FRA issued final State Rail Plan Guidance on September 17, 2013. Section 303 of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (PRIIA) requires states to develop FRA-accepted state rail plans and encourages state involvement in rail policy, planning, and development. The guidance explains the process to be followed in developing state rail plans, including minimum content requirements, a standardized format, and FRA’s review and acceptance process.
State rail plans completed before publication of this guidance that substantially meet the requirements of PRIIA as determined by FRA (acting for the Secretary of Transportation), will be accepted by FRA. Upon acceptance by FRA, these state rail plans will satisfy the requirements for states seeking capital grants under Sections 301, 302, and 501 of PRIIA. Because individual state rail plans must be updated at least every five years, and because state update cycles vary, there is no set schedule when states will submit rail plans to FRA for review and acceptance.
Further, state rail plans that are the product of planning efforts underway prior to September 17, 2013, and that substantially meet the requirements of PRIIA, will also be deemed by FRA to satisfy the state rail plan requirement for states seeking capital grants under Sections 301, 302, and 501 of PRIIA. A state rail plan effort that has reached the “notice-to-proceed” (NTP) stage between a State Rail Transportation Authority and a consultant will be considered “underway”.
For questions about State Rail Plan Guidance, please contact: FRAPlanning@dot.gov