Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair Program, 53810-53820 [2019-21866]

Download as PDF jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES 53810 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 195 / Tuesday, October 8, 2019 / Notices d. Enhancing aviation training, mentorship, education, and outreach programs that are exclusive to women. No later than 2 years after the date of the enactment of the Reauthorization Act of 2018, the Board shall submit a report outlining the comprehensive plan for strategies to the Administrator and the appropriate committees of Congress. Membership: The membership will be fairly balanced in terms of points of view represented and the functions performed. The stakeholder groups to be represented on the Board will include: a. Major airlines and aerospace companies. b. Nonprofit organizations within the aviation industry. c. Aviation business associations. d. Engineering business associations. e. United States Air Force Auxiliary, Civil Air Patrol. f. Institutions of higher education and aviation trade schools. All Board members serve at the pleasure of the Secretary of Transportation. Other membership criteria include: a. Members shall be appointed for the duration of the existence of the Board. b. Members will serve without government compensation or reimbursement. c. Representative members must represent a particular interest in employment, education, experience, or affiliation with a specific aviationrelated organization. d. Members must attend at least threequarters of all Board meetings (estimated two meetings annually). Qualifications: Representative member candidates must be in good public standing and currently serve as a member of their organization’s core senior leadership team. In some circumstances, membership will be granted to uniquely qualified individuals who do not meet this latter requirement. Materials to Submit: Candidates are required to submit, in full, the following materials to be considered for Board membership. Failure to submit the required information may disqualify a candidate from the review process. a. A short biography of the nominee, including professional and academic credentials. b. A re´sume´ or curriculum vitae, which must include relevant job experience, qualifications, as well as contact information. c. Up to three letters of recommendation may be submitted, but are not required. Each letter may be no longer than one page. d. A one-page statement describing how the candidate will benefit the VerDate Sep<11>2014 21:50 Oct 07, 2019 Jkt 250001 Board, taking into account the candidate’s unique perspective that will advance the conversation. This statement must also identify a primary and secondary stakeholder group to which the candidate’s expertise best aligns. Finally, candidates should state their previous experience on a Federal Advisory Committee, their level of knowledge in the above stakeholder groups, and the size of the constituency they represent or are able to reach. Evaluations will be based on the materials submitted by the prospective candidates and will include consideration for membership balancing to ensure each of the above stakeholder groups has adequate representation. Issued in Washington, DC, on September 30, 2019. Angela Anderson, Senior Advisor, Office of the Assistant Administrator for Human Resource Management, Federal Aviation Administration. [FR Doc. 2019–21962 Filed 10–7–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Railroad Administration Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair 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 funding for eligible projects under the Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair Program (Partnership Program). This notice solicits applications for Partnership Program funds made available by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019. The opportunity described in this notice is made available under Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number 20.326, ‘‘Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair.’’ DATES: Applications for funding under this solicitation are due no later than 5:00 p.m. EDT, December 9, 2019. FRA will not consider applications for funding or supplemental material in support of an application received after 5:00 p.m. EDT, on December 9, 2019 or incomplete applications for funding. See Section D of this notice for additional information on the application process. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00139 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 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 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. ADDRESSES: For further project- or program-related information in this notice, please contact Mr. Bryan Rodda, Office of Policy and Planning, Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room W38–203, Washington, DC 20590; email: Bryan.Rodda@dot.gov; phone: 202–493– 0443. 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. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Notice to applicants: FRA recommends that applicants read this notice in its entirety prior to preparing application materials. The term ‘‘grant’’ is used throughout this document and is intended to reference funding awarded through a grant agreement, as well as funding awarded to recipients through a cooperative agreement. Definitions of key terms used throughout the NOFO are provided in Section A(2). These key terms are capitalized throughout the NOFO. There are several administrative and eligibility requirements described herein with which applicants must comply. 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 E:\FR\FM\08OCN1.SGM 08OCN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 195 / Tuesday, October 8, 2019 / Notices F. Federal Award Administration Information G. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts H. Other Information 2. Definitions of Key Terms A. Program Description jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES 1. Overview The purpose of this notice is to solicit applications for grants for Capital Projects within the United States to repair, replace, or rehabilitate Qualified Railroad Assets to reduce the state of good repair backlog and improve Intercity Passenger Rail performance under the Partnership Program. The Partnership Program provides a Federal funding opportunity to leverage private, state, and local investments to significantly improve American rail infrastructure. The Partnership Program is authorized in Sections 11103 and 11302 of the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015 (Title XI of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, Pub. L. 114–94 (2015)); codified at 49 U.S.C. 24911 and this NOFO is funded by the 2019 Appropriation. The Department recognizes the importance of applying life cycle asset management principles throughout America’s infrastructure. It is important for rail infrastructure owners and operators, as well as those who may apply on their behalf, to plan for the maintenance and replacement of assets and the associated costs. In light of recent fatal passenger rail accidents, the Department particularly recognizes the opportunity to enhance safety in both track and equipment through this grant program, and encourages the submission of proposed projects to grade-separate or otherwise improve safety at highway-rail grade crossings. The Partnership Program is intended to benefit both the Northeast Corridor (‘‘NEC’’) and the large number of public or Amtrak-owned or controlled infrastructure, equipment, and facilities located in other areas of the country, including strengthening transportation options for rural American communities. Applicants should note that the Partnership Program has distinct eligibility requirements based on project location. In addition to the generally applicable requirements, applicants proposing NEC Projects should specifically review the NECspecific requirements provided in Section C(3)(b), and the Qualified Railroad Asset information provided in Section D(2)(a)(vi) while applicants proposing Non-NEC Projects should review the Qualified Railroad Asset information provided in Section D(2)(a)(v). VerDate Sep<11>2014 21:50 Oct 07, 2019 Jkt 250001 a. ‘‘Benefit-Cost Analysis’’ (or ‘‘CostBenefit Analysis’’) is a systematic, datadriven, 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, 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 (BCA) Guidance for Discretionary Grant Programs 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 rail-specific examples of how to apply the BCA Guidance for Discretionary Grant Programs to Partnership Program applications. b. ‘‘Capital Project’’ means a project primarily intended to replace, rehabilitate, or repair major infrastructure assets utilized for providing Intercity Passenger Rail service, including tunnels, bridges, and stations; or a project primarily intended to improve Intercity Passenger Rail performance, including reduced trip times, increased train frequencies, and higher operating speeds, consistent with 49 U.S.C. 24911(a)(2). c. ‘‘Commuter Rail Passenger Transportation’’ means short-haul rail passenger transportation in metropolitan and suburban areas usually having reduced fare, multiple ride, and commuter tickets and morning and evening peak period operations, consistent with 49 U.S.C. 24102(3). d. ‘‘Intercity Rail Passenger Transportation’’ means rail passenger transportation, except Commuter Rail Passenger Transportation, consistent with 49 U.S.C. 24911(a)(3). In this notice, ‘‘Intercity Passenger Rail’’ is an equivalent term to ‘‘Intercity Rail Passenger Transportation.’’ e. ‘‘Major Capital Project’’ means a Capital Project with an estimated total project cost of $300 million or more. f. ‘‘NEC Project’’ means a Capital Project where the Qualified Railroad Assets involved in the project are part of, or in primary use for, the Northeast Corridor (‘‘NEC’’). g. ‘‘Non-NEC Project’’ means a Capital Project where the Qualified Railroad PO 00000 Frm 00140 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 53811 Assets involved in the project are not part of, or are not in primary use for, the Northeast Corridor (‘‘NEC’’). h. ‘‘Northeast Corridor’’ (‘‘NEC’’) means the main rail line between Boston, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia; the branch rail lines connecting to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Springfield, Massachusetts, and Spuyten Duyvil, New York; and facilities and services used to operate and maintain these lines, consistent with 49 U.S.C. 24911(a)(4). i. A ‘‘Qualified Railroad Asset,’’ consistent with 49 U.S.C. 24911(a)(5), means infrastructure, equipment, or a facility that: i. is owned or controlled by an eligible applicant; ii. is contained in the planning document developed under 49 U.S.C. 24904 and for which a cost-allocation policy has been developed under 49 U.S.C. 24905(c), or is contained in an equivalent planning document and for which a similar cost-allocation policy has been developed; and iii. was not in a State of Good Repair on the date of enactment of the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015 (December 4, 2015). See Section D(2)(a), Project Narrative, for further details about the Qualified Railroad Asset requirements and application submission instructions related to Qualified Railroad Assets.1 j. ‘‘State of Good Repair’’ means a condition in which physical assets, both individually and as a system, are (A) performing at a level at least equal to that called for in their as-built or asmodified design specification during any period when the life cycle cost of maintaining the assets is lower than the cost of replacing them; and (B) sustained through regular maintenance and replacement programs, consistent with 49 U.S.C. 24102(12). B. Federal Award Information 1. Available Award Amount The total funding available for awards under this NOFO is $396,000,000 after $4,000,000 is set aside for FRA award and project management oversight as provided in the 2019 Appropriation. Should additional Partnership Program funds become available after the release of this NOFO, FRA may elect to award such additional funds to applications received under this NOFO. 1 For any project that includes purchasing intercity passenger rail equipment, applicants are encouraged to use a standardized approach to the procurement, such as the specifications developed by the Next Generation Corridor Equipment Pool Committee or a similarly uniform process. E:\FR\FM\08OCN1.SGM 08OCN1 53812 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 195 / Tuesday, October 8, 2019 / Notices 2. Award Size There are no predetermined minimum or maximum dollar thresholds for awards. FRA anticipates making multiple awards with the available funding. Given the limited amount of funding currently available, 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). Applicants are encouraged to identify scalable elements such as project components that have operational independence. (See Section C(3)(c) for more information.) FRA strongly encourages applicants to identify and include other state, local, public, or private funding or financing to support the proposed project in order to maximize competitiveness. Applicants proposing a Major Capital Project are encouraged to identify and describe project phases or elements that could be candidates for subsequent Partnership Program funding, if such funding becomes available. Applications for a Major Capital Project that would seek future funds beyond fiscal year 2019 funding made available in this notice should indicate anticipated annual Federal funding requests from this program for the expected duration of the project. FRA may issue Letters of Intent to Partnership Program grantees proposing Major Capital Projects under 49 U.S.C. 24911(g); such Letters of Intent would serve to announce the FRA’s intention to obligate an amount from future available budget authority toward a grantee’s future project phases or elements. A Letter of Intent is not an obligation of the Federal government and is subject to the availability of appropriations for Partnership Program grants and subject to Federal laws in force or enacted after the date of the Letter of Intent. jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES 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 under 2 CFR 200.24. The funding provided under this NOFO will be made available to grantees on a VerDate Sep<11>2014 21:50 Oct 07, 2019 Jkt 250001 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 concurrent with 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 DOT and FRA may be 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 Partnership Program funding under this NOFO, applicants must indicate the other program(s) 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 Partnership Program application that differs from the application(s) submitted 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 projects permitted under this notice: (1) A state (including the District of Columbia); (2) a group of states; (3) an Interstate Compact; (4) a public agency or publicly chartered authority established by one or more states; 2 (5) a political subdivision of a state; (6) Amtrak, acting on its own behalf or under a cooperative agreement with one or more states; or (7) any combination of the entities described in (1) through (6). Applications must identify a lead applicant. The lead applicant serves as 2 See Section D(2)(a)(iv) for supporting documentation required to demonstrate eligibility under this eligibility category. PO 00000 Frm 00141 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 the primary point of contact for the application, and if selected, as the recipient of the Partnership Program grant award. To submit a joint application, the lead applicant must identify the joint applicant(s) and include a signed statement from an authorized representative of each joint applicant entity that affirms the entity joins the application. See Section D(2) for further instructions about submitting a joint application. An application submitted by Amtrak and one or more states must identify the lead applicant and include a signed cooperative agreement between Amtrak and the state(s) consistent with 49 U.S.C. 24911(a)(1)(F). Selection preference will be provided for joint applications, as further discussed in Section E(1)(c). Applications may reference entities that are not eligible applicants (e.g., private sector firms) in an application as a project partner. However, FRA will provide selection preference to joint applications submitted by multiple eligible applicants. 2. Cost Sharing or Matching The Federal share of total costs for a project funded under the Partnership Program shall 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 facilities. The minimum 20 percent nonFederal share may be comprised of public sector (e.g., state or local) or private sector funding. However, FRA will not consider any other Federal grants, nor any non-Federal funds already expended (or otherwise encumbered), that do not comply with 2 CFR 200.458, as applicable, toward the matching requirement. FRA is limiting the first 20 percent of the non-Federal match to cash contributions only. Contributions of specified items or activities may be accepted for any non-Federal matching beyond the first 20 percent. Such 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. Moreover, FRA encourages applicants to broaden their funding table in applications. FRA will give preference to non-Federal shares consisting of funding from multiple sources that demonstrate broad E:\FR\FM\08OCN1.SGM 08OCN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 195 / Tuesday, October 8, 2019 / Notices participation and cost sharing from affected stakeholders. If Amtrak is an applicant, Amtrak may use its ticket and other non-Federal revenues generated from its operations and other sources to satisfy the non-Federal share requirements. Applicants must identify the source(s) of their 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. FRA will approve pre-award costs consistent with 2 CFR 200.458. See Section D(6). Additionally, in preparing estimates of total project costs, applicants should refer to FRA’s cost estimate guidance, ‘‘Capital Cost Estimating: Guidance for Project Sponsors,’’ which is available at: https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0926. 3. Other jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES a. Project Eligibility Projects eligible for Partnership Program funds include Capital Projects within the United States to replace or rehabilitate Qualified Railroad Assets and improve Intercity Passenger Rail performance, including: (1) Capital Projects to replace existing assets in-kind; (2) Capital Projects to replace existing assets with assets that increase capacity or provide a higher level of service; (3) Capital Projects to ensure that service can be maintained while existing assets are brought into a State of Good Repair; and (4) Capital Projects to bring existing assets into a State of Good Repair. Qualified Railroad Assets, as further defined in Section A(2), are owned or controlled by an eligible applicant and may include: Infrastructure, including track, ballast, switches and interlockings, bridges, communication and signal systems, power systems, highway-rail grade crossings, and other railroad infrastructure and support systems used in intercity passenger rail service; stations, including station buildings, support systems, signage, and track and platform areas; equipment, including passenger cars, locomotives, and maintenance-of-way equipment; and facilities, including yards and terminal areas and maintenance shops. Capital Projects, as further defined in Section A(2), may include final design; however, final design costs will only be eligible in conjunction with an award for project construction. Environmental and related clearances, including all work necessary for FRA to approve the project under the National VerDate Sep<11>2014 21:50 Oct 07, 2019 Jkt 250001 Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and related statutes and regulations are not eligible for funding under this notice. (See Section D(2)(a)(ix) for additional information.) Eligible projects with completed environmental and engineering documents indicate strong project readiness. b. Additional Eligibility Requirements for NEC Projects This section provides additional eligibility requirements for NEC Projects. Applicants proposing NonNEC Projects are not subject to the requirements in this section, and may proceed to Section C(3)(c). In the Partnership Program, grant funds may not be provided to an eligible recipient for an eligible NEC Project unless Amtrak and the public authorities providing commuter rail passenger transportation at the eligible project location on the NEC are in compliance with 49 U.S.C. 24905(c)(2). Applicants must demonstrate compliance with 49 U.S.C. 24905(c)(2) by describing the status of compliance with such cost-allocation policy between Amtrak and the public authorities providing commuter rail passenger transportation at the eligible project location, which may include demonstrating that such authorities are excepted from allocating costs for the proposed NEC Project, consistent with 49 U.S.C. 24905(c)(1)(A)(ii). Such providers must maintain compliance with 49 U.S.C. 24905(c)(2) for the duration of the project. 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 and comply with all eligibility requirements described in Section C. In addition, the component(s) must enable independent analysis and decision making, as determined by FRA under NEPA (i.e., have independent utility, connect logical termini, and not restrict the consideration of alternatives for other reasonably foreseeable rail projects.) Components must have independent utility for use in the BCA. 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 PO 00000 Frm 00142 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 53813 supporting documentation, such as planning, engineering and design documentation, and letters of support from partnering organizations that will not count against the Project Narrative 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 December 9, 2019. 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. 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 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 satisfy the requirements in 49 U.S.C. 22905 explained in part at https:// www.fra.dot.gov/page/P0185. Required documents for an application package are outlined in the checklist below. • Project Narrative (see D.2.a). • Statement of Work (see D.2.b.i). • Benefit-Cost Analysis (see D.2.b.ii). • Environmental Compliance Documentation (see D.2.b.iii). • SF424—Application for Federal Assistance. • SF 424C—Budget Information for Construction, or, for an equipment procurement project without any construction costs, or SF 424A—Budget Information for Non-Construction. • SF 424D—Assurances for Construction, or, for an equipment procurement project without any E:\FR\FM\08OCN1.SGM 08OCN1 53814 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 195 / Tuesday, October 8, 2019 / Notices construction costs, or SF 424B— Assurances for Non-Construction. • FRA’s Additional Assurances and Certifications. • SF LLL—Disclosure of Lobbying Activities. a. Project Narrative This section describes the minimum content required in the Project Narrative of grant applications. 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 Criteria—See D.2.a.iv V. Non-NEC Project Eligibility Criteria— See D.2.a.v VI. NEC Project Eligibility Criteria—See D.2.a.vi VII. Detailed Project Description—See D.2.a.vii VIII. Project Location—See D.2.a.viii IX. Grade Crossing Information, if applicable—See D.2.a.ix X. Evaluation and Selection Criteria— See D.2.a.x XI. Project Implementation and Management—See D.2.a.xi XII. Environmental Readiness—See D.2.a.xii 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 relevant portion of the supporting document with the page numbers of the cited information in the Project Narrative. The Project Narrative must adhere to the following outline. i. Cover Page: Include a cover page that lists the following elements in either a table or formatted list: Project title Lead Applicant Organization Name Joint Applicant(s) Organization Name(s), if any Amount of Federal Funding Requested Under this NOFO Proposed Non-Federal Match Total Project Cost Was a Federal Grant Application Previously Submitted for this Project? Yes/No If Yes, State the Name of the Federal Grant Program and Title of the Project in the Previous Application Federal Grant Program: City(-ies), State(s) Where the Project is Located jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES Congressional District(s) Where the Project is Located 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 the amount of Federal funding requested, the proposed non-Federal match, and total project cost. Identify the source(s) of matching and other funds, and clearly and distinctly reflect these funds as part of the total project cost in the application budget. 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 contributions, as well as substantiate how the contributions meet the requirements in 2 CFR 200.306. For a Major Capital Project that would seek future funds beyond fiscal year 2019 VerDate Sep<11>2014 21:50 Oct 07, 2019 Jkt 250001 funding made available in this notice, provide the anticipated annual Federal funding requests from this grant program for the expected duration of the project. Finally, specify whether Federal funding for the project has previously been sought, and identify the Federal program and fiscal year of the funding request(s), as well as highlight new or revised information in the Partnership Program application that differs from the application(s) to other financial assistance programs. iv. Applicant Eligibility Criteria: Explain how the lead applicant and joint applicant(s) meet 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. To submit a joint application, the lead applicant must identify the joint applicant(s) and include a signed statement from an authorized representative of each joint applicant entity that affirms the entity joins the application. Joint applications are expected to include a description of the PO 00000 Frm 00143 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 roles and responsibilities of each applicant, including budget and subrecipient information showing how the applicants will share project costs. v. Non-NEC Project Eligibility Criteria: This section provides project eligibility requirements for Non-NEC Projects. Applicants proposing NEC Projects may skip this section and proceed to section D(2)(a)(vi). For Non-NEC Projects, demonstrate that the proposed project is a Capital Project that meets the project eligibility criteria in Section C(3) of this notice. Further, demonstrate that the infrastructure, equipment and/or facilities involved in the proposed project are Qualified Railroad Assets under 49 U.S.C. 24911(a)(5), as follows: (A) To demonstrate ownership or control by an eligible applicant under 49 U.S.C. 24911(a)(5)(A), show either: (1) The lead or joint applicant owns or will, at project completion, have ownership of the infrastructure, equipment, or facility improved by the project; or (2) The lead or joint applicant controls or will, at project completion, have control over the infrastructure, E:\FR\FM\08OCN1.SGM 08OCN1 jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 195 / Tuesday, October 8, 2019 / Notices equipment, or facility improved by the project including by agreement with the infrastructure, equipment, or facility owner(s). Applicants should describe such agreement(s) in sufficient detail in their application for FRA to understand the extent of the control, including the lead or joint applicant’s management and decision-making authority regarding the infrastructure, equipment, or facility improved by the project, and the remaining or anticipated duration of the agreement(s). Agreements involving railroad rights-of-way should also demonstrate the lead or joint applicant has train dispatching and maintenanceof-way responsibilities for the right-ofway. (B) To demonstrate the requirements under 49 U.S.C. 24911(a)(5)(B), show that the infrastructure, equipment, or facilities involved in the proposed project are contained in a planning document equivalent to the planning document developed under 49 U.S.C. 24904 and which has a similar costallocation policy to the cost-allocation policy developed under 49 U.S.C. 24905(c) has been developed. Non-NEC Projects may satisfy the equivalent planning document requirement by demonstrating the project is contained in the planning document(s) prepared under 49 U.S.C. Chapter 227, ‘‘State Rail Plans,’’ for the state(s) where the infrastructure, equipment and facilities are located or in primary use. Applicants with projects contained in a State Rail Plan should indicate the location (e.g., table or page number) where the project is discussed in the document. If a project is not contained in the State Rail Plan, applicants may demonstrate the infrastructure, equipment and facilities involved in the proposed project are contained in an equivalent planning document, or amend the relevant State Rail Plan(s) to contain the project. Amending a State Rail Plan requires a letter to FRA from an authorized representative of the relevant state rail transportation authority adding the proposed project to the plan and stating that the letter serves as an addendum to the current plan. Such a letter should include the project name, a brief description of the project, and estimated project cost and Federal and nonFederal share by funding source. FRA encourages state rail transportation authorities to make any such addendum letters publicly available with their State Rail Plans. FRA recommends such letters be submitted as part of an applicant’s Partnership Program application via Grants.gov. Whether submitted as part of a Partnership Program application package or VerDate Sep<11>2014 21:50 Oct 07, 2019 Jkt 250001 separately to FRA, FRA must receive the letter by the application due date of this notice. Non-NEC Projects must satisfy the similar cost-allocation policy requirement either by demonstrating the infrastructure, equipment or facilities involved in the proposed project are for routes subject to the cost-allocation policy adopted under Section 209 of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (PRIIA), Public Law 110–432, Oct. 16, 2008; or by demonstrating the infrastructure, equipment or facilities involved in the proposed project are subject to a similar cost-allocation policy. (C) To demonstrate the state of good repair requirement under 49 U.S.C. 24911(a)(5)(B): (1) Describe the condition and performance of the infrastructure, equipment, or facility as of the time of enactment of the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015 (Dec. 4, 2015); (2) indicate how the infrastructure, equipment, or facility’s condition or performance falls short of the definition of ‘‘State of Good Repair’’ in Section A(2); and (3) indicate, if known, when the infrastructure, equipment, or facility last received comprehensive repair, replacement, or rehabilitation work similar to the applicant’s proposed scope of work. vi. NEC Project Eligibility Criteria: This section provides project eligibility requirements for NEC Projects. (Applicants proposing Non-NEC Projects may skip this section and proceed to Section D(2)(a)(vii).) For NEC Projects, demonstrate that the proposed project is a Capital Project that meets the project eligibility criteria in Section C(3) of this notice including the requirements in 49 U.S.C. 24911(e). Further, demonstrate that the infrastructure, equipment, and/or facilities involved in the project are Qualified Railroad Assets under 49 U.S.C. 24911(a)(5), as follows: (A) To demonstrate ownership or control by an eligible applicant under 49 U.S.C. 24911(a)(5)(A), show either: (1) The lead or joint applicant owns or will, at project completion, have ownership of the infrastructure, equipment, or facility improved by the project; or (2) The lead or joint applicant controls or will, at project completion, have control over the infrastructure, equipment, or facility improved by the project including by agreement with the infrastructure, equipment, or facility owner(s). Applicants should describe such agreement(s) in sufficient detail in PO 00000 Frm 00144 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 53815 their application for FRA to understand the extent of the control, including the lead or joint applicant’s management and decision-making authority regarding the infrastructure, equipment, or facility improved by the project, and the remaining or anticipated duration of the agreement(s). Agreements involving railroad rights-of-way should also demonstrate the lead or joint applicant has train dispatching and maintenanceof-way responsibilities for the right-ofway. (B) To demonstrate the requirements under 49 U.S.C. 24911(a)(5)(B), show that the infrastructure, equipment, or facilities involved in the proposed project are contained in the planning document developed under 49 U.S.C. 24904 and for which a cost-allocation policy has been developed under 49 U.S.C. 24905(c), or are contained in an equivalent planning document and for which a similar cost-allocation policy has been developed. NEC Projects must satisfy the planning document requirement by demonstrating the project is contained in the current approved planning document developed under 49 U.S.C. 24904 (i.e., the NEC Commission FiveYear Capital Investment Plan). Applicants with projects contained this plan should indicate the location (e.g., table or page number) where the project in discussed in the document. If an NEC Project is not contained in the 49 U.S.C. 24904 planning document at the time of this notice, applicants may demonstrate that the infrastructure, equipment and facilities involved in the proposed project are contained in an equivalent planning document, or update the 49 U.S.C. 24904 planning document to contain the project by the due date for applications under this notice. An equivalent planning document may include a planning document developed under 49 U.S.C. 24320(c). NEC Projects must satisfy the costallocation policy requirement by demonstrating the infrastructure, equipment, or facilities are subject to the cost-allocation policy developed under 49 U.S.C. 24905(c) (i.e., Northeast Corridor Commuter and Intercity Rail Cost Allocation Policy), or a similar cost-allocation policy. (C) To demonstrate the state of good repair requirement under 49 U.S.C. 24911(a)(5)(C), the NEC applicant must: (1) Describe the condition and performance of the infrastructure, equipment, or facility as of the time of enactment of the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015 (Dec. 4, 2015); (2) indicate how the infrastructure, equipment, or facility’s condition or E:\FR\FM\08OCN1.SGM 08OCN1 jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES 53816 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 195 / Tuesday, October 8, 2019 / Notices performance falls short of the definition of State of Good Repair’’ in Section A(2); and (3) indicate, if known, when the infrastructure, equipment, or facility last received comprehensive repair, replacement, or rehabilitation work similar to the applicant’s proposed scope of work. vii. Detailed Project Description: Include a detailed project description that expands upon the brief summary required above. This detailed description must provide, at a minimum: Additional 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. Applicants with Major Capital Projects are encouraged to identify and describe project phases or elements that would be candidates for subsequent Partnership Program funding if such funding becomes available. Include information to demonstrate the project is reasonably expected to begin construction in a timely manner. For all projects, applicants must provide information about proposed performance measures, as described in Section F(3)(c) and required in 2 CFR 200.301. viii. Project Location: Include geospatial data for the project, as well as a map of the project’s location. Include the Congressional districts in which the project will take place. ix. 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. x. Evaluation and Selection Criteria: Include a thorough discussion of how the proposed project meets all of the evaluation and selection criteria, as outlined in Section E of this notice. If an application does not sufficiently address the evaluation criteria and the selection criteria, it is unlikely to be a competitive application. xi. Project Implementation and Management: Describe proposed project implementation and project management arrangements including as between the lead and joint applicants. VerDate Sep<11>2014 21:50 Oct 07, 2019 Jkt 250001 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. Describe past experience in managing and overseeing similar projects. For Major Capital Projects, explain plans for a rigorous project management and oversight approach. xii. Environmental Readiness: If the NEPA process is complete, indicate the date of completion, and provide a website link or other reference to the final Categorical Exclusion determination, Finding of No Significant Impact, or Record of Decision, as well as any other NEPA documents prepared. If the NEPA process is not complete, the application should detail the type of NEPA review underway, if applicable, where the project is in the process, and indicate the anticipated date of completion of all milestones and of the final NEPA determination. 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 why NEPA documents have not been updated and include a proposed approach for verifying and, if necessary, updating this material in accordance with applicable NEPA requirements. Additional information regarding FRA’s environmental processes and requirements are located at https:// www.fra.dot.gov/environment. 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 can monitor progress toward completing project tasks and deliverables during a prospective grant’s period of performance. Applicants must use FRA’s standard SOW, schedule, and budget templates to be considered for award. The templates are located at https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0325. When preparing the budget, the total cost of a project must be based on the best available information as indicated in cited references that include engineering studies, economic feasibility studies, environmental analyses, and information on the expected use of equipment or facilities. For Major Capital Projects, the SOW must include annual budget estimates PO 00000 Frm 00145 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 and anticipated Federal funding for the expected duration of the project. ii. A Benefit-Cost Analysis consistent with 49 U.S.C. 24911(d)(2)(A) that demonstrates the merit of investing in the proposed project. The BCA should include anticipated private and public benefits relative to the costs of the proposed project, including: i. Effects on system and service performance; ii. effects on safety, competitiveness, reliability, trip or transit time, and resilience; iii. efficiencies from improved integration with other modes; and iv. ability to meet existing or anticipated demand. The BCA should be systematic, data driven, and examine the trade-offs between reasonably expected project costs and benefits. Applicants are encouraged to include quantifiable railroad data related to the Qualified Railroad Assets involved in the project, such as information on delay, failure or safety incidents, passengers carried (e.g., ridership), daily train movements, or similar metrics. The complexity and level of detail in the Benefit-Cost Analysis prepared for the Partnership Program should reflect the scope and scale of the proposed project. Please refer to the Benefit-Cost Analysis Guidance for Discretionary Grant Programs prior to preparing a BCA at https://www.transportation.gov/officepolicy/transportation-policy/benefitcost-analysis-guidance. In addition, please also refer to the BCA FAQs on FRA’s website (https://www.fra.dot.gov/ grants) for some rail-specific examples of how to apply the Benefit-Cost Analysis Guidance for Discretionary Grant Programs to Partnership applications. iii. Environmental compliance documentation, if a website link is not cited in the Project Narrative. iv. SF 424—Application for Federal Assistance. v. SF 424C—Budget Information for Construction, or, for an equipment procurement project without any other construction elements, the SF 424A— Budget Information for NonConstruction. vi. SF 424D—Assurances for Construction, or, for an equipment procurement project without any other construction elements, the SF 424B— Assurances for Non-Construction. vii. FRA’s Additional Assurances and Certifications. viii. An SF LLL—Disclosure of Lobbying Activities. Forms needed for the electronic application process are at www.Grants.gov. E:\FR\FM\08OCN1.SGM 08OCN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 195 / Tuesday, October 8, 2019 / Notices c. Post-Selection Requirements See Section 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 in SAM before submitting an application, provide a valid unique entity identifier in its application, and continue to maintain an active SAM registration all as described in detail below. 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 and if an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the time the Federal awarding agency is ready to make a Federal award, the Federal awarding agency may determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive a Federal award and use that determination as a basis for making a Federal award to another applicant. (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: jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES 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 VerDate Sep<11>2014 21:50 Oct 07, 2019 Jkt 250001 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. 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 subrecipients. 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/organizationregistration.html. 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. PO 00000 Frm 00146 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 53817 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, December 9, 2019. Applicants will receive a systemgenerated acknowledgement of receipt. FRA reviews www.Grants.gov information on dates/times of applications submitted to determine timeliness of submissions. 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 the 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 E:\FR\FM\08OCN1.SGM 08OCN1 53818 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 195 / Tuesday, October 8, 2019 / Notices SPOC to determine if the program has been selected for state review. 6. Funding Restrictions FRA will not fund any preliminary engineering, environmental work, or related clearances under this NOFO. FRA will only consider funding a project’s final design activities if the applicant is also seeking funding for construction activities. FRA will only approve pre-award costs if such costs are incurred pursuant to the negotiation and in anticipation of the grant agreement and if such costs are necessary for efficient and timely performance of the scope of work consistent with 2 CFR 200.458. Under 2 CFR 200.458, grant recipients must seek written approval from FRA for preaward activities to be eligible for reimbursement under the grant. Activities initiated prior to the execution of a grant or without FRA’s written approval may not be eligible for reimbursement or included as a grantee’s matching contribution. FRA is prohibited under 49 U.S.C. 22905(f) 3 from providing Partnership Program grants for Commuter Rail Passenger Transportation. FRA’s interpretation of this provision is informed by the language in 49 U.S.C. 24911, and specifically the definitions of capital project in 49 U.S.C. 24911(a)(2)(A) and (B). FRA’s primary intent in funding Partnership Program projects is to make reasonable investments in Capital Projects used in Intercity Rail Passenger Transportation. Such projects may be located on shared corridors where Commuter Rail Passenger Transportation also benefits from the project. 7. Other Submission Requirements 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. See section D.1 of this NOFO for information on where applications must be submitted. E. Application Review Information jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES 1. Criteria Eligibility and Completeness Review FRA will first screen each application for applicant and project eligibility (eligibility requirements are outlined in 3 Under 49 U.S.C. 24911(i), Partnership grants are subject to the conditions in 49 U.S.C. 22905. VerDate Sep<11>2014 21:50 Oct 07, 2019 Jkt 250001 Section C of this notice), completeness (application documentation and submission requirements are outlined in Section D of this notice), and the 20 percent minimum non-Federal match in determining whether the application is eligible. Evaluation Criteria FRA subject-matter experts will evaluate all eligible and complete applications against the following evaluation criteria: i. Technical Merit: FRA will to take into account— (A) The degree to which the tasks and subtasks outlined in the SOW are appropriate to achieve the expected outcomes of the proposed project; (B) The technical qualifications and demonstrated 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; (C) The degree to which the proposed project’s business plan considers potential private sector participation in the financing, construction, or operation of the proposed project; (D) Whether the applicant has, or will have, the legal, financial, and technical capacity to carry out the project; satisfactory continuing control over the use of the equipment or facilities; and the capability and willingness to maintain the equipment or facilities; (E) The applicant’s past performance in developing and delivering similar projects, and previous financial contributions; (F) Whether the project has completed necessary pre-construction activities and indicates strong project readiness; and (G) Whether the project is consistent with planning guidance and documents set forth by the Secretary of Transportation or required by law. ii. Project Benefits: FRA will take into account the benefit-cost analysis of the proposed project, including anticipated private and public benefits relative to the costs of the proposed project 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. PO 00000 Frm 00147 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Selection Criteria In addition to the eligibility and completeness review and the evaluation criteria outlined in this section, the FRA Administrator (or his designee), in consultation with a Senior Review Team that includes senior leadership from the Office of the Secretary and FRA, will apply the selection criteria: i. FRA will give preference to eligible projects for which: (A) Amtrak is not the sole applicant; (B) Applications were submitted jointly by multiple eligible applicants; and (C) The proposed Federal share of total project costs does not exceed 50 percent. ii. After applying the above preferences, FRA will take in account the following key Departmental priorities: (A) Supporting economic vitality at the national and regional level; (B) Leveraging Federal funding to attract other, non-Federal sources of infrastructure investment; (C) Preparing for future operations and maintenance costs associated with a project’s life-cycle, as demonstrated by a credible plan to maintain assets without having to rely on future Federal funding; (D) Using innovative approaches to improve safety and expedite project delivery; (E) Holding grant recipients accountable for grant performance and achieving specific, measurable outcomes identified by grant applicants; (F) Proposed non-Federal share is comprised of more than one source, including private sources, demonstrating broad participation by affected stakeholders; and (G) Applications indicate strong project readiness. iii. For NEC Projects, FRA will consider the appropriate sequence and phasing of projects as contained in the Northeast Corridor capital investment plan developed pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 24904(a). iv. In determining the allocation of program funds, FRA may also consider geographic diversity, diversity in the size of the systems receiving funding, the applicant’s receipt of other competitive awards, projects located in or that support transportation service in a qualified opportunity zone designated pursuant to 26 U.S.C. 1400Z–1, and the percentage of non-Federal share provided and whether such non-Federal share is provided by multiple sources. 2. Review and Selection Process FRA will conduct a three-part application review process, as follows: E:\FR\FM\08OCN1.SGM 08OCN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 195 / Tuesday, October 8, 2019 / Notices 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 or his designee) applying the selection criteria in consultation with the Senior Review Team. 3. 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 (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. F. Federal Award Administration Information 1. Federal Award Notice jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD 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 grant VerDate Sep<11>2014 21:50 Oct 07, 2019 Jkt 250001 agreement signed by both the grantee and the FRA, including an approved scope, schedule, and budget, is required before the award is considered complete. See an example of standard terms and conditions for FRA grant awards at https://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/ details/L05285. 2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements In connection with any program or activity conducted with or benefiting from funds awarded under this notice, recipients of funds must comply with all applicable requirements of Federal law, including, without limitation, the Constitution of the United States; the conditions of performance, nondiscrimination requirements, and other assurances made applicable to the award of funds in accordance with regulations of the DOT; and applicable Federal financial assistance and contracting principles promulgated by the Office of Management and Budget. In complying with these requirements, recipients, in particular, must ensure that no concession agreements are denied or other contracting decisions made on the basis of speech or other activities protected by the First Amendment. If the DOT determines that a recipient has failed to comply with applicable Federal requirements, the DOT may terminate the award of funds and disallow previously incurred costs, requiring the recipient to reimburse any expended award funds. Examples of administrative and national policy requirements include: 2 CFR part 200; procurement standards; compliance with Federal civil rights laws and regulations; disadvantaged business enterprises; debarment and suspension; drug-free workplace; FRA’s and OMB’s Assurances and Certifications; Americans with Disabilities Act; safety requirements; NEPA; environmental justice and the grant conditions in 49 U.S.C. 22905 including the Buy America requirements, the provision deeming operators rail carriers and employers for certain purposes, grantee agreements with railroad right-of-way owners for projects using railroad rights-of-way, and compliance with 49 U.S.C. PO 00000 Frm 00148 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 53819 24905(c)(2) for the duration of NEC Projects. See an example of standard terms and conditions for FRA grant awards at https://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/details/ L05285. 3. Reporting a. 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. The applicant must comply with all relevant requirements of 2 CFR part 200. b. Additional Reporting Applicants selected for funding are required to comply with all reporting requirements in the standard terms and conditions for FRA grant awards including 2 CFR 180.335 and 2 CFR 180.350. See an example of standard terms and conditions for FRA grant awards at: https://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/ details/L05285. If the Federal share of any Federal award under this NOFO may include more than $500,000 over the period of performance, applicants are informed of the post award reporting requirements reflected in 2 CFR part 200, Appendix XII—Award Term and Condition for Recipient Integrity and Performance Matters. 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 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\08OCN1.SGM 08OCN1 53820 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 195 / Tuesday, October 8, 2019 / Notices PERFORMANCE MEASURE Rail measures Unit measured Temporal Primary strategic goal Secondary strategic goal Description Slow Order Miles ..................... Miles .......... Annual ....... State of Good Repair .... Safety ............................ Rail Track Grade Separation .. Count ......... Annual ....... Economic Competitiveness. Safety ............................ Passenger Counts ................... Count ......... Annual ....... State of Good Repair .... Travel Time ............................. Time/Trip ... Annual ....... Economic Competitiveness. Economic Competitiveness. Track Miles .............................. Miles .......... One Time .. State of Good Repair .... Economic Competitiveness. 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 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. 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. jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES G. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts For further project or program-related information in this notice, please contact Mr. Bryan Rodda, Office of Policy and Planning, Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room W38–203, Washington, DC 20590; email: Bryan.Rodda@dot.gov; phone: 202–493– 0443. 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. H. Other Information All information submitted as part of or in support of any application shall use publicly available data or data that can be made public and methodologies that are accepted by industry practice and standards, to the extent possible. If the application includes information the applicant considers to be a trade secret or confidential commercial or financial information, the applicant should do the following: (1) Note on the front cover that the submission ‘‘Contains Confidential Business Information (CBI)’’; (2) mark each affected page ‘‘CBI’’; and (3) highlight or otherwise denote the CBI portions. FRA protects such information from disclosure consistent with applicable law. In the event FRA receives a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the information, FRA will follow the procedures described in its VerDate Sep<11>2014 21:50 Oct 07, 2019 Jkt 250001 Quality of Life ................ FOIA regulations at 49 CFR 7.17. Only information that is ultimately determined to be confidential under that procedure will be exempt from disclosure under FOIA. Issued in Washington, DC. Ronald L. Batory, Administrator. [FR Doc. 2019–21866 Filed 10–7–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–06–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Railroad Administration [Docket Number FRA–2019–0078] Petition for Waiver of Compliance Under part 211 of title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), this document provides the public notice that on September 9, 2019, the New York & Lake Erie Railroad (NYLE) petitioned the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to renew and extend previous waivers of compliance from certain provisions of the Federal railroad safety regulations contained at 49 CFR part 223. Specifically, NYLE seeks relief from the glazing requirements in 49 CFR 223.11, Requirements for existing locomotives, for four locomotives (NYLE 85, NYLE 308, NYLE 6758, and NYLE 6764). These locomotives were formerly covered under Docket Numbers FRA– 2000–8267, FRA–2004–19950, and FRA–2013–0104. FRA has assigned this petition Docket Number FRA–2019– 0078. PO 00000 Frm 00149 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 NYLE states that installing FRArequired glazing remains costprohibitive due to the increased cost of materials and labor. NYLE explains that the locomotives are used in rural areas at low speeds. NYLE further states that the units are used for both freight and passenger service in Titusville, PA, and occasionally used for freight and passenger service in Gowanda, NY. A copy of the petition, as well as any written communications concerning the petition, is available for review online at www.regulations.gov and in person at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Docket Operations Facility, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, W12–140, Washington, DC 20590. The Docket Operations Facility is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays. Interested parties are invited to participate in these proceedings by submitting written views, data, or comments. FRA does not anticipate scheduling a public hearing in connection with these proceedings since the facts do not appear to warrant a hearing. If any interested parties desire an opportunity for oral comment and a public hearing, they should notify FRA, in writing, before the end of the comment period and specify the basis for their request. All communications concerning these proceedings should identify the appropriate docket number and may be submitted by any of the following methods: • Website: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. E:\FR\FM\08OCN1.SGM 08OCN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 195 (Tuesday, October 8, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 53810-53820]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-21866]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Railroad Administration


Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Federal-State Partnership 
for State of Good Repair Program

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 funding for eligible projects under the 
Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair Program (Partnership 
Program). This notice solicits applications for Partnership Program 
funds made available by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019. The 
opportunity described in this notice is made available under Catalog of 
Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number 20.326, ``Federal-State 
Partnership for State of Good Repair.''

DATES: Applications for funding under this solicitation are due no 
later than 5:00 p.m. EDT, December 9, 2019. FRA will not consider 
applications for funding or supplemental material in support of an 
application received after 5:00 p.m. EDT, on December 9, 2019 or 
incomplete applications 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 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 information in this notice, please contact Mr. Bryan Rodda, 
Office of Policy and Planning, Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 
New Jersey Avenue SE, Room W38-203, Washington, DC 20590; email: 
[email protected]; phone: 202-493-0443. 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. The 
term ``grant'' is used throughout this document and is intended to 
reference funding awarded through a grant agreement, as well as funding 
awarded to recipients through a cooperative agreement. Definitions of 
key terms used throughout the NOFO are provided in Section A(2). These 
key terms are capitalized throughout the NOFO. There are several 
administrative and eligibility requirements described herein with which 
applicants must comply. 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

[[Page 53811]]

F. Federal Award Administration Information
G. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts
H. Other Information

A. Program Description

1. Overview

    The purpose of this notice is to solicit applications for grants 
for Capital Projects within the United States to repair, replace, or 
rehabilitate Qualified Railroad Assets to reduce the state of good 
repair backlog and improve Intercity Passenger Rail performance under 
the Partnership Program. The Partnership Program provides a Federal 
funding opportunity to leverage private, state, and local investments 
to significantly improve American rail infrastructure. The Partnership 
Program is authorized in Sections 11103 and 11302 of the Passenger Rail 
Reform and Investment Act of 2015 (Title XI of the Fixing America's 
Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, Pub. L. 114-94 (2015)); codified at 
49 U.S.C. 24911 and this NOFO is funded by the 2019 Appropriation.
    The Department recognizes the importance of applying life cycle 
asset management principles throughout America's infrastructure. It is 
important for rail infrastructure owners and operators, as well as 
those who may apply on their behalf, to plan for the maintenance and 
replacement of assets and the associated costs. In light of recent 
fatal passenger rail accidents, the Department particularly recognizes 
the opportunity to enhance safety in both track and equipment through 
this grant program, and encourages the submission of proposed projects 
to grade-separate or otherwise improve safety at highway-rail grade 
crossings.
    The Partnership Program is intended to benefit both the Northeast 
Corridor (``NEC'') and the large number of public or Amtrak-owned or 
controlled infrastructure, equipment, and facilities located in other 
areas of the country, including strengthening transportation options 
for rural American communities. Applicants should note that the 
Partnership Program has distinct eligibility requirements based on 
project location. In addition to the generally applicable requirements, 
applicants proposing NEC Projects should specifically review the NEC-
specific requirements provided in Section C(3)(b), and the Qualified 
Railroad Asset information provided in Section D(2)(a)(vi) while 
applicants proposing Non-NEC Projects should review the Qualified 
Railroad Asset information provided in Section D(2)(a)(v).

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, 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 
(BCA) Guidance for Discretionary Grant Programs 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 rail-specific examples of how to 
apply the BCA Guidance for Discretionary Grant Programs to Partnership 
Program applications.
    b. ``Capital Project'' means a project primarily intended to 
replace, rehabilitate, or repair major infrastructure assets utilized 
for providing Intercity Passenger Rail service, including tunnels, 
bridges, and stations; or a project primarily intended to improve 
Intercity Passenger Rail performance, including reduced trip times, 
increased train frequencies, and higher operating speeds, consistent 
with 49 U.S.C. 24911(a)(2).
    c. ``Commuter Rail Passenger Transportation'' means short-haul rail 
passenger transportation in metropolitan and suburban areas usually 
having reduced fare, multiple ride, and commuter tickets and morning 
and evening peak period operations, consistent with 49 U.S.C. 24102(3).
    d. ``Intercity Rail Passenger Transportation'' means rail passenger 
transportation, except Commuter Rail Passenger Transportation, 
consistent with 49 U.S.C. 24911(a)(3). In this notice, ``Intercity 
Passenger Rail'' is an equivalent term to ``Intercity Rail Passenger 
Transportation.''
    e. ``Major Capital Project'' means a Capital Project with an 
estimated total project cost of $300 million or more.
    f. ``NEC Project'' means a Capital Project where the Qualified 
Railroad Assets involved in the project are part of, or in primary use 
for, the Northeast Corridor (``NEC'').
    g. ``Non-NEC Project'' means a Capital Project where the Qualified 
Railroad Assets involved in the project are not part of, or are not in 
primary use for, the Northeast Corridor (``NEC'').
    h. ``Northeast Corridor'' (``NEC'') means the main rail line 
between Boston, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia; the branch 
rail lines connecting to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Springfield, 
Massachusetts, and Spuyten Duyvil, New York; and facilities and 
services used to operate and maintain these lines, consistent with 49 
U.S.C. 24911(a)(4).
    i. A ``Qualified Railroad Asset,'' consistent with 49 U.S.C. 
24911(a)(5), means infrastructure, equipment, or a facility that:
    i. is owned or controlled by an eligible applicant;
    ii. is contained in the planning document developed under 49 U.S.C. 
24904 and for which a cost-allocation policy has been developed under 
49 U.S.C. 24905(c), or is contained in an equivalent planning document 
and for which a similar cost-allocation policy has been developed; and
    iii. was not in a State of Good Repair on the date of enactment of 
the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015 (December 4, 
2015).
    See Section D(2)(a), Project Narrative, for further details about 
the Qualified Railroad Asset requirements and application submission 
instructions related to Qualified Railroad Assets.\1\
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    \1\ For any project that includes purchasing intercity passenger 
rail equipment, applicants are encouraged to use a standardized 
approach to the procurement, such as the specifications developed by 
the Next Generation Corridor Equipment Pool Committee or a similarly 
uniform process.
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    j. ``State of Good Repair'' means a condition in which physical 
assets, both individually and as a system, are (A) performing at a 
level at least equal to that called for in their as-built or as-
modified design specification during any period when the life cycle 
cost of maintaining the assets is lower than the cost of replacing 
them; and (B) sustained through regular maintenance and replacement 
programs, consistent with 49 U.S.C. 24102(12).

B. Federal Award Information

1. Available Award Amount

    The total funding available for awards under this NOFO is 
$396,000,000 after $4,000,000 is set aside for FRA award and project 
management oversight as provided in the 2019 Appropriation. Should 
additional Partnership Program funds become available after the release 
of this NOFO, FRA may elect to award such additional funds to 
applications received under this NOFO.

[[Page 53812]]

2. Award Size

    There are no predetermined minimum or maximum dollar thresholds for 
awards. FRA anticipates making multiple awards with the available 
funding. Given the limited amount of funding currently available, 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). Applicants are 
encouraged to identify scalable elements such as project components 
that have operational independence. (See Section C(3)(c) for more 
information.)
    FRA strongly encourages applicants to identify and include other 
state, local, public, or private funding or financing to support the 
proposed project in order to maximize competitiveness.
    Applicants proposing a Major Capital Project are encouraged to 
identify and describe project phases or elements that could be 
candidates for subsequent Partnership Program funding, if such funding 
becomes available. Applications for a Major Capital Project that would 
seek future funds beyond fiscal year 2019 funding made available in 
this notice should indicate anticipated annual Federal funding requests 
from this program for the expected duration of the project. FRA may 
issue Letters of Intent to Partnership Program grantees proposing Major 
Capital Projects under 49 U.S.C. 24911(g); such Letters of Intent would 
serve to announce the FRA's intention to obligate an amount from future 
available budget authority toward a grantee's future project phases or 
elements. A Letter of Intent is not an obligation of the Federal 
government and is subject to the availability of appropriations for 
Partnership Program grants and subject to Federal laws in force or 
enacted after the date of the Letter of Intent.

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 under 2 CFR 
200.24. The funding provided under this NOFO 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 concurrent with 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

    DOT and FRA may be 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 Partnership Program funding under this NOFO, applicants must 
indicate the other program(s) 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 
Partnership Program application that differs from the application(s) 
submitted 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 projects 
permitted under this notice:
    (1) A state (including the District of Columbia);
    (2) a group of states;
    (3) an Interstate Compact;
    (4) a public agency or publicly chartered authority established by 
one or more states; \2\
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    \2\ See Section D(2)(a)(iv) for supporting documentation 
required to demonstrate eligibility under this eligibility category.
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    (5) a political subdivision of a state;
    (6) Amtrak, acting on its own behalf or under a cooperative 
agreement with one or more states; or
    (7) any combination of the entities described in (1) through (6).
    Applications must identify a lead applicant. The lead applicant 
serves as the primary point of contact for the application, and if 
selected, as the recipient of the Partnership Program grant award. To 
submit a joint application, the lead applicant must identify the joint 
applicant(s) and include a signed statement from an authorized 
representative of each joint applicant entity that affirms the entity 
joins the application. See Section D(2) for further instructions about 
submitting a joint application.
    An application submitted by Amtrak and one or more states must 
identify the lead applicant and include a signed cooperative agreement 
between Amtrak and the state(s) consistent with 49 U.S.C. 
24911(a)(1)(F). Selection preference will be provided for joint 
applications, as further discussed in Section E(1)(c). Applications may 
reference entities that are not eligible applicants (e.g., private 
sector firms) in an application as a project partner. However, FRA will 
provide selection preference to joint applications submitted by 
multiple eligible applicants.

2. Cost Sharing or Matching

    The Federal share of total costs for a project funded under the 
Partnership Program shall 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 facilities. The minimum 20 percent non-Federal share may 
be comprised of public sector (e.g., state or local) or private sector 
funding. However, FRA will not consider any other Federal grants, nor 
any non-Federal funds already expended (or otherwise encumbered), that 
do not comply with 2 CFR 200.458, as applicable, toward the matching 
requirement.
    FRA is limiting the first 20 percent of the non-Federal match to 
cash contributions only. Contributions of specified items or activities 
may be accepted for any non-Federal matching beyond the first 20 
percent. Such 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. Moreover, FRA encourages 
applicants to broaden their funding table in applications. FRA will 
give preference to non-Federal shares consisting of funding from 
multiple sources that demonstrate broad

[[Page 53813]]

participation and cost sharing from affected stakeholders. If Amtrak is 
an applicant, Amtrak may use its ticket and other non-Federal revenues 
generated from its operations and other sources to satisfy the non-
Federal share requirements. Applicants must identify the source(s) of 
their 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. FRA will approve pre-
award costs consistent with 2 CFR 200.458. See Section D(6). 
Additionally, in preparing estimates of total project costs, applicants 
should refer to FRA's cost estimate guidance, ``Capital Cost 
Estimating: Guidance for Project Sponsors,'' which is available at: 
https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0926.

3. Other

a. Project Eligibility
    Projects eligible for Partnership Program funds include Capital 
Projects within the United States to replace or rehabilitate Qualified 
Railroad Assets and improve Intercity Passenger Rail performance, 
including:
    (1) Capital Projects to replace existing assets in-kind;
    (2) Capital Projects to replace existing assets with assets that 
increase capacity or provide a higher level of service;
    (3) Capital Projects to ensure that service can be maintained while 
existing assets are brought into a State of Good Repair; and
    (4) Capital Projects to bring existing assets into a State of Good 
Repair.
    Qualified Railroad Assets, as further defined in Section A(2), are 
owned or controlled by an eligible applicant and may include: 
Infrastructure, including track, ballast, switches and interlockings, 
bridges, communication and signal systems, power systems, highway-rail 
grade crossings, and other railroad infrastructure and support systems 
used in intercity passenger rail service; stations, including station 
buildings, support systems, signage, and track and platform areas; 
equipment, including passenger cars, locomotives, and maintenance-of-
way equipment; and facilities, including yards and terminal areas and 
maintenance shops.
    Capital Projects, as further defined in Section A(2), may include 
final design; however, final design costs will only be eligible in 
conjunction with an award for project construction. Environmental and 
related clearances, including all work necessary for FRA to approve the 
project under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and related 
statutes and regulations are not eligible for funding under this 
notice. (See Section D(2)(a)(ix) for additional information.) Eligible 
projects with completed environmental and engineering documents 
indicate strong project readiness.
b. Additional Eligibility Requirements for NEC Projects
    This section provides additional eligibility requirements for NEC 
Projects. Applicants proposing Non-NEC Projects are not subject to the 
requirements in this section, and may proceed to Section C(3)(c).
    In the Partnership Program, grant funds may not be provided to an 
eligible recipient for an eligible NEC Project unless Amtrak and the 
public authorities providing commuter rail passenger transportation at 
the eligible project location on the NEC are in compliance with 49 
U.S.C. 24905(c)(2). Applicants must demonstrate compliance with 49 
U.S.C. 24905(c)(2) by describing the status of compliance with such 
cost-allocation policy between Amtrak and the public authorities 
providing commuter rail passenger transportation at the eligible 
project location, which may include demonstrating that such authorities 
are excepted from allocating costs for the proposed NEC Project, 
consistent with 49 U.S.C. 24905(c)(1)(A)(ii). Such providers must 
maintain compliance with 49 U.S.C. 24905(c)(2) for the duration of the 
project.
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 and comply with all eligibility 
requirements described in Section C.
    In addition, the component(s) must enable independent analysis and 
decision making, as determined by FRA under NEPA (i.e., have 
independent utility, connect logical termini, and not restrict the 
consideration of alternatives for other reasonably foreseeable rail 
projects.) Components must have independent utility for use in the BCA.

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 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 December 9, 
2019. 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.
    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 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 satisfy the requirements in 
49 U.S.C. 22905 explained in part at https://www.fra.dot.gov/page/P0185.
    Required documents for an application package are outlined in the 
checklist below.
     Project Narrative (see D.2.a).
     Statement of Work (see D.2.b.i).
     Benefit-Cost Analysis (see D.2.b.ii).
     Environmental Compliance Documentation (see D.2.b.iii).
     SF424--Application for Federal Assistance.
     SF 424C--Budget Information for Construction, or, for an 
equipment procurement project without any construction costs, or SF 
424A--Budget Information for Non-Construction.
     SF 424D--Assurances for Construction, or, for an equipment 
procurement project without any

[[Page 53814]]

construction costs, or SF 424B--Assurances for Non-Construction.
     FRA's Additional Assurances and Certifications.
     SF LLL--Disclosure of Lobbying Activities.
a. Project Narrative
    This section describes the minimum content required in the Project 
Narrative of grant applications. 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 Criteria--See D.2.a.iv
V. Non-NEC Project Eligibility Criteria--See D.2.a.v
VI. NEC Project Eligibility Criteria--See D.2.a.vi
VII. Detailed Project Description--See D.2.a.vii
VIII. Project Location--See D.2.a.viii
IX. Grade Crossing Information, if applicable--See D.2.a.ix
X. Evaluation and Selection Criteria--See D.2.a.x
XI. Project Implementation and Management--See D.2.a.xi
XII. Environmental Readiness--See D.2.a.xii

    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 relevant portion of the supporting 
document with the page numbers of the cited information in the Project 
Narrative. The Project Narrative must adhere to the following outline.
    i. Cover Page: Include a cover page that lists the following 
elements in either a table or formatted list:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                       Project title
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lead Applicant Organization Name                             ...................................................
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Joint Applicant(s) Organization Name(s), if any              ...................................................
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Amount of Federal Funding Requested Under this NOFO          ...................................................
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Proposed Non-Federal Match                                   ...................................................
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total Project Cost                                           ...................................................
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Was a Federal Grant Application Previously Submitted for     Yes/No
 this Project?
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If Yes, State the Name of the Federal Grant Program and      Federal Grant Program:
 Title of the Project in the Previous Application
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
City(-ies), State(s) Where the Project is Located            ...................................................
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Congressional District(s) Where the Project is Located       ...................................................
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    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 the amount of Federal funding 
requested, the proposed non-Federal match, and total project cost. 
Identify the source(s) of matching and other funds, and clearly and 
distinctly reflect these funds as part of the total project cost in the 
application budget. 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 
contributions, as well as substantiate how the contributions meet the 
requirements in 2 CFR 200.306. For a Major Capital Project that would 
seek future funds beyond fiscal year 2019 funding made available in 
this notice, provide the anticipated annual Federal funding requests 
from this grant program for the expected duration of the project. 
Finally, specify whether Federal funding for the project has previously 
been sought, and identify the Federal program and fiscal year of the 
funding request(s), as well as highlight new or revised information in 
the Partnership Program application that differs from the 
application(s) to other financial assistance programs.
    iv. Applicant Eligibility Criteria: Explain how the lead applicant 
and joint applicant(s) meet 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. To submit a joint 
application, the lead applicant must identify the joint applicant(s) 
and include a signed statement from an authorized representative of 
each joint applicant entity that affirms the entity joins the 
application. Joint applications are expected to include a description 
of the roles and responsibilities of each applicant, including budget 
and subrecipient information showing how the applicants will share 
project costs.
    v. Non-NEC Project Eligibility Criteria: This section provides 
project eligibility requirements for Non-NEC Projects. Applicants 
proposing NEC Projects may skip this section and proceed to section 
D(2)(a)(vi). For Non-NEC Projects, demonstrate that the proposed 
project is a Capital Project that meets the project eligibility 
criteria in Section C(3) of this notice. Further, demonstrate that the 
infrastructure, equipment and/or facilities involved in the proposed 
project are Qualified Railroad Assets under 49 U.S.C. 24911(a)(5), as 
follows:
    (A) To demonstrate ownership or control by an eligible applicant 
under 49 U.S.C. 24911(a)(5)(A), show either:
    (1) The lead or joint applicant owns or will, at project 
completion, have ownership of the infrastructure, equipment, or 
facility improved by the project; or
    (2) The lead or joint applicant controls or will, at project 
completion, have control over the infrastructure,

[[Page 53815]]

equipment, or facility improved by the project including by agreement 
with the infrastructure, equipment, or facility owner(s). Applicants 
should describe such agreement(s) in sufficient detail in their 
application for FRA to understand the extent of the control, including 
the lead or joint applicant's management and decision-making authority 
regarding the infrastructure, equipment, or facility improved by the 
project, and the remaining or anticipated duration of the agreement(s). 
Agreements involving railroad rights-of-way should also demonstrate the 
lead or joint applicant has train dispatching and maintenance-of-way 
responsibilities for the right-of-way.
    (B) To demonstrate the requirements under 49 U.S.C. 24911(a)(5)(B), 
show that the infrastructure, equipment, or facilities involved in the 
proposed project are contained in a planning document equivalent to the 
planning document developed under 49 U.S.C. 24904 and which has a 
similar cost-allocation policy to the cost-allocation policy developed 
under 49 U.S.C. 24905(c) has been developed.
    Non-NEC Projects may satisfy the equivalent planning document 
requirement by demonstrating the project is contained in the planning 
document(s) prepared under 49 U.S.C. Chapter 227, ``State Rail Plans,'' 
for the state(s) where the infrastructure, equipment and facilities are 
located or in primary use. Applicants with projects contained in a 
State Rail Plan should indicate the location (e.g., table or page 
number) where the project is discussed in the document. If a project is 
not contained in the State Rail Plan, applicants may demonstrate the 
infrastructure, equipment and facilities involved in the proposed 
project are contained in an equivalent planning document, or amend the 
relevant State Rail Plan(s) to contain the project. Amending a State 
Rail Plan requires a letter to FRA from an authorized representative of 
the relevant state rail transportation authority adding the proposed 
project to the plan and stating that the letter serves as an addendum 
to the current plan. Such a letter should include the project name, a 
brief description of the project, and estimated project cost and 
Federal and non-Federal share by funding source. FRA encourages state 
rail transportation authorities to make any such addendum letters 
publicly available with their State Rail Plans. FRA recommends such 
letters be submitted as part of an applicant's Partnership Program 
application via Grants.gov. Whether submitted as part of a Partnership 
Program application package or separately to FRA, FRA must receive the 
letter by the application due date of this notice.
    Non-NEC Projects must satisfy the similar cost-allocation policy 
requirement either by demonstrating the infrastructure, equipment or 
facilities involved in the proposed project are for routes subject to 
the cost-allocation policy adopted under Section 209 of the Passenger 
Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (PRIIA), Public Law 110-
432, Oct. 16, 2008; or by demonstrating the infrastructure, equipment 
or facilities involved in the proposed project are subject to a similar 
cost-allocation policy.
    (C) To demonstrate the state of good repair requirement under 49 
U.S.C. 24911(a)(5)(B):
    (1) Describe the condition and performance of the infrastructure, 
equipment, or facility as of the time of enactment of the Passenger 
Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015 (Dec. 4, 2015);
    (2) indicate how the infrastructure, equipment, or facility's 
condition or performance falls short of the definition of ``State of 
Good Repair'' in Section A(2); and
    (3) indicate, if known, when the infrastructure, equipment, or 
facility last received comprehensive repair, replacement, or 
rehabilitation work similar to the applicant's proposed scope of work.
    vi. NEC Project Eligibility Criteria: This section provides project 
eligibility requirements for NEC Projects. (Applicants proposing Non-
NEC Projects may skip this section and proceed to Section 
D(2)(a)(vii).) For NEC Projects, demonstrate that the proposed project 
is a Capital Project that meets the project eligibility criteria in 
Section C(3) of this notice including the requirements in 49 U.S.C. 
24911(e). Further, demonstrate that the infrastructure, equipment, and/
or facilities involved in the project are Qualified Railroad Assets 
under 49 U.S.C. 24911(a)(5), as follows:
    (A) To demonstrate ownership or control by an eligible applicant 
under 49 U.S.C. 24911(a)(5)(A), show either:
    (1) The lead or joint applicant owns or will, at project 
completion, have ownership of the infrastructure, equipment, or 
facility improved by the project; or
    (2) The lead or joint applicant controls or will, at project 
completion, have control over the infrastructure, equipment, or 
facility improved by the project including by agreement with the 
infrastructure, equipment, or facility owner(s). Applicants should 
describe such agreement(s) in sufficient detail in their application 
for FRA to understand the extent of the control, including the lead or 
joint applicant's management and decision-making authority regarding 
the infrastructure, equipment, or facility improved by the project, and 
the remaining or anticipated duration of the agreement(s). Agreements 
involving railroad rights-of-way should also demonstrate the lead or 
joint applicant has train dispatching and maintenance-of-way 
responsibilities for the right-of-way.
    (B) To demonstrate the requirements under 49 U.S.C. 24911(a)(5)(B), 
show that the infrastructure, equipment, or facilities involved in the 
proposed project are contained in the planning document developed under 
49 U.S.C. 24904 and for which a cost-allocation policy has been 
developed under 49 U.S.C. 24905(c), or are contained in an equivalent 
planning document and for which a similar cost-allocation policy has 
been developed.
    NEC Projects must satisfy the planning document requirement by 
demonstrating the project is contained in the current approved planning 
document developed under 49 U.S.C. 24904 (i.e., the NEC Commission 
Five-Year Capital Investment Plan). Applicants with projects contained 
this plan should indicate the location (e.g., table or page number) 
where the project in discussed in the document. If an NEC Project is 
not contained in the 49 U.S.C. 24904 planning document at the time of 
this notice, applicants may demonstrate that the infrastructure, 
equipment and facilities involved in the proposed project are contained 
in an equivalent planning document, or update the 49 U.S.C. 24904 
planning document to contain the project by the due date for 
applications under this notice. An equivalent planning document may 
include a planning document developed under 49 U.S.C. 24320(c).
    NEC Projects must satisfy the cost-allocation policy requirement by 
demonstrating the infrastructure, equipment, or facilities are subject 
to the cost-allocation policy developed under 49 U.S.C. 24905(c) (i.e., 
Northeast Corridor Commuter and Intercity Rail Cost Allocation Policy), 
or a similar cost-allocation policy.
    (C) To demonstrate the state of good repair requirement under 49 
U.S.C. 24911(a)(5)(C), the NEC applicant must:
    (1) Describe the condition and performance of the infrastructure, 
equipment, or facility as of the time of enactment of the Passenger 
Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015 (Dec. 4, 2015);
    (2) indicate how the infrastructure, equipment, or facility's 
condition or

[[Page 53816]]

performance falls short of the definition of State of Good Repair'' in 
Section A(2); and
    (3) indicate, if known, when the infrastructure, equipment, or 
facility last received comprehensive repair, replacement, or 
rehabilitation work similar to the applicant's proposed scope of work.
    vii. Detailed Project Description: Include a detailed project 
description that expands upon the brief summary required above. This 
detailed description must provide, at a minimum: Additional 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. Applicants with Major Capital Projects are encouraged to 
identify and describe project phases or elements that would be 
candidates for subsequent Partnership Program funding if such funding 
becomes available. Include information to demonstrate the project is 
reasonably expected to begin construction in a timely manner. For all 
projects, applicants must provide information about proposed 
performance measures, as described in Section F(3)(c) and required in 2 
CFR 200.301.
    viii. Project Location: Include geospatial data for the project, as 
well as a map of the project's location. Include the Congressional 
districts in which the project will take place.
    ix. 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.
    x. Evaluation and Selection Criteria: Include a thorough discussion 
of how the proposed project meets all of the evaluation and selection 
criteria, as outlined in Section E of this notice. If an application 
does not sufficiently address the evaluation criteria and the selection 
criteria, it is unlikely to be a competitive application.
    xi. Project Implementation and Management: Describe proposed 
project implementation and project management arrangements including as 
between the lead and joint applicants. 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. Describe past experience 
in managing and overseeing similar projects. For Major Capital 
Projects, explain plans for a rigorous project management and oversight 
approach.
    xii. Environmental Readiness: If the NEPA process is complete, 
indicate the date of completion, and provide a website link or other 
reference to the final Categorical Exclusion determination, Finding of 
No Significant Impact, or Record of Decision, as well as any other NEPA 
documents prepared. If the NEPA process is not complete, the 
application should detail the type of NEPA review underway, if 
applicable, where the project is in the process, and indicate the 
anticipated date of completion of all milestones and of the final NEPA 
determination. 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 why NEPA 
documents have not been updated and include a proposed approach for 
verifying and, if necessary, updating this material in accordance with 
applicable NEPA requirements. Additional information regarding FRA's 
environmental processes and requirements are located at https://www.fra.dot.gov/environment.
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 can monitor progress toward completing project tasks and 
deliverables during a prospective grant's period of performance. 
Applicants must use FRA's standard SOW, schedule, and budget templates 
to be considered for award. The templates are located at https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0325.
    When preparing the budget, the total cost of a project must be 
based on the best available information as indicated in cited 
references that include engineering studies, economic feasibility 
studies, environmental analyses, and information on the expected use of 
equipment or facilities. For Major Capital Projects, the SOW must 
include annual budget estimates and anticipated Federal funding for the 
expected duration of the project.
    ii. A Benefit-Cost Analysis consistent with 49 U.S.C. 
24911(d)(2)(A) that demonstrates the merit of investing in the proposed 
project. The BCA should include anticipated private and public benefits 
relative to the costs of the proposed project, including:
    i. Effects on system and service performance;
    ii. effects on safety, competitiveness, reliability, trip or 
transit time, and resilience;
    iii. efficiencies from improved integration with other modes; and
    iv. ability to meet existing or anticipated demand.
    The BCA should be systematic, data driven, and examine the trade-
offs between reasonably expected project costs and benefits. Applicants 
are encouraged to include quantifiable railroad data related to the 
Qualified Railroad Assets involved in the project, such as information 
on delay, failure or safety incidents, passengers carried (e.g., 
ridership), daily train movements, or similar metrics. The complexity 
and level of detail in the Benefit-Cost Analysis prepared for the 
Partnership Program should reflect the scope and scale of the proposed 
project. Please refer to the Benefit-Cost Analysis Guidance for 
Discretionary Grant Programs 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 (https://www.fra.dot.gov/grants) for some rail-
specific examples of how to apply the Benefit-Cost Analysis Guidance 
for Discretionary Grant Programs to Partnership applications.
    iii. Environmental compliance documentation, if a website link is 
not cited in the Project Narrative.
    iv. SF 424--Application for Federal Assistance.
    v. SF 424C--Budget Information for Construction, or, for an 
equipment procurement project without any other construction elements, 
the SF 424A--Budget Information for Non-Construction.
    vi. SF 424D--Assurances for Construction, or, for an equipment 
procurement project without any other construction elements, the SF 
424B--Assurances for Non-Construction.
    vii. FRA's Additional Assurances and Certifications.
    viii. An SF LLL--Disclosure of Lobbying Activities.
    Forms needed for the electronic application process are at 
www.Grants.gov.

[[Page 53817]]

c. Post-Selection Requirements
    See Section 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 in SAM before submitting an application, provide a 
valid unique entity identifier in its application, and continue to 
maintain an active SAM registration all as described in detail below. 
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 and if an applicant has not fully complied with 
the requirements by the time the Federal awarding agency is ready to 
make a Federal award, the Federal awarding agency may determine that 
the applicant is not qualified to receive a Federal award and use that 
determination as a basis for making a Federal award to another 
applicant. (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 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.
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 subrecipients. 
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.
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, December 9, 2019. Applicants will receive a 
system-generated acknowledgement of receipt. FRA reviews www.Grants.gov 
information on dates/times of applications submitted to determine 
timeliness of submissions. 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 
the 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

[[Page 53818]]

SPOC to determine if the program has been selected for state review.

6. Funding Restrictions

    FRA will not fund any preliminary engineering, environmental work, 
or related clearances under this NOFO. FRA will only consider funding a 
project's final design activities if the applicant is also seeking 
funding for construction activities. FRA will only approve pre-award 
costs if such costs are incurred pursuant to the negotiation and in 
anticipation of the grant agreement and if such costs are necessary for 
efficient and timely performance of the scope of work 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 grant. Activities initiated prior to the 
execution of a grant or without FRA's written approval may not be 
eligible for reimbursement or included as a grantee's matching 
contribution.
    FRA is prohibited under 49 U.S.C. 22905(f) \3\ from providing 
Partnership Program grants for Commuter Rail Passenger Transportation. 
FRA's interpretation of this provision is informed by the language in 
49 U.S.C. 24911, and specifically the definitions of capital project in 
49 U.S.C. 24911(a)(2)(A) and (B). FRA's primary intent in funding 
Partnership Program projects is to make reasonable investments in 
Capital Projects used in Intercity Rail Passenger Transportation. Such 
projects may be located on shared corridors where Commuter Rail 
Passenger Transportation also benefits from the project.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ Under 49 U.S.C. 24911(i), Partnership grants are subject to 
the conditions in 49 U.S.C. 22905.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

7. Other Submission Requirements

    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. See section D.1 of this NOFO for information on where 
applications must be submitted.

E. Application Review Information

1. Criteria
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 non-Federal match in determining whether the 
application is eligible.
Evaluation Criteria
    FRA subject-matter experts will evaluate all eligible and complete 
applications against the following evaluation criteria:
    i. Technical Merit: FRA will to take into account--
    (A) The degree to which the tasks and subtasks outlined in the SOW 
are appropriate to achieve the expected outcomes of the proposed 
project;
    (B) The technical qualifications and demonstrated 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;
    (C) The degree to which the proposed project's business plan 
considers potential private sector participation in the financing, 
construction, or operation of the proposed project;
    (D) Whether the applicant has, or will have, the legal, financial, 
and technical capacity to carry out the project; satisfactory 
continuing control over the use of the equipment or facilities; and the 
capability and willingness to maintain the equipment or facilities;
    (E) The applicant's past performance in developing and delivering 
similar projects, and previous financial contributions;
    (F) Whether the project has completed necessary pre-construction 
activities and indicates strong project readiness; and
    (G) Whether the project is consistent with planning guidance and 
documents set forth by the Secretary of Transportation or required by 
law.
    ii. Project Benefits: FRA will take into account the benefit-cost 
analysis of the proposed project, including anticipated private and 
public benefits relative to the costs of the proposed project 
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.
Selection Criteria
    In addition to the eligibility and completeness review and the 
evaluation criteria outlined in this section, the FRA Administrator (or 
his designee), in consultation with a Senior Review Team that includes 
senior leadership from the Office of the Secretary and FRA, will apply 
the selection criteria:
    i. FRA will give preference to eligible projects for which:
    (A) Amtrak is not the sole applicant;
    (B) Applications were submitted jointly by multiple eligible 
applicants; and
    (C) The proposed Federal share of total project costs does not 
exceed 50 percent.
    ii. After applying the above preferences, FRA will take in account 
the following key Departmental priorities:
    (A) Supporting economic vitality at the national and regional 
level;
    (B) Leveraging Federal funding to attract other, non-Federal 
sources of infrastructure investment;
    (C) Preparing for future operations and maintenance costs 
associated with a project's life-cycle, as demonstrated by a credible 
plan to maintain assets without having to rely on future Federal 
funding;
    (D) Using innovative approaches to improve safety and expedite 
project delivery;
    (E) Holding grant recipients accountable for grant performance and 
achieving specific, measurable outcomes identified by grant applicants;
    (F) Proposed non-Federal share is comprised of more than one 
source, including private sources, demonstrating broad participation by 
affected stakeholders; and
    (G) Applications indicate strong project readiness.
    iii. For NEC Projects, FRA will consider the appropriate sequence 
and phasing of projects as contained in the Northeast Corridor capital 
investment plan developed pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 24904(a).
    iv. In determining the allocation of program funds, FRA may also 
consider geographic diversity, diversity in the size of the systems 
receiving funding, the applicant's receipt of other competitive awards, 
projects located in or that support transportation service in a 
qualified opportunity zone designated pursuant to 26 U.S.C. 1400Z-1, 
and the percentage of non-Federal share provided and whether such non-
Federal share is provided by multiple sources.

2. Review and Selection Process

    FRA will conduct a three-part application review process, as 
follows:

[[Page 53819]]

    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 
or his designee) applying the selection criteria in consultation with 
the Senior Review Team.

3. 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 (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.

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 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. See an example of standard 
terms and conditions for FRA grant awards at https://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/details/L05285.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

    In connection with any program or activity conducted with or 
benefiting from funds awarded under this notice, recipients of funds 
must comply with all applicable requirements of Federal law, including, 
without limitation, the Constitution of the United States; the 
conditions of performance, nondiscrimination requirements, and other 
assurances made applicable to the award of funds in accordance with 
regulations of the DOT; and applicable Federal financial assistance and 
contracting principles promulgated by the Office of Management and 
Budget. In complying with these requirements, recipients, in 
particular, must ensure that no concession agreements are denied or 
other contracting decisions made on the basis of speech or other 
activities protected by the First Amendment. If the DOT determines that 
a recipient has failed to comply with applicable Federal requirements, 
the DOT may terminate the award of funds and disallow previously 
incurred costs, requiring the recipient to reimburse any expended award 
funds.
    Examples of administrative and national policy requirements 
include: 2 CFR part 200; procurement standards; compliance with Federal 
civil rights laws and regulations; disadvantaged business enterprises; 
debarment and suspension; drug-free workplace; FRA's and OMB's 
Assurances and Certifications; Americans with Disabilities Act; safety 
requirements; NEPA; environmental justice and the grant conditions in 
49 U.S.C. 22905 including the Buy America requirements, the provision 
deeming operators rail carriers and employers for certain purposes, 
grantee agreements with railroad right-of-way owners for projects using 
railroad rights-of-way, and compliance with 49 U.S.C. 24905(c)(2) for 
the duration of NEC Projects.
    See an example of standard terms and conditions for FRA grant 
awards at https://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/details/L05285.

3. Reporting

a. 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.
    The applicant must comply with all relevant requirements of 2 CFR 
part 200.
b. Additional Reporting
    Applicants selected for funding are required to comply with all 
reporting requirements in the standard terms and conditions for FRA 
grant awards including 2 CFR 180.335 and 2 CFR 180.350. See an example 
of standard terms and conditions for FRA grant awards at: https://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/details/L05285.
    If the Federal share of any Federal award under this NOFO may 
include more than $500,000 over the period of performance, applicants 
are informed of the post award reporting requirements reflected in 2 
CFR part 200, Appendix XII--Award Term and Condition for Recipient 
Integrity and Performance Matters.
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 rolling stock must 
integrate at least one equipment/rolling stock performance measure, 
consistent with the grantee's application materials and program goals.

[[Page 53820]]



                                                                   Performance Measure
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                    Primary strategic     Secondary strategic
           Rail measures                Unit  measured            Temporal                 goal                  goal                 Description
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Slow Order Miles..................  Miles................  Annual...............  State of Good Repair.  Safety..............  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.
Rail Track Grade Separation.......  Count................  Annual...............  Economic               Safety..............  The number of annual
                                                                                   Competitiveness.                             automobile 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 Repair  Count of the annual
                                                                                   Competitiveness.                             passenger boardings and
                                                                                                                                alightings at stations
                                                                                                                                within the project area.
Travel Time.......................  Time/Trip............  Annual...............  Economic               Quality of Life.....  Point-to-point travel
                                                                                   Competitiveness.                             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.
Track Miles.......................  Miles................  One Time.............  State of Good Repair.  Economic              The number of track miles
                                                                                                          Competitiveness.      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.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

G. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts

    For further project or program-related information in this notice, 
please contact Mr. Bryan Rodda, Office of Policy and Planning, Federal 
Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room W38-203, 
Washington, DC 20590; email: [email protected]; phone: 202-493-0443. 
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.

H. Other Information

    All information submitted as part of or in support of any 
application shall use publicly available data or data that can be made 
public and methodologies that are accepted by industry practice and 
standards, to the extent possible. If the application includes 
information the applicant considers to be a trade secret or 
confidential commercial or financial information, the applicant should 
do the following: (1) Note on the front cover that the submission 
``Contains Confidential Business Information (CBI)''; (2) mark each 
affected page ``CBI''; and (3) highlight or otherwise denote the CBI 
portions.
    FRA protects such information from disclosure consistent with 
applicable law. In the event FRA receives a Freedom of Information Act 
(FOIA) request for the information, FRA will follow the procedures 
described in its FOIA regulations at 49 CFR 7.17. Only information that 
is ultimately determined to be confidential under that procedure will 
be exempt from disclosure under FOIA.

    Issued in Washington, DC.
Ronald L. Batory,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2019-21866 Filed 10-7-19; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-06-P