FRA Seeks Comments on Rail Compacts Program

The Federal Railroad Administration last week issued a Request of Information on the new Interstate Rail Compacts Grant Program that it will administer.

The program was established by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to provide funding to states for intercity rail passenger service.

In a notice published in the Federal Register, the FRA said its role in the program is to pay for “the technical and administrative functions of IRCs and support coordination and promotion activities for rail services within a region.”

The FRA said interstate rail compacts have traditionally promoted development of intercity passenger rail projects and fostered the efficient development of those projects sponsored by state departments of transportation.

“Furthermore, as investment in intercity passenger rail from state and federal governments over the past decade has created increasingly robust rail networks, a greater need has emerged for increased cooperation across state lines to coordinate intercity passenger rail services and project delivery,” the FRA notice said.

Certain regions have also expressed a desire for strong leadership to represent regional needs. The FRA notice said it is seeking public comment on how the Interstate Rail Compacts Grant Program can best support existing compacts “so they are able to take a more central role in advancing the development of intercity passenger rail service.”

By law only established compacts are eligible for financial assistance under the program, but the FRA said it is considering whether offering other types of assistance outside of the program, such as technical support, to states interested in developing compacts would be beneficial.

Comments are due by Sept. 19.

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