Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair Program, 70582-70595 [2021-26835]

Download as PDF 70582 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 235 / Friday, December 10, 2021 / Notices jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 service day inspection must be completed for one year until June 1, 2023. GGRM states that the annual inspection of #2472 was completed, but the extension would allow GGRM to recover from schedule delays and revenue losses caused by the COVID–19 pandemic. A copy of the petition, as well as any written communications concerning the petition, is available for review online at www.regulations.gov. 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 party desires 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 at www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Communications received by January 24, 2022 will be considered by FRA before final action is taken. Comments received after that date will be considered if practicable. Anyone can search the electronic form of any written communications and comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the document, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). Under 5 U.S.C. 553(c), the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) solicits comments from the public to better inform its processes. DOT posts these comments, without edit, including any personal information the commenter provides, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the system of records notice (DOT/ALL– 14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at https://www.transportation.gov/privacy. See also https://www.regulations.gov/ privacy-notice for the privacy notice of regulations.gov. Issued in Washington, DC. John Karl Alexy, Associate Administrator for Railroad Safety, Chief Safety Officer. [FR Doc. 2021–26721 Filed 12–9–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–06–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:03 Dec 09, 2021 Jkt 256001 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Railroad Administration [Docket No. FRA–2021–0082] Notice of Availability of a Final General Conformity Determination for the California High-Speed Rail System, Burbank to Los Angeles Section Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: FRA is issuing this notice to advise the public that it is issuing a Final General Conformity Determination (FCD) for the Burbank to Los Angeles Section of the California High-Speed Rail (HSR) System. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Andre´a Martin, Senior Environmental Protection Specialist, Office of Railroad Policy and Development (RPD), telephone: (202) 493–6201, email: Andrea.Martin@dot.gov; or Marlys Osterhues, Chief, Environment and Project Engineering, RPD, telephone: (202) 493–0413, email: Marlys.Osterhues@dot.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Pursuant to 23 U.S.C. 327 (Section 327), the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA or Authority) has assumed FRA’s environmental review responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). However, under Section 327, FRA remains responsible for compliance with the Clean Air Act General Conformity requirements. In compliance with NEPA and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the Authority published a Final Environmental Impact Record/Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/ EIS) for the Burbank to Los Angeles Section of the California High-Speed Rail (HSR) System on November 5, 2021. The Final EIR/EIS is available at https://hsr.ca.gov/programs/ environmental-planning/project-sectionenvironmental-documents-tier-2/ burbank-to-los-angeles-project-sectiondraft-environmental-impact-reportenvironmental-impact-statement/. FRA prepared a Draft General Conformity Determination, pursuant to 40 CFR part 93, subpart B, which establishes the process for complying with the General Conformity requirements of the Clean Air Act. FRA published a notice in the Federal Register on September 20, 2021 advising the public of the availability of the Draft Conformity Determination for a 30-day review and comment period. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00153 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 The Draft Conformity Determination was published at http:// www.regulations.gov, Docket No. FRA– 2021–0082. The comment period of the Draft Conformity Determination closed on October 20, 2021. FRA received one comment expressing support for the project and Draft General Conformity Determination. FRA prepared the Final General Conformity Determination pursuant to 40 CFR part 93, subpart B, and based on the Authority’s coordination with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the California Air Resources Board (CARB), and the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). The analysis found that construction period emissions would exceed the General Conformity de minimis threshold for Nitrogen Oxides (NOX). However, operation of the Project would result in an overall reduction of regional emissions of all applicable air pollutants and would not cause a localized exceedance of an air quality standard. Consistent with the General Conformity Rule, the Authority will ensure all remaining emissions that exceed the de minimis thresholds, after implementation of the impact avoidance and minimization features and onsite mitigation measures, will be offset through an agreement with SCAQMD. The Authority and SCAQMD will enter into an agreement after receipt of construction funding but prior to the start of construction. Based on this commitment, FRA determined the Project will conform to the requirements in the approved State Implementation Plan. The Final General Conformity Determination is available at http:// www.regulations.gov, Docket No. FRA– 2021–0082, and FRA’s website at https://railroads.dot.gov/environment/ environmental-reviews/clean-air-actcalifornia-general-conformitydeterminations. Issued in Washington, DC, Jamie P. Rennert, Director, Office of Infrastructure Investment. [FR Doc. 2021–26709 Filed 12–9–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–06–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). AGENCY: E:\FR\FM\10DEN1.SGM 10DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 235 / Friday, December 10, 2021 / Notices Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO or notice). ACTION: 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, 2021. The opportunity described in this notice is made available under Assistance Listings 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. ET, March 7, 2022. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered for funding. See Section D of this notice for additional information on the application process. ADDRESSES: Applications must be submitted via www.Grants.gov. Only applicants who comply with all submission requirements described in this notice and submit applications through www.Grants.gov will be eligible for award. For any supporting application materials that an applicant is unable to submit via www.Grants.gov (such as oversized engineering drawings), an applicant may submit an original and two (2) copies to Mr. Bryan Rodda, Office of Policy and Planning, Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room W38–203, 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 information related to 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. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This notice wholly supersedes and cancels FRA’s prior notice for this program, published in the Federal Register on December 7, 2021 (86 FR 69352), which was incomplete. Applicants should refer only to this notice for application requirements and procedures. Notice to applicants: FRA recommends that applicants read this notice in its entirety prior to preparing application materials. Definitions of key jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:03 Dec 09, 2021 Jkt 256001 terms used throughout the NOFO are provided in Section A(2) below. These key terms are capitalized throughout the NOFO. There are several administrative and specific 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 F. Federal Award Administration Information G. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts H. Other Information A. Program Description 1. Overview Our nation’s rail network is a critical component of the U.S. transportation system and economy. Prior to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID–19) pandemic, rail carried over 32.5 million passengers on Amtrak services and approximately 1.6 billion tons of freight valued at over $600 billion each year. The Partnership Program provides a Federal funding opportunity to improve American passenger rail infrastructure to enhance rail safety, reduce the backlog of deferred maintenance for Amtrak or publicly owned or controlled railroad assets, create new opportunities for underserved communities, and invest in projects that support and spur economic growth. The purpose of the Partnership Program is to fund 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. Section E of this NOFO provides additional information on these program priorities. 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 Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Pub. L. 116– 260) (Appropriations Act).1 The opportunity described in this notice is made available under Assistance 1 Funds made available under this NOFO are subject to 49 U.S.C. 24911 as it existed on the day of the enactment of the Appropriations Act. PO 00000 Frm 00154 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 70583 Listings Number 20.326, ‘‘Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair.’’ Consistent with Biden-Harris Administration priorities, the Department seeks to fund projects under the Partnership Program that address climate change impacts and environmental justice. Projects should include components that reduce emissions, promote energy efficiency, increase resilience, and recycle or redevelop existing infrastructure. This objective is consistent with Executive Order 14008, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad (86 FR 7619). As part of the Department’s implementation of that Executive Order, the Department encourages the submission of applications that would direct resources and benefits towards low-income communities, overburdened communities, or communities underserved by affordable transportation. The Department also seeks to use the Partnership Program to encourage racial equity by investing in projects that proactively address racial equity and barriers to opportunity. Projects should include components that improve or expand transportation options and mitigate the safety risks and detrimental quality of life effects that rail lines can have on communities, particularly lowincome areas, and communities of color. This objective supports the Department’s strategic goal related to infrastructure, with the potential for significantly enhancing environmental stewardship and community partnerships, and reflects Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government (86 FR 7009). Section E describes the climate change, environmental justice, and racial equity considerations further. The Partnership Program is intended to benefit both railroad assets in the Northeast Corridor (‘‘NEC’’) and public or Amtrak-owned or controlled infrastructure, equipment, and facilities located in other areas of the country. 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). E:\FR\FM\10DEN1.SGM 10DEN1 70584 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 235 / Friday, December 10, 2021 / Notices 2. Changes From FY 2020 Partnership Program NOFO This notice updates the FY 2020 Partnership Program NOFO to reflect the Biden-Harris Administration’s priorities for creating good-paying jobs, improving safety, applying transformative technology, and explicitly addressing climate change and racial equity as discussed in Section E(1)(c)(ii). This notice expands the definition of Capital Project, making expenses incidental to the acquisition or construction (including designing, engineering, location surveying, mapping, environmental studies, and acquiring rights-of-way) of a Capital Project eligible for funding independently or in conjunction with proposed funding for construction or acquisition, as directed by the Appropriations Act. jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 3. Definitions of Key Terms Terms defined in this section are capitalized throughout this notice. 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, stations, and other assets, as determined by the Secretary of Transportation; a project primarily intended to improve Intercity Passenger Rail performance, including reduced trip times, increased train frequencies, and higher operating VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:03 Dec 09, 2021 Jkt 256001 speeds, and other improvements, as determined by the Secretary; and a project for expenses incidental to the acquisition or construction (including designing, engineering, location surveying, mapping, environmental studies, and acquiring rights-of-way) of a project, consistent with 49 U.S.C. 24911(a)(2) and the Appropriations Act. c. ‘‘Construction’’ means the production of fixed works and structures or substantial alterations to such structures or land and associated costs. d. ‘‘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). e. ‘‘Final Design (FD)’’ means design activities following Preliminary Engineering, and at a minimum, includes the preparation of final Construction plans, detailed specifications, and estimates sufficiently detailed to inform project stakeholders (designers, reviewers, contractors, suppliers, etc.) of the actions required to advance the project from design through completion of Construction. f. ‘‘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.’’ g. ‘‘Major Capital Project’’ means a Capital Project with an estimated total project cost of $300 million or more. h. ‘‘National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)’’ is a Federal law that requires Federal agencies to analyze and document the environmental impacts of a proposed action in consultation with appropriate Federal, state, and local authorities, and with the public. NEPA classes of action include an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), Environmental Analysis (EA) or Categorical Exclusion (CE). The NEPA class of action depends on the nature of the proposed action, its complexity, and the potential impacts. For purposes of this NOFO, NEPA also includes all related Federal laws and regulations including the Clean Air Act, Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act, Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. Additional information regarding FRA’s environmental processes and requirements are located at https:// www.fra.dot.gov/environment. PO 00000 Frm 00155 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 i. ‘‘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’’). j. ‘‘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’’). k. ‘‘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). l. ‘‘Preliminary Engineering (PE)’’ means engineering design to: (1) Define a project, including identification of all environmental impacts, design of all critical project elements at a level sufficient to assure reliable cost estimates and schedules, (2) complete project management and financial plans, and (3) identify procurement requirements and strategies. The PE development process starts with specific project design alternatives that allow for the assessment of a range of rail improvements, specific alignments, and project designs. PE generally occurs concurrently with NEPA and related analyses, and prior to FD and Construction. m. 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.2 n. ‘‘State of Good Repair’’ means a condition in which physical assets, both 2 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\10DEN1.SGM 10DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 235 / Friday, December 10, 2021 / Notices 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 $198,000,000 made available by the Appropriations Act. 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. Any selection and award under this NOFO is subject to the availability of appropriated funds. jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 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 even if they meet or exceed the stated evaluation criteria (see Section E, Application Review Information). Projects may require more funding than is available. FRA encourages applicants to propose a project that has operational independence or a component of such project and that can be completed and implemented with funding under this NOFO as a part of the total project cost together with other, non-Federal sources. (See Section C(3)(c) for more information.) Applicants proposing a Major Capital Project may 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 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 grant recipients proposing Major Capital Projects under 49 U.S.C. 24911(g); such Letters of Intent would serve to announce FRA’s intention to obligate an amount from future available budget authority toward a grant recipient’s future project phases or elements. A Letter of Intent is not an VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:03 Dec 09, 2021 Jkt 256001 70585 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. 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. 4. Award Type FRA will make awards for projects selected under this notice through grant agreements and/or cooperative agreements. Grant agreements are used when FRA does not expect to have substantial Federal involvement in carrying out the funded activity. Cooperative agreements allow for substantial Federal involvement in carrying out the agreed upon investment, including technical assistance, review of interim work products, and increased program oversight. The term ‘‘grant’’ is used throughout this document and is intended to reference funding awarded through a grant agreement, as well as funding awarded through a cooperative agreement. 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. This template is subject to revision. 1. Eligible Applicants 5. 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 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 application responsive to this NOFO that differs from the previously submitted application(s). C. Eligibility Information This section of the notice explains applicant eligibility, cost sharing and matching requirements, project eligibility, and project component PO 00000 Frm 00156 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 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; 3 (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 grantee 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, whether eligible under (1), (2) or (6) above, 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 partner in project funding or implementation, but ineligible entities do not qualify as lead or joint applicants. FRA will provide selection preference only to joint applications submitted by multiple eligible applicants. 2. Cost Sharing or Matching The Federal share of total costs for Partnership Program projects funded under this notice shall not exceed 80 percent. FRA will provide selection preference to applications where the proposed Federal share of total project 3 See Section D(2)(a)(iv) for supporting documentation required to demonstrate eligibility under this eligibility category. E:\FR\FM\10DEN1.SGM 10DEN1 70586 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 235 / Friday, December 10, 2021 / Notices costs is 50 percent or less. The estimated total cost of a project must be based on the best available information, including engineering studies, studies of economic feasibility, environmental analyses, and information on the expected use of equipment and/or facilities. Additionally, in preparing estimates of total project costs, applicants may use FRA’s cost estimate guidance documentation, ‘‘Capital Cost Estimating: Guidance for Project Sponsors,’’ which is available at: https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0926. The minimum 20 percent non-Federal share may be comprised of public sector (e.g., State or local) or private sector funding. FRA will not consider any Federal financial assistance 4 or any non-Federal funds already expended (or otherwise encumbered) toward the matching requirement, unless compliant with 2 CFR part 200. In-kind contributions, including the donation of services, materials, and equipment, may be credited as a project cost, in a uniform manner consistent with 2 CFR 200.306. If Amtrak is an applicant, Amtrak may use its ticket and other non-Federal revenues generated from its operations and other sources to satisfy the nonFederal 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. See Section D(2)(a)(iii) for required application information on non-Federal match and Section E for further discussion of FRA’s consideration of matching funds in the review and selection process. FRA will approve preaward costs consistent with 2 CFR 200.458, as applicable. See Section D(6). Cost sharing or matching may be used only for authorized Federal award purposes. 3. Other jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 a. Project Eligibility The following rail projects within the United States to replace or rehabilitate Qualified Railroad Assets and improve Intercity Passenger Rail performance are eligible for funding under 49 U.S.C. 24911, the Appropriations Act, and this NOFO: (1) Capital Projects to replace existing assets in-kind; 4 See Section D(2)(a)(iii) for supporting information required to demonstrate eligibility of Federal funds for use as match. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:03 Dec 09, 2021 Jkt 256001 (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 to 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 PE, NEPA, Final Design, Construction, or expenses incidental to the acquisition or Construction of a Capital Project. Corridor or project-specific planning studies are not eligible. PreConstruction activities are eligible for funding independently or in conjunction with proposed funding for construction. PE/NEPA examples include: Engineering drawings and specifications (scale drawings at the 30% design level, including track geometry as appropriate); design criteria, schematics and/or track charts that support the development of PE; and work that can be funded in conjunction with developing PE, such as operations modeling, surveying, project work/ management plans, preliminary cost estimates, and preliminary project schedules. PE/NEPA projects funded under this NOFO must be sufficiently developed to support FD or Construction activities. (See Section D(2)(a)(xii) for additional information.) 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 do not need to respond to them in their application and may proceed to Section C(3)(c) below. In the Partnership Program, grant funds may not be provided to an eligible recipient for an eligible NEC Project unless Amtrak and the public PO 00000 Frm 00157 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 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, such as for a project that solely benefits intercity passenger rail, 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 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 do not restrict the consideration of alternatives for other reasonably foreseeable rail projects). D. Application and Submission Information Required documents for the application are outlined in the following paragraphs. Applicants must complete and submit all components of the application. See Section D (2) for the application checklist. FRA welcomes the submission of additional relevant supporting documentation, such as planning, engineering and design documentation, and letters of support from partnering organizations that will not count against the Project Narrative 25-page limit. 1. Address To Request Application Package Applicants must submit all application materials in their entirety through http://www.Grants.gov no later than 5:00 p.m. ET, on March 7, 2022. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply early to ensure that all materials are received before the application deadline. FRA reserves the right to modify this deadline. General information for submitting applications through Grants.gov can be found at: https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0270. E:\FR\FM\10DEN1.SGM 10DEN1 70587 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 235 / Friday, December 10, 2021 / Notices FRA is committed to ensuring that information is available in appropriate alternative formats to meet the requirements of persons who have a disability. If you require an alternative version of files provided, please contact Lou Lorello, Office of the Chief Financial Officer, Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room W36–111, Washington, DC 20590; email: lou.lorello@dot.gov; phone: 202–493– 8026. 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 and further in section F.2 of this notice. 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 or nonConstruction project, SF 424A—Budget Information for Non-Construction. • SF 424D—Assurances for Construction, or, for an equipment procurement project or nonConstruction project, SF 424B— Assurances for Non-Construction. • FRA’s Additional Assurances and Certifications. • SF LLL—Disclosure of Lobbying Activities. • Draft Agreement required under 49 U.S.C. 22905(c)(1), if applicable (see D.2.b.xi). 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 .................................. II. Project Summary ....................... III. Project Funding ........................ See D.2.a.i See D.2.a.ii See D.2.a.iii IV. Applicant Eligibility Criteria .. V. Non-NEC Project Eligibility Criteria. VI. NEC Project Eligibility Criteria VII. Detailed Project Description .. VIII. Project Location ..................... IX. Grade Crossing Information, if applicable. X. Evaluation and Selection Criteria. XI. Project Implementation and Management. XII. Environmental Readiness ...... jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 Task No. in an appendix. If Federal funding is proposed as match, demonstrate the applicant’s determination of eligibility for such use, and the legal basis for that determination. Also, note if the requested Federal funding under this NOFO or other programs must be obligated or spent by a certain date due to dependencies or relationships with other Federal or non-Federal funding sources, related projects, law, or other factors. If applicable, provide the type and estimated value of any proposed inkind contributions, 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 funding made Task name/project component 17:03 Dec 09, 2021 Jkt 256001 PO 00000 Frm 00158 Fmt 4703 See D.2.a.x See D.2.a.xi See D.2.a.xii available in this notice, provide the anticipated annual Federal funding requests from this grant program, anticipated future non-Federal match, and total project cost for the entire 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. Example Project Funding Table: Cost Sfmt 4703 D.2.a.vi D.2.a.vii D.2.a.viii D.2.a.ix Yes/No Federal Grant Program: Percentage of total cost 1 2 VerDate Sep<11>2014 See See See See 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 Project Narratives beyond 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 Name Joint Applicant(s) 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? ......................................................... If Yes, State the Name of the Federal Grant Program and 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 in table format 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. Include funding commitment letters outlining funding agreements, as attachments or See D.2.a.iv See D.2.a.v E:\FR\FM\10DEN1.SGM 10DEN1 70588 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 235 / Friday, December 10, 2021 / Notices Task No. Task name/project component Total Project Cost Federal Funds Received from Previous Grant Federal Funding Under this NOFO Request Non-Federal Funding/Match Cost Percentage of total cost Cash: In-Kind: jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 Portion of Non-Federal Funding from the Private Sector Portion of Total Project Costs Spent in a Rural Area Pending Federal Funding Requests iv. Applicant Eligibility Criteria: Explain how the lead applicant and joint applicant(s) meet the applicant eligibility criteria outlined in Section C of this notice. For public agencies and publicly chartered authorities established by one or more States, the explanation must include citations to the applicable enabling legislation. 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. For joint applications involving Amtrak and one or more States, Amtrak and the State(s) must provide a cooperative agreement for the project signed by authorized representatives of Amtrak and each State. 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, equipment, or facility improved by the project including by agreement with the infrastructure, equipment, or facility owner(s). Applicants should describe VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:03 Dec 09, 2021 Jkt 256001 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 for which 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 described above 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 alternate 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 PO 00000 Frm 00159 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 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-sharing methodology 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-sharing or 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 E:\FR\FM\10DEN1.SGM 10DEN1 jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 235 / Friday, December 10, 2021 / Notices 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 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). VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:03 Dec 09, 2021 Jkt 256001 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 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 project summary. This detailed description should provide, at a minimum: Additional background on the transportation challenges the project aims to address; a summary of current and proposed railroad operations in the project area, to include identification of all railroad owners and operators, typical daily, weekly, or annual train counts by operator, and ridership data for passenger operations 5; the primary expected project outcomes such as increased ridership, reduced delays, improved rail network asset condition and performance, or similar outcomes and benefits; the expected users and beneficiaries of the project, including all railroad operators and types of passenger or freight rail service operating or proposed to operate in the project area; 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 5 Given the on-going impact of the COVID–19 pandemic, applicants may provide pre-pandemic ridership data (i.e., fiscal or calendar year 2019 data), as well as more recent ridership data. PO 00000 Frm 00160 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 70589 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. On the map, 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. To support a finding of eligibility, for projects that are on a shared corridor with Commuter Railroad Passenger Transportation, clearly demonstrate how the proposed project directly benefits Intercity Passenger Rail Transportation and that funding the proposed project would be a reasonable investment in Intercity Passenger Rail Transportation, independent and separate from consideration of the proposed project’s benefits to Commuter Railroad Passenger Transportation. xi. Project Implementation and Management: Describe proposed project implementation and project management arrangements, including between the lead and joint applicants, if any. Include descriptions of the expected arrangements for project contracting, contract oversight and control, change-order management, risk management, and conformance to Federal requirements for project progress reporting (see https:// www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0274). Describe past experience in managing and overseeing similar projects. For Major Capital Projects, explain plans for a rigorous project management and oversight approach. xii. Environmental Readiness: If the NEPA process is complete, an applicant should indicate the date of completion, and provide a website link or other E:\FR\FM\10DEN1.SGM 10DEN1 70590 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 235 / Friday, December 10, 2021 / Notices jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 reference to the documents demonstrating compliance with NEPA, which might include a final Categorical Exclusion, Finding of No Significant Impact, or Record of Decision. If the NEPA process is not yet underway, the application should state this. If the NEPA process is underway, but not complete, the application should detail the type of NEPA review underway, where the project is in the process, and indicate the anticipated date of completion of all NEPA-related milestones. If the last agency action with respect to NEPA documents occurred more than three years before the application date, the applicant should describe why the project has been delayed and 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), as an appendix to the Project Narrative for each project submitted by an applicant. The BCA should demonstrate in economic terms 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 the project’s anticipated: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:03 Dec 09, 2021 Jkt 256001 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. To the extent feasible, such railroad metrics should be provided discretely for Intercity Passenger Rail and, if applicable, Commuter Rail Passenger Transportation and freight rail transportation services involved in the proposed project. Benefits may be quantified for savings in safety costs, reduced costs from disruption of service, maintenance costs, reduced travel time, emissions reductions, and increases in capacity or ability to offer new types of freight or passenger services. Applicants may also describe other categories of benefits that are difficult to quantify such as noise reduction, environmental impact mitigation, improved quality of life, or reliability of travel times. All benefits claimed for the project must be clearly tied to the expected outcomes of the project. BCAs for proposed projects that include benefits to another transportation mode or service in addition to Intercity Passenger Rail Transportation (e.g., Commuter Rail Passenger Transportation, freight rail, or local public transportation), should provide discrete data and analysis identifying the Intercity Passenger Rail Transportation portion of project benefits. 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-costanalysis-guidance. In addition, please also refer to the BCA FAQs on FRA’s website (https://railroads.dot.gov/ elibrary/consolidated-railinfrastructure-and-safety-improvementscrisi-and-federal-state) for some railspecific examples of how to apply the Benefit-Cost Analysis Guidance for PO 00000 Frm 00161 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Discretionary Grant Programs to Partnership applications. iii. Environmental compliance documentation, as applicable, if a website link is not cited in the Project Narrative. iv. SF 424—Application for Federal Assistance. v. SF 424A—Budget Information for Non-Construction or SF 424C—Budget Information for Construction. vi. SF 424B—Assurances for NonConstruction or SF 424D—Assurances for Construction. vii. FRA’s Additional Assurances and Certifications. viii. SF LLL—Disclosure of Lobbying Activities. ix. A statement that the lead applicant has a system for procuring property and services under a Federal award under this NOFO that supports the provisions in 2 CFR 200 Subpart D—Procurement Standards at 2 CFR 200.317–326 and 2 CFR 1201.317. x. A statement indicating whether the applicant or any of its principals: a. Is presently suspended, debarred, voluntarily excluded, or disqualified; b. has been convicted within the preceding 3 years of any of the offenses listed in 2 CFR 180.800(a); or had a civil judgment rendered against the organization or the individual for one of those offenses within that time period; c. is presently indicted for, or otherwise criminally or civilly charged by a governmental entity (Federal, State or local) with, commission of any of the offenses listed in 2 CFR 180.800(a); or d. has had one or more public transactions (Federal, State, or local) terminated within the preceding 3 years for cause or default (including material failure to comply). xi. Draft Agreement required under 49 U.S.C. 22905(c)(1), if applicable. As a condition of receiving a grant under this program for a project that uses rights-ofway owned by a railroad, the grant recipient shall have in place a written agreement between the grant recipient and the railroad regarding such use and ownership, including any compensation for such use; assurances regarding the adequacy of infrastructure capacity to accommodate both existing and future freight and passenger operations; an assurance by the railroad that collective bargaining agreements with the railroad’s employees including terms regulating the contracting of work) will remain in full force and effect according to their terms for work performed by the railroad on the railroad transportation corridor; and an assurance that the grant recipient complies with liability requirements consistent with 49 U.S.C. 28103. E:\FR\FM\10DEN1.SGM 10DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 235 / Friday, December 10, 2021 / Notices xii. FRA F 251, Applicant Financial Capability Questionnaire. Forms needed for the electronic application process are at www.Grants.gov. jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 c. Post-Selection Requirements See Section F(2) of this notice for post-selection requirements. 3. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM) 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 a late application. 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, including those 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 VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:03 Dec 09, 2021 Jkt 256001 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, grantees, 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, grantees, 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, including information on a grantee’s immediate and highest level owner and subsidiaries, as well as on all predecessors that have been awarded a Federal contract or grant within the last three years, if applicable. 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. PO 00000 Frm 00162 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 70591 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 difficulty 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. 4. Submission Dates and Times Applicants must submit complete applications to www.Grants.gov no later than 5:00 p.m. ET, March 7, 2022. 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. Late applications will be neither reviewed nor considered. Delayed registration is not an acceptable reason for late submission. 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, no late submissions will be reviewed for any reason, including: (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 Intergovernmental Review is required for this program. Applicants must contact their State Single Point of Contact to comply with their state’s process under Executive Order 12372. 6. Funding Restrictions Consistent with 2 CFR 200.458, as applicable, FRA will only approve pre- E:\FR\FM\10DEN1.SGM 10DEN1 70592 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 235 / Friday, December 10, 2021 / Notices jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 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. 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 be ineligible for reimbursement or matching contribution. Cost sharing or matching may be used only for authorized Federal award purposes. FRA is prohibited under 49 U.S.C. 22905(f) 6 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 for Intercity Rail Passenger Transportation. Such projects may be located on shared corridors where Commuter Rail Passenger Transportation and/or freight rail also benefit from the project. 7. Other Submission Requirements 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 Mr. Bryan Rodda, Office of Policy and Planning, Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room W38–203, 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. 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. 6 Under 49 U.S.C. 24911(i), Partnership grants are subject to the conditions in 49 U.S.C. 22905. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:03 Dec 09, 2021 Jkt 256001 E. Application Review Information 1. Criteria a. Eligibility, Completeness, and Applicant Risk 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), applicant risk and the 20 percent minimum nonFederal match in determining whether the application is eligible. FRA will then consider applicant risk, including the applicant’s past performance in developing and delivering similar projects and previous financial contributions, and if applicable, previous competitive grant technical evaluation ratings that the proposed project received under previous competitive grant programs administered by DOT. b. Evaluation Criteria FRA will evaluate all eligible and complete applications using the evaluation criteria outlined in this section to determine technical merit and project benefits. i. Technical Merit: FRA will 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 prerequisites and demonstrates strong project readiness; and (G) Whether the project is consistent with planning guidance and documents PO 00000 Frm 00163 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 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. c. Selection Criteria In addition to the eligibility and completeness review and the evaluation criteria outlined in this section, FRA will apply the following selection criteria: i. FRA will give preference to applications where: (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 is 50 percent or less. ii. After applying the above preferences, FRA will take in account the following key DOT objectives: (A) Safety. DOT will assess the project’s ability to foster a safe transportation system for the movement of goods and people, consistent with the Department’s strategic goal to reduce transportation-related fatalities and serious injuries across the transportation system. Such considerations will include, but are not limited to, the extent to which the project improves safety at highway-rail grade crossings, reduces incidences of rail-related trespassing, and upgrades infrastructure to achieve a higher level of safety. (B) Equitable economic strength and improving core assets. DOT will assess the project’s ability to contribute to economic progress stemming from infrastructure investment and associated creation of good jobs with fair wages, labor protections, and the opportunity to join a union. Such considerations will include, but are not limited to, the extent to which the project invests in vital infrastructure assets and provides opportunities for families to achieve economic security through rail industry employment. (C) Ensuring investments meet racial equity and economic inclusion goals. DOT will assess the project’s ability to encourage racial equity by investing in projects that proactively address racial equity and barriers to opportunities. E:\FR\FM\10DEN1.SGM 10DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 235 / Friday, December 10, 2021 / Notices jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 Such considerations will include, but are not limited to, the extent to which the project improves or expands transportation options, mitigates the safety risks and detrimental quality of life effects that rail lines can have on communities, and expands workforce development and training opportunities to foster a more diverse rail industry. (D) Resilience and addressing climate change. DOT will assess the project’s ability to reduce the harmful effects of climate change and anticipate necessary improvements for preparedness. Such considerations will include, but are not limited to, the extent to which the project reduces emissions, promotes energy efficiency, increases resilience, and recycles or redevelops existing infrastructure. (E) Transformation of our nation’s transportation infrastructure. DOT will assess the project’s ability to expand and improve the nation’s rail network, which needs to balance new infrastructure for increased capacity with proper maintenance of aging assets. Such considerations will include, but are not limited to, the extent to which the project adds capacity to congested corridors, builds new connections or attracts new users to passenger rail, and ensures assets will be improved to a state of good repair. 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, and the applicant’s receipt of other competitive awards. 2. Review and Selection Process FRA will conduct a four-part application review process, as follows: a. Screen applications for completeness, eligibility, and applicant risk and consider applicable past performance and previous financial contributions and technical evaluation ratings; b. Evaluate eligible applications (completed by technical panels applying the evaluation criteria); c. Review, apply selection criteria and recommend initial selection of projects for the FRA Administrator’s review (completed by a non-career Senior Review Team, which includes senior leadership from the Office of the Secretary and FRA); and d. Select recommended awards for the Secretary’s review and approval (completed by the FRA Administrator.) VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:03 Dec 09, 2021 Jkt 256001 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 of $250,000 (see 2 CFR 200.88 Simplified Acquisition Threshold), FRA will review and consider any information about the applicant that is in the designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM (currently the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS)). See 41 U.S.C. 2313. An applicant, at its option, may review information in the designated integrity and performance systems accessible through SAM and comment on any information about itself that a Federal awarding agency previously entered and is currently in the designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM. FRA will consider any comments by the applicant, in addition to the other information, in 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 FRA’s website after the application review period. This announcement is FRA’s notification to successful and unsuccessful applicants alike. 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. FRA requires satisfaction of applicable requirements by the applicant and a formal agreement signed by both the grantee and the FRA, including an approved scope, schedule, and budget, before obligating the grant. See an example of standard terms and conditions for FRA grant awards at https://railroads.fra.dot.gov/elibrary/ award-administration-and-grantconditions. This template is subject to revision. 2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements In connection with any program or activity conducted with or benefiting from funds awarded under this notice, grantees of funds must comply with all applicable requirements of Federal law, including, without limitation, the PO 00000 Frm 00164 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 70593 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 DOT; and applicable Federal financial assistance and contracting principles promulgated by the Office of Management and Budget. In complying with these requirements, grantees, 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 DOT determines that a grantee has failed to comply with applicable Federal requirements, DOT may terminate the award of funds and disallow previously incurred costs, requiring the grantee to reimburse any expended award funds. Examples of administrative and national policy requirements include: 2 CFR part 200; procurement standards at 2 CFR part 200 Subpart D—Procurement Standards; 2 CFR 1207.317 and 2 CFR 200.401; compliance with Federal civil rights laws and regulations; disadvantaged business enterprises requirements; debarment and suspension requirements; drug-free workplace requirements; FRA’s and OMB’s Assurances and Certifications; Americans with Disabilities Act; safety requirements; NEPA; environmental justice requirements; and compliance with 49 U.S.C. 24905(c)(2) for the duration of NEC Projects. Unless otherwise stated in statutory or legislative authority, or appropriations language, all financial assistance awards follow the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards at 2 CFR part 200 and 2 CFR part 1201. Assistance under this NOFO is subject to the grant conditions in 49 U.S.C. 22905 including the Buy America requirements, protective arrangements that are equivalent to the protective arrangements established under section 504 of the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976 (45 U.S.C. 836) with respect to employees affected by actions taken in connection with the project to be financed in whole or in part by grants under this chapter, the provision deeming operators rail carriers and employers for certain purposes, and grantee agreements with railroad right-of-way owners for projects using railroad rights-of-way (see D.2.b.xi). More information about FRA’s Buy America requirements is available at: https://railroads.dot.gov/legislationregulations/buy-america/buy-america. Grantees must comply with applicable appropriations act requirements and all relevant E:\FR\FM\10DEN1.SGM 10DEN1 70594 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 235 / Friday, December 10, 2021 / Notices requirements of 2 CFR part 200. Rights to intangible property under grants awarded under this NOFO are governed in accordance with 2 CFR 200.315. See an example of standard terms and conditions for FRA grant awards at https://railroads.fra.dot.gov/elibrary/ award-administration-and-grantconditions. This template is subject to revision. Reports may be submitted electronically. Pursuant to 2 CFR 170.210, non-Federal entities applying under this NOFO must have the necessary processes and systems in place to comply with the reporting requirements should they receive Federal funding. 3. 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. 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 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. b. Additional Reporting 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. jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 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 ......... Economic Competitiveness. State of Good Repair Travel Time .............. Time/Trip ..... Annual ......... Economic Competitiveness. Quality of Life .......... 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 predetermined 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. d. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts e. Other Information For further information related to 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. 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 VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:03 Dec 09, 2021 Jkt 256001 PO 00000 Frm 00165 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 that the submission ‘‘Contains Confidential Business Information (CBI)’’; (2) mark each affected page ‘‘CBI’’; and (3) highlight or otherwise denote the CBI portions. The DOT regulations implementing the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) are found at 49 CFR part 7 Subpart C— Availability of Reasonably Described Records under the Freedom of Information Act which sets forth rules for FRA to make requested materials, E:\FR\FM\10DEN1.SGM 10DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 235 / Friday, December 10, 2021 / Notices information, and records publicly available under FOIA. Unless prohibited by law and to the extent permitted under the FOIA, contents of application and proposals submitted by successful applicants may be released in response to FOIA requests. In addition, following the completion of the selection process and announcement of awards, FRA may publish a list of all applications received along with the names of the applicant organizations and funding amounts requested. Except for information withheld under the previous paragraph, FRA may also make application narratives publicly available or share application information within DOT or with other Federal agencies if FRA determines that sharing is relevant to the respective program’s objectives. Issued in Washington, DC. Allison Ishihara Fultz, Chief Counsel. [FR Doc. 2021–26835 Filed 12–9–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–06–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Railroad Administration [Docket No. FRA–2021–0006–N–16] Proposed Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Notice of information collection; request for comment. AGENCY: Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) and its implementing regulations, this notice announces that FRA is forwarding the Information Collection Request (ICR) abstracted below to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and comment. The ICR describes the information collection and its expected burden. On August 23, 2021, FRA published a notice providing a 60day period for public comment on the ICR. DATES: Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before January 10, 2022. ADDRESSES: Written comments and recommendations for the proposed ICR should be sent within 30 days of publication of this notice to www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain. Find the particular ICR by selecting ‘‘Currently under 30-day Review—Open for Public Comments’’ or by using the search function. jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:03 Dec 09, 2021 Jkt 256001 Ms. Hodan Wells, Information Collection Clearance Officer, at email: Hodan.Wells@dot.gov or telephone: (202) 493–0440; or Mr. John Purnell, Information Collection Clearance Officer, at email: john.purnell@dot.gov or telephone: (202) 493–0500. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The PRA, 44 U.S.C. 3501–3520, and its implementing regulations, 5 CFR part 1320, require Federal agencies to issue two notices seeking public comment on information collection activities before OMB may approve paperwork packages. See 44 U.S.C. 3506, 3507; 5 CFR 1320.8 through 1320.12. On August 23, 2021, FRA published a 60-day notice in the Federal Register soliciting comment on the ICR for which it is now seeking OMB approval. See 86 FR 47195. FRA received one comment from the Association of American Railroads (AAR) and the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) in response to this 60-day notice. This comment letter is a follow up to a discussion that AAR had with FRA on October 14, 2021. A summary of the discussion is available in the above-referenced docket. In their joint comment letter, AAR and ASLRRA expressed their concerns with FRA’s proposed burden estimates. They asserted that these estimates were significantly reduced from the 2018 OMB control no. 2130–0004 ICR package, even though the scope of the requirements in 49 CFR part 229 have remained unchanged since that time. AAR and ASLRRA specifically cited to §§ 229.21 1 and 229.25(d), in which the paperwork burdens were reduced from 31–33 minutes to 3 minutes and 350 hours to 0 hours, respectively. They also noted that the only information publicly available to compare FRA’s significant reduction in estimated burdens is a chart appearing in the 60-day notice. In response to this feedback, FRA has reviewed its PRA estimates, which are reprinted below. However, except for noting a typographical error associated with § 229.317(g), FRA believes that it accurately captured the part 229 paperwork burdens in the 60-day notice. While preparing this revised ICR package, FRA performed a detailed review of part 229 and made several adjustments to its estimated paperwork burdens. FRA determined that many estimated paperwork burdens were either outdated or accounted for in other regulatory sections. Further, the associated burdens related to inspection FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: 1 Although a subsection was not specified in the letter, FRA believes that AAR and ASLRRA are referring specifically to 49 CFR 229.21(a). PO 00000 Frm 00166 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 70595 and testing, as well as employee training and job briefings, were appropriately addressed when FRA calculated the economic costs of the regulation. See Executive Order 12866; OMB Circular A–4. FRA is correcting any errors by removing burdens that were accounted for in the regulation’s economic analyses, which FRA previously erroneously also calculated as burdens under the PRA. With respect to AAR’s and ASLRRA’s specific feedback regarding § 229.21(a), FRA determined that the 31- or 33minute paperwork burden estimate included the railroads’ performance of daily inspections. While AAR and ASLRRA are correct that the regulatory requirement has not changed since 2002, FRA is correcting its previous overestimation errors. Up until 2011, the published average time per response was 1 or 3 minutes.2 Between 2012 and 2018, FRA incorrectly added the time associated with the performance of daily inspections (which are not burdens under the PRA) to the average time per response, so that it became 16 or 18 minutes in 2002 3 and then 31 or 33 minutes in 2018.4 The inclusion of inspection time resulted in a significant increase in the overall burden for this requirement from 155,350 to 1.9 million hours in 2012 and to 3.6 million hours in 2018. In the 60-day notice, FRA corrected the average time per response to 1 or 3 minutes, now closely matching the 2011 estimates. Similarly, FRA adjusted the average time per response under § 229.21(b) by removing the estimated paperwork burden associated with inspection that was incorrectly added in 2012. With respect to AAR’s and ASLRRA’s specific feedback regarding § 229.25(d), FRA maintains that its estimate in the 60-day notice is correct and the estimated paperwork burden had previously been doublecounted. Upon review of the requirements under § 229.25(d), FRA found that the burden associated with § 229.25(d)(3) is covered under § 229.25(d)(2). Thus, FRA removed the duplicative burden and included an explanatory note in the PRA table printed below. Going forward, in future 60-day notices, FRA proposes to highlight the regulatory sections in which estimates have been significantly adjusted to allow stakeholders to more easily determine significant estimate adjustments. As stated above, FRA has reprinted the PRA table in the 60-day 2 76 FR 34287. FR 21339. 4 83 FR 37607. 3 77 E:\FR\FM\10DEN1.SGM 10DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 235 (Friday, December 10, 2021)]
[Notices]
[Pages 70582-70595]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-26835]


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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).

[[Page 70583]]


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, 2021. The 
opportunity described in this notice is made available under Assistance 
Listings 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. ET, March 7, 2022. Late or incomplete applications 
will not be considered for funding. See Section D of this notice for 
additional information on the application process.

ADDRESSES: Applications must be submitted via www.Grants.gov. Only 
applicants who comply with all submission requirements described in 
this notice and submit applications through www.Grants.gov will be 
eligible for award. For any supporting application materials that an 
applicant is unable to submit via www.Grants.gov (such as oversized 
engineering drawings), an applicant may submit an original and two (2) 
copies to Mr. Bryan Rodda, Office of Policy and Planning, Federal 
Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room W38-203, 
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 information related to 
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.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This notice wholly supersedes and cancels 
FRA's prior notice for this program, published in the Federal Register 
on December 7, 2021 (86 FR 69352), which was incomplete. Applicants 
should refer only to this notice for application requirements and 
procedures.
    Notice to applicants: FRA recommends that applicants read this 
notice in its entirety prior to preparing application materials. 
Definitions of key terms used throughout the NOFO are provided in 
Section A(2) below. These key terms are capitalized throughout the 
NOFO. There are several administrative and specific 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
F. Federal Award Administration Information
G. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts
H. Other Information

A. Program Description

1. Overview

    Our nation's rail network is a critical component of the U.S. 
transportation system and economy. Prior to the coronavirus disease 
2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, rail carried over 32.5 million passengers on 
Amtrak services and approximately 1.6 billion tons of freight valued at 
over $600 billion each year. The Partnership Program provides a Federal 
funding opportunity to improve American passenger rail infrastructure 
to enhance rail safety, reduce the backlog of deferred maintenance for 
Amtrak or publicly owned or controlled railroad assets, create new 
opportunities for underserved communities, and invest in projects that 
support and spur economic growth.
    The purpose of the Partnership Program is to fund 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. Section E of this NOFO provides 
additional information on these program priorities.
    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 
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Pub. L. 116-260) (Appropriations 
Act).\1\ The opportunity described in this notice is made available 
under Assistance Listings Number 20.326, ``Federal-State Partnership 
for State of Good Repair.''
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    \1\ Funds made available under this NOFO are subject to 49 
U.S.C. 24911 as it existed on the day of the enactment of the 
Appropriations Act.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Consistent with Biden-Harris Administration priorities, the 
Department seeks to fund projects under the Partnership Program that 
address climate change impacts and environmental justice. Projects 
should include components that reduce emissions, promote energy 
efficiency, increase resilience, and recycle or redevelop existing 
infrastructure. This objective is consistent with Executive Order 
14008, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad (86 FR 7619). As 
part of the Department's implementation of that Executive Order, the 
Department encourages the submission of applications that would direct 
resources and benefits towards low-income communities, overburdened 
communities, or communities underserved by affordable transportation.
    The Department also seeks to use the Partnership Program to 
encourage racial equity by investing in projects that proactively 
address racial equity and barriers to opportunity. Projects should 
include components that improve or expand transportation options and 
mitigate the safety risks and detrimental quality of life effects that 
rail lines can have on communities, particularly low-income areas, and 
communities of color. This objective supports the Department's 
strategic goal related to infrastructure, with the potential for 
significantly enhancing environmental stewardship and community 
partnerships, and reflects Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial 
Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal 
Government (86 FR 7009). Section E describes the climate change, 
environmental justice, and racial equity considerations further.
    The Partnership Program is intended to benefit both railroad assets 
in the Northeast Corridor (``NEC'') and public or Amtrak-owned or 
controlled infrastructure, equipment, and facilities located in other 
areas of the country. 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).

[[Page 70584]]

2. Changes From FY 2020 Partnership Program NOFO

    This notice updates the FY 2020 Partnership Program NOFO to reflect 
the Biden-Harris Administration's priorities for creating good-paying 
jobs, improving safety, applying transformative technology, and 
explicitly addressing climate change and racial equity as discussed in 
Section E(1)(c)(ii).
    This notice expands the definition of Capital Project, making 
expenses incidental to the acquisition or construction (including 
designing, engineering, location surveying, mapping, environmental 
studies, and acquiring rights-of-way) of a Capital Project eligible for 
funding independently or in conjunction with proposed funding for 
construction or acquisition, as directed by the Appropriations Act.

3. Definitions of Key Terms

    Terms defined in this section are capitalized throughout this 
notice.
    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, stations, and other assets, as determined by the Secretary of 
Transportation; a project primarily intended to improve Intercity 
Passenger Rail performance, including reduced trip times, increased 
train frequencies, and higher operating speeds, and other improvements, 
as determined by the Secretary; and a project for expenses incidental 
to the acquisition or construction (including designing, engineering, 
location surveying, mapping, environmental studies, and acquiring 
rights-of-way) of a project, consistent with 49 U.S.C. 24911(a)(2) and 
the Appropriations Act.
    c. ``Construction'' means the production of fixed works and 
structures or substantial alterations to such structures or land and 
associated costs.
    d. ``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).
    e. ``Final Design (FD)'' means design activities following 
Preliminary Engineering, and at a minimum, includes the preparation of 
final Construction plans, detailed specifications, and estimates 
sufficiently detailed to inform project stakeholders (designers, 
reviewers, contractors, suppliers, etc.) of the actions required to 
advance the project from design through completion of Construction.
    f. ``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.''
    g. ``Major Capital Project'' means a Capital Project with an 
estimated total project cost of $300 million or more.
    h. ``National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)'' is a Federal law 
that requires Federal agencies to analyze and document the 
environmental impacts of a proposed action in consultation with 
appropriate Federal, state, and local authorities, and with the public. 
NEPA classes of action include an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), 
Environmental Analysis (EA) or Categorical Exclusion (CE). The NEPA 
class of action depends on the nature of the proposed action, its 
complexity, and the potential impacts. For purposes of this NOFO, NEPA 
also includes all related Federal laws and regulations including the 
Clean Air Act, Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act, 
Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, and Section 106 of the 
National Historic Preservation Act. Additional information regarding 
FRA's environmental processes and requirements are located at https://www.fra.dot.gov/environment.
    i. ``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'').
    j. ``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'').
    k. ``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).
    l. ``Preliminary Engineering (PE)'' means engineering design to: 
(1) Define a project, including identification of all environmental 
impacts, design of all critical project elements at a level sufficient 
to assure reliable cost estimates and schedules, (2) complete project 
management and financial plans, and (3) identify procurement 
requirements and strategies. The PE development process starts with 
specific project design alternatives that allow for the assessment of a 
range of rail improvements, specific alignments, and project designs. 
PE generally occurs concurrently with NEPA and related analyses, and 
prior to FD and Construction.
    m. 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.\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ 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.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    n. ``State of Good Repair'' means a condition in which physical 
assets, both

[[Page 70585]]

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 
$198,000,000 made available by the Appropriations Act. 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. Any selection and award under 
this NOFO is subject to the availability of appropriated funds.

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 even if 
they meet or exceed the stated evaluation criteria (see Section E, 
Application Review Information). Projects may require more funding than 
is available. FRA encourages applicants to propose a project that has 
operational independence or a component of such project and that can be 
completed and implemented with funding under this NOFO as a part of the 
total project cost together with other, non-Federal sources. (See 
Section C(3)(c) for more information.)
    Applicants proposing a Major Capital Project may 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 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 grant recipients proposing Major Capital 
Projects under 49 U.S.C. 24911(g); such Letters of Intent would serve 
to announce FRA's intention to obligate an amount from future available 
budget authority toward a grant recipient'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.

4. Award Type

    FRA will make awards for projects selected under this notice 
through grant agreements and/or cooperative agreements. Grant 
agreements are used when FRA does not expect to have substantial 
Federal involvement in carrying out the funded activity. Cooperative 
agreements allow for substantial Federal involvement in carrying out 
the agreed upon investment, including technical assistance, review of 
interim work products, and increased program oversight. The term 
``grant'' is used throughout this document and is intended to reference 
funding awarded through a grant agreement, as well as funding awarded 
through a cooperative agreement. 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. This template is subject to revision.

5. 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 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 application responsive to 
this NOFO that differs from the previously submitted application(s).

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; \3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ See Section D(2)(a)(iv) for supporting documentation 
required to demonstrate eligibility under this eligibility category.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (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 grantee 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, whether 
eligible under (1), (2) or (6) above, 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 
partner in project funding or implementation, but ineligible entities 
do not qualify as lead or joint applicants. FRA will provide selection 
preference only to joint applications submitted by multiple eligible 
applicants.

2. Cost Sharing or Matching

    The Federal share of total costs for Partnership Program projects 
funded under this notice shall not exceed 80 percent. FRA will provide 
selection preference to applications where the proposed Federal share 
of total project

[[Page 70586]]

costs is 50 percent or less. The estimated total cost of a project must 
be based on the best available information, including engineering 
studies, studies of economic feasibility, environmental analyses, and 
information on the expected use of equipment and/or facilities. 
Additionally, in preparing estimates of total project costs, applicants 
may use FRA's cost estimate guidance documentation, ``Capital Cost 
Estimating: Guidance for Project Sponsors,'' which is available at: 
https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0926.
    The minimum 20 percent non-Federal share may be comprised of public 
sector (e.g., State or local) or private sector funding. FRA will not 
consider any Federal financial assistance \4\ or any non-Federal funds 
already expended (or otherwise encumbered) toward the matching 
requirement, unless compliant with 2 CFR part 200. In-kind 
contributions, including the donation of services, materials, and 
equipment, may be credited as a project cost, in a uniform manner 
consistent with 2 CFR 200.306.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ See Section D(2)(a)(iii) for supporting information required 
to demonstrate eligibility of Federal funds for use as match.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    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. See Section D(2)(a)(iii) 
for required application information on non-Federal match and Section E 
for further discussion of FRA's consideration of matching funds in the 
review and selection process. FRA will approve pre-award costs 
consistent with 2 CFR 200.458, as applicable. See Section D(6). Cost 
sharing or matching may be used only for authorized Federal award 
purposes.

3. Other

a. Project Eligibility
    The following rail projects within the United States to replace or 
rehabilitate Qualified Railroad Assets and improve Intercity Passenger 
Rail performance are eligible for funding under 49 U.S.C. 24911, the 
Appropriations Act, and this NOFO:
    (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 to 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 PE, NEPA, Final Design, Construction, or expenses 
incidental to the acquisition or Construction of a Capital Project. 
Corridor or project-specific planning studies are not eligible. Pre-
Construction activities are eligible for funding independently or in 
conjunction with proposed funding for construction.
    PE/NEPA examples include: Engineering drawings and specifications 
(scale drawings at the 30% design level, including track geometry as 
appropriate); design criteria, schematics and/or track charts that 
support the development of PE; and work that can be funded in 
conjunction with developing PE, such as operations modeling, surveying, 
project work/management plans, preliminary cost estimates, and 
preliminary project schedules. PE/NEPA projects funded under this NOFO 
must be sufficiently developed to support FD or Construction 
activities. (See Section D(2)(a)(xii) for additional information.)
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 do not need to respond to them in 
their application and may proceed to Section C(3)(c) below.
    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, such 
as for a project that solely benefits intercity passenger rail, 
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
    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 do not restrict the 
consideration of alternatives for other reasonably foreseeable rail 
projects).

D. Application and Submission Information

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

1. Address To Request Application Package

    Applicants must submit all application materials in their entirety 
through http://www.Grants.gov no later than 5:00 p.m. ET, on March 7, 
2022. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply early to ensure that 
all materials are received before the application deadline. FRA 
reserves the right to modify this deadline. General information for 
submitting applications through Grants.gov can be found at: https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0270.

[[Page 70587]]

FRA is committed to ensuring that information is available in 
appropriate alternative formats to meet the requirements of persons who 
have a disability. If you require an alternative version of files 
provided, please contact Lou Lorello, Office of the Chief Financial 
Officer, Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, 
Room W36-111, Washington, DC 20590; email: [email protected]; phone: 
202-493-8026.

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 
and further in section F.2 of this notice.
    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 or non-Construction project, SF 424A--
Budget Information for Non-Construction.
     SF 424D--Assurances for Construction, or, for an equipment 
procurement project or non-Construction project, SF 424B--Assurances 
for Non-Construction.
     FRA's Additional Assurances and Certifications.
     SF LLL--Disclosure of Lobbying Activities.
     Draft Agreement required under 49 U.S.C. 22905(c)(1), if 
applicable (see D.2.b.xi).
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         See D.2.a.ix
 applicable.
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 Project 
Narratives beyond 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 Name                          ...........................
Joint Applicant(s) 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   Yes/No
 Submitted for this Project?.
If Yes, State the Name of the Federal Grant  Federal Grant Program:
 Program and Title of the Project in the
 Previous Application.
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 in table format 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. Include funding commitment letters 
outlining funding agreements, as attachments or in an appendix. If 
Federal funding is proposed as match, demonstrate the applicant's 
determination of eligibility for such use, and the legal basis for that 
determination. Also, note if the requested Federal funding under this 
NOFO or other programs must be obligated or spent by a certain date due 
to dependencies or relationships with other Federal or non-Federal 
funding sources, related projects, law, or other factors. If 
applicable, provide the type and estimated value of any proposed in-
kind contributions, 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 funding made available in this notice, 
provide the anticipated annual Federal funding requests from this grant 
program, anticipated future non-Federal match, and total project cost 
for the entire 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.
    Example Project Funding Table:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                          Task name/project                                Percentage of total
               Task No.                       component                   Cost                     cost
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1
2
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 70588]]

 
Total Project Cost
Federal Funds Received from Previous Grant
Federal Funding Under this NOFO Request
Non-Federal Funding/Match                                       Cash:
                                                                In-Kind:...............
Portion of Non-Federal Funding from the Private Sector
Portion of Total Project Costs Spent in a Rural Area
Pending Federal Funding Requests
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    iv. Applicant Eligibility Criteria: Explain how the lead applicant 
and joint applicant(s) meet the applicant eligibility criteria outlined 
in Section C of this notice. For public agencies and publicly chartered 
authorities established by one or more States, the explanation must 
include citations to the applicable enabling legislation. 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.
    For joint applications involving Amtrak and one or more States, 
Amtrak and the State(s) must provide a cooperative agreement for the 
project signed by authorized representatives of Amtrak and each State. 
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, 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 for which 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 described above 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 alternate 
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-sharing methodology 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-sharing or 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

[[Page 70589]]

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 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 project summary. This detailed 
description should provide, at a minimum: Additional background on the 
transportation challenges the project aims to address; a summary of 
current and proposed railroad operations in the project area, to 
include identification of all railroad owners and operators, typical 
daily, weekly, or annual train counts by operator, and ridership data 
for passenger operations \5\; the primary expected project outcomes 
such as increased ridership, reduced delays, improved rail network 
asset condition and performance, or similar outcomes and benefits; the 
expected users and beneficiaries of the project, including all railroad 
operators and types of passenger or freight rail service operating or 
proposed to operate in the project area; 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.
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    \5\ Given the on-going impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, 
applicants may provide pre-pandemic ridership data (i.e., fiscal or 
calendar year 2019 data), as well as more recent ridership data.
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    viii. Project Location: Include geospatial data for the project, as 
well as a map of the project's location. On the map, include the 
Congressional districts 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. To support a 
finding of eligibility, for projects that are on a shared corridor with 
Commuter Railroad Passenger Transportation, clearly demonstrate how the 
proposed project directly benefits Intercity Passenger Rail 
Transportation and that funding the proposed project would be a 
reasonable investment in Intercity Passenger Rail Transportation, 
independent and separate from consideration of the proposed project's 
benefits to Commuter Railroad Passenger Transportation.
    xi. Project Implementation and Management: Describe proposed 
project implementation and project management arrangements, including 
between the lead and joint applicants, if any. Include descriptions of 
the expected arrangements for project contracting, contract oversight 
and control, change-order management, risk management, and conformance 
to Federal requirements for project progress reporting (see https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0274). Describe past experience in managing and 
overseeing similar projects. For Major Capital Projects, explain plans 
for a rigorous project management and oversight approach.
    xii. Environmental Readiness: If the NEPA process is complete, an 
applicant should indicate the date of completion, and provide a website 
link or other

[[Page 70590]]

reference to the documents demonstrating compliance with NEPA, which 
might include a final Categorical Exclusion, Finding of No Significant 
Impact, or Record of Decision. If the NEPA process is not yet underway, 
the application should state this. If the NEPA process is underway, but 
not complete, the application should detail the type of NEPA review 
underway, where the project is in the process, and indicate the 
anticipated date of completion of all NEPA-related milestones. If the 
last agency action with respect to NEPA documents occurred more than 
three years before the application date, the applicant should describe 
why the project has been delayed and 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), as an appendix to the Project Narrative for each 
project submitted by an applicant. The BCA should demonstrate in 
economic terms 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 the project's anticipated:
    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. To the extent 
feasible, such railroad metrics should be provided discretely for 
Intercity Passenger Rail and, if applicable, Commuter Rail Passenger 
Transportation and freight rail transportation services involved in the 
proposed project. Benefits may be quantified for savings in safety 
costs, reduced costs from disruption of service, maintenance costs, 
reduced travel time, emissions reductions, and increases in capacity or 
ability to offer new types of freight or passenger services. Applicants 
may also describe other categories of benefits that are difficult to 
quantify such as noise reduction, environmental impact mitigation, 
improved quality of life, or reliability of travel times. All benefits 
claimed for the project must be clearly tied to the expected outcomes 
of the project. BCAs for proposed projects that include benefits to 
another transportation mode or service in addition to Intercity 
Passenger Rail Transportation (e.g., Commuter Rail Passenger 
Transportation, freight rail, or local public transportation), should 
provide discrete data and analysis identifying the Intercity Passenger 
Rail Transportation portion of project benefits. 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://railroads.dot.gov/elibrary/consolidated-rail-infrastructure-and-safety-improvements-crisi-and-federal-state) 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, as applicable, if a 
website link is not cited in the Project Narrative.
    iv. SF 424--Application for Federal Assistance.
    v. SF 424A--Budget Information for Non-Construction or SF 424C--
Budget Information for Construction.
    vi. SF 424B--Assurances for Non-Construction or SF 424D--Assurances 
for Construction.
    vii. FRA's Additional Assurances and Certifications.
    viii. SF LLL--Disclosure of Lobbying Activities.
    ix. A statement that the lead applicant has a system for procuring 
property and services under a Federal award under this NOFO that 
supports the provisions in 2 CFR 200 Subpart D--Procurement Standards 
at 2 CFR 200.317-326 and 2 CFR 1201.317.
    x. A statement indicating whether the applicant or any of its 
principals:
    a. Is presently suspended, debarred, voluntarily excluded, or 
disqualified;
    b. has been convicted within the preceding 3 years of any of the 
offenses listed in 2 CFR 180.800(a); or had a civil judgment rendered 
against the organization or the individual for one of those offenses 
within that time period;
    c. is presently indicted for, or otherwise criminally or civilly 
charged by a governmental entity (Federal, State or local) with, 
commission of any of the offenses listed in 2 CFR 180.800(a); or
    d. has had one or more public transactions (Federal, State, or 
local) terminated within the preceding 3 years for cause or default 
(including material failure to comply).
    xi. Draft Agreement required under 49 U.S.C. 22905(c)(1), if 
applicable. As a condition of receiving a grant under this program for 
a project that uses rights-of-way owned by a railroad, the grant 
recipient shall have in place a written agreement between the grant 
recipient and the railroad regarding such use and ownership, including 
any compensation for such use; assurances regarding the adequacy of 
infrastructure capacity to accommodate both existing and future freight 
and passenger operations; an assurance by the railroad that collective 
bargaining agreements with the railroad's employees including terms 
regulating the contracting of work) will remain in full force and 
effect according to their terms for work performed by the railroad on 
the railroad transportation corridor; and an assurance that the grant 
recipient complies with liability requirements consistent with 49 
U.S.C. 28103.

[[Page 70591]]

    xii. FRA F 251, Applicant Financial Capability Questionnaire.
    Forms needed for the electronic application process are at 
www.Grants.gov.
c. Post-Selection Requirements
    See Section F(2) of this notice for post-selection requirements.

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

    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 a 
late application.
    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, including those 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, grantees, 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, grantees, 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, including information on a grantee's immediate and 
highest level owner and subsidiaries, as well as on all predecessors 
that have been awarded a Federal contract or grant within the last 
three years, if applicable. Information about SAM registration 
procedures is available at www.sam.gov.
c. Create a