member resources

FY2022 CRISI Grant Application Information

The FY 2022 CRISI Grant Notice of Funding Opportunity has been published and the program is now open for applications. Posted in the Federal Register on September 2, 2022, the Application Deadline is ninety days from the date of publication, which is December 1, 2022. With a historic $1.4 billion available for projects this year – over four times the resources in 2021 – we encourage every member to consider an application. If you need assistance with applications, please contact one of ASLRRA’s Grant Writing Preferred Providers.

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recently hosted an overview on September 15, 2022 covering How To Apply and Best Practices in the areas of: Project Narrative, Statement of Work, Benefit-Cost Analysis and Environmental Readiness. Click here to access the presentation materials and a recording of the event.

ASLRRA Members (when logged in) can click the titles of each of the sections below, or to the left, for additional, detailed information.

Five Areas To Focus On – From Registering Your Railroad to Using FRA’s Templates – to Position Your Railroad For Success in the FY 22 Round

Important Links

ASLRRA’s On-Demand Webinar Library features grant webinar recordings, including:

FRA has also hosted webinars, the most recent CRISI webinar is here.

ASLRRA’s Member Discount Program Preferred Providers offer grant writing services.

Register Your Railroad

Before pursuing funding through CRISI, the applying entity must be properly registered in two federal systems: The System for Award Management (SAM) and grants.gov. Grant applicants must first be set up in SAM to register in grants.gov and all recipients of federal funds must be registered in SAM. All application materials are submitted through grants.gov.

Coordinate With Partners and Seek Advocates

Some short line projects seeking federal CRISI funds will involve getting the permission of outside parties, so identifying and working on these tasks early in the grant application writing process is important.

A common scenario for short lines is when a Class I freight railroad must approve the proposed grant-funded project. Short lines should review their lease agreements closely, as leases can include clauses specific to pursuit and use of public grant funding. Short lines should also presume that Class I permission will be required if the proposed project could affect the Class I’s property or operations. The fact that a Class I won’t contribute any monetary resources to the proposed funded project does not eliminate the need to meet all legal and operational coordination requirements.

Consider finding regional advocates, such as customers, businesses, or elected officials, who could help write letters of support touting your project’s importance to FRA.

Use the FRA’s Templates

FRA guidance directs grant applicants to templates for three required attachments for their capital grant programs: the Statement of work (SOW), Schedule, and Budget.

These templates have sometimes been confusing to CRISI applicants because they are provided in the form of drafts of what will become the starting point for attachments to a formal federal grant agreement if the application is successful.

Applicants should use these templates as requested by FRA, ideally without modifying the language and structure of the documents as provided. Applicants should insert the requested data where indicated, and as indicated.

Prepare Foundational Documents

Applicants are required to provide three foundational documents as attachments: a project statement of work (SOW); a schedule; and a budget. Completing these three documents at the beginning of the grant writing process reduces the risk of inconsistent information across these three documents. Preparing documents early will also assist with the preparation of other required application elements.

Make the Case for Your Project Using the Transportation Analysis

Effective communication of the transportation analysis supporting a CRISI application is fundamental to making the case for the project. Most CRISI applications will have a forecast for traffic of some type, often in the form of revenue carloads transported over twenty years, sometimes more, from the expected completion of construction.

It is surprisingly easy to provide an excellent data-driven transportation and benefit-cost analysis in the application attachments but neglect to communicate that information well in the grant application narrative. The narrative document must bring forward all important data and findings, including at least summary versions of traffic forecasts and scenarios.

ASLRRA thanks Blank Rome Government Relations Senior Advisor Richard Sherman for the information provided on these pages.

 

Don’t forget other Grant Programs that are currently open, for which Short Lines are eligible applicants!