FRA is providing the criteria and standards used to determine whether to approve or disapprove an application submitted under section 502 of the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976. These criteria are drawn from the legislation authorizing the RRIF program (45 U.S.C. 821 and 822 and 823) and program implementing regulations (49 CFR part 260). The words used below to describe the criteria differ from the statute and the regulations only for purposes of brevity. This notice does not contain any new criteria or impose any new legal requirements or have any legal effect other than to satisfy the mandate from Congress to issue this notice. Determinations are made based on the following criteria and standards, as more fully set forth in the statute or the regulations, evaluated individually and considered collectively.
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) will approve or disapprove a request for a loan within 90 days after receipt of a complete application. Applications will be deemed complete after the following:
(1) The FRA has fulfilled its obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and related laws, regulations and orders. In many cases, the FRA will need simply to approve a short environmental form submitted with the application. However, in some cases, compliance with NEPA may require preparation of detailed environmental assessments, consultation with Federal and State authorities, publication of documents, and public review and comment on these documents.
(2) The FRA has completed its initial review of the application (not to exceed 30 days) and, if additional information and/or clarification have been requested, the applicant has provided the requested information.
Note: Since a great variety of projects are eligible to be funded under the RRIF Program, it is impossible to anticipate all the information that will be necessary to evaluate a project for which funding is requested, or the level of detail that will be provided by an applicant. Therefore, a short period of time will be necessary to review applications and determine if there is a need for additional information.
All federal financial assistance programs must pay for the cost to the government of providing that financial assistance. In most cases this is done with appropriations from Congress. Since the RRIF Program does not currently have an appropriation, this cost must be borne by the applicant, or another entity on behalf of the applicant, through the payment of the Credit Risk Premium. The Administrator will calculate the amount of the Credit Risk Premium that must be paid for each loan before it can be disbursed.
In addition to the Credit Risk Premium, which is paid only if a loan is approved, each applicant must pay an Investigation Fee regardless of whether the loan is approved. The Investigation Fee defrays costs the FRA incurs in evaluating RRIF loan applications. The Investigation Fee may not exceed one half of one percent of the requested loan amount, but it is often substantially less.
If you have scheduled a meeting with FRA and you don’t have a completed application, you should bring at least the following information:
Federal Railroad Administration
Office of Railroad Development — Innovative Finance Division
RPD-12, Room W36-320
1200 New Jersey Ave. S.E., Washington, DC 20590
PLEASE NOTE: LETTERS AND PACKAGES SENT TO FEDERAL BUILDINGS ARE SUBSTANTIALLY DELAYED BECAUSE OF SECURITY SCREENING. USE OF A PRIVATE CARRIER SUCH AS UPS, FEDEX, DHL, ETC. IS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED.