On Monday, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for up to $311 million in eligible Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement (CRISI) grants that will be available to states or public authorities providing intercity passenger rail. Applications for funding are due June 19, 2020, through www.Grants.gov.
The CRISI grant program supports investments to improve railroad safety, efficiency and reliability; mitigate congestion at both intercity passenger and freight railroad chokepoints; enhance multi-modal connections; and support new or substantially improved intercity passenger rail transportation corridors. Rail safety programs funded under CRISI grants may include:
Under the NOFO, at least 25% of the 2020 appropriation will be made available for rural projects and $45 Million will be made available for projects that require acquisition of rights-of-way, track or track structure projects to support the development for new intercity passenger rail service routes. The NOFO specifies that there are no minimum or maximum dollar thresholds for awards. FRA encourages applicants for these funds to identify and include other state, local, public or private funding or financing support for the project in order to maximize competitiveness. Funding under the NOFO will be made through grant agreements and/or cooperative agreements.
Applicants eligible for funding include: a state; a group of states; an interstate compact; a public agency or publicly chartered authority established by one or more states; a political subdivision of a state; and Amtrak or another rail carrier that provides intercity rail passenger transportation. Applicants are not limited in the number of projects for which they may seek funding.
The NOFO sets forth the following list of rail projects that are eligible for CRISI funding:
The NOFO contains detailed information on the application and submission process. Projects will be evaluated based on project benefits, including a benefit-cost analysis, as well as technical merit. The FRA will give preference to projects that meet the following criteria: (A) the proposed Federal share of the total project costs is 50% or less; (B) the proposed non-Federal share is comprised of more than one source, including private sources, demonstrating broad participation by affected stakeholders; and (C) the net benefits of the grant funds will be maximized considering the benefit-cost analysis.