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Transportation

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program that includes more than $318 million in grant funding from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018.

FRA seeks to collaborate with private, state and local investments on rail projects.  Grants will assist projects that improve intercity passenger and freight rail transportation safety, efficiency, and reliability. This program does NOT fund positive train control systems deployment; PTC was funded under a separate NOFO published in May.

The CRISI grant program directs at least 25 percent of available funds towards rural communities.  Also, selection preference will be given to projects with a 50% non-federal funding match from any combination of private, state, or local funds. The Department will also consider how well the project aligns with key Departmental objectives including supporting economic vitality; leveraging federal funding; preparing for life-cycle costs; using innovative approaches to improve safety and expedite project delivery; and holding grant recipients accountable for achieving specific, measurable outcomes.

FRA will host a webinar on August 8, 2018; a link to the webinar is here

Applications for capital projects funding under this solicitation are due no later than 5:00 p.m. EDT, up to 60 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register. The NOFO is here.

The US Department of Transportation released a guidance document on completing a benefit-cost analysis (BCA) associated with BUILD grant applications.  The PDF document is here.

 

DOT notes the information provided in applicant BCAs will be used to help ensure that the available funding under the programs is devoted to projects that provide substantial economic benefits to users and the nation as a whole, relative to the resources required to implement those projects. DOT staff has noted in application debriefs that applicants should utilize BCA information within the application narrative to strengthen the case for the project rather keep the BCA and the narrative separate.

Automated vehicle technologies range from driver assistance applications to fully automated systems that do not require a human driver.  The report outlines FTA’s five year plan to explore the application of automation levels to bus operations, including:

  • automated shuttle services;
  • advanced driver assistance systems
  • maintenance, yard, and parking operations; 
  • mobility-on-demand service; and
  • automated bus rapid transit applications.

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