Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), Public Law 104-13, Section 2, 109 Stat. 163 (1995) (codified as revised at 44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), and its implementing regulations, 5 CFR Part 1320, require Federal agencies to issue two notices seeking public comment on information collection activities before OMB may approve paperwork packages. 44 U.S.C. 3506, 3507; 5 CFR 1320.5, 1320.8(d)(1), 1320.12. On August 6, 2012, FRA published a 60-day notice in the
Before OMB decides whether to approve these proposed collections of information, it must provide 30 days for public comment. 44 U.S.C. 3507(b); 5 CFR 1320.12(d). Federal law requires OMB to approve or disapprove paperwork packages between 30 and 60 days after the 30 day notice is published. 44 U.S.C. 3507(b)-(c); 5 CFR 1320.12(d);
The summaries below describe the nature of the information collection requirements (ICRs) and the expected burden. The revised requirements are being submitted for clearance by OMB as required by the PRA.
In 2009, President Obama announced a new vision to address the nation's transportation challenges. He called for a collaborative effort among the Federal government, States, railroads, and other stakeholders to help transform America's transportation system. The President's vision seeks to create an efficient high-speed passenger rail system to connect inner-city communities across America.
Developing a comprehensive high-speed intercity passenger rail network requires a long-term commitment at both the Federal and State levels. The President has jump-started the process with $2 billion provided by the Department of Transportation (DOT) Appropriations Act of 2010 (FY10 Appropriations), $8 billion provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), $90 million provided by the DOT Appropriations Act of 2009 (FY09 Appropriations), and approximately $1.8 million remaining funds from the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008 (FY08 Appropriations). Additional or
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) allocates funds to applicants with plans or programs that align with the President's key strategic transportation goals: creating safe and efficient transportation choices, building a foundation for economic competitiveness, promoting energy efficiency and environmental quality, and supporting interconnected livable communities. Grants are being administered for the following types of projects:
• Service Development Programs—Aimed at new high-speed rail corridor services or substantial upgrades to existing corridor services. Grants are intended to fund a set of inter-related projects that constitute a phase (or geographic section) of a long-range corridor plan.
• Individual Projects—Aimed at discrete capital projects that will result in service benefits or other tangible improvements on a corridor. These projects include completion of preliminary engineering (PE), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documentation, final design (FD), and construction, which can include equipment procurements to provide improved service and modernized fleets throughout the country.
• Planning Projects—Aimed at helping to establish a pipeline of future construction projects and corridor development programs by completing Service Development Plans and service-level environmental analysis for corridors that are at an earlier stage of the development process, as well as State Rail Plans.
In essence, the application process is grounded on three key principles: (1) Promoting collaboration and shared responsibility among the Federal Government and States, groups of States within corridor regions, and governments, railroads and other private entities; (2) managing, rather than eliminating, risk through program management structure, controls and procedures that permit prudent but effective investments; and (3) ensuring early success while building a sustainable program to meet near-term economic recovery goals while developing public consensus for a long-term program. FRA has issued interim program guidance as well as detailed instructions to clearly explain the application process.
The applications include the standard items, such as the SF 424, all ARRA-relevant forms, and other necessary and relevant technical documents that are project-specific and voluntary.
In order to determine eligibility for funds, FRA must solicit applications and collect information from parties interested in obtaining and utilizing these funds for eligible projects.
Following allocation of funds to applicants, FRA must collect information from recipients in the form of various required reports in order to effectively monitor and track the progress of all funded projects. This process consists of:
This collection of information is necessary in order to comply with the funding agreements outlined in the Notice of Grant Agreement and, for ARRA recipients, satisfy legal obligations identified in Section 1501(c).
A comment to OMB is best assured of having its full effect if OMB receives it within 30 days of publication of this notice in the
44 U.S.C. 3501-3520.