[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 182 (Tuesday, September 20, 2011)]
[Pages 58334-58341]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-24125]



Federal Railroad Administration

Program for Capital Grants for Rail Line Relocation and 
Improvement Projects

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

ACTION: Notice of funding availability.


SUMMARY: This notice details the application requirements and 
procedures for obtaining funding for eligible rail line relocation and 
improvement projects. The opportunities described in this notice are 
available under Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number 
    Notice to Applicants: FRA recommends applicants read this notice in 
its entirety prior to preparing application materials. There are 
several administrative prerequisites that applicants must comply with 
in order to submit an application (see Section 4 of this notice). 
Additionally, applicants should note that the required Project 
Narrative/Statement of Work component of the application package may 
not exceed 35 pages in length. Failure to adhere to this page 
limitation may result in the application being removed from 
consideration for award.

DATES: Applications for funding under this solicitation are due no 
later than 5 p.m. E.D.T., October 19, 2011, and must be submitted via 
Grants.gov. See Section 4 for additional information regarding the 
application process. FRA reserves the right to modify this deadline.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information regarding this 
notice and the grants program, please contact John Winkle via e-mail at 
[email protected], or by mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, 
Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Room W38-
311, Washington, DC 20590 Attention: John Winkle.

Table of Contents

1. Funding Opportunity Description
2. Award Information
3. Eligibility Information
4. Application and Submission Information
5. Application Review Information
6. Award Administration Information
7. Agency Contact
Appendix 1: Administrative and National Policy Requirements
Appendix 2: Additional Information on Award Administrations and 
Grant Conditions
Appendix 3: Additional Information on Applicant Budgets

Section 1: Funding Opportunity Description

1.1 Authority

    The purpose of this notice is to solicit applications for eligible 
rail line relocation and improvement projects. To assist State and 
local governments in mitigating the adverse effects created by the 
presence of rail infrastructure, Congress, in the Safe, Accountable, 
Flexible, Efficient Transportation Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) 
(Pub. L. 109-59, August 10, 2005, codified at 49 U.S.C. 20154) 
authorized the Program for Capital Grants for Rail Line Relocation and 
Improvement Projects

[[Page 58335]]

(Program). SAFETEA-LU also directed FRA to promulgate a regulation to 
establish the Program. That final rule was published on July 11, 2008 
and can be found at 73 FR 39875 (49 CFR part 262). SAFETEA-LU expired 
at the end of FY 2009 and has since been authorized by a series of 
short-term extensions. The most recent extension was the Surface 
Transportation Extension Act of 2011 (Pub. L. 112-5, 125 Stat. 14, 
March 4, 2011).

1.2 Funding Approach

    At least $11,588,085 is available for awards under this 
solicitation, including $10,532,000 provided under the FY 2011 
Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act (Pub. 
L. 112-10, April 15, 2011) and $1,056,085 remaining from a previous 
competition for funding provided under the FY 2010 Consolidated 
Appropriations Act (Pub. L. 111-117, December 16, 2009). Additional 
funding may be available at the time of award, including savings that 
result from previously awarded projects that are completed under 
budget, funds withdrawn from previously awarded projects that are not 
proceeding satisfactorily, or other sources.

Section 2: Award Information

    This will be the third round of competitive funding under the 
Program. In September 2009, FRA announced the selection of seven 
projects to receive a total of $14,315,300. In September 2011, FRA 
announced the selection of eight projects to receive $19,446,415. As 
with these previous competitions, FRA anticipates making multiple 
awards from the $11,588,085 available. As such, FRA expects applicants 
to tailor their applications and proposed project scopes accordingly. 
There are no minimum or maximum dollar thresholds for awards, and FRA 
may choose to award a grant for less than the amount requested in the 
application. The funding provided under these grants will be made 
available to grantees on a reimbursement basis.

Section 3: Eligibility Information

    Applications for rail line relocation and improvement projects will 
be required to meet minimum requirements related to applicant 
eligibility, project eligibility, and the fulfillment of other 
prerequisites. To the extent that an application's substance exceeds 
the minimum eligibility requirements described below, such 
qualifications will be considered in evaluating the merits of an 
application (see Section 5 for selection criteria).

3.1 Eligible Applicants

    Only States, political subdivisions of States, and the District of 
Columbia are eligible for grants under the Program (see 49 CFR 262.3 
and 262.7). FRA considers political subdivisions of States to be 
entities such as cities, counties, townships, boroughs, and villages. 
If an applicant is not one of these traditional political subdivisions, 
then the applicant must prove to FRA's satisfaction that, under the 
applicable State law, the applicant is a political subdivision of the 
    In making this determination, FRA will look primarily to the intent 
of the State legislature when creating the entity. Thus, FRA will 
likely find persuasive enabling legislation establishing the entity if 
the legislation states clearly that the entity is a political 
subdivision of the State. Similarly, FRA will also consider State 
appellate court opinions where the court finds that the entity is a 
political subdivision of the State. Opinions from the State Attorney 
General also may be used to bolster the above authorities. If nothing 
conclusively states that the entity is a political subdivision of the 
State, FRA will review all submitted information and attempt to 
determine eligibility. FRA wants to emphasize that the burden of 
establishing eligibility is on the applicant and all information 
supporting an applicant's position that it is eligible should be 
submitted along with the application. If applicant eligibility is a 
potential issue, the applicant is encouraged to contact FRA before 
submitting an application and FRA will make an eligibility 

3.2 Cost Sharing and Matching

    In accordance with SAFETEA-LU, an approved applicant, or other non-
Federal party, must pay at least 10 percent of the costs of any project 
funded by a grant awarded through the Program. Applicants must specify 
the non-Federal match amount in their application. Applicants should 
indicate whether funding made available through grants provided under 
this Program, together with committed funding from other sources, 
including the required non-Federal match, will be sufficient to 
complete the overall project or a discrete portion of the project.
    An applicant's contribution toward the cost of its proposed project 
may be in the form of cash or permitted in-kind contributions (see 49 
CFR 262.13). As part of its application, an applicant offering an in-
kind contribution must provide a documented estimate of the monetary 
value of any such contribution and its eligibility under 49 CFR 262.13. 
All in-kind contributions must be allowable, reasonable, allocable, and 
in accordance with applicable Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 
cost principles, and must not represent double-counting of costs 
otherwise accounted for in an indirect cost rate pursuant to which the 
applicant will seek reimbursement.

3.3 Eligible Projects

    In accordance with SAFETEA-LU, eligible projects are construction 
projects undertaken for the improvement of the route or structure of a 
rail line that either: (1) Are carried out for the purpose of 
mitigating the adverse effects of rail traffic on safety, motor vehicle 
traffic flow, community quality of life, or economic development; or 
(2) involve a lateral or vertical relocation of any portion of the rail 
line (see 49 CFR 262.7).
    Eligible construction projects are defined in 49 CFR 262.3 as 
locating, surveying, and mapping; track and related structure 
installation, restoration, and rehabilitation; acquisition of rights-
of-way; relocation assistance, acquisition of replacement housing 
sites, and acquisition and rehabilitation, relocation, and construction 
of replacement housing; and elimination of obstacles and relocation of 
utilities. Pre-construction activities, such as preliminary 
engineering, design, and costs associated with project-level compliance 
with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), are considered part 
of the overall construction project (49 CFR 262.3(6)) and are also 
eligible for funding. Because section 9002 of SAFETEA-LU directs that 
only construction costs are eligible costs, activities such as planning 
studies and feasibility analyses are not eligible for funding.
    FRA wants to emphasize that in order for the project to be 
eligible, the rail line must be the element that is moved or improved. 
Grade separation projects that involve raising or lowering the road, 
for example, are not eligible. Similarly, quiet zones and stand-alone 
grade crossing improvement projects are not eligible. Station 
improvement projects where there is little or no related track work are 
also not eligible. As explained in the Final Rule, if station or grade 
crossing improvements are part of an otherwise eligible rail line 
relocation or improvement project, then the costs associated with the 
grade crossing or station work may be eligible (see 73 FR 39879). 
However, the majority of the proposed project scope must involve 
relocating or improving a rail line.

[[Page 58336]]

    If an applicant is undertaking a larger project that would be 
eligible, but is applying to FRA for funding for a small portion that 
is not eligible (e.g., an applicant is undertaking a large rail 
improvement involving upgrading grade crossing equipment and applies to 
FRA for funds to cover the grade crossing improvements), the fact that 
the larger project would be eligible does not mean that FRA can fund 
the smaller, ineligible project.
    Finally, if an applicant is applying for an improvement project, 
FRA emphasizes that, in accordance with SAFETEA-LU, the project must 
mitigate the adverse effects of rail traffic on safety, motor vehicle 
traffic flow, community quality of life, or economic development. 
Projects that construct new rail infrastructure solely for the purposes 
of promoting or attracting economic development are not eligible, as 
they do not mitigate the adverse effects of rail traffic. Relocation 
projects are not subject to this requirement. If project eligibility is 
a potential issue, applicants are encouraged to contact FRA before 
submitting an application and FRA will make an eligibility 

Section 4: Application and Submission Information

4.1 Application Procedures

4.1.1 Applying Online
    All applications must be submitted through Grants.gov by 5 p.m. 
E.D.T. on October 19, 2011. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply 
early to ensure that all materials are received before this deadline.
    To apply for funding through Grants.gov, applicants must be 
properly registered. Complete instructions on how to register and 
submit an application can be found at Grants.gov.
    Registering with Grants.gov is a one-time process; however, it can 
take up to several weeks for first-time registrants to receive 
confirmation and a user password. FRA recommends that applicants start 
the registration process as early as possible to prevent delays that 
may preclude submitting an application package by the application 
deadline. Applications will not be accepted after the due date. Delayed 
registration is not an acceptable justification for an application 
    In order to apply for funding under this announcement and to apply 
for funding through Grants.gov, all applicants are required to complete 
the following:
    1. Acquire a DUNS Number. A Data Universal Numbering System (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 identifying and keeping track of entities receiving 
Federal funds. The identifier is used for tracking purposes and to 
validate address and point of contact information for Federal 
assistance applicants, recipients, and sub recipients. 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.
    2. Acquire or Renew Registration With the Central Contractor 
Registration (CCR) Database. All applicants for Federal financial 
assistance must maintain current registrations in the Central 
Contractor Registration (CCR) database. An applicant must be registered 
in the CCR to successfully register in Grants.gov. The CCR database is 
the repository for standard information about Federal financial 
assistance applicants, recipients, and sub recipients. Organizations 
that have previously submitted applications via Grants.gov are already 
registered with CCR, as it is a requirement for Grants.gov 
registration. Please note, however, that applicants must update or 
renew their CCR registration at least once per year to maintain an 
active status, so it is critical to check registration status well in 
advance of the application deadline. Information about CCR registration 
procedures can be accessed at http://www.ccr.gov.
    3. Acquire an Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) and a 
Grants.gov Username and Password. Applicants must complete an AOR 
profile on 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 
    4. Acquire Authorization for Your AOR From the E-Business Point of 
Contact (E-Biz POC). The Applicant's E-Biz POC must log in to 
Grants.gov to confirm a representative as an AOR. Please note that 
there can be more than one AOR at an organization.
    5. Search for the Funding Opportunity on Grants.gov. The Catalog of 
Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number for this opportunity is 
20.320. It is titled ``Rail Line Relocation and Improvement.''
    6. Submit an Application Addressing All of the Requirements 
Outlined in This Funding Availability Announcement. Within 24 to 48 
hours after submitting an electronic application, an applicant should 
receive an email validation message from Grants.gov. The validation 
message will explain whether the application has been received and 
validated or rejected, with an explanation. Applicants are urged to 
submit an application at least 72 hours prior to the due date of the 
application to allow time to receive the validation message and to 
correct any problems that may have caused a rejection notification.
    If you experience difficulties at any point during this process, 
please call the Grants.gov Customer Center Hotline at 1-800-518-4726, 
24 hours a day, 7 days a week (closed on Federal holidays).

    Note: Please use generally accepted formats such as .pdf, .doc, 
.docx, .xls, .xlsx and .ppt, when uploading attachments. While 
applicants may imbed picture files, such as .jpg, .gif, and .bmp, in 
document files, please do not submit attachments in these formats. 
Additionally, the following formats will not be accepted: .com, 
.bat, .exe, .vbs, .cfg, .dat, .db, .dbf, .dll, .ini, .log, .ora, 
.sys, and .zip.

4.1.2 Address To Request/Submit Application Package
    To request a hard copy of the application package, please contact 
John Winkle, Office of Railroad Policy and Development (RPD-11), 
Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Room W38-
311, Washington, DC 20590. Phone: (202) 493-6360; Fax: (202) 493-6333; 
E-mail: [email protected].

4.2 Content of Application

    Required documents for the application package are outlined in the 
checklist below. Applications for construction activities or eligible 
pre-construction activities (preliminary engineering, design, project-
level NEPA compliance) require the submission of different OMB Standard 
Forms. If an application is requesting funding for both pre-
construction and construction activities, submit only the forms 
required for construction projects. Further information on the 
requirements for completing the Project Narrative/Statement of Work and 
Detailed Budget are provided in Sections 4.2.1 and 4.2.2, respectively.

[[Page 58337]]

                                                  Project type
               Documents               ---------------------------------
                                          Construction    PE/design/NEPA
                                FRA Forms
[ballot] Project Narrative/Statement           [check]          [check]
 of Work (see 4.2.1)..................
[ballot] Detailed Budget (see 4.2.2)..         [check]          [check]
[ballot] FRA's Additional Assurance            [check]          [check]
 and Certifications (available at
                           OMB Standard Forms
[ballot] Application for Federal               [check]          [check]
[ballot] SF 424A: Budget Information-   ...............         [check]
 Non Construction.....................
[ballot] SF 424B: Assurances-Non        ...............         [check]
[ballot] SF 424C: Budget Information-          [check]   ...............
[ballot] SF 424D: Assurances-                  [check]   ...............
[ballot] SF LLL: Disclosure of                 [check]          [check]
 Lobbying Activities..................

    Applicants must complete and submit all components of the 
application package; failure to do so may result in the application 
being removed from consideration for award. FRA welcomes the submission 
of other relevant supporting documentation that may have been developed 
by the applicant (planning, NEPA, engineering and design documentation, 
etc.), and encourages the applicant to submit such supporting 
documentation as an attachment to the application via Grants.gov. For 
any required or supporting application materials that an applicant is 
unable to submit via Grants.gov (such as oversized engineering 
drawings), an applicant may submit an original and two (2) copies to 
the address listed under Section 4.1.2. 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.
4.2.1 Project Narrative/Statement of Work
    The following points describe the minimum content which will be 
required in the Project Narrative/Statement of Work elements of grant 
applications. These requirements must be satisfied through a narrative 
statement submitted by the applicant, and may be supported by 
spreadsheet documents, tables, drawings, and other materials, as 
appropriate. FRA recommends that applicants read this section carefully 
and submit all required information. If an application does not address 
each of these requirements to FRA's satisfaction, the application may 
be considered incomplete and removed from consideration for award. Each 
Project Narrative/Statement of Work must:
    1. Designate a point of contact for the applicant and provide his 
or her name and contact information, including phone number, mailing 
address and e-mail address. The point of contact must be an employee of 
an eligible applicant (i.e., a State employee, or an employee of a 
political subdivision of a State, or an employee of the District of 
    2. Indicate the amount of Federal funding requested from the 
Program, proposed non-Federal match, and total project cost. 
Additionally, identify any other sources of Federal funds committed to 
the project, as well as any pending Federal requests. Finally, specify 
whether Federal funding has ever previously been sought for the project 
and not secured, and name the Federal program and fiscal year from 
which the funding was requested.
    3. Explain how the applicant is an eligible applicant. For a full 
discussion of how an applicant can meet this burden, see Section 3.1 
Eligible Applicants, above.
    4. Include a detailed project description with an explanation of 
how the project is an eligible project. For a full discussion of how an 
applicant can meet this burden, see Section 3.3 Eligible Projects, 
    5. Include a thorough discussion of how the project meets all of 
the selection criteria. Applicants should note that FRA evaluates 
applications based upon the selection criteria. If an application does 
not sufficiently address the selection criteria, FRA will have little 
or no basis on which to evaluate the application; thus, it will likely 
not be a competitive application. The selection criteria are described 
in detail in Section 5.2, below.
    6. Provide a detailed scope of work for the proposed project and 
include the anticipated project schedule. Describe the proposed 
project's physical location (as applicable), and 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 
component of the overall funding for the project, describe the complete 
project and specify which component will involve FRA funding. 
Applications should include feasibility determinations and cost 
estimates, if completed. FRA will more favorably consider applications 
that include these types of studies, as they demonstrate that an 
applicant has a definite understanding of the scope and cost of the 
project. In submitting applications, applicants should be mindful that 
the Program, as created by Congress and, as further described in the 
Final Rule, is focused upon construction projects (see 49 CFR 262.3 and 
262.7). If FRA approves a project for funding, allowable costs (i.e., 
costs that can qualify for reimbursement from Federal funds or as part 
of the required non-Federal match) will have to directly support 
project construction. Section 262.3 identifies the types of activities 
that are associated with ``construction'' and thus are potentially 
allowable. In terms of project development, FRA will consider as 
potentially allowable any costs associated with the preparation of 
architectural and engineering plans, project cost estimates, and 
project-specific construction-related costs (including costs associated 
with securing environmental clearance as described in Sec.  262.15 of 
the Final Rule). As discussed above under Section 3.3 Eligible 
Projects, FRA will not consider any costs associated with planning 
studies and similar analyses as allowable costs. For approved projects, 
FRA may also consider reimbursement of eligible construction-related

[[Page 58338]]

expenditures incurred after the enactment of the FY 2011 Department of 
Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act (April 15, 2011). 
However, such costs will be considered for reimbursement only to the 
extent that they are otherwise allowable under the applicable cost 
principles. To the extent such pre-award costs are incurred prior to 
the date of submission of an application, the application must show in 
detail what costs have been incurred in order for such costs to be 
considered for reimbursement. Projects for which construction 
activities commenced prior to receipt of an FRA environmental 
determination under NEPA will not be eligible for funding.
    7. Describe proposed project implementation and project management 
arrangements. Include descriptions of expected arrangements for project 
contracting, contract oversight, change-order management, risk 
management, and conformance to Federal requirements for project 
progress reporting.
    8. Describe the anticipated public and private benefits associated 
with the proposed project and the applicant's assessment of how those 
benefits outweigh the costs of the proposed project (see 49 CFR 
262.11(b)). Identify any financial contributions or commitments the 
applicant has secured from private entities that are expected to 
benefit from the project. Although FRA will weigh all of the selection 
criteria, potential applicants should be aware that FRA is seeking the 
maximum public benefit from these limited funds. Moreover, in directing 
FRA to establish the Program, Congress instructed FRA to consider the 
feasibility of seeking financial contributions or commitments from 
private entities involved with projects in proportion to the expected 
benefits that would accrue to those entities. As FRA explained in the 
preamble to the Final Rule, however, FRA will apply all the selection 
criteria and will not disfavor one application over another because of 
the amount requested.
    9. Describe anticipated environmental or historic preservation 
impacts associated with the proposed project, any environmental or 
historic preservation analyses that have been prepared, and progress 
toward completing any environmental documentation or clearance required 
for the proposed project under the National Environmental Policy Act 
(NEPA), the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), section 4(f) of 
the DOT Act, the Clean Water Act, or other applicable Federal or State 
laws. Refer to 49 CFR 262.15 for further guidance.
    Generally, grant recipients may not expend any of the funds 
provided in an award on construction or other activities that represent 
an irretrievable commitment of resources to a particular course of 
action affecting the environment until after all environmental and 
historic preservation analyses required by the NEPA, the NHPA (16 
U.S.C. 470(f)), and related laws and regulations have been completed 
and FRA has provided the grant recipient with a written notice 
authorizing them to proceed.
    In instances where NEPA approval has not been secured at the time 
of grant award, grant recipients are required to assist FRA in its 
compliance with the provisions of NEPA, the Council on Environmental 
Quality's regulations implementing NEPA (40 CFR part 1500 et seq.), 
FRA's ``Procedures for Considering Environmental Impacts'' (45 FR 
40854, June 16, 1980, as revised May 26, 1999, 64 FR 28545), Section 
106 of the NHPA, and related environmental and historic preservation 
statutes and regulations. As a condition of receiving financial 
assistance under an award, grant recipients may be required to conduct 
certain environmental analyses and to prepare and submit to FRA draft 
documents required under NEPA, NHPA, and related statutes and 
    No publicly-owned land from a park, recreational area, or wildlife 
or waterfowl refuge of national, State, or local significance as 
determined by the Federal, State, or local officials having 
jurisdiction thereof, or any land from an historic site of national, 
State, or local significance as so determined by such officials shall 
be used by grant recipients without the prior written concurrence of 
FRA. Grant recipients shall assist FRA in complying with these 
requirements of 49 U.S.C. 303(c).
    Applicants are advised to consult with the FRA's Office of Railroad 
Policy and Development before initiating any NEPA, NHPA or Section 4(f) 
environmental or historic preservation reviews.
    10. Format: Excluding spreadsheets, drawings, and tables, the 
Project Narrative/Statement of Work for grant applications may not 
exceed 35 pages in length. Failure to adhere to this page limitation 
may result in the application being removed from consideration for 
award. 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) 
4.4.2 Detailed Budget
    Applicants must present a detailed budget for the proposed project 
that includes both Federal funds and matching funds. Items of cost 
included in the budget must be reasonable, allocable and necessary for 
the project.
    For a construction 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, management, and materials, by type 
(e.g. ties, rail, signals, switches); (9) Equipment; (10) 
Miscellaneous; and (11) Contingencies.
    For a non-construction project (i.e. a project involving only 
eligible pre-construction activities such as preliminary engineering, 
design, project-level NEPA compliance), at a minimum, the budget should 
separate total cost of the project into the following categories, if 
applicable: (1) Personnel; (2) Fringe Benefits; (3) Travel; (4) 
Equipment; (5) Supplies; (6) Consultants/Contracts; (7) Other; and (8) 
Indirect Costs.
    See Appendix 3 of this solicitation for more information on project 

4.3 Submission Dates and Times

    Complete applications must be submitted to Grants.gov (as specified 
in Section 4.1) no later than 5 p.m. E.D.T., October 19, 2011. 
Grants.gov will send the applicant an automated email confirming 
receipt of the application. Supporting documentation that cannot be 
submitted electronically may be sent by courier service with a waybill 
receipt stamped no later than 5 p.m. E.D.T., October 19, 2011. FRA will 
email the applicant to confirm receipt of supporting documentation sent 
by courier service.
    Subject to demonstration of unanticipated extenuating 
circumstances, FRA may, but is not obligated to, consider application 
materials submitted after the deadlines prescribed above.
    FRA reserves the right to contact applicants with any concerns, 
questions, or comments related to applications.

4.4 Intergovernmental Review

    Executive Order 12372 requires applicants from State and local 
units of

[[Page 58339]]

government or other organizations providing services within a State to 
submit a copy of the application to the State Single Point of Contact 
(SPOC), if one exists, and if this program has been selected for review 
by the State. Applicants must contact their State SPOC to determine if 
the program has been selected for State review. Executive Order 12372 
can be referenced at http://www.fws.gov/policy/library/rgeo12372.pdf. 
The names and addresses of the SPOCs are listed on OMB's home page 
available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants/spoc.html.

Section 5: Application Review Information

5.1 Application Review and Selection Process

    Applications will proceed through a three-part review process:
    1. Screening for completeness and eligibility;
    2. Evaluation of eligible applications by technical panels applying 
the selection criteria; and
    3. Project selection by the FRA Administrator.
    Each application will first be screened for completeness 
(containing all required documentation outlined in Section 4.2) and 
eligibility (requirements outlined in Section 3). Eligible and complete 
applications will then be evaluated by technical panels consisting of 
subject-matter experts against the selection criteria (outlined in 
Section 5.2). The ratings assigned by the technical panels will not in 
themselves constitute the final award determination. In accordance with 
49 CFR 262.9(f), the FRA Administrator may take into account other 
factors determined to be relevant to achieving the goals of the Program 
when making final award decisions.

5.2 Selection Criteria

    FRA will consider the following selection factors in evaluating 
applications for grants under this program (see 49 CFR 262.9):
    1. The capability of the applicant to fund the project without 
Federal grant funding;
    2. The effects of the rail line, relocated or improved as proposed, 
on motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic, safety, community quality of 
life, and area commerce;
    3. The effects of the rail line, relocated or improved as proposed, 
on the freight rail and passenger rail operations on the line;
    4. Equitable treatment of the various regions of the United States;
    5. Any other factors FRA determines to be relevant in assessing the 
effectiveness and/or efficiency of the grant application, including the 
cost-effectiveness of the proposed project in terms of benefits 
achieved in relation to the funds expended. In the preamble to the 
Final Rule, FRA provided an extensive, but not exhaustive, list of 
possible data items that could be used to support a cost-effectiveness 
determination. That list can be found at 73 FR 39875.

Section 6: Award Administration Information

6.1 Award Notices

    Applications selected for funding will be announced after the 
application review period. FRA will contact applicants with successful 
applications after announcement with information and instructions about 
the award process. Notification of a selected application is not an 
authorization to begin proposed project activities.
    The period of performance for this grant program is dependent on 
the project. However, any unobligated funds will be deobligated at the 
end of the 90 day close-out period, provided for in Appendix 2.4. 
Extensions to the period of performance will be considered only through 
written requests to FRA with specific and compelling justifications why 
an extension is required.

6.2 Administrative and National Policy Requirements

    The grantee and any subgrantee shall comply with all applicable 
laws and regulations. For a non-exclusive list of regulations commonly 
applicable to FRA grants refer to Appendix 1.

6.3 General Requirements

    Grant recipients must comply with reporting requirements. All post-
award information pertaining to reporting, auditing, monitoring, and 
the close-out process is detailed in Appendix 2.

Section 7: Agency Contact

    For further information regarding this notice and the grants 
program, please contact John Winkle via e-mail at [email protected], 
or by mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Railroad 
Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Room W38-311, Washington, 
DC 20590 Attention: John Winkle.

Appendix 1: Administrative and National Policy Requirements

Appendix 1.1 Standard Financial and Program Administration Requirements

    Grant recipients must follow all standard financial and program 
administration requirements, including:

Administrative Requirements

     49 CFR part 18, Uniform Administrative Requirements for 
Grants and Cooperative Agreements to State and Local Governments.
     49 CFR part 19, Uniform Administrative Requirements for 
Grants and Cooperative Agreements with Institutions of Higher 
Education, Hospitals, and Other Non-Profit Organizations (OMB 
Circular A-110).

Cost Principles

     2 CFR part 225, Cost Principles for State, Local, and 
Indian Tribal Governments (OMB Circular A-87).
     2 CFR part 220, Cost Principles for Educational 
Institutions (OMB Circular A-21).
     2 CFR part 230, Cost Principles for Non-Profit 
Organizations (OMB A-122).
     Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), part 31.2 
Contract Cost Principles and Procedures, Contracts with Commercial 

Audit Requirements

     OMB Circular A-133, Audits of States, Local 
Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations.

Appendix 1.2 Administrative and National Policy Requirements

    Grant recipients must follow all administrative and national 
policy requirements including: procurement standards, compliance 
with Federal civil rights laws and regulations, disadvantaged 
business enterprises (DBE), debarment and suspension, drug-free 
workplace, FRA's and OMB's Assurances and Certifications, Americans 
with Disabilities Act (ADA), environmental protection, National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and environmental justice.

Appendix 1.3 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

    As a Federal agency, FRA is subject to the Freedom of 
Information Act (FOIA) (5 U.S.C. 552), which generally provides that 
any person has a right, enforceable in court, to obtain access to 
Federal agency records, except to the extent that such records (or 
portions of them) are protected from public disclosure by one of 
nine exemptions or by one of three special law enforcement record 
exclusions. Grant applications and related materials submitted by 
applicants pursuant to this guidance will become agency records, and 
thus are subject to the FOIA and to public release through 
individual FOIA requests. FRA also recognizes that certain 
information submitted in support of an application for funding in 
accordance with this guidance could be exempt from public release 
under FOIA as a result of the application of one of the FOIA 

[[Page 58340]]

most particularly Exemption 4, which protects trade secrets and 
commercial or financial information obtained from a person that is 
privileged or confidential (5 U.S.C. 552(b)(4)). In the context of 
this grant program, commercial or financial information obtained 
from a person could be confidential if disclosure is likely to cause 
substantial harm to the competitive position of the person from whom 
the information was obtained (see National Parks & Conservation 
Association v. Morton, 498 F.2d 765, 770 (D.C. Cir. 1974)). Entities 
seeking exempt treatment must provide a detailed statement 
supporting and justifying the request and should follow FRA's 
existing procedures for requesting confidential treatment in the 
railroad safety context found at 49 CFR 209.11. As noted in the 
Department's FOIA implementing regulation (49 CFR part 7), the 
burden is on the entity requesting confidential treatment to 
identify all information for which exempt treatment is sought and to 
persuade the agency that the information should not be disclosed 
(see 49 CFR 7.17). The final decision as to whether the information 
meets the standards of Exemption 4 rests with FRA.

Appendix 2: Additional Information on Award Administration and Grant 

Appendix 2.1 Reporting Requirements

    Reporting requirements must be met throughout the life of the 
grant (additional detail will be included in the award package 
provided to selected applicants).
     Progress Reports--Progress reports are to be submitted 
quarterly. These reports must relate the state of completion of 
items in the Statement of Work to expenditures of the relevant 
budget elements. The grant recipient must furnish the quarterly 
progress report to the FRA on or before the 30th calendar day of the 
month following the end of the quarter being reported. Grantees must 
submit reports for the periods: January 1- March 31, April 1-June 
30, July 1-September 30, and October 1-December 31. Each quarterly 
report must set forth concise statements concerning activities 
relevant to the project, and should include, but not be limited to, 
the following: (a) An account of significant progress (findings, 
events, trends, etc.) made during the reporting period; (b) a 
description of any technical and/or cost problem(s) encountered or 
anticipated that will affect completion of the grant within the time 
and fiscal constraints as set forth in the agreement, together with 
recommended solutions or corrective action plans (with dates) to 
such problems, or identification of specific action that is required 
by the FRA, or a statement that no problems were encountered; and 
(c) an outline of work and activities planned for the next reporting 
     Quarterly Federal Financial Report (SF-425)--The 
Grantee must submit a quarterly Federal financial report 
electronically in FRA's web-based grant management system, 
GrantSolutions, on or before the thirtieth (30th) calendar day of 
the month following the end of the quarter being reported (e.g., for 
quarter ending March 31, the SF-425 is due no later than April 30). 
A report must be submitted for every quarter of the period of 
performance, including partial calendar quarters, as well as for 
periods where no grant activity occurs. The Grantee must use SF-425, 
Federal Financial Report, in accordance with the instructions 
accompanying the form, to report all transactions, including Federal 
cash, Federal expenditures and unobligated balance, recipient share, 
and program income.
     Interim Report(s)--If required, interim reports will be 
due at intervals specified in the Statement of Work and must be 
submitted to FRA.
     Final Report(s)--Within 90 days of the Project 
completion date or termination by FRA, the Grantee must submit a 
Summary Project Report in the GrantSolutions system. This report 
should detail the results and benefits of the Grantee's improvement 
     Reports, Presentations and Other Deliverables--Whether 
for technical examination, administrative review, or publication, 
all submittals shall be of a professional quality and suitable for 
their intended purpose. Due dates for submittals shall be based on 
the specified intervals or days from the effective date of the 

Appendix 2.2 Audit Requirements

    Grant recipients that expend $500,000 or more of Federal funds 
during their fiscal year, combined from all sources, are required to 
submit an organization-wide financial and compliance audit report. 
The audit must be performed in accordance with U.S. General 
Accountability Office, Government Auditing Standards, located at 
http://www.gao.gov/govaud/ybk01.htm, and OMB Circular A-133, Audits 
of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations, located 
at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars/a133/a133.html. 
Currently, audit reports must be submitted to the Federal Audit 
Clearinghouse no later than nine months after the end of the 
recipient's fiscal year. In addition, FRA and the Comptroller 
General of the United States must have access to any books, 
documents, and records of grant recipients for audit and examination 
purposes. The grant recipient will also give FRA or the Comptroller, 
through any authorized representative, access to, and the right to 
examine all records, books, papers or documents related to the 
grant. Grant recipients must require that sub-grantees comply with 
the audit requirements set forth in OMB Circular A-133. Grant 
recipients are responsible for ensuring that sub-recipient audit 
reports are received and for resolving any audit findings.

Appendix 2.3 Monitoring Requirements

    Grant recipients will be monitored periodically by FRA to ensure 
that the project goals, objectives, performance requirements, 
timelines, milestones, budgets, and other related program criteria 
are being met. FRA may conduct monitoring activities through a 
combination of office-based reviews and onsite monitoring visits. 
Monitoring will involve the review and analysis of the financial, 
programmatic, and administrative issues relative to each program and 
will identify areas where technical assistance and other support may 
be needed. The recipient is responsible for monitoring award 
activities, including sub-awards and sub-grantees, to provide 
reasonable assurance that the award is being administered in 
compliance with Federal requirements. Financial monitoring 
responsibilities include the accounting of recipients and 
expenditures, cash management, maintaining of adequate financial 
records, and refunding expenditures disallowed by audits.

Appendix 2.4 Closeout Process

    Project closeout occurs when all required project work and all 
administrative procedures described in 49 CFR section 262.19, as 
applicable, have been completed, and when FRA notifies the grant 
recipient and forwards the final Federal assistance payment, or when 
FRA acknowledges the grant recipient's remittance of the proper 
refund. Project closeout should not invalidate any continuing 
obligations imposed on the Grantee by an award or by the FRA's final 
notification or acknowledgment. Within 90 days of the Project 
completion date or termination by FRA, grantees agree to submit a 
final Federal Financial Report (SF-425), a certification or summary 
of project expenses, a final report, and third party audit reports, 
as applicable.

Appendix 3: Additional Information on Applicant Budgets

    The information contained in this appendix is intended to assist 
applicants with developing the SOW budget and OMB Standard Forms 
424A: Budget Information--Non-Construction Programs and 424C: Budget 
Information--Construction Programs, as described in Section 4.2.

Appendix 3.1 Non-Construction Project Budgets

    Applicants must present a detailed budget for the proposed 
project that includes both Federal funds and matching funds. Items 
of cost included in the budget must be reasonable, allocable, and 
necessary for the project. At a minimum, the budget should separate 
total cost of the project into the following categories and provide 
a basis of computation for each cost:
     Personnel: List each position by title and name of 
employee, if available, and show the annual salary rate and the 
percentage of time to be devoted to the project. Compensation paid 
for employees engaged in grant activities must be consistent with 
that paid for similar work within the applicant organization.
     Fringe Benefits: Fringe benefits should be based on 
actual known costs or an established formula. Fringe benefits are 
for personnel listed in the ``Personnel'' budget category and only 
for the percentage of time devoted to the project.
     Travel: Itemize travel expenses of project personnel by 
purpose (training, interviews, and meetings). Show the basis of 
computation (e.g., X people to Y-day training at $A airfare, $B 
lodging, $C subsistence).
     Equipment: List non-expendable items that are to be 
purchased. Nonexpendable equipment is tangible property having a

[[Page 58341]]

useful life of more than two years and an acquisition cost of $5,000 
or more per unit. (Note: Organization's own capitalization policy 
may be used for items costing less than $5,000.) Expendable items 
should be included either in the ``Supplies'' category or in the 
``Other'' category. Applicants should analyze the cost benefits of 
purchasing versus leasing equipment, especially high cost items and 
those subject to rapid technical advances. Rented or leased 
equipment should be listed in the ``Contractual'' category. Explain 
how the equipment is necessary for the success of the project. 
Attach a narrative describing the procurement method to be used.
     Supplies: List items by type (office supplies, postage, 
training materials, copying paper, and expendable equipment items 
costing less than $5,000) and show the basis for computation. (Note: 
Organization's own capitalization policy may be used for items 
costing less than $5,000). Generally, supplies include any materials 
that are expendable or consumed during the course of the project.
     Consultants/Contracts: Indicate whether applicant's 
written procurement policy (see 49 CFR 18.36) or the Federal 
Acquisition Regulations (FAR) are followed. Consultant Fees: For 
each consultant enter the name, if known, service to be provided, 
hourly or daily fee (8-hour day), and the estimated time on the 
project. Consultant Expenses: List all expenses to be paid from the 
grant to the individual consultants in addition to their fees 
(travel, meals, and lodging). Contracts: Provide a description of 
the product or service to be procured by contract and an estimate of 
the cost. Applicants are encouraged to promote free and open 
competition in awarding contracts. A separate justification must be 
provided for sole source contracts in excess of $100,000.
     Other: List items (rent, reproduction, telephone, 
janitorial or security services) by major type and the basis of the 
computation. For example, provide the square footage and the cost 
per square foot for rent, or provide the monthly rental cost and how 
many months to rent.
     Indirect Costs: Indirect costs are allowed only if the 
applicant has a Federally-approved indirect cost rate. A copy of the 
rate approval (a fully executed, negotiated agreement) must be 
attached. If the applicant does not have an approved rate, one can 
be requested by contacting the applicant's cognizant Federal agency, 
which will review all documentation and approve a rate for the 
applicant organization.

Appendix 3.2 Construction Project Budgets

    Applicants must present a detailed budget for the proposed 
project that includes both Federal funds and matching funds. Items 
of cost included in the budget must be reasonable, allocable, and 
necessary for the project. At a minimum, the budget should separate 
total cost of the project into the following categories and provide 
a basis of computation for each cost:
     Administrative and Legal Expenses: List the estimated 
amounts needed to cover administrative expenses. Do not include 
costs which are related to the normal functions of government. 
Allowable legal costs are generally only those associated with the 
purchases of land which is allowable for Federal participation and 
certain services in support of construction of the project. This may 
    [cir] Hours/Rate and total cost of local government staff.
    [cir] Hours/Rate and total cost of outside counsel fees.
    [cir] Hours/Rate and total cost of consultants.
     Land, structures, rights-of-way, appraisals, and 
related items: List the estimate site and right(s)-of-way 
acquisition costs (this includes purchase, lease, and/or easements). 
If possible, include details of number of acres, acre cost, square-
footage, and square footage cost.
     Relocation expenses and payments: List the estimated 
costs relation to relocation advisory assistance, replacement of 
housing, relocation payments to displaces persons and businesses, 
etc. This may include:
    o The gross salaries and wages of employees for the grantee who 
will be directly engaged in performing demolition or removal of 
structures from developed land.
     Architectural and engineering fees: List the estimated 
basic engineering fees related to construction (this includes start-
up services and preparation of project performance work plan).
     Other architectural and engineering fees: List the 
estimated engineering costs, such as surveys, tests, soil borings, 
     Project inspection fees: List the estimated engineering 
inspection costs. This may include:
    [cir] Rate of project inspector.
    [cir] Construction monitoring.
    [cir] Audit or construction programs.
     Site Work: List the estimated costs of site preparation 
and restoration which are not included in the basic construction 
contract. This may include:
    [cir] Clearing.
    [cir] Erosion control.
    [cir] Reseeding.
     Demolition and removal: List the estimated costs 
related to demolition activities.
     Construction: List the estimated cost of the 
construction contract. This may include costs for:
    [cir] Labor costs, e.g., associated with site preparation and 
installation of grade crossings, highway warning signs, etc.
    [cir] Equipment rental/purchase, e.g., an excavator or bulldozer
    [cir] Materials, e.g., Rail anchors, retaining walls, etc.
     Equipment: List the estimated cost of office, shop, 
laboratory, safety equipment, etc. to be used at the facility, if 
such costs are not included in the construction contract.
     Miscellaneous: List the estimated miscellaneous costs.
     Contingencies: List the estimated contingency costs.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on September 14, 2011.
Joseph C. Szabo,
[FR Doc. 2011-24125 Filed 9-19-11; 8:45 am]