Railroad Rehabilitation & Repair (Disaster Assistance)
The Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2009 (Pub. L. 110-329, September 30, 2008), provides the Secretary of Transportation $20,000,000 for necessary expenses to make grants to repair and rehabilitate Class II and Class III railroad infrastructure damaged by hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters in areas for which the President declared a major disaster under Title IV of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 1974. These funds are to remain available until expended and are to be awarded to States on a competitive, case-by-case basis.
Under this Program, a State may apply for a grant from the Department of Transportation's Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to cover up to 80% of the cost of a project to repair and rehabilitate Class II and Class II railroad infrastructure damaged by hurricanes, floods, and natural disasters, provided that the infrastructure is located in a county that has been identified in a Disaster Declaration for Public Assistance issued by the President (http://www.fema.gov/news/disasters.fema#sev1). Class II and Class III railroad infrastructure eligible for repair and rehabilitation consists of railroad rights-of-way, bridges, signals and other infrastructure that are part of the general railroad system of transportation and primarily used by railroads to move freight traffic. At least 20% of the cost of eligible repair and rehabilitation projects must be covered by non-Federal sources in the form of cash, equipment, or supplies. Section 24312 (Labor Standards) of Title 49, United States Code, applies to grantees assisted under this Program.
The grantees must exhaust all other Federal and State resources prior to seeking assistance under this Program. For FY 2008, Congress appropriated $20,000,000 in Federal funds for this program. The Act allows the Secretary to retain up to one-half of 1 percent of the funds (up to $100,000) to fund the oversight by the Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration of the design and implementation of projects funded by these grants. The funding provided for these grants will be made available to the grantee(s) on a reimbursable basis.
First Solicitation of Applications
FRA issued a Notice of Funding Availability and Solicitation of Application for Grants under the Railroad Rehabilitation and Repair Grant Program on November 6, 2008. FRA accepted applications for funding under this grant program from November 16, 2008 to January 16, 2009. Joseph C. Szabo, Federal Railroad Administrator, announced the award of $15 million to nine states for emergency repairs to damaged railroad infrastructure resulting from natural disasters on May 27, 2009.
Second Solicitation of Applications
For the remaining $5 million, the FRA issued a Notice of Funding Availability and Solicitation of Application for Grants under the Railroad Rehabilitation and Repair Grant Program on October 7, 2009. FRA accepted applications for funding under this program from October 7, 2009 to December 20, 2009.
Third Solicitation of Applications
FRA issued a $1.87 million Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA), inviting state departments of transportation to apply for grants to rehabilitate Class II and Class III railroad infrastructure damaged by hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters in areas for which the President declared a major disaster after January 1, 2008. Since 2008, FRA has obligated 21 grants to states under the program, covering up to 80 percent of project costs, and made available to affected railroads on a reimbursable basis. Prospective grantees must exhaust all other Federal and State resources prior to seeking assistance under this program. Any repairs made must be improvements for rights-of-way, bridges, signals, and other general rail system infrastructure primarily used to move freight traffic. The FRA will accept grant applications for the NOFA from November 6 until December 9, 2013.