July 20, 2009
Nine major public transit positions available in this week's classified ads!
High-Speed Rail Grant Program Takes Shape
Propelled by the $8 billion federal investment in high-speed rail in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has spent the last few months crafting the program that will integrate high-speed rail into America’s travel patterns of the not too distant future.
FRA, tasked with developing an entirely new grant program, must create one unlike any other it has previously administered, maintaining a pipeline of developing projects, shovel-ready work, and construction—all with an eye toward achieving a world-class system of high-speed trains.
Within a severely limited time frame, FRA has created a series of plans and proposals to move the process quickly while ensuring that the industry and public are fully engaged in program development. The latest step came on June 17, when FRA announced its interim program guidance at the APTA Rail Conference in Chicago and asked for responsive comments.
APTA and its members have responded to FRA’s solicitations for comments from the beginning for formulating the program. The association’s review and comment drafting efforts were led by its High Speed and Intercity Rail Committee, chaired by Rod Diridon, chair emeritus and member of the California High Speed Rail Authority; former vice chair of the High Speed Ground Transportation Association (HSGTA); and current executive director of the Mineta Transportation Institute. HSGTA was formally absorbed into APTA in January 2007; this integration brought decades of high speed rail expertise under the APTA umbrella.
In its comments, APTA stressed themes consistent with principles adopted by its executive committee at its May meeting, including competition and system interoperability, and identified a number of technical issues that could impede the program’s progress.
To read more, click here, then on the SAFETEA-LU Rulemaking and Notices icon, and scroll down to the entries on the high-speed and intercity passenger rail program.