) those project elements result in greater improvement to rail safety, efficiency, and/or reliability if jointly implemented. daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES i. Track 1—Planning Track 1 consists of eligible rail Planning projects. Examples include the technical analyses and associated environmental analyses that support the development of state rail plans, regional rail plans, and corridor service development plans, including: Identification of alternatives, rail network Planning, market analysis, travel demand forecasting, revenue forecasting, railroad system design, railroad operations analysis and simulation, equipment fleet Planning, station and access analysis, conceptual engineering and capital programming, operating and maintenance cost forecasting, capital replacement and renewal analysis, railroad industry governance and organization, and economic analysis. ii. Track 2—PE/NEPA Track 2 consists of eligible PE/NEPA projects. PE examples include: PE drawings and specifications (scale drawings at the 30% design level, including track geometry as appropriate); design criteria, schematics and/or track charts that support the development of PE; and work that can be funded in conjunction with developing PE, such as operations modeling, surveying, project work/ management plans, preliminary cost VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:57 Feb 20, 2018 Jkt 244001 estimates, and preliminary project schedules. NEPA examples include analysis and documentation related to a Tier 2 NEPA EIS, EA or CE. PE/NEPA projects funded under this track must result in sufficiently developed product(s) to support FD or Construction activities. iii. Track 3—FD/Construction Track 3 consists of eligible projects consisting of FD, Construction, and project implementation and deployment activities. Applicants must complete all necessary Planning, PE and NEPA requirements for projects submitted under this track. FD funded under this track must: Resolve remaining uncertainties or risks associated with changes to design scope; address procurement processes; and update and refine plans for financing the project or program to reflect accurately the expected year-of-expenditure costs and cash flow projections. Applicants selected for funding under the FD/ Construction track must demonstrate the following to FRA’s satisfaction prior to FRA’s obligation of such funding: (A) PE is 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); (B) NEPA is completed for the proposed project; (C) Signed agreements with key project partners, including infrastructure-owning entities; and (D) A project management plan is inplace for managing the implementation of the proposed project, including the management and mitigation of project risks. FD examples include: Drawings at the 100% Design Level, interim design drawings that support development (e.g., drawings at the 60% Design Level), project work/project management plan, cost estimates, project schedules, and right-of-way acquisition and relocation plans. Construction examples include: Additions, improvements, replacements, renovations and/or repairs to track, bridge, station, rail yard, signal, and communication system infrastructure, and deployment of PTC or other railroad safety technology. iv. Track 4—Safety Programs and Institutes (Non-Railroad Infrastructure) Track 4 consists of projects for the development and implementation of safety programs or institutes designed to improve rail safety that clearly demonstrate the expected positive impact on rail safety. Sufficient detail PO 00000 Frm 00083 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 must be provided on what the program or institute will accomplish, as well as the applicant’s capability to achieve the proposed safety outcomes. Examples include: Initiatives for improving rail safety, such as training, public outreach, and education. Safety projects that involve eligible Planning, PE/NEPA, or FD/Construction should be submitted under Tracks 1–3, as appropriate. c. Project Component Operational Independence If an applicant requests funding for a project that is a component or set of components of a larger project, the project component(s) must be attainable with the award amount, together with other funds as necessary, obtain operational independence, and must comply with all eligibility requirements described in Section C. In addition, the component(s) must be capable of independent analysis and decision making, as determined by FRA, under NEPA (i.e., have independent utility, connect logical termini, if applicable, and not restrict the consideration of alternatives for other reasonably foreseeable rail projects.) d. Rural Project FRA will consider a project to be in a Rural Area if all or the majority of the project (determined by geographic location(s) where the majority of the project funds will be spent) is located in a Rural Area. However, in the event FRA elects to fund a component of the project, then FRA will reexamine whether the project is in a Rural Area. D. Application and Submission Information Required documents for the application are outlined in the following paragraphs. Applicants must complete and submit all components of the application. See Section D(2) for the application checklist. FRA welcomes the submission of additional relevant supporting documentation, such as planning, engineering and design documentation, and letters of support from partnering organizations that will not count against the Project Narrative 25-page limit. 1. Address To Request Application Package Applicants must submit all application materials in their entirety through www.Grants.gov no later than 5:00 p.m. EDT, on June 21, 2018. FRA reserves the right to modify this deadline. General information for submitting applications through Grants.gov can be found at: https:// www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0270. E:\FR\FM\21FEN1.SGM 21FEN1 7533 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 35 / Wednesday, February 21, 2018 / Notices For any supporting application materials that an applicant cannot submit via Grants.gov, such as oversized engineering drawings, an applicant may submit an original and two (2) copies to Ms. Amy Houser, Office of Program Delivery, Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room W36–412, Washington, DC 20590. However, due to delays caused by enhanced screening of mail delivered via the U.S. Postal Service, FRA advises applicants to use other means of conveyance (such as courier service) to assure timely receipt of materials before the application deadline. Additionally, if documents can be obtained online, explaining to FRA how to access files on a referenced website may also be sufficient. 2. Content and Form of Application Submission FRA strongly advises applicants to read this section carefully. Applicants must submit all required information and components of the application package to be considered for funding. Additionally, applicants selected to receive funding must generally satisfy the grant readiness checklist requirements on https:// www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0268 as a precondition to FRA issuing a grant award, as well as the requirements in 49 U.S.C. 24405 explained in part at https://www.fra.dot.gov/page/P0185. Required documents for an application package are outlined in the checklist below. i. Project Narrative (see D.2.a) ii. Statement of Work (see D.2.b.i) iii. Benefit-Cost Analysis (see D.2.b.ii) iv. SF424—Application for Federal Assistance v. Either: SF 424A—Budget Information for Non-Construction projects (required for Tracks 1, 2 and 4) or SF 424C—Budget Information for Construction (required for Track 3) vi. Either: SF 424B—Assurances for Non-Construction projects (required for Tracks 1, 2 and 4) or SF 424D— Assurances for Construction (required for Track 3) vii. FRA’s Additional Assurances and Certifications viii. SF LLL—Disclosure of Lobbying Activities a. Project Narrative This section describes the minimum content required in the Project Narrative of the grant application. The Project Narrative must follow the basic outline below to address the program requirements and assist evaluators in locating relevant information. I. Cover Page ......................... See D.2.a.i. II. Project Summary ............... III. Project Funding ................. IV. Applicant Eligibility ............ V. Project Eligibility ................ VI. Detailed Project Description. VII. Project Location ............... VIII. Evaluation and Selection Criteria. IX. Project Implementation and Management. X. Planning Readiness .......... XI. Environmental Readiness If applicable, what stage of NEPA is the project in (e.g., EA, Tier 1 NEPA, Tier 2 NEPA, or CE)? Is this a Rural Project? What percentage of the project cost is based in a Rural Area? daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES City(ies), State(s) where the project is located. Urbanized Area where the project is located. Population of Urbanized Area. Is the project currently programmed in the: State rail plan, State Freight Plan, TIP, STIP, MPO Long Range Transportation Plan, State Long Range Transportation Plan? VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:57 Feb 20, 2018 Jkt 244001 funding arrangement. Include funding commitment letters outlining funding agreements, as attachments or in an appendix. Identify any specific project components that the applicant proposes for partial project funding. If all or a majority of a project is located in a Rural Area, identify the Rural Area(s) and estimated percentage of project costs that will be spent in the Rural Area. Identify any previously incurred costs, as well as other sources of Federal funds committed to the project and any PO 00000 Frm 00084 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 D.2.a.ii. D.2.a.iii. D.2.a.iv. D.2.a.v. D.2.a.vi. See D.2.a.vii. See D.2.a.viii. See D.2.a.ix. See D.2.a.x. See D.2.a.xi. The above content must be provided in a narrative statement submitted by the applicant. The Project Narrative may not exceed 25 pages in length (excluding cover pages, table of contents, and supporting documentation). FRA will not review or consider for award applications with Project Narratives exceeding the 25-page limitation. If possible, applicants should submit supporting documents via website links rather than hard copies. If supporting documents are submitted, applicants must clearly identify the page number(s) of the relevant portion in the Project Narrative supporting documentation. The Project Narrative must adhere to the following outline. i. Cover Page: Include a cover page that lists the following elements in a table: Project Title. Lead applicant and co-applicant(s). Project Track ...................................................................................................................................................... Will this project contribute to the Restoration or Initiation of Intercity Passenger Rail Service? Was a Federal grant application previously submitted for this project? If yes, state the name of the Federal grant program and title of the project in the previous application ......... ii. Project Summary: Provide a brief 4–6 sentence summary of the proposed project and what the project will entail. Include challenges the proposed project aims to address, and summarize the intended outcomes and anticipated benefits that will result from the proposed project. iii. Project Funding: Indicate in table format the amount of Federal funding requested, the proposed non-Federal match, identifying contributions from the private sector if applicable, and total project cost. Describe the non-Federal See See See See See 1, 2, 3, or 4. Yes/no. Yes/no. Federal Grant Program: Project Title: NEPA stage: Yes/no. Percentage of total project cost: Yes/no. (If yes, please specify in which plans the project is currently programmed). pending Federal requests. Also, note if the requested Federal funding under this NOFO or other programs must be obligated or spent by a certain date due to dependencies or relationships with other Federal or non-Federal funding sources, related projects, law, or other factors. If applicable, provide the type and estimated value of any proposed inkind contributions, and demonstrate how the in-kind contributions meet the requirements in 2 CFR 200.306. Example Project Funding Table: E:\FR\FM\21FEN1.SGM 21FEN1 7534 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 35 / Wednesday, February 21, 2018 / Notices Task No. Task name/project component Cost Percentage of total cost 1 2 daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES Total Project Cost. Federal Funds Received from Previous Grant. CRISI Federal Funding Request. Non-Federal Funding/Match. Portion of Non-Federal Funding from the Private Sector. Portion of Total Project Costs Spent in a Rural Area. Pending Federal Funding Requests. iv. Applicant Eligibility: Explain how the applicant meets the applicant eligibility criteria outlined in Section C of this notice, including references to creation or enabling legislation for public agencies and publicly chartered authorities established by one or more States. Joint applications must be signed by an authorized representative of each applicant and must include a description of the roles and responsibilities of each applicant, including budget and sub-recipient information showing how the applicants will share project costs. v. Project Eligibility: Identify which project eligibility category the project is eligible under in Section C(3) of this notice, and explain how the project meets the project eligibility criteria. vi. Detailed Project Description: Include a detailed project description that expands upon the brief project summary. This detailed description should provide, at a minimum, background on the challenges the project aims to address; the expected users and beneficiaries of the project, including all railroad operators; the specific components and elements of the project; and any other information the applicant deems necessary to justify the proposed project. If applicable, explain how the project will benefit communities in Rural Areas. For all projects, applicants must provide information about proposed performance measures, as discussed in Section F(3)(c) and required in 2 CFR 200.301 and 49 U.S.C. 24407(f). (A) Grade crossing information, if applicable: For any project that includes grade crossing components, cite specific DOT National Grade Crossing Inventory information, including the railroad that owns the infrastructure (or the crossing owner, if different from the railroad), the primary railroad operator, the DOT crossing inventory number, and the roadway at the crossing. Applicants can search for data to meet this requirement at the following link: http:// safetydata.fra.dot.gov/OfficeofSafety/ default.aspx. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:57 Feb 20, 2018 Jkt 244001 (B) Heavily traveled rail corridor information, if applicable: For any project eligible under the eligibility category in Subsection C(3)(a)(iv), that reduces congestion and facilitates ridership growth in Intercity Passenger Rail Transportation, describe how the project is located on a heavily traveled rail corridor. (C) PTC information, if applicable: For any project that includes deploying PTC, applicants must: 1. Document submission of a revised Positive Train Control Implementation Plan (PTCIP) to FRA as required by 49 U.S.C. 20157(a); 2. Be tenants on one or more host railroads whose host railroad(s) document submission of a revised PTCIP as required by 49 U.S.C. 20157(a); or 3. Document why the applicant is not required to submit a revised PTCIP as required by 49 U.S.C. 20157(a), and how the proposed project will assist in the deployment (i.e., installation and/or full implementation) of a PTC system required under 49 U.S.C. 20157. vii. Project Location: Include geospatial data for the project, as well as a map of the project’s location. On the map, include the Congressional districts and Rural Area boundaries, if applicable, in which the project will take place. viii. Evaluation and Selection Criteria: Include a thorough discussion of how the proposed project meets all the evaluation criteria and selection criteria, as outlined in Section E of this notice. If an application does not sufficiently address the evaluation and selection criteria, it is unlikely to be a competitive application. ix. Project Implementation and Management: Describe proposed project implementation and project management arrangements. Include descriptions of the expected arrangements for project contracting, contract oversight, change-order management, risk management, and conformance to Federal requirements for project progress reporting (see https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0274). PO 00000 Frm 00085 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Describe past experience in managing and overseeing similar projects. x. Planning Readiness for Tracks 2 and 3 (PE/NEPA and FD/Construction) Projects: Provide information about the planning process that analyzed the investment needs and service objectives of the project. If applicable, cite sources of this information from a Service Development Plan, State or regional rail plan, or similar planning document where the project has been identified for solving a specific existing transportation problem, and makes the case for investing in the proposed solution. xi. Environmental Readiness for Track 3 FD/Construction Projects: If the NEPA process is complete, an applicant should indicate the date of completion, and provide a website link or other reference to the documents demonstrating compliance with NEPA, which might include a final CE, Finding of No Significant Impact, or Record of Decision. If the NEPA process is not yet underway or is underway, but is not complete, the application should detail the type of NEPA review underway, where the project is in the process, and indicate the anticipated date of completion of all NEPA and related milestones. If the last agency action with respect to NEPA documents occurred more than three years before the application date, the applicant should describe why the project has been delayed and include a proposed approach for verifying, and if necessary, updating this information in accordance with applicable NEPA requirements. Additional information regarding FRA’s environmental processes and requirements are located at https:// www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/Details/L05286. b. Additional Application Elements Applicants must submit: i. A Statement of Work (SOW) addressing the scope, schedule, and budget for the proposed project if it were selected for award. The SOW must contain sufficient detail so FRA, and the applicant, can understand the expected outcomes of the proposed work to be performed and monitor progress toward E:\FR\FM\21FEN1.SGM 21FEN1 daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 35 / Wednesday, February 21, 2018 / Notices completing project tasks and deliverables during a prospective grant’s period of performance. Applicants must use FRA’s standard SOW template to be considered for award. The SOW template is located at https:// www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/Details/L18661. When preparing the budget as part of the SOW, the total cost of a project must be based on the best available information as indicated in cited references that include engineering studies, studies of economic feasibility, environmental analyses, and information on the expected use of equipment or facilities. ii. A Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA), as an appendix to the Project Narrative for each project submitted by an applicant. The BCA must demonstrate in economic terms the merits of investing in the proposed project. The BCA for Track 2—PE/NEPA projects should be for the underlying project, not the PE/NEPA work itself. The project narrative should summarize the project’s benefits. Benefits may apply to existing and new rail users, as well as users of other modes of transportation. In some cases, benefits may be applied to populations in the general vicinity of the project area. Improvements to multimodal connections and shared-use rail corridors may benefit all users involved. Benefits may be quantified for savings in safety costs, reduced costs from disruption of service, maintenance costs, reduced travel time, emissions reductions, and increases in capacity or ability to offer new types of freight or passenger services. Applicants may also describe other categories of benefits that are difficult to quantify such as noise reduction, environmental impact mitigation, improved quality of life, or reliability of travel times. All benefits claimed for the project must be clearly tied to the expected outcomes of the project. Please refer to the Benefit-Cost Analysis Guidance for TIGER and INFRA Applications prior to preparing a BCA at https:// www.transportation.gov/office-policy/ transportation-policy/benefit-costanalysis-guidance. In addition, please also refer to the BCA FAQs on FRA’s website for some rail specific examples of how to apply the BCA Guidance for TIGER and INFRA Applications to CRISI applications. For Tracks 1 and 4—Applicants are required to document project benefits. Any subjective estimates of benefits and costs should be quantified whenever possible, and applicants should provide appropriate evidence to support their subjective estimates. Estimates of benefits should be presented in monetary terms whenever possible; if a VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:57 Feb 20, 2018 Jkt 244001 monetary estimate is not possible, then a quantitative estimate (in physical, non-monetary terms, such as crash or employee casualty rates, ridership estimates, emissions levels, energy efficiency improvements, etc.) should be provided. At a minimum, qualitatively describe the project benefits. iii. SF 424—Application for Federal Assistance; iv. SF 424A—Budget Information for Non-Construction or SF 424C—Budget Information for Construction; v. SF 424B—Assurances for NonConstruction or SF 424D—Assurances for Construction; vi. FRA’s Additional Assurances and Certifications; and vii. SF LLL—Disclosure of Lobbying Activities. Forms needed for the electronic application process are at www.Grants.gov. 7535 a. Obtain a DUNS Number c. Post-Selection Requirements A DUNS number is required for Grants.gov registration. The Office of Management and Budget requires that all businesses and nonprofit applicants for Federal funds include a DUNS number in their applications for a new award or renewal of an existing award. A DUNS number is a unique nine-digit sequence recognized as the universal standard for the government in 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 life cycle. Obtaining a DUNS number is a free, one-time activity. Applicants may obtain a DUNS number by calling 1– 866–705–5711 or by applying online at http://www.dnb.com/us. See subsection F(2) of this notice for post-selection requirements. b. Register With the SAM at www.SAM.gov 3. Unique Entity Identifier, System for Award Management (SAM), and Submission Instructions All applicants for Federal financial assistance must maintain current registrations in the SAM database. An applicant must be registered in SAM to successfully register in Grants.gov. The SAM database is the repository for standard information about Federal financial assistance applicants, recipients, and sub recipients. Organizations that have previously submitted applications via Grants.gov are already registered with SAM, as it is a requirement for Grants.gov registration. Please note, however, that applicants must update or renew their SAM registration at least once per year to maintain an active status. Therefore, it is critical to check registration status well in advance of the application deadline. If an applicant is selected for an award, the applicant must maintain an active SAM registration with current information throughout the period of the award. Information about SAM registration procedures is available at www.sam.gov. To apply for funding through Grants.gov, applicants must be properly registered. Complete instructions on how to register and submit an application can be found at www.Grants.gov. Registering with Grants.gov is a one-time process; however, it can take up to several weeks for first-time registrants to receive confirmation and a user password. FRA recommends that applicants start the registration process as early as possible to prevent delays that may preclude submitting an application package by the application deadline. Applications will not be accepted after the due date. Delayed registration is not an acceptable justification for an application extension. FRA may not make a grant award to an applicant until the applicant has complied with all applicable Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) and SAM requirements. (Please note that if a Dun & Bradstreet DUNS number must be obtained or renewed, this may take a significant amount of time to complete.) Late applications that are the result of a failure to register or comply with Grants.gov applicant requirements in a timely manner will not be considered. If an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the submission deadline, the application will not be considered. To submit an application through Grants.gov, applicants must: PO 00000 Frm 00086 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 c. Create a Grants.gov Username and Password Applicants must complete an Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) profile on www.Grants.gov and create a username and password. Applicants must use the organization’s DUNS number to complete this step. Additional information about the registration process is available at: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/ applicants/organizationregistration.html. E:\FR\FM\21FEN1.SGM 21FEN1 7536 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 35 / Wednesday, February 21, 2018 / Notices d. Acquire Authorization for Your AOR From the E-Business Point of Contact (EBiz POC) The E-Biz POC at the applicant’s organization must respond to the registration email from Grants.gov and login at www.Grants.gov to authorize the applicant as the AOR. Please note there can be more than one AOR for an organization. e. Submit an Application Addressing All Requirements Outlined in This NOFO Note: Please use generally accepted formats such as .pdf, .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx and .ppt, when uploading attachments. While applicants may embed picture files, such as .jpg, .gif, and .bmp, in document files, applicants should not submit attachments in these formats. Additionally, the following formats will not be accepted: .com, .bat, .exe, .vbs, .cfg, .dat, .db, .dbf, .dll, .ini, .log, .ora, .sys, and .zip. daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES 4. Submission Dates and Times Applicants must submit complete applications to www.Grants.gov no later than 5:00 p.m. EDT, June 21, 2018. FRA reviews www.Grants.gov information on dates/times of applications submitted to determine timeliness of submissions. Late applications will be neither reviewed nor considered. Delayed registration is not an acceptable reason for late submission. In order to apply for funding under this announcement, all applicants are expected to be registered as an organization with Grants.gov. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply early to ensure all materials are received before this deadline. To ensure a fair competition of limited discretionary funds, the following conditions are not valid reasons to permit late submissions: (1) Failure to complete the Grants.gov registration process before the deadline; (2) failure to follow Grants.gov instructions on how to register and apply as posted on its website; (3) failure to follow all instructions in this NOFO; and (4) technical issues experienced with the applicant’s computer or information technology environment. 19:57 Feb 20, 2018 Jkt 244001 b. Evaluation Criteria Executive Order 12372 requires applicants from State and local units of government or other organizations providing services within a State to submit a copy of the application to the State Single Point of Contact (SPOC), if one exists, and if this program has been selected for review by the State. Applicants must contact their State SPOC to determine if the program has been selected for State review. FRA subject-matter experts will evaluate all eligible and complete applications by Track using the evaluation criteria outlined in this section to determine project benefits and technical merit. i. Project Benefits: FRA will evaluate the Benefit-Cost Analysis of the proposed project for the anticipated private and public benefits relative to the costs of the proposed project and the summary of benefits provided in response to subsection D(2)(a)(ii) including— (A) Effects on system and service performance; (B) Effects on safety, competitiveness, reliability, trip or transit time, and resilience; (C) Efficiencies from improved integration with other modes; and (D) Ability to meet existing or anticipated demand. ii. Technical Merit: FRA will evaluate application information for the degree to which— (A) The tasks and subtasks outlined in the SOW are appropriate to achieve the expected outcomes of the proposed project. (B) Applications indicate strong project readiness and meet requirements under the project track designated by the applicant. (C) The technical qualifications and experience of key personnel proposed to lead and perform the technical efforts, and the qualifications of the primary and supporting organizations to fully and successfully execute the proposed project within the proposed timeframe and budget are demonstrated. (D) The proposed project’s business plan considers potential private sector participation in the financing, construction, or operation of the proposed project. (E) The applicant has, or will have the legal, financial, and technical capacity to carry out the proposed project; satisfactory continuing control over the use of the equipment or facilities; and the capability and willingness to maintain the equipment or facilities. (F) The proposed project is consistent with planning guidance and documents set forth by DOT, including those required by law or State rail plans developed under Title 49, United State Code, Chapter 227. 6. Funding Restrictions If an applicant experiences difficulties at any point during this process, please call the Grants.gov Customer Center Hotline at 1–800–518–4726, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (closed on Federal holidays). For information and instructions on each of these processes, please see instructions at: http:// www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/ apply-for-grants.html. VerDate Sep<11>2014 5. Intergovernmental Review FRA is prohibited in 49 U.S.C. 24405(f) 5 from providing CRISI grants for commuter rail passenger transportation (as defined in 49 U.S.C. 24102(3)). FRA’s interpretation of this restriction is informed by the language in 49 U.S.C. 24407. FRA’s primary intent in funding passenger rail projects will be to make reasonable investments in intercity passenger rail transportation. Such projects may be located on shared corridors where commuter rail passenger transportation and/or freight rail also benefit from the project. FRA will only approve pre-award costs consistent with 2 CFR 200.458. Under 2 CFR 200.458, grant recipients must seek written approval from FRA for pre-award activities to be eligible for reimbursement under the cooperative agreement. Activities initiated prior to the execution of a cooperative agreement or without FRA’s written approval may not be eligible for reimbursement or included as a grantee’s matching contribution. E. Application Review Information 1. Criteria a. Eligibility and Completeness Review FRA will first screen each application for applicant and project eligibility (eligibility requirements are outlined in Section C of this notice), completeness (application documentation and submission requirements are outlined in Section D of this notice), and the 20 percent minimum match in determining whether the application is eligible. FRA will then consider the applicant’s past performance in developing and delivering similar projects and previous financial contributions, and previous competitive grant technical evaluation ratings that the proposed project received under previous competitive grant programs administered by the DOT if applicable. 5 Under 49 U.S.C. 24407(i), CRISI grants are subject to the requirements in 49 U.S.C. 24405. PO 00000 Frm 00087 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 c. Selection Criteria In addition to the eligibility and completeness review and the evaluation criteria outlined in this subsection, the FRA Administrator will select projects applying the following selection criteria: E:\FR\FM\21FEN1.SGM 21FEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 35 / Wednesday, February 21, 2018 / Notices i. FRA will give preference to projects for which the: (A) Proposed Federal share of total project costs is 50 percent or less; and (B) Net benefits of the grant funds will be maximized considering the BenefitCost Analysis, including anticipated private and public benefits relative to the costs of the proposed project, and factoring in the other considerations in 49 U.S.C. 24407 (e). ii. After applying the above preferences, the FRA Administrator will take into account the following key Departmental objectives: (A) Supporting economic vitality at the national and regional level; (B) Leveraging Federal funding to attract other, non-Federal sources of infrastructure investment, as well as accounting for the life-cycle costs of the project; (C) Using innovative approaches to improve safety and expedite project delivery; and, (D) Holding grant recipients accountable for their performance and achieving specific, measurable outcomes identified by grant applicants. 2. Review and Selection Process FRA will conduct a three-part application review process, as follows: a. Screen applications for completeness and eligibility; b. Evaluate eligible applications (completed by technical panels applying the evaluation criteria); and c. Select projects for funding (completed by the FRA Administrator applying the selection criteria). F. Federal Award Administration Information 1. Federal Award Notice daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES FRA will announce applications selected for funding in a press release and on the FRA website after the application review period. FRA will contact applicants with successful applications after announcement with information and instructions about the award process. This notification is not an authorization to begin proposed project activities. A formal cooperative agreement or grant agreement signed by both the grantee and the FRA, including an approved scope, schedule, and budget, is required before the award is considered complete. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:57 Feb 20, 2018 Jkt 244001 For all projects, obligation occurs when a selected applicant and FRA enter a written project specific cooperative agreement or grant agreement and is after the applicant has satisfied applicable requirements. For Track 2 PE/NEPA projects, these requirements may include transportation planning. For Track 3 FD/Construction projects, these requirements may include transportation planning, PE and environmental reviews. 2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements Due to funding limitations, projects that are selected for funding may receive less than the amount originally requested. In those cases, applicants must be able to demonstrate the proposed projects are still viable and can be completed with the amount awarded. Grantees and entities receiving funding from the grantee, must comply with all applicable laws and regulations. Examples of administrative and national policy requirements that grantees must follow include: 2 CFR part 200; procurement standards; compliance with Federal civil rights laws and regulations; requirements for disadvantaged business enterprises, debarment and suspension requirements, and drug-free workplace requirements; FRA’s and OMB’s Assurances and Certifications; Americans with Disabilities Act; safety requirements including those applicable to PTC projects,6 NEPA, environmental justice requirements, performance measures under 49 U.S.C. 24407(f), and the requirements in 49 U.S.C. 24405 including the Buy America requirements. See an example of standard terms and conditions for FRA grant awards at https://www.fra.dot.gov/Elib/Document/ 14426. 3. Reporting a. Reporting Matters Related to Integrity and Performance Before making a Federal award with a total amount of Federal share greater 6 All PTC projects that receive funding under this notice must comply with the applicable requirements of 49 U.S.C. 20157 and 49 CFR part 236, subpart I, including 236.1005 (Requirements for Positive Train Control Systems). PO 00000 Frm 00088 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 7537 than the simplified acquisition threshold of $150,000 (see 2 CFR 200.88 Simplified Acquisition Threshold), FRA will review and consider any information about the applicant that is in the designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM (currently the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS)). See 41 U.S.C. 2313. An applicant, at its option, may review information in the designated integrity and performance systems accessible through SAM and comment on any information about itself that a Federal awarding agency previously entered and is currently in the designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM. FRA will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to the other information in the designated integrity and performance system, in making a judgment about the applicant’s integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards when completing the review of risk posed by applicants as described in 2 CFR 200.205. b. Progress Reporting on Grant Activity Each applicant selected for a grant will be required to comply with all standard FRA reporting requirements, including quarterly progress reports, quarterly Federal financial reports, and interim and final performance reports, as well as all applicable auditing, monitoring and close out requirements. Reports may be submitted electronically. c. Performance Reporting Each applicant selected for funding must collect information and report on the project’s performance using measures mutually agreed upon by FRA and the grantee to assess progress in achieving strategic goals and objectives. Examples of some rail performance measures are listed in the table below. The applicable measure(s) will depend upon the type of project. Applicants requesting funding for the acquisition of rolling stock must integrate at least one equipment/rolling stock performance measure, consistent with the grantee’s application materials and program goals. E:\FR\FM\21FEN1.SGM 21FEN1 7538 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 35 / Wednesday, February 21, 2018 / Notices Primary strategic goal Secondary strategic goal Rail measures Unit measured Temporal Slow Order Miles Miles ................. Annual .............. State of Good Repair. Safety ............... Gross Ton .......... Gross Tons ...... Annual .............. Economic Competitiveness. State of Good Repair. Rail Track Grade Separation. Count ............... Annual .............. Economic Competitiveness. Safety ............... Passenger Counts. Travel Time ........ Count ............... Annual .............. Time/Trip .......... Annual .............. Economic Competitiveness. Economic Competitiveness. State of Good Repair. Quality of Life ... Track Weight Capacity. Yes/No ............. One Time ......... State of Good Repair. Economic Competitiveness. Track Miles ......... Miles ................. One Time ......... State of Good Repair. Economic Competitiveness. G. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts Federal Railroad Administration Issued in Washington, DC, on February 15, 2018. Jamie Rennert, Director, Office of Program Delivery, Federal Railroad Administration. [FR Doc. 2018–03534 Filed 2–20–18; 8:45 am] daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with NOTICES The number of miles per year within the project area that have temporary speed restrictions (‘‘slow orders’’) imposed due to track condition. This is an indicator of the overall condition of track. This measure can be used for projects to rehabilitate sections of a rail line since the rehabilitation should eliminate, or at least reduce the slow orders upon project completion. The annual gross tonnage of freight shipped in the project area. Gross tons include freight cargo minus tare weight of the rail cars. This measure the volume of freight a railroad ships in a year. This measure can be useful for projects that are anticipated to increase freight shipments. The number of annual automobile crossings that are eliminated at an at-grade crossing as a result of a new grade separation. Count of the annual passenger boardings and alightings at stations within the project area. Point-to-point travel times between pre-determined station stops within the project area. This measure demonstrates how track improvements and other upgrades improve operations on a rail line. It also helps make sure the railroad is maintaining the line after project completion. If a project is upgrading a line to accommodate heavier rail cars (typically an increase from 263,000 lb. rail cars to 286,000 lb. rail cars.) The number of track miles that exist within the project area. This measure can be beneficial for projects building sidings or sections of additional main line track on a railroad. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION For further information regarding this notice and the grants program, please contact Ms. Amy Houser, Office of Program Delivery, Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room W36–412, Washington, DC 20590; email: amy.houser@dot.gov; phone: 202–493– 0303, or Ms. Frances Bourne, Office of Policy and Planning, Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room W38–207, Washington, DC 20590; email: frances.bourne@dot.gov; phone: 202– 493–6366. Description BILLING CODE 4910–06–P Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Restoration and Enhancement Grants Program Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO or notice). AGENCY: This notice details the application requirements and procedures to obtain grant 1 funding for eligible projects under the Restoration and Enhancement (R&E) Grants Program. This notice makes available R&E Grants Program funding provided by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017, Div. K, Tit. I, Public Law 115–31 (Appropriations Act). The opportunities described in this notice are available under Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number 20.324, ‘‘Restoration and Enhancement.’’ SUMMARY: 1 The term ‘‘grant’’ is used throughout this document and is intended to reference funding awarded through a grant agreement, as well as funding awarded through a cooperative agreement. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:57 Feb 20, 2018 Jkt 244001 PO 00000 Frm 00089 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Applications for funding under this solicitation are due no later than 5:00 p.m. EDT May 22, 2018. Applications for funding, or supplemental material in support of an application, received after 5:00 p.m. EDT on May 22, 2018 will not be considered for funding. Incomplete applications will not be considered for funding. See Section D of this notice for additional information on the application process. DATES: Applications must be submitted via www.Grants.gov. Only applicants who comply with all submission requirements described in this notice and submit applications through www.Grants.gov will be eligible for award. For any supporting application materials that an applicant is unable to submit via www.Grants.gov, an applicant may submit an original and two (2) copies to Amy Houser, Office of Program Delivery, Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room W36–412, Washington, DC 20590. However, 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 ADDRESSES: E:\FR\FM\21FEN1.SGM 21FEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 35 (Wednesday, February 21, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 7528-7538]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-03534]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Railroad Administration


Notice of Funding Opportunity for Consolidated Rail 
Infrastructure and Safety Improvements

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

ACTION: Notice of funding opportunity (NOFO or notice).

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SUMMARY: This notice details the application requirements and 
procedures to obtain grant \1\ funding for eligible projects under the 
Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) 
Program. CRISI Program funding is provided by the Consolidated 
Appropriations Act, 2017, Div. K, Tit I, Public Law 115-31, 
(Appropriations Act). The opportunities described in this notice are 
available under Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number 
20.325, ``Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements.''
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    \1\ The term ``grant'' is used throughout this document and is 
intended to reference funding awarded through a grant agreement, as 
well as funding awarded through a cooperative agreement.

DATES: Applications for funding under this solicitation are due no 
later than 5:00 p.m. EDT, June 21, 2018. Applications for funding or 
supplemental material in support of an application received after 5:00 
p.m. EDT on June 21, 2018 will not be considered for funding. 
Incomplete applications will not be considered for funding. See Section 
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D of this notice for additional information on the application process.

ADDRESSES: Applications must be submitted via www.Grants.gov. Only 
applicants who comply with all submission requirements described in 
this notice and submit applications through www.Grants.gov will be 
eligible for award. For any supporting application materials that an 
applicant is unable to submit via www.Grants.gov (such as oversized 
engineering drawings), an applicant may submit an original and two (2) 
copies to Ms. Amy Houser, Office of Program Delivery, Federal Railroad 
Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room W36-412, Washington, DC 
20590. However, 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 before the application deadline.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further project or program-related

[[Page 7529]]

information in this notice, please contact Ms. Frances Bourne, Office 
of Policy and Planning, Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue SE, Room W38-207, Washington, DC 20590; email: 
[email protected]; phone: 202-493-6366. Grant application 
submission and processing questions should be addressed to Ms. Amy 
Houser, Office of Program Delivery, Federal Railroad Administration, 
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room W36-412, Washington, DC 20590; email: 
[email protected]; phone: 202-493-0303.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 
    Notice to applicants: FRA recommends that applicants read this 
notice in its entirety prior to preparing application materials. A list 
providing the definitions of key terms used throughout the NOFO is in 
Section A(2) below. These key terms are capitalized throughout the 
NOFO. There are several administrative prerequisites and specific 
eligibility requirements described herein that applicants must comply 
with to submit an application. Additionally, applicants should note 
that the required Project Narrative component of the application 
package may not exceed 25 pages in length.

Table of Contents:

A. Program Description
B. Federal Award Information
C. Eligibility Information
D. Application and Submission Information
E. Application Review Information
F. Federal Award Administration Information
G. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts

A. Program Description

1. Overview

    The U.S. rail network is central to the success of the American 
economy, carrying over 31.3 million passengers on Amtrak services and 
more than 1.6 billion tons of freight valued at nearly $600 billion. 
This program provides a comprehensive solution to fund Capital Project 
development and implementation to support infrastructure safety and 
improvements for both intercity passenger and freight railroads. 
Congress authorized this grant program for the Secretary to invest in a 
wide range of projects to improve railroad safety, efficiency, and 
reliability; mitigate congestion at both intercity passenger and 
freight rail chokepoints; enhance multi-modal connections; and lead to 
new or substantially improved Intercity Passenger Rail corridors. 
Additionally, the program includes rail safety projects, such as grade 
crossing enhancements, rail line Relocations and Improvements, and 
positive train control (PTC) deployment. Funds are also available to 
support rail regional and corridor Planning and environmental analyses. 
The purpose of this notice is to solicit applications for competitive 
CRISI Program funding authorized under Section 11301 of the Fixing 
America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, Public Law 114-94 (2015); 
49 U.S.C. 24407 and funded in the Appropriations Act. The 
Appropriations Act did not include funding for projects described in 49 
U.S.C. 24407 (c)(11) or (12).

2. Definitions of Key Terms

    a. ``Benefit-Cost Analysis'' (or ``Cost-Benefit Analysis'') is a 
systematic, data driven, and transparent analysis comparing monetized 
project benefits and costs, using a no-build baseline and properly 
discounted present values, including concise documentation of the 
assumptions and methodology used to produce the analysis; a description 
of the baseline, data sources used to project outcomes, and values of 
key input parameters; basis of modeling including spreadsheets, 
technical memos, etc.; and presentation of the calculations in 
sufficient detail and transparency to allow the analysis to be 
reproduced and sensitivity of results evaluated by FRA. Please refer to 
the Benefit-Cost Analysis Guidance for TIGER and INFRA Applications 
prior to preparing a BCA at https://www.transportation.gov/office-policy/transportation-policy/benefit-cost-analysis-guidance. In 
addition, please also refer to the BCA FAQs on FRA's website for some 
rail specific examples of how to apply the BCA Guidance for TIGER and 
INFRA Applications to CRISI applications.
    b. ``Capital Project'' means a project for: Acquiring, 
constructing, improving, or inspecting rail equipment, track and track 
structures, or a rail facility; expenses incidental to the acquisition 
or Construction including pre-construction activities (such as 
designing, engineering, location surveying, mapping, acquiring rights-
of-way) and related relocation costs, environmental studies, and all 
work necessary for FRA to approve the project under the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and related environmental laws and 
regulations; highway-rail grade crossing improvements; communication 
and signalization improvements; and rehabilitating, remanufacturing or 
overhauling rail rolling stock and facilities.
    c. ``Construction'' means the production of fixed works and 
structures or substantial alterations to such structures or land and 
associated costs.
    d. ``Final Design (FD)'' means design activities following 
Preliminary Engineering, and at a minimum, includes the preparation of 
final Construction plans, detailed specifications, and estimates 
sufficiently detailed to inform project stakeholders (designers, 
reviewers, contractors, suppliers, etc.) of the actions required to 
advance the project from design through completion of Construction.
    e. ``Improvement'' means repair or enhancement to existing Rail 
Infrastructure, or Construction of new Rail Infrastructure, that 
results in efficiency of the rail system and the safety of those 
affected by the system.
    f. ``Initiation'' or ``Initiate'' means commencing service on a 
route that did not previously operate Intercity Rail Passenger 
Transportation.
    g. ``Intercity Rail Passenger Transportation'' means rail passenger 
transportation, except commuter rail passenger transportation. See 49 
U.S.C. 24401(3). In this notice, ``Intercity Passenger Rail Service'' 
and ``Intercity Passenger Rail Transportation'' are equivalent terms to 
``Intercity Rail Passenger Transportation.''
    h. ``NEPA'' is a Federal law that requires Federal agencies to 
assess the environmental impacts of a proposed action in consultation 
with appropriate federal, state, and local authorities, and with the 
public. The NEPA class of action depends on the nature of the proposed 
action, its complexity, and the potential impacts. For purposes of this 
NOFO, NEPA also includes all related Federal laws and regulations 
including Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act, Section 
7 of the Endangered Species Act, and Section 106 of the National 
Historic Preservation Act. (See FRA's Environmental Procedures at: 
https://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/details/L02561.)
    i. ``Planning'' means activities that support the development of a 
state or regional rail plan or a corridor service development plan.
    j. ``Positive Train Control (PTC) system'' is defined by 49 CFR 
270.5 to mean a system designed to prevent train-to-train collisions, 
overspeed derailments, incursions into established work zone limits, 
and the movement of a train through a switch left in the wrong 
position, as described in 49 CFR part 236, subpart I.
    k. ``Preliminary Engineering (PE)'' means engineering design to: 
(1) Define a project, including identification of all environmental 
impacts, design of all critical project elements at a level

[[Page 7530]]

sufficient to assure reliable cost estimates and schedules, (2) 
complete project management and financial plans, and (3) identify 
procurement requirements and strategies. The PE development process 
starts with specific project design alternatives that allow for the 
assessment of a range of rail improvements, specific alignments, and 
project designs--to be used concurrent with project or service level 
NEPA and related analyses. PE occurs prior to FD and Construction.
    l. ``Rail Carrier'' means a person providing common carrier 
railroad transportation for compensation, but does not include street, 
suburban, or interurban electric railways not operated as part of the 
general system of rail transportation. See 49 U.S.C. 10102(5).
    m. ``Railroad Infrastructure'' means intermodal or rail facilities, 
including track, bridges, tunnels, rail yards, buildings, passenger 
stations, and maintenance and repair shops. In this NOFO, ``Rail 
Infrastructure'' is an equivalent term to ``Railroad Infrastructure.''
    n. ``Relocation'' is defined by 49 CFR 262.3 to mean moving a rail 
line vertically or laterally to a new location. Vertical Relocation 
refers to raising above the current ground level or sinking below the 
current ground level of a rail line. Lateral Relocation refers to 
moving a rail line horizontally to a new location.
    o. ``Restoration'' means reinstating service to a route that 
formerly operated Intercity Rail Passenger Transportation.
    p. ``Rural Project'' means a project in which all or the majority 
of the project (determined by the geographic location or locations 
where the majority of the project funds will be spent) is located in a 
Rural Area.
    q. ``Rural Area'' is defined in 49 U.S.C. 24407(g)(2) to mean any 
area not in an urbanized area as defined by the Census Bureau. The 
Census Bureau defines Urbanized Area (UA) as an area with a population 
of 50,000 or more people.\2\ Updated lists of UAs as defined by the 
Census Bureau are available on the Census Bureau website at http://www2.census.gov/geo/maps/dc10map/UAUC_RefMap/ua/.
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    \2\ See 74 FR 53030, 53043 (August 24, 2011) available at 
https://www2.census.gov/geo/pdfs/reference/fedreg/fedregv76n164.pdf.
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    r. ``Tier 1 NEPA'' includes the analysis and evaluation of the 
potential environmental impacts of an action at a broad level, such as 
a program concept for an entire corridor, and typically does not lead 
directly to project construction. It identifies the potential 
environmental impacts of the alternatives being considered for the 
program, as well as the mitigations that may be needed to address the 
impacts. The potential environmental impacts and mitigations must be 
incorporated into each alternative that is evaluated. These are 
generally Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) that result in the 
identification of a preferred alternative.
    s. ``Tier 2 NEPA'' includes the required analysis and evaluation of 
the potential environmental impacts of an action at a project-specific 
level of detail. Tier 2 NEPA should be sufficient to support final 
design and construction activities and may include an EIS, an 
environmental assessment (EA), or a categorical exclusion (CE).

B. Federal Award Information

1. Available Award Amount

    The total funding available for awards under this NOFO is 
$65,232,400 after $680,000 is set aside for FRA program oversight and 
$2,087,600 is set aside for Special Transportation Circumstances grants 
that are announced under a separate NOFO at www.GrantSolutions.gov. 
Under 49 U.S.C. 24407(g) at least $17 million must be made available 
for Rural Projects. The Appropriations Act directed FRA to award at 
least $10 million for projects under 49 U.S.C. 24407(c)(2) that 
contribute to the Initiation or Restoration of Intercity Passenger Rail 
Service.

2. Award Size

    There are no predetermined minimum or maximum dollar thresholds for 
awards. FRA anticipates making multiple awards with the available 
funding. FRA may not be able to award grants to all eligible 
applications, nor even to all applications that meet or exceed the 
stated evaluation criteria (see Section E, Application Review 
Information). Projects may require more funding than is available. FRA 
encourages applicants to propose projects or components of projects 
that have operational independence that can be completed and 
implemented with the level of CRISI funding available together with 
other sources.
    FRA strongly encourages applicants to identify and include other 
state, local, public, or private funding or financing to support the 
proposed project.

3. Award Type

    FRA will make awards for projects selected under this notice 
through grant agreements and/or cooperative agreements. Grant 
agreements are used when FRA does not expect to have substantial 
Federal involvement in carrying out the funded activity. Cooperative 
agreements allow for substantial Federal involvement in carrying out 
the agreed upon investment, including technical assistance, review of 
interim work products, and increased program oversight. The funding 
provided under these cooperative agreements will be made available to 
grantees on a reimbursable basis. Applicants must certify that their 
expenditures are allowable, allocable, reasonable, and necessary to the 
approved project before seeking reimbursement from FRA. Additionally, 
the grantee is expected to expend matching funds at the required 
percentage alongside Federal funds throughout the life of the project. 
See an example of standard terms and conditions for FRA grant awards 
at: https://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/Details/L19057.

4. Concurrent Applications

    As DOT and FRA are concurrently soliciting applications for 
transportation infrastructure projects for several financial assistance 
programs, applicants may submit applications requesting funding for a 
particular project to one or more of these programs. In the application 
for CRISI Program funding, applicants must indicate the other programs 
to which they submitted or plan to submit an application for funding 
the entire project or certain project components, as well as highlight 
new or revised information in the CRISI Program application that 
differs from the application(s) for other federal financial assistance 
programs.

C. Eligibility Information

    This section of the notice explains applicant eligibility, cost 
sharing and matching requirements, project eligibility, and project 
component operational independence. Applications that do not meet the 
requirements in this section will be ineligible for funding. 
Instructions for submitting eligibility information to FRA are detailed 
in Section D of this NOFO.

1. Eligible Applicants

    The following entities are eligible applicants for all project 
types permitted under this notice:
    a. A State;
    b. A group of States;
    c. An Interstate Compact;

[[Page 7531]]

    d. A public agency or publicly chartered authority established by 
one or more States; \3\
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    \3\ See Section D(2)(a)(iv) for supporting documentation 
required to demonstrate eligibility under this eligibility category.
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    e. A political subdivision of a State;
    f. Amtrak or another Rail Carrier that provides Intercity Rail 
Passenger Transportation (as defined in 49 U.S.C. 24102);
    g. A Class II railroad or Class III railroad (as those terms are 
defined in 49 U.S.C. 20102);
    h. Any Rail Carrier or rail equipment manufacturer in partnership 
with at least one of the entities described in paragraph (a) through 
(e);
    i. The Transportation Research Board together with any entity with 
which it contracts in the development of rail-related research, 
including cooperative research programs;
    j. A University transportation center engaged in rail-related 
research; or
    k. A non-profit labor organization representing a class or craft of 
employees of Rail Carriers or Rail Carrier contractors.
    Joint applications must identify an eligible applicant as the lead 
applicant. The lead applicant serves as the primary point of contact 
for the application, and if selected, as the recipient of the CRISI 
Program grant award. Entities that are not eligible applicants may be 
included in an application as a project partner with one or more 
eligible applicants.

2. Cost Sharing or Matching

    The Federal share of total costs for projects funded under this 
notice will not exceed 80 percent, though FRA will provide selection 
preference to applications where the proposed Federal share of total 
project costs is 50 percent or less. The estimated total cost of a 
project must be based on the best available information, including 
engineering studies, studies of economic feasibility, environmental 
analyses, and information on the expected use of equipment and/or 
facilities. Additionally, in preparing estimates of total project 
costs, applicants should refer to FRA's cost estimate guidance 
documentation, ``Capital Cost Estimating: Guidance for Project 
Sponsors,'' which is available at: https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0926.
    The minimum 20 percent non-Federal match may be comprised of public 
sector (e.g., state or local) and/or private sector funding. FRA will 
not consider any Federal financial assistance, nor any non-Federal 
funds already expended (or otherwise encumbered) that do not comply 
with 2 CFR 200.458 toward the matching requirement. FRA is limiting the 
first 20 percent of the non-Federal match to cash contributions only. 
FRA will not accept ``in-kind'' contributions for the first 20 percent 
in matching funds. Eligible in-kind contributions may be accepted for 
any non-Federal matching beyond the first 20 percent. In-kind 
contributions, including the donation of services, materials, and 
equipment, may be credited as a project cost, in a uniform manner 
consistent with 2 CFR 200.306.
    If Amtrak or another Rail Carrier is an applicant, whether acting 
on its own behalf or as part of a joint application, Amtrak or another 
Rail Carrier may use ticket and other non-Federal revenues generated 
from its operations and other sources as matching funds. Applicants 
must identify the source(s) of its matching and other funds, and must 
clearly and distinctly reflect these funds as part of the total project 
cost.
    Before applying, applicants should carefully review the principles 
for cost sharing or matching in 2 CFR 200.306. See Section D(2)(a)(iii) 
for required application information on non-Federal match and Section E 
for further discussion of FRA's consideration of matching funds in the 
review and selection process.

3. Other

a. Project Eligibility
    The following rail projects that improve the safety, efficiency, 
and/or reliability of passenger and/or freight rail transportation 
systems are eligible for funding under this NOFO.
    i. Deployment of railroad safety technology, including PTC and rail 
integrity inspection systems. Examples include: PTC components; 
integration of PTC with highway grade crossing systems; broken rail 
detection and warning systems; track intrusion systems; and 
electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) braking systems.\4\
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    \4\ Only FD and Construction costs are eligible within this 
project eligibility category.
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    ii. A capital project as defined in 49 U.S.C. 24401(2) relating to 
Intercity Passenger Rail Service, except that such projects under this 
NOFO are not required to be in a State rail plan. Examples include: 
Acquisition, improvement, or rehabilitation of railroad equipment 
(locomotives and rolling stock); Railroad Infrastructure (grade 
crossings, catenary, signals, and PTC equipment); and rail facilities 
(yards, passenger stations, or maintenance and repair shops).
    iii. A Capital Project necessary to address congestion challenges 
affecting rail service. Examples include: Projects addressing 
congestion that increase rail capacity; add or upgrade the condition, 
clearances, and capacity of rail mainlines; enhance capacity and 
service with less conflict between freight and intercity passenger 
rail; reduce delays and risks associated with highway-rail grade 
crossings; and provide more effective rail equipment.
    iv. A Capital Project necessary to reduce congestion and facilitate 
ridership growth in Intercity Passenger Rail Transportation along 
heavily traveled rail corridors. Examples include: Projects addressing 
congestion that improve stations; increase rail capacity; reduce 
conflict between freight and intercity passenger rail; reduce delays 
and risks associated with highway-rail grade crossings; and provide 
more effective rail equipment.
    v. A highway-rail grade crossing improvement project, including 
installation, repair, or improvement of grade separations, railroad 
crossing signals, gates, and related technologies; highway traffic 
signalization; highway lighting and crossing approach signage; roadway 
improvements such as medians or other barriers; railroad crossing 
panels and surfaces; and safety engineering improvements to reduce risk 
in quiet zones or potential quiet zones.
    vi. A rail line Relocation and Improvement project. Examples 
include projects that: Improve the route or structure of a rail line by 
replacing degraded track; enhance/relocate railroad switching 
operations; add or lengthen passing tracks to increase capacity; 
improve interlockings; and relocate rail lines to alleviate congestion, 
and eliminate frequent rail service interruptions.
    vii. A Capital Project to improve short-line or regional Railroad 
Infrastructure.
    viii. The preparation of regional rail and corridor service 
development plans and corresponding environmental analyses. (See the 
examples under Track 1 and 2 below in Subsections C(3)(b)(i)-(ii) as 
they apply to regional and corridor rail Planning.)
    ix. A project necessary to enhance multimodal connections or 
facilitate service integration between rail service and other modes, 
including between Intercity Rail Passenger Transportation and intercity 
bus service or commercial air service. Examples include: Intermodal 
transportation facilities projects that encourage joint scheduling, 
ticketing, and/or baggage handling; freight rail intermodal 
connections; and rail projects improving access to ports.
    x. The development and implementation of a safety program or

[[Page 7532]]

institute designed to improve rail safety. Examples include: Employee 
training; and public safety outreach and education.
b. Project Tracks for Eligible Projects
    An applicant must submit an eligible project under one of the 
following four tracks: Track 1--Planning; Track 2--PE/NEPA; Track 3--
FD/Construction; or Track 4--Safety Programs and Institutes. Applicants 
are not limited in the number of projects for which they seek funding. 
However, under this NOFO, applicants must submit only one application 
per project, and must designate only one track for that project. For 
example, an applicant cannot seek funding in the same application or 
multiple applications for both PE/NEPA and FD/Construction elements of 
the same project. FRA will only accept one project per application, 
with one exception: FRA will accept an application that proposes a 
combination of project elements such as track enhancements and grade 
crossing improvements if, and only if, (1) those project elements are 
contiguous or (2) those project elements result in greater improvement 
to rail safety, efficiency, and/or reliability if jointly implemented.
i. Track 1--Planning
    Track 1 consists of eligible rail Planning projects. Examples 
include the technical analyses and associated environmental analyses 
that support the development of state rail plans, regional rail plans, 
and corridor service development plans, including: Identification of 
alternatives, rail network Planning, market analysis, travel demand 
forecasting, revenue forecasting, railroad system design, railroad 
operations analysis and simulation, equipment fleet Planning, station 
and access analysis, conceptual engineering and capital programming, 
operating and maintenance cost forecasting, capital replacement and 
renewal analysis, railroad industry governance and organization, and 
economic analysis.
ii. Track 2--PE/NEPA
    Track 2 consists of eligible PE/NEPA projects. PE examples include: 
PE drawings and specifications (scale drawings at the 30% design level, 
including track geometry as appropriate); design criteria, schematics 
and/or track charts that support the development of PE; and work that 
can be funded in conjunction with developing PE, such as operations 
modeling, surveying, project work/management plans, preliminary cost 
estimates, and preliminary project schedules. NEPA examples include 
analysis and documentation related to a Tier 2 NEPA EIS, EA or CE. PE/
NEPA projects funded under this track must result in sufficiently 
developed product(s) to support FD or Construction activities.
iii. Track 3--FD/Construction
    Track 3 consists of eligible projects consisting of FD, 
Construction, and project implementation and deployment activities. 
Applicants must complete all necessary Planning, PE and NEPA 
requirements for projects submitted under this track. FD funded under 
this track must: Resolve remaining uncertainties or risks associated 
with changes to design scope; address procurement processes; and update 
and refine plans for financing the project or program to reflect 
accurately the expected year-of-expenditure costs and cash flow 
projections. Applicants selected for funding under the FD/Construction 
track must demonstrate the following to FRA's satisfaction prior to 
FRA's obligation of such funding:
    (A) PE is 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);
    (B) NEPA is completed for the proposed project;
    (C) Signed agreements with key project partners, including 
infrastructure-owning entities; and
    (D) A project management plan is in-place for managing the 
implementation of the proposed project, including the management and 
mitigation of project risks.
    FD examples include: Drawings at the 100% Design Level, interim 
design drawings that support development (e.g., drawings at the 60% 
Design Level), project work/project management plan, cost estimates, 
project schedules, and right-of-way acquisition and relocation plans. 
Construction examples include: Additions, improvements, replacements, 
renovations and/or repairs to track, bridge, station, rail yard, 
signal, and communication system infrastructure, and deployment of PTC 
or other railroad safety technology.
iv. Track 4--Safety Programs and Institutes (Non-Railroad 
Infrastructure)
    Track 4 consists of projects for the development and implementation 
of safety programs or institutes designed to improve rail safety that 
clearly demonstrate the expected positive impact on rail safety. 
Sufficient detail must be provided on what the program or institute 
will accomplish, as well as the applicant's capability to achieve the 
proposed safety outcomes. Examples include: Initiatives for improving 
rail safety, such as training, public outreach, and education. Safety 
projects that involve eligible Planning, PE/NEPA, or FD/Construction 
should be submitted under Tracks 1-3, as appropriate.
c. Project Component Operational Independence
    If an applicant requests funding for a project that is a component 
or set of components of a larger project, the project component(s) must 
be attainable with the award amount, together with other funds as 
necessary, obtain operational independence, and must comply with all 
eligibility requirements described in Section C.
    In addition, the component(s) must be capable of independent 
analysis and decision making, as determined by FRA, under NEPA (i.e., 
have independent utility, connect logical termini, if applicable, and 
not restrict the consideration of alternatives for other reasonably 
foreseeable rail projects.)
d. Rural Project
    FRA will consider a project to be in a Rural Area if all or the 
majority of the project (determined by geographic location(s) where the 
majority of the project funds will be spent) is located in a Rural 
Area. However, in the event FRA elects to fund a component of the 
project, then FRA will reexamine whether the project is in a Rural 
Area.

D. Application and Submission Information

    Required documents for the application are outlined in the 
following paragraphs. Applicants must complete and submit all 
components of the application. See Section D(2) for the application 
checklist. FRA welcomes the submission of additional relevant 
supporting documentation, such as planning, engineering and design 
documentation, and letters of support from partnering organizations 
that will not count against the Project Narrative 25-page limit.

1. Address To Request Application Package

    Applicants must submit all application materials in their entirety 
through www.Grants.gov no later than 5:00 p.m. EDT, on June 21, 2018. 
FRA reserves the right to modify this deadline. General information for 
submitting applications through Grants.gov can be found at: https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0270.

[[Page 7533]]

    For any supporting application materials that an applicant cannot 
submit via Grants.gov, such as oversized engineering drawings, an 
applicant may submit an original and two (2) copies to Ms. Amy Houser, 
Office of Program Delivery, Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue SE, Room W36-412, Washington, DC 20590. However, due to 
delays caused by enhanced screening of mail delivered via the U.S. 
Postal Service, FRA advises applicants to use other means of conveyance 
(such as courier service) to assure timely receipt of materials before 
the application deadline. Additionally, if documents can be obtained 
online, explaining to FRA how to access files on a referenced website 
may also be sufficient.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

    FRA strongly advises applicants to read this section carefully. 
Applicants must submit all required information and components of the 
application package to be considered for funding. Additionally, 
applicants selected to receive funding must generally satisfy the grant 
readiness checklist requirements on https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0268 
as a precondition to FRA issuing a grant award, as well as the 
requirements in 49 U.S.C. 24405 explained in part at https://www.fra.dot.gov/page/P0185.
    Required documents for an application package are outlined in the 
checklist below.

i. Project Narrative (see D.2.a)
ii. Statement of Work (see D.2.b.i)
iii. Benefit-Cost Analysis (see D.2.b.ii)
iv. SF424--Application for Federal Assistance
v. Either: SF 424A--Budget Information for Non-Construction projects 
(required for Tracks 1, 2 and 4) or SF 424C--Budget Information for 
Construction (required for Track 3)
vi. Either: SF 424B--Assurances for Non-Construction projects (required 
for Tracks 1, 2 and 4) or SF 424D--Assurances for Construction 
(required for Track 3)
vii. FRA's Additional Assurances and Certifications
viii. SF LLL--Disclosure of Lobbying Activities
a. Project Narrative
    This section describes the minimum content required in the Project 
Narrative of the grant application. The Project Narrative must follow 
the basic outline below to address the program requirements and assist 
evaluators in locating relevant information.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
I. Cover Page............................  See D.2.a.i.
II. Project Summary......................  See D.2.a.ii.
III. Project Funding.....................  See D.2.a.iii.
IV. Applicant Eligibility................  See D.2.a.iv.
V. Project Eligibility...................  See D.2.a.v.
VI. Detailed Project Description.........  See D.2.a.vi.
VII. Project Location....................  See D.2.a.vii.
VIII. Evaluation and Selection Criteria..  See D.2.a.viii.
IX. Project Implementation and Management  See D.2.a.ix.
X. Planning Readiness....................  See D.2.a.x.
XI. Environmental Readiness..............  See D.2.a.xi.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The above content must be provided in a narrative statement 
submitted by the applicant. The Project Narrative may not exceed 25 
pages in length (excluding cover pages, table of contents, and 
supporting documentation). FRA will not review or consider for award 
applications with Project Narratives exceeding the 25-page limitation. 
If possible, applicants should submit supporting documents via website 
links rather than hard copies. If supporting documents are submitted, 
applicants must clearly identify the page number(s) of the relevant 
portion in the Project Narrative supporting documentation. The Project 
Narrative must adhere to the following outline.
    i. Cover Page: Include a cover page that lists the following 
elements in a table:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Project Title.                               ...........................
Lead applicant and co-applicant(s).          ...........................
Project Track..............................  1, 2, 3, or 4.
Will this project contribute to the          Yes/no.
 Restoration or Initiation of Intercity
 Passenger Rail Service?
Was a Federal grant application previously   Yes/no.
 submitted for this project?
If yes, state the name of the Federal grant  Federal Grant Program:
 program and title of the project in the
 previous application.
                                             Project Title:
If applicable, what stage of NEPA is the     NEPA stage:
 project in (e.g., EA, Tier 1 NEPA, Tier 2
 NEPA, or CE)?
Is this a Rural Project? What percentage of  Yes/no. Percentage of total
 the project cost is based in a Rural Area?   project cost:
City(ies), State(s) where the project is     ...........................
 located.
Urbanized Area where the project is          ...........................
 located.
Population of Urbanized Area.                ...........................
Is the project currently programmed in the:  Yes/no. (If yes, please
 State rail plan, State Freight Plan, TIP,    specify in which plans the
 STIP, MPO Long Range Transportation Plan,    project is currently
 State Long Range Transportation Plan?        programmed).
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    ii. Project Summary: Provide a brief 4-6 sentence summary of the 
proposed project and what the project will entail. Include challenges 
the proposed project aims to address, and summarize the intended 
outcomes and anticipated benefits that will result from the proposed 
project.
    iii. Project Funding: Indicate in table format the amount of 
Federal funding requested, the proposed non-Federal match, identifying 
contributions from the private sector if applicable, and total project 
cost. Describe the non-Federal funding arrangement. Include funding 
commitment letters outlining funding agreements, as attachments or in 
an appendix. Identify any specific project components that the 
applicant proposes for partial project funding. If all or a majority of 
a project is located in a Rural Area, identify the Rural Area(s) and 
estimated percentage of project costs that will be spent in the Rural 
Area. Identify any previously incurred costs, as well as other sources 
of Federal funds committed to the project and any pending Federal 
requests. Also, note if the requested Federal funding under this NOFO 
or other programs must be obligated or spent by a certain date due to 
dependencies or relationships with other Federal or non-Federal funding 
sources, related projects, law, or other factors. If applicable, 
provide the type and estimated value of any proposed in-kind 
contributions, and demonstrate how the in-kind contributions meet the 
requirements in 2 CFR 200.306.
    Example Project Funding Table:

[[Page 7534]]



------------------------------------------------------------------------
                       Task name/project                   Percentage of
      Task No.             component           Cost         total cost
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1
2
-----------------------------------------
Total Project Cost.
Federal Funds Received from Previous
 Grant.
CRISI Federal Funding Request.
Non-Federal Funding/Match.
Portion of Non-Federal Funding from the
 Private Sector.
Portion of Total Project Costs Spent in
 a Rural Area.
Pending Federal Funding Requests.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    iv. Applicant Eligibility: Explain how the applicant meets the 
applicant eligibility criteria outlined in Section C of this notice, 
including references to creation or enabling legislation for public 
agencies and publicly chartered authorities established by one or more 
States. Joint applications must be signed by an authorized 
representative of each applicant and must include a description of the 
roles and responsibilities of each applicant, including budget and sub-
recipient information showing how the applicants will share project 
costs.
    v. Project Eligibility: Identify which project eligibility category 
the project is eligible under in Section C(3) of this notice, and 
explain how the project meets the project eligibility criteria.
    vi. Detailed Project Description: Include a detailed project 
description that expands upon the brief project summary. This detailed 
description should provide, at a minimum, background on the challenges 
the project aims to address; the expected users and beneficiaries of 
the project, including all railroad operators; the specific components 
and elements of the project; and any other information the applicant 
deems necessary to justify the proposed project. If applicable, explain 
how the project will benefit communities in Rural Areas.
    For all projects, applicants must provide information about 
proposed performance measures, as discussed in Section F(3)(c) and 
required in 2 CFR 200.301 and 49 U.S.C. 24407(f).
    (A) Grade crossing information, if applicable: For any project that 
includes grade crossing components, cite specific DOT National Grade 
Crossing Inventory information, including the railroad that owns the 
infrastructure (or the crossing owner, if different from the railroad), 
the primary railroad operator, the DOT crossing inventory number, and 
the roadway at the crossing. Applicants can search for data to meet 
this requirement at the following link: http://safetydata.fra.dot.gov/OfficeofSafety/default.aspx.
    (B) Heavily traveled rail corridor information, if applicable: For 
any project eligible under the eligibility category in Subsection 
C(3)(a)(iv), that reduces congestion and facilitates ridership growth 
in Intercity Passenger Rail Transportation, describe how the project is 
located on a heavily traveled rail corridor.
    (C) PTC information, if applicable: For any project that includes 
deploying PTC, applicants must:
    1. Document submission of a revised Positive Train Control 
Implementation Plan (PTCIP) to FRA as required by 49 U.S.C. 20157(a);
    2. Be tenants on one or more host railroads whose host railroad(s) 
document submission of a revised PTCIP as required by 49 U.S.C. 
20157(a); or
    3. Document why the applicant is not required to submit a revised 
PTCIP as required by 49 U.S.C. 20157(a), and how the proposed project 
will assist in the deployment (i.e., installation and/or full 
implementation) of a PTC system required under 49 U.S.C. 20157.
    vii. Project Location: Include geospatial data for the project, as 
well as a map of the project's location. On the map, include the 
Congressional districts and Rural Area boundaries, if applicable, in 
which the project will take place.
    viii. Evaluation and Selection Criteria: Include a thorough 
discussion of how the proposed project meets all the evaluation 
criteria and selection criteria, as outlined in Section E of this 
notice. If an application does not sufficiently address the evaluation 
and selection criteria, it is unlikely to be a competitive application.
    ix. Project Implementation and Management: Describe proposed 
project implementation and project management arrangements. Include 
descriptions of the expected arrangements for project contracting, 
contract oversight, change-order management, risk management, and 
conformance to Federal requirements for project progress reporting (see 
https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0274). Describe past experience in 
managing and overseeing similar projects.
    x. Planning Readiness for Tracks 2 and 3 (PE/NEPA and FD/
Construction) Projects: Provide information about the planning process 
that analyzed the investment needs and service objectives of the 
project. If applicable, cite sources of this information from a Service 
Development Plan, State or regional rail plan, or similar planning 
document where the project has been identified for solving a specific 
existing transportation problem, and makes the case for investing in 
the proposed solution.
    xi. Environmental Readiness for Track 3 FD/Construction Projects: 
If the NEPA process is complete, an applicant should indicate the date 
of completion, and provide a website link or other reference to the 
documents demonstrating compliance with NEPA, which might include a 
final CE, Finding of No Significant Impact, or Record of Decision. If 
the NEPA process is not yet underway or is underway, but is not 
complete, the application should detail the type of NEPA review 
underway, where the project is in the process, and indicate the 
anticipated date of completion of all NEPA and related milestones. If 
the last agency action with respect to NEPA documents occurred more 
than three years before the application date, the applicant should 
describe why the project has been delayed and include a proposed 
approach for verifying, and if necessary, updating this information in 
accordance with applicable NEPA requirements. Additional information 
regarding FRA's environmental processes and requirements are located at 
https://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/Details/L05286.
b. Additional Application Elements
    Applicants must submit:
    i. A Statement of Work (SOW) addressing the scope, schedule, and 
budget for the proposed project if it were selected for award. The SOW 
must contain sufficient detail so FRA, and the applicant, can 
understand the expected outcomes of the proposed work to be performed 
and monitor progress toward

[[Page 7535]]

completing project tasks and deliverables during a prospective grant's 
period of performance. Applicants must use FRA's standard SOW template 
to be considered for award. The SOW template is located at https://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/Details/L18661. When preparing the budget as part 
of the SOW, the total cost of a project must be based on the best 
available information as indicated in cited references that include 
engineering studies, studies of economic feasibility, environmental 
analyses, and information on the expected use of equipment or 
facilities.
    ii. A Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA), as an appendix to the Project 
Narrative for each project submitted by an applicant. The BCA must 
demonstrate in economic terms the merits of investing in the proposed 
project. The BCA for Track 2--PE/NEPA projects should be for the 
underlying project, not the PE/NEPA work itself. The project narrative 
should summarize the project's benefits.
    Benefits may apply to existing and new rail users, as well as users 
of other modes of transportation. In some cases, benefits may be 
applied to populations in the general vicinity of the project area. 
Improvements to multimodal connections and shared-use rail corridors 
may benefit all users involved. Benefits may be quantified for savings 
in safety costs, reduced costs from disruption of service, maintenance 
costs, reduced travel time, emissions reductions, and increases in 
capacity or ability to offer new types of freight or passenger 
services. Applicants may also describe other categories of benefits 
that are difficult to quantify such as noise reduction, environmental 
impact mitigation, improved quality of life, or reliability of travel 
times. All benefits claimed for the project must be clearly tied to the 
expected outcomes of the project. Please refer to the Benefit-Cost 
Analysis Guidance for TIGER and INFRA Applications prior to preparing a 
BCA at https://www.transportation.gov/office-policy/transportation-policy/benefit-cost-analysis-guidance. In addition, please also refer 
to the BCA FAQs on FRA's website for some rail specific examples of how 
to apply the BCA Guidance for TIGER and INFRA Applications to CRISI 
applications.
    For Tracks 1 and 4--Applicants are required to document project 
benefits. Any subjective estimates of benefits and costs should be 
quantified whenever possible, and applicants should provide appropriate 
evidence to support their subjective estimates. Estimates of benefits 
should be presented in monetary terms whenever possible; if a monetary 
estimate is not possible, then a quantitative estimate (in physical, 
non-monetary terms, such as crash or employee casualty rates, ridership 
estimates, emissions levels, energy efficiency improvements, etc.) 
should be provided. At a minimum, qualitatively describe the project 
benefits.
    iii. SF 424--Application for Federal Assistance;
    iv. SF 424A--Budget Information for Non-Construction or SF 424C--
Budget Information for Construction;
    v. SF 424B--Assurances for Non-Construction or SF 424D--Assurances 
for Construction;
    vi. FRA's Additional Assurances and Certifications; and
    vii. SF LLL--Disclosure of Lobbying Activities.
    Forms needed for the electronic application process are at 
www.Grants.gov.
c. Post-Selection Requirements
    See subsection F(2) of this notice for post-selection requirements.

3. Unique Entity Identifier, System for Award Management (SAM), and 
Submission Instructions

    To apply for funding through Grants.gov, applicants must be 
properly registered. Complete instructions on how to register and 
submit an application can be found at www.Grants.gov. Registering with 
Grants.gov is a one-time process; however, it can take up to several 
weeks for first-time registrants to receive confirmation and a user 
password. FRA recommends that applicants start the registration process 
as early as possible to prevent delays that may preclude submitting an 
application package by the application deadline. Applications will not 
be accepted after the due date. Delayed registration is not an 
acceptable justification for an application extension.
    FRA may not make a grant award to an applicant until the applicant 
has complied with all applicable Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) 
and SAM requirements. (Please note that if a Dun & Bradstreet DUNS 
number must be obtained or renewed, this may take a significant amount 
of time to complete.) Late applications that are the result of a 
failure to register or comply with Grants.gov applicant requirements in 
a timely manner will not be considered. If an applicant has not fully 
complied with the requirements by the submission deadline, the 
application will not be considered. To submit an application through 
Grants.gov, applicants must:
a. Obtain a DUNS Number
    A DUNS number is required for Grants.gov registration. The Office 
of Management and Budget requires that all businesses and nonprofit 
applicants for Federal funds include a DUNS number in their 
applications for a new award or renewal of an existing award. A DUNS 
number is a unique nine-digit sequence recognized as the universal 
standard for the government in 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 sub-recipients. The DUNS 
number will be used throughout the grant life cycle. Obtaining a DUNS 
number is a free, one-time activity. Applicants may obtain a DUNS 
number by calling 1-866-705-5711 or by applying online at http://www.dnb.com/us.
b. Register With the SAM at www.SAM.gov
    All applicants for Federal financial assistance must maintain 
current registrations in the SAM database. An applicant must be 
registered in SAM to successfully register in Grants.gov. The SAM 
database is the repository for standard information about Federal 
financial assistance applicants, recipients, and sub recipients. 
Organizations that have previously submitted applications via 
Grants.gov are already registered with SAM, as it is a requirement for 
Grants.gov registration. Please note, however, that applicants must 
update or renew their SAM registration at least once per year to 
maintain an active status. Therefore, it is critical to check 
registration status well in advance of the application deadline. If an 
applicant is selected for an award, the applicant must maintain an 
active SAM registration with current information throughout the period 
of the award. Information about SAM registration procedures is 
available at www.sam.gov.
c. Create a Grants.gov Username and Password
    Applicants must complete an Authorized Organization Representative 
(AOR) profile on www.Grants.gov and create a username and password. 
Applicants must use the organization's DUNS number to complete this 
step. Additional information about the registration process is 
available at: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/organization-registration.html.

[[Page 7536]]

d. Acquire Authorization for Your AOR From the E-Business Point of 
Contact (E-Biz POC)
    The E-Biz POC at the applicant's organization must respond to the 
registration email from Grants.gov and login at www.Grants.gov to 
authorize the applicant as the AOR. Please note there can be more than 
one AOR for an organization.
e. Submit an Application Addressing All Requirements Outlined in This 
NOFO
    If an applicant experiences difficulties at any point during this 
process, please call the Grants.gov Customer Center Hotline at 1-800-
518-4726, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (closed on Federal holidays). 
For information and instructions on each of these processes, please see 
instructions at: http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/apply-for-grants.html.

    Note:  Please use generally accepted formats such as .pdf, .doc, 
.docx, .xls, .xlsx and .ppt, when uploading attachments. While 
applicants may embed picture files, such as .jpg, .gif, and .bmp, in 
document files, applicants should not submit attachments in these 
formats. Additionally, the following formats will not be accepted: 
.com, .bat, .exe, .vbs, .cfg, .dat, .db, .dbf, .dll, .ini, .log, 
.ora, .sys, and .zip.

4. Submission Dates and Times

    Applicants must submit complete applications to www.Grants.gov no 
later than 5:00 p.m. EDT, June 21, 2018. FRA reviews www.Grants.gov 
information on dates/times of applications submitted to determine 
timeliness of submissions. Late applications will be neither reviewed 
nor considered. Delayed registration is not an acceptable reason for 
late submission. In order to apply for funding under this announcement, 
all applicants are expected to be registered as an organization with 
Grants.gov. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply early to ensure 
all materials are received before this deadline.
    To ensure a fair competition of limited discretionary funds, the 
following conditions are not valid reasons to permit late submissions: 
(1) Failure to complete the Grants.gov registration process before the 
deadline; (2) failure to follow Grants.gov instructions on how to 
register and apply as posted on its website; (3) failure to follow all 
instructions in this NOFO; and (4) technical issues experienced with 
the applicant's computer or information technology environment.

5. Intergovernmental Review

    Executive Order 12372 requires applicants from State and local 
units of government or other organizations providing services within a 
State to submit a copy of the application to the State Single Point of 
Contact (SPOC), if one exists, and if this program has been selected 
for review by the State. Applicants must contact their State SPOC to 
determine if the program has been selected for State review.

6. Funding Restrictions

    FRA is prohibited in 49 U.S.C. 24405(f) \5\ from providing CRISI 
grants for commuter rail passenger transportation (as defined in 49 
U.S.C. 24102(3)). FRA's interpretation of this restriction is informed 
by the language in 49 U.S.C. 24407. FRA's primary intent in funding 
passenger rail projects will be to make reasonable investments in 
intercity passenger rail transportation. Such projects may be located 
on shared corridors where commuter rail passenger transportation and/or 
freight rail also benefit from the project.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ Under 49 U.S.C. 24407(i), CRISI grants are subject to the 
requirements in 49 U.S.C. 24405.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    FRA will only approve pre-award costs consistent with 2 CFR 
200.458. Under 2 CFR 200.458, grant recipients must seek written 
approval from FRA for pre-award activities to be eligible for 
reimbursement under the cooperative agreement. Activities initiated 
prior to the execution of a cooperative agreement or without FRA's 
written approval may not be eligible for reimbursement or included as a 
grantee's matching contribution.

E. Application Review Information

1. Criteria

a. Eligibility and Completeness Review
    FRA will first screen each application for applicant and project 
eligibility (eligibility requirements are outlined in Section C of this 
notice), completeness (application documentation and submission 
requirements are outlined in Section D of this notice), and the 20 
percent minimum match in determining whether the application is 
eligible.
    FRA will then consider the applicant's past performance in 
developing and delivering similar projects and previous financial 
contributions, and previous competitive grant technical evaluation 
ratings that the proposed project received under previous competitive 
grant programs administered by the DOT if applicable.
b. Evaluation Criteria
    FRA subject-matter experts will evaluate all eligible and complete 
applications by Track using the evaluation criteria outlined in this 
section to determine project benefits and technical merit.
    i. Project Benefits:
    FRA will evaluate the Benefit-Cost Analysis of the proposed project 
for the anticipated private and public benefits relative to the costs 
of the proposed project and the summary of benefits provided in 
response to subsection D(2)(a)(ii) including--
    (A) Effects on system and service performance;
    (B) Effects on safety, competitiveness, reliability, trip or 
transit time, and resilience;
    (C) Efficiencies from improved integration with other modes; and
    (D) Ability to meet existing or anticipated demand.
    ii. Technical Merit:
    FRA will evaluate application information for the degree to which--
    (A) The tasks and subtasks outlined in the SOW are appropriate to 
achieve the expected outcomes of the proposed project.
    (B) Applications indicate strong project readiness and meet 
requirements under the project track designated by the applicant.
    (C) The technical qualifications and experience of key personnel 
proposed to lead and perform the technical efforts, and the 
qualifications of the primary and supporting organizations to fully and 
successfully execute the proposed project within the proposed timeframe 
and budget are demonstrated.
    (D) The proposed project's business plan considers potential 
private sector participation in the financing, construction, or 
operation of the proposed project.
    (E) The applicant has, or will have the legal, financial, and 
technical capacity to carry out the proposed project; satisfactory 
continuing control over the use of the equipment or facilities; and the 
capability and willingness to maintain the equipment or facilities.
    (F) The proposed project is consistent with planning guidance and 
documents set forth by DOT, including those required by law or State 
rail plans developed under Title 49, United State Code, Chapter 227.
c. Selection Criteria
    In addition to the eligibility and completeness review and the 
evaluation criteria outlined in this subsection, the FRA Administrator 
will select projects applying the following selection criteria:

[[Page 7537]]

    i. FRA will give preference to projects for which the:
    (A) Proposed Federal share of total project costs is 50 percent or 
less; and
    (B) Net benefits of the grant funds will be maximized considering 
the Benefit-Cost Analysis, including anticipated private and public 
benefits relative to the costs of the proposed project, and factoring 
in the other considerations in 49 U.S.C. 24407 (e).
    ii. After applying the above preferences, the FRA Administrator 
will take into account the following key Departmental objectives:
    (A) Supporting economic vitality at the national and regional 
level;
    (B) Leveraging Federal funding to attract other, non-Federal 
sources of infrastructure investment, as well as accounting for the 
life-cycle costs of the project;
    (C) Using innovative approaches to improve safety and expedite 
project delivery; and,
    (D) Holding grant recipients accountable for their performance and 
achieving specific, measurable outcomes identified by grant applicants.

2. Review and Selection Process

    FRA will conduct a three-part application review process, as 
follows:
    a. Screen applications for completeness and eligibility;
    b. Evaluate eligible applications (completed by technical panels 
applying the evaluation criteria); and
    c. Select projects for funding (completed by the FRA Administrator 
applying the selection criteria).

F. Federal Award Administration Information

1. Federal Award Notice

    FRA will announce applications selected for funding in a press 
release and on the FRA website after the application review period. FRA 
will contact applicants with successful applications after announcement 
with information and instructions about the award process. This 
notification is not an authorization to begin proposed project 
activities. A formal cooperative agreement or grant agreement signed by 
both the grantee and the FRA, including an approved scope, schedule, 
and budget, is required before the award is considered complete.
    For all projects, obligation occurs when a selected applicant and 
FRA enter a written project specific cooperative agreement or grant 
agreement and is after the applicant has satisfied applicable 
requirements. For Track 2 PE/NEPA projects, these requirements may 
include transportation planning. For Track 3 FD/Construction projects, 
these requirements may include transportation planning, PE and 
environmental reviews.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

    Due to funding limitations, projects that are selected for funding 
may receive less than the amount originally requested. In those cases, 
applicants must be able to demonstrate the proposed projects are still 
viable and can be completed with the amount awarded.
    Grantees and entities receiving funding from the grantee, must 
comply with all applicable laws and regulations. Examples of 
administrative and national policy requirements that grantees must 
follow include: 2 CFR part 200; procurement standards; compliance with 
Federal civil rights laws and regulations; requirements for 
disadvantaged business enterprises, debarment and suspension 
requirements, and drug-free workplace requirements; FRA's and OMB's 
Assurances and Certifications; Americans with Disabilities Act; safety 
requirements including those applicable to PTC projects,\6\ NEPA, 
environmental justice requirements, performance measures under 49 
U.S.C. 24407(f), and the requirements in 49 U.S.C. 24405 including the 
Buy America requirements.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \6\ All PTC projects that receive funding under this notice must 
comply with the applicable requirements of 49 U.S.C. 20157 and 49 
CFR part 236, subpart I, including 236.1005 (Requirements for 
Positive Train Control Systems).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    See an example of standard terms and conditions for FRA grant 
awards at https://www.fra.dot.gov/Elib/Document/14426.

3. Reporting

a. Reporting Matters Related to Integrity and Performance
    Before making a Federal award with a total amount of Federal share 
greater than the simplified acquisition threshold of $150,000 (see 2 
CFR 200.88 Simplified Acquisition Threshold), FRA will review and 
consider any information about the applicant that is in the designated 
integrity and performance system accessible through SAM (currently the 
Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS)). 
See 41 U.S.C. 2313.
    An applicant, at its option, may review information in the 
designated integrity and performance systems accessible through SAM and 
comment on any information about itself that a Federal awarding agency 
previously entered and is currently in the designated integrity and 
performance system accessible through SAM.
    FRA will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to the 
other information in the designated integrity and performance system, 
in making a judgment about the applicant's integrity, business ethics, 
and record of performance under Federal awards when completing the 
review of risk posed by applicants as described in 2 CFR 200.205.
b. Progress Reporting on Grant Activity
    Each applicant selected for a grant will be required to comply with 
all standard FRA reporting requirements, including quarterly progress 
reports, quarterly Federal financial reports, and interim and final 
performance reports, as well as all applicable auditing, monitoring and 
close out requirements. Reports may be submitted electronically.
c. Performance Reporting
    Each applicant selected for funding must collect information and 
report on the project's performance using measures mutually agreed upon 
by FRA and the grantee to assess progress in achieving strategic goals 
and objectives. Examples of some rail performance measures are listed 
in the table below. The applicable measure(s) will depend upon the type 
of project. Applicants requesting funding for the acquisition of 
rolling stock must integrate at least one equipment/rolling stock 
performance measure, consistent with the grantee's application 
materials and program goals.

[[Page 7538]]



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                             Primary strategic   Secondary strategic
          Rail measures              Unit measured           Temporal               goal                 goal                     Description
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Slow Order Miles................  Miles..............  Annual.............  State of Good        Safety.............  The number of miles per year
                                                                             Repair.                                   within the project area that have
                                                                                                                       temporary speed restrictions
                                                                                                                       (``slow orders'') imposed due to
                                                                                                                       track condition. This is an
                                                                                                                       indicator of the overall
                                                                                                                       condition of track. This measure
                                                                                                                       can be used for projects to
                                                                                                                       rehabilitate sections of a rail
                                                                                                                       line since the rehabilitation
                                                                                                                       should eliminate, or at least
                                                                                                                       reduce the slow orders upon
                                                                                                                       project completion.
Gross Ton.......................  Gross Tons.........  Annual.............  Economic             State of Good        The annual gross tonnage of
                                                                             Competitiveness.     Repair.              freight shipped in the project
                                                                                                                       area. Gross tons include freight
                                                                                                                       cargo minus tare weight of the
                                                                                                                       rail cars. This measure the
                                                                                                                       volume of freight a railroad
                                                                                                                       ships in a year. This measure can
                                                                                                                       be useful for projects that are
                                                                                                                       anticipated to increase freight
                                                                                                                       shipments.
Rail Track Grade Separation.....  Count..............  Annual.............  Economic             Safety.............  The number of annual automobile
                                                                             Competitiveness.                          crossings that are eliminated at
                                                                                                                       an at-grade crossing as a result
                                                                                                                       of a new grade separation.
Passenger Counts................  Count..............  Annual.............  Economic             State of Good        Count of the annual passenger
                                                                             Competitiveness.     Repair.              boardings and alightings at
                                                                                                                       stations within the project area.
Travel Time.....................  Time/Trip..........  Annual.............  Economic             Quality of Life....  Point-to-point travel times
                                                                             Competitiveness.                          between pre-determined station
                                                                                                                       stops within the project area.
                                                                                                                       This measure demonstrates how
                                                                                                                       track improvements and other
                                                                                                                       upgrades improve operations on a
                                                                                                                       rail line. It also helps make
                                                                                                                       sure the railroad is maintaining
                                                                                                                       the line after project
                                                                                                                       completion.
Track Weight Capacity...........  Yes/No.............  One Time...........  State of Good        Economic             If a project is upgrading a line
                                                                             Repair.              Competitiveness.     to accommodate heavier rail cars
                                                                                                                       (typically an increase from
                                                                                                                       263,000 lb. rail cars to 286,000
                                                                                                                       lb. rail cars.)
Track Miles.....................  Miles..............  One Time...........  State of Good        Economic             The number of track miles that
                                                                             Repair.              Competitiveness.     exist within the project area.
                                                                                                                       This measure can be beneficial
                                                                                                                       for projects building sidings or
                                                                                                                       sections of additional main line
                                                                                                                       track on a railroad.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

G. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts

    For further information regarding this notice and the grants 
program, please contact Ms. Amy Houser, Office of Program Delivery, 
Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room W36-
412, Washington, DC 20590; email: [email protected]; phone: 202-493-
0303, or Ms. Frances Bourne, Office of Policy and Planning, Federal 
Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room W38-207, 
Washington, DC 20590; email: [email protected]; phone: 202-493-
6366.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on February 15, 2018.
Jamie Rennert,
Director, Office of Program Delivery, Federal Railroad Administration.
[FR Doc. 2018-03534 Filed 2-20-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-06-P