[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 201 (Thursday, October 16, 2008)]
[Pages 61449-61452]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-24567]



Federal Railroad Administration

Notice of Funding Availability and Solicitation of Applications 
for the SAFETEA-LU Magnetic Levitation Project Selection

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

ACTION: Notice of funding availability; solicitation for applications.


SUMMARY: Under this Notice, the FRA announces that $45 million 
authorized by the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation 
Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) for grants to existing 
magnetic levitation (maglev) projects located east of the Mississippi 
River has been appropriated and that project proponents (States or 
State designated authorities) for the three eligible projects may 
submit applications for grants to fund such projects. The three 
eligible projects are the Pittsburgh project, the Baltimore-Washington 
project, and the Atlanta-Chattanooga project. Funds awarded under this 
section can be used for preconstruction planning activities and capital 
costs of the fixed guideway infrastructure of a maglev project. This 
Notice of Funding Availability does not apply to the $45 million 
appropriated specifically for the Nevada Department of Transportation 
to fund the existing proposed maglev project between Las Vegas and 
Primm, Nevada (see section 102 of the SAFETEA-LU Technical Corrections 
Act of 2008, Pub. L. 110-244 (June 6, 2008)).

DATES: To be considered, applications must be received by February 13, 
2009. FRA will begin accepting grant applications on Monday, October 
20, 2008.

ADDRESSES: Applications must be submitted electronically to http://www.grants.gov (``Grants.Gov''). Grants.Gov allows organizations 
electronically to find and apply for competitive grant opportunities 
from all Federal grant-making agencies. An eligible applicant wishing 
to submit an application pursuant to this notice should immediately 
initiate the process of registering with Grants.Gov at http://www.grants.gov. To confirm successful registration on Grants.Gov send 
an e-mail to [email protected].
    For application materials that an applicant is unable to submit via 
Grants.Gov (such as oversized engineering drawings), applicants may 
submit an original and two (2) copies to the Federal Railroad 
Administration at

[[Page 61450]]

the following address: Federal Railroad Administration, Attention: 
Wendy Messenger, Office of Railroad Development (RDV-13), Mail Stop 
20, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590.
    Due to delays caused by enhanced screening of mail delivered via 
the U.S. Postal Service, applicants are encouraged to use other means 
to assure timely receipt of materials.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Wendy Messenger, Office of Railroad 
Development (RDV-13), Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey 
Avenue, SE., Mail Stop 20, Washington, DC 20590. Phone: (202) 
493-6396; Fax: (202) 493-6330, or Robert Carpenter, Grants Officer, 
Office of Acquisition and Grants Services (RAD-30), Federal Railroad 
Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590. 
Phone: (202) 493-6153; Fax: (202) 493-6171.

    Section 102 of the SAFETEA-LU Technical Corrections Act (Pub. L. 
110-244, June 6, 2008) (the 2008 Act), amended SAFETEA-LU, which 
authorized, but did not appropriate, $90 million for maglev projects, 
50 percent of which would go to the maglev project between Las Vegas 
and Primm, NV, and 50 percent of which would go to an undetermined 
maglev project located east of the Mississippi River. The 2008 Act made 
the funding available and modified and clarified the language by 
dividing the funding equally between fiscal years 2008 and 2009, adding 
a 20 percent non-Federal match requirement, and allowing the ``east of 
the Mississippi River'' funding to potentially be distributed among two 
or more projects.
    In the Joint Explanatory Statement of the House Transportation and 
Infrastructure Committee and the Senate Environmental and Public Works, 
Banking Housing and Urban Affairs, and Commerce, Science and 
Transportation Committees accompanying the 2008 Act (the Joint 
Committee Statement), Congress explained that by changing the language 
to allow FRA discretion to award funds to ``projects'' located east of 
the Mississippi River, ``the intent is to limit the eligible projects 
to three existing projects east of the Mississippi River: Pittsburgh, 
Baltimore-Washington, and Atlanta-Chattanooga.'' \1\ Based upon that 
clear Congressional direction, the solicitation for applications under 
this NOFA is limited to those three projects. Through the SAFETEA-LU 
maglev project selection (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance 
Program Number 20.312), FRA will determine which of the three eligible 
projects east of the Mississippi River will receive these funds and has 
the discretion to award funds to one or more of those three projects.

    \1\ See the Joint Explanatory Statement of the House Committee 
on Transportation and Infrastructure, and the Senate Committees on 
Environment and Public Works, on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, 
and on Commerce, Science and Transportation, on the SAFETEA-LU 
Technical Corrections Act of 2008 at 5 (April 30, 2008).


    In the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (Pub. L. 105-
178 (July 22, 1998)) (TEA-21), Congress established the Maglev 
Deployment Program, the purpose of which was to encourage the 
development and construction of an operating transportation system 
employing magnetic levitation capable of safe use by the public at a 
speed in excess of 240 miles per hour. TEA-21 provided $55 million for 
fiscal years 1999 through 2001 for maglev transportation systems. 
Congress directed FRA to establish project selection criteria, to 
solicit applications for funding, to select one or more projects to 
receive financial assistance for preconstruction planning activities, 
and, after completion of such activities, to select one of the projects 
to receive financial assistance for final design, engineering, and 
construction activities.
    FRA received eleven applications and selected seven projects to 
receive funding. After each of the seven projects completed preliminary 
environmental documentation and FRA issued a programmatic environmental 
impact statement and record of decision, in January 2000 two projects 
were selected for additional funding and further study. The first 
project was a 54-mile system through Pittsburgh, PA, and the second was 
a 39-mile system between Baltimore, MD and Washington, DC. Extensive 
environmental and preliminary engineering work has been completed for 
both of these projects. Proponents of two of the seven projects not 
selected in January 2000 continued to study maglev or high-speed ground 
transportation options, including maglev, with funding from other 
sources. These two projects are a 40 mile segment between Las Vegas and 
Primm, NV that is envisioned as part of a system eventually extending 
to Anaheim, CA, and a 110 mile route between Atlanta, GA and 
Chattanooga, TN.
    In TEA-21, Congress also authorized, but did not appropriate, $950 
million in Federal funds for final design, engineering and construction 
of the most promising projects. TEA-21 expired and Congress never 
appropriated those funds. In SAFETEA-LU, Congress authorized, but once 
again did not appropriate, $90 million for a new maglev deployment 
program. In the 2008 Act, Congress made those funds available. As noted 
above, half of those funds are allocated to the Las Vegas, NV project. 
The other half of those funds will be distributed to one or more 
projects based upon a selection process. By this NOFA, FRA is 
announcing the initiation of that selection process and notifying the 
project proponents for the three eligible projects of the selection 

    Authority: The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient 
Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (Pub. L. 109-59, 
August 10, 2005), and the SAFETEA-LU Technical Corrections Act (Pub. 
L. 110-244, June 6, 2008).

    Funding: The 2008 Act provides $90,000,000 for maglev and directs 
the Secretary of Transportation to: (1) Allocate 50 percent to the 
Nevada Department of Transportation for the Las Vegas, NV maglev 
project; and (2) allocate 50 percent, in the form of one or more grant 
agreements covering up to 80 percent of the project costs, to one or 
more of three eligible maglev projects east of the Mississippi River. 
The Federal share of a selected project or projects shall be 80 
percent; the grantee(s) is (are) responsible for providing the other 20 
percent. Only expenditures made after the date of enactment of the 
SAFETEA-LU Technical Corrections Act, provided they are otherwise 
eligible and covered by an approved scope of work, will be considered 
potentially eligible as the non-Federal share. The funding provided 
under these grants will be made available to the grantee(s) on a 
reimbursement basis. If FRA selects more than one project, FRA may 
choose to apportion the available funding as the agency determines in 
its discretion.
    Schedule for Maglev Grant Program: FRA will begin accepting grant 
applications on October 20, 2008 and will continue accepting 
applications until February 13, 2009. Applications submitted before 
October 20, 2008 will be disregarded. FRA may request that an applicant 
submit a revised application reflecting a refined scope of work and 
budget. FRA anticipates making the award(s) made pursuant to this 
notice during FY 2009.
    Project Eligibility: Section 1307 of SAFETEA-LU establishes three 

[[Page 61451]]

eligibility standards. To be eligible to receive financial assistance 
under this program, a project must: (1) Involve a segment or segments 
of a high-speed ground transportation corridor; (2) result in an 
operating transportation facility that provides a revenue producing 
service; \2\ and (3) be approved by the FRA Administrator based on an 
application submitted to the Administrator by a State or authority 
designated by one or more States. The first two criteria are 
prerequisites to FRA evaluating an application and must be addressed in 
the cover letter with supporting documentation in the application 
package. If those two criteria are not met to FRA's satisfaction, the 
project is not eligible for funding.

    \2\ Congress titled section 1307 ``Deployment of Magnetic 
Levitation Transportation Projects'' and the funding provided 
through section 1101(a)(18) of SAFETEA-LU, as amended by the 2008 
Act is made available for the ``deployment of magnetic levitation 
projects.'' FRA interprets the statute as a whole as evidencing a 
Congressional intent that the Federal funds be used to directly 
advance and result in the construction of a maglev project. Thus, in 
order to be eligible for funding under this program, an application 
must include evidence that an operating transportation facility that 
provides a revenue producing service will be constructed.

    If the project proponents propose service in more than one State, a 
single State or designated State authority should apply on behalf of 
all participating States. FRA encourages States to submit applications 
through their respective Departments of Transportation, which have 
extensive experience in implementing Federally funded transportation 
    Eligible Projects: As explained in the Joint Committee Statement, 
only the three existing maglev projects located east of the Mississippi 
River are eligible. These are the Pittsburgh, Baltimore-Washington, and 
Atlanta-Chattanooga projects.
    Selection Criteria: Provided the statutory eligibility criteria 
have been met, FRA will consider the following selection factors in 
evaluating applications for grants under this program:
    1. Whether the project demonstrates the ability to address at least 
one or more serious technological or financial/economic problem(s) that 
challenge the feasibility of widespread adaptation of maglev systems. 
Examples might include methods to make maglev systems more energy 
efficient or ways to mitigate initial construction costs (e.g., by 
reducing vehicle weight or demonstrating new, lower cost ways to 
construct maglev guideway).
    2. Whether funds awarded under this section will result in 
investments that are beneficial not only to the maglev project, but 
also to other current or near-term transportation projects. Examples 
could include the preservation of rights-of-way, and/or the achievement 
of one or more planning goals. Applicants should keep in mind, however, 
that Federal funds may not be used for station construction costs.
    3. Whether the project demonstrates the potential for a public-
private partnership for the corridor in which the maglev project is 
involved, and/or for the project independently. Any corridor exhibiting 
partnership potential must meet at least the following two conditions:
    (a) Private enterprise entities must be able to operate the 
corridor--once built and paid for--as a complete, self-sustaining 
operation. That is, the total fully allocated operating expenses of the 
maglev service are projected to be offset by revenues attributable to 
the service; and
    (b) The total societal benefits of a maglev corridor must equal or 
exceed its total societal costs.
    4. The extent of the demonstrated financial commitment to the 
construction of the proposed project from both non-Federal public 
sources and private sources, including any financial contributions or 
commitment the applicant has secured from private entities that are 
expected to benefit from the project. If applicable, also include the 
extent to which the State or private entities exceed the required 20 
percent match.
    5. Whether the project demonstrates the ability to meet all 
applicable Federal and State environmental statutes and regulations.
    6. The degree to which the project will demonstrate the variety of 
maglev operating conditions which are to be expected in the United 
States. For example, these conditions might include a variety of at-
grade, elevated and depressed guideway structures, extreme 
temperatures, and intermodal connections at terminals.
    7. Whether the project demonstrates the ability to meet a top speed 
of at least 240 miles per hour (MPH). FRA will also consider favorably 
the ability to meet higher speeds as well as the duration that speeds 
of at least 240 MPH can be attained.
    Requirements for Grant Applications: All applications must be 
submitted through Grants.gov, which is the Federal grants portal. The 
following points describe the minimum content which will be required in 
grant applications. These requirements may be satisfied through a 
narrative statement submitted by the applicant, supported by 
spreadsheet documents, tables, drawings, and other materials, as 
appropriate. Each grant application will:
    1. Designate a point of contact for the applicant and provide their 
name and contact information, including phone number, mailing address 
and e-mail address. The point of contact must be an employee of the 
    2. Include a detailed project description, including an explanation 
of why the project is an eligible project and a thorough discussion of 
how the project meets all of the selection criteria.
    3. Describe the market to be served by the proposed new service, 
and the existing transportation facilities and service afforded by 
other public and private modes of transportation in the market area. In 
addition, the application should describe the operating changes to the 
target market that are anticipated to result from the introduction of 
maglev services, as well as assess the major risks or obstacles to 
maglev's successful deployment and operation.
    4. Provide a detailed summary of all work done to date, including 
any preliminary engineering work, the project's previous 
accomplishments and funding history, and a chronology of key documents 
produced and funding events (e.g., grants and contracts).
    5. Describe progress toward completing any environmental 
documentation or clearance required for the proposed project under the 
National Environmental Policy Act, the National Historic Preservation 
Act, section 4(f) of the DOT Act, the Clean Water Act, or other 
applicable Federal or State laws.
    Applicants should keep in mind, however, that FRA will not give 
additional weight to projects that have completed more environmental 
work. Instead, as explained in the selection criteria, FRA will 
consider favorably those projects that demonstrate an ability to 
ultimately fulfill all applicable Federal and State environmental 
    6. Include a complete Standard Form 424, ``Application for Federal 
Assistance,'' a signed Standard Form 424D, ``Assurances--Construction 
Programs,'' signed copies of FRA's Additional Assurances and 
Certifications, available at http://www.fra.dot.gov/downloads/admin/assurancesandcertifications.pdf, and the most recent audit performed in 
compliance with OMB Circular A-133. Information on Circular A-133 can 
be found at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars/a133/a133.html. If 
the scope of work includes non-construction activities, applications 
must also include a signed Standard Form 424B, ``Assurances--Non-
Construction Programs.''

[[Page 61452]]

    7. Define the scope of work for the proposed project and the 
anticipated project schedule. Describe the proposed project's physical 
location (as applicable), and the extent to which the proposed project 
consists of planning and/or implementation of capital improvements. 
Include any drawings, plans, or schematics that have been prepared 
relating to the proposed project. If the funding from the Program is 
only going to be a portion of the overall funding for the project, 
describe the complete project and specify the portion covered by 
Federal funding.
    8. Present a detailed budget for the proposed project. At a 
minimum, the budget should separate total cost of the project into the 
following categories, if applicable: (1) Administrative and legal 
expenses; (2) land, structures, rights-of-way, and appraisals; (3) 
relocation expenses and payments; (4) architectural and engineering 
fees; (5) project inspection fees; (6) site work; (7) demolition and 
removal; (8) construction labor, supervision, and management; (9) 
materials, by type; (10) miscellaneous; and (11) contingencies. Also 
specify the amount of costs in each category that are proposed to be 
funded from Federal funds, and the amount to be funded by non-Federal 
matching funds.
    9. Describe and provide evidence of the source(s) and amount of 
matching funds.
    10. Describe proposed project implementation and project management 
provisions. Include descriptions of expected arrangements for project 
contracting, contract oversight, change-order management, risk 
management, and conformance to Federal requirements for project 
progress reporting.
    11. Describe, in as much detail as possible, the next steps that 
will be required beyond those described in the application to foster 
implementation of the planned maglev services, such as technological 
development or testing, additional planning, engineering or site 
investigation activities, and right-of-way acquisition.
    Format: Excluding spreadsheets, drawings, and tables, the narrative 
statement for grant applications may not exceed thirty pages in length. 
With the exclusion of oversized engineering drawings (which may be 
submitted in hard copy to the FRA at the address above), all 
application materials should be submitted as attachments through 
Grants.Gov. Spreadsheets consisting of budget or financial information 
should be submitted via Grants.Gov as Microsoft Excel (or compatible) 

Mark E. Yachmetz,
Associate Administrator for Railroad Development.
[FR Doc. E8-24567 Filed 10-15-08; 8:45 am]