California Department of Transportation
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Grants for the High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program (HSIPRP)

The Recovery Act appropriated $8 billion nationally for competitive discretionary grant funding to be awarded by the Federal Railroad Administration for capital investments in high speed intercity passenger rail infrastructure under the High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program (HSIPRP) of the Recovery Act.  This program is a major component in implementing President Obama’s “Vision for High-Speed Rail in America” as outlined in the High Speed Rail Strategic Plan.  The application guidance, which was released on June 17, 2008 by the FRA and published in the Federal Register on June 23, 2009, can be located at the following link:

Federal Register Application Guidance for the HSIPRP

In short, to address the wide range of potential applicant goals and the varying stages of project development within statutory and program constraints, the FRA established four funding "tracks" through which applications may be submitted.  In addition, the FRA established a mandatory pre-application process for all tracks due to the FRA no later than July 10, 2009.  The pre-application process will allow feedback from the FRA to the states and initiate a collaborative process to ensure the success of the program.  The resultant applications will also be submitted to the FRA.

While the guidance does not require applications to be submitted to the FRA from the Governor of each state, California has taken a facilitative approach to develop a comprehensive California pre-application package and ultimately an application package that represents a partnership of California’s rail stakeholders.  The definition of each track and the application due dates to the FRA are provided as follows:

Track 1 - Projects

This track is intended to satisfy the economic recovery goals of ARRA through construction of "ready-to-go" intercity passenger rail projects.  Eligible projects include acquiring, constructing, improving, or inspecting equipment, track and structures, or a facility; expenses incidental to the acquisition or construction of them (including designing, engineering, location surveying, mapping, environmental studies, and acquiring rights-of-way); payment for capital cost of rail trackage rights; highway-rail grade crossing safety improvements; mitigating environmental impacts; communication and signalization improvements; acquiring, constructing, relocating, and rehabilitating replacement housing; and rehabilitating, remanufacturing, or overhauling rail rolling stock.  Environmental and preliminary engineering activities for these projects are generally complete.  Applications due to FRA August 24, 2009.

Track 2 - Service Development Programs

This track is intended to develop new high-speed and intercity passenger services, including substantial upgrades to existing services.  Projects do not need to be ready-to- go and the Federal Government may commit to fund the entire program through a Letter of Intent (LOI), and obligate funds through cooperative agreements that establish deadlines for completion of environmental, engineering, design and other work.  Eligible projects are essentially the same as those listed in Track 1.  Applications due to FRA October 2, 2009.

Track 3 - Service Planning Activities

Funded under the FY 2009 and FY 2008 DOT Appropriations Acts, this track is aimed at helping establish a pipeline of future projects and service development programs by aiding applicants advance planning activities for future implementation, requiring a 50 percent non-Federal match.  Applications due to FRA August 24, 2009.

Track 4 - Appropriations-Funded Projects

This track provides an alternative for state applicants offering at least a 50 percent non-Federal share of financing through simplified grant agreement terms, and up to five years to complete projects.  Eligible projects must be specifically included in a State applicant's Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP) and are similar to those under Tracks 1 and 2.  Applications due to FRA August 24, 2009.  California does not anticipate submitting a Track 4 application at this time.

Pre-Application Packages

Application Packages