[Federal Register Volume 65, Number 136 (Friday, July 14, 2000)]
[Pages 43826-43827]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 00-17757]



Federal Railroad Administration

Federal Highway Administration

[FRA Docket No. FRA-1998-4759]

Financial Assistance To Eliminate Highway-Railroad Grade Crossing 
Hazards on Designated High-Speed Rail Corridors

AGENCIES: Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Federal Highway 
Administration (FHWA), Department of Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Notice of solicitation of modified and new applications for the 
designation of additional high-speed corridors.


SUMMARY: On December 11, 1998, pursuant to the Transportation Equity 
Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), the FRA and FHWA published a notice 
in the Federal Register (at 63 FR 68499-68501) soliciting applications 
from States for the designation of up to three additional high-speed 
rail corridors. Applications were received on behalf of three corridors 
by the March 11, 1999 deadline, namely, from the States of Maine and 
New Hampshire and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: (1) Boston, 
Massachusetts and Portland, Maine; and from the State of Ohio: (2) 
Chicago, Illinois and Cleveland, Ohio (via Toledo, Ohio); and (3) 
Cleveland and Cincinnati, Ohio (via Columbus and Dayton).
    Since receiving these applications, the FRA has been reviewing them 
carefully and seeking supplemental information from the States in order 
to assure that the statutory considerations pertaining to designation 
are properly addressed.
    Circumstances have altered with respect to certain of the pending 
applications since their receipt by the FRA.
    In collaboration with the prior applicant States for the Boston-
Portland route, the State of Vermont has requested an expansion of the 
proposed designation for Northern New England, to include a route from 
Boston through Nashua, Manchester, and Concord, New Hampshire, thence 
to Montpelier and Burlington, Vermont, and potentially to St. Albans, 
Vermont and Montreal, P.Q., Canada.
    The Midwestern States and Amtrak have continued to develop their 
plans for the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative (MRRI), of which the 
Chicago-Cleveland corridor would form an integral part. In recognition 
of the MRRI's progress and in response to the State of Ohio's request 
that Chicago-Cleveland be considered as an extension of the existing 
designated Chicago Hub Network, the FRA has elected to evaluate that 
route as an extension, rather than as an independent corridor. Since 
there are now two pending applications (Boston-Portland and Cleveland-
Cincinnati) for three potential designations, the FRA can entertain 
additional applications with the certainty that at least one 
opportunity exists for a new designation.
    Accordingly, in this notice, the FRA is (1) soliciting additional 
applications from States for designation of a high-speed rail corridor, 
and is (2) allowing applicant States additional time to modify (and 
include additional States in) their pending applications.
    The FRA and the FHWA are jointly administering this program.

DATES: Signed, written comments on this notice must be received by the 
FRA on or before August 4, 2000. Completed applications for an 
additional corridor designation, or for modification of pending 
applications for designation submitted under the predecessor notice, at 
63 FR 68499, must be received by the FRA on or before August 14, 2000.

ADDRESSES: The public is invited to submit written comments on this 
notice. Written comments should refer to the docket number appearing at 
the top of this notice and be submitted to the Docket Clerk, U.S. DOT 
Dockets, Room PL-401, Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW., 
Washington, DC 20590. All comments received will be available for 
examination at the above address. Docket hours at the Nassif Building 
are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding Federal 
holidays. Those desiring notification of receipt of comments must 
include a self-addressed, stamped envelope or postcard.
    Applications for corridor designation and requests for 
modifications of pending applications should be submitted to: The 
Honorable Jolene M. Molitoris, Administrator, Federal Railroad 
Administration, ATTN: HSR Designations, RDV-11, Mail Stop 20, 1120 
Vermont Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20590.

Development Division, Office of Railroad Development, (telephone: 202-
493-6365; E-mail address: [email protected]), or Mr. Gareth 
Rosenau, Attorney, Office of Chief Counsel, FRA, 1120 Vermont Avenue, 
NW., Mailstop 10, Washington, DC 20590 (telephone 202-493-6054; E-mail 
address: [email protected]).


Electronic Access

    Internet users can access all comments received by the U.S. DOT 
Dockets, Room PL-401, by using the universal resource locator (URL): 
http://dms.dot.gov. It is available 24 hours each day, 365 days each 
year. Please follow the instructions online for more information and 
    An electronic copy of this document may be downloaded using a modem 
and suitable communication software from the Government Printing 
Office's Electronic Bulletin Board Service at (202) 512-1661. Internet 
users may reach the Federal Register's home page at: http://www.nara.gov/fedreg and the Government Printing Office's database at: 



    The purpose of this notice is to afford States the opportunity (1) 
to submit applications for additional corridor designations under the 
23 U.S.C. 104(d)(2) program to eliminate highway-railroad grade 
crossing hazards in designated high-speed rail corridors (Section 
104(d)(2) Program), and (2) to submit requests to modify pending 
applications submitted under the previous notice at 63 FR 68499. The 
public is invited to submit comments on this notice.

Rules for Application Submissions

    Applications for the designation of new high-speed rail corridors 
under the Section 104(d)(2) Program, and requests

[[Page 43827]]

for modification of pending applications, shall be submitted to the 
address cited in this notice, and electronically in either WordPerfect 
or MS Word format. Electronic versions are to be submitted either on 3-
1/2 inch floppy disks, Zip disks, or compact disks (CDs) to the address 
above, or by electronic mail to [email protected]. Applications 
shall be submitted by the dates indicated in this notice, and shall 
comply with the requirements specified in this notice.

Past Designations of High-Speed Rail Corridors

    As previously noted, the Secretary is authorized to designate 
eleven high-speed rail corridors under the Section 104(d)(2) Program. 
To date the DOT has designated the following eight corridors:
    (1) California Corridor (San Francisco Bay Area to Los Angeles and 
San Diego);
    (2) Pacific Northwest Corridor (Eugene, OR via Portland, OR and 
Seattle, WA to Vancouver, BC);
    (3) Chicago Hub Corridor, extending from Chicago to St. Louis, 
Detroit, Cincinnati, and Minneapolis/St. Paul via Milwaukee;
    (4) Florida Corridor (Miami--Orlando--Tampa);
    (5) Southeast Corridor (Washington, DC--Richmond, VA (with an 
extension to Newport News, VA)--Raleigh, NC (with an extension to 
Columbia, SC, Savannah, GA, and Jacksonville, FL)--Greensboro, NC--
Charlotte, NC (with an extension to Atlanta and Macon, GA).
    (6) Gulf Coast Corridor, between Houston, TX, New Orleans, LA, and 
Mobile, AL; also New Orleans and Birmingham, AL;
    (7) Keystone Corridor, between Philadelphia and Harrisburg, PA, 
over the route of the former Pennsylvania Railroad; and
    (8) Empire State Corridor, between New York City, Albany, and 
Buffalo, NY, over the route of the former New York Central Railroad.
    Of the designations to date, (1) through (5), above, were 
originally made in 1992 under Section 1010 of the Intermodal Surface 
Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991. Designations (6) through (8) 
were specified by the Congress in TEA-21 and implemented by the 
Secretary of Transportation in the predecessor notice at 63 FR 68499.

Applications From States for Additional Corridor Designation(s)

    Any State, either singly or in conjunction with other States, may 
request the FRA to designate a corridor under the Section 104(d)(2) 
Program. As previously noted, applications for designation must be 
received by the FRA by August 14, 2000.
    Section 104(d)(2) requires that the Secretary consider the 
    (1) Whether the proposed corridor includes rail lines where 
railroad speeds of 90 miles or more per hour are occurring or can 
reasonably be expected to occur in the future, as specifically mandated 
by Section 104(d)(2);
    (2) The projected ridership associated with the proposed corridor;
    (3) The percentage of the corridor over which trains will be able 
to operate at maximum cruise speed, taking into account such factors as 
topography and other traffic on the line;
    (4) The projected benefits to nonriders, such as congestion relief 
on other modes of transportation servicing the corridor (including 
congestion in heavily traveled air passenger corridors);
    (5) The amount of State and local financial support that can 
reasonably be anticipated for the improvement of the line and related 
facilities; and
    (6) The cooperation of the owner of the right-of-way that can 
reasonably be expected in the operation of the high-speed rail 
passenger service in the corridor.
    Applications from States for designation of high-speed rail 
corridors, and for modifications of pending applications for 
designation, will need to explicitly address, in as full and specific a 
manner as possible, each of the six criteria listed above.

    Authority: 23 U.S.C. 315; 49 U.S.C. 20103; section 1103(c), 
Public Law 105-178, 112 Stat. 107, 122 (1998).

    Issued in Washington, D.C. on July 5, 2000.
Mark E. Yachmetz,
Associate Administrator for Railroad Development, Federal Railroad 
Frederick G. Wright, Jr.,
Program Manager, Safety Core Business Unit, Federal Highway 
[FR Doc. 00-17757 Filed 7-13-00; 8:45 am]