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MIPRC and MWRRI submit joint comments into FRA draft state rail plan guidance

On October 15, MIPRC and the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative (MWRRI) steering committee submitted joint comments into the Federal Railroad Administration’s draft guidance for the state development of rail plans.

The joint submission emphasized four areas:

  1. Praise of the planning process presented in the guidance, with a caution that flexibility and context will be important elements in the planning process.
  2. Recognition that regional (multi-state) coordination is a vital secondary purpose of state rail plans, and encouraging federal investment in a Midwest multi-state rail planning effort that builds on the foundations laid by MIPRC and the MWRRI. 
  3. Asking the Federal Railroad Administration to carefully integrate the freight provisions found in Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21). 
  4. Offering recommendations regarding the process of FRA’s approval of state rail plans.

According to the federal Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act (PRIIA), signed into law on October 16, 2008, states must develop PRIIA/FRA-approved rail plans in order to be eligible for funding under Section 301, 302 and 501 of the law (these sections became the High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) grant program). During the first rounds of funding, made available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and FY 2010 appropriations, Congress waived the requirement, but states will need to complete PRIIA/FRA-compliant plans and update those plans every 5 years in order to be eligible for HSIPR funding in the future.

Read the joint MIPRC/MWRRI comments here.


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