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NEW JOINT RULE FROM THE FTA AND FHWA
On October 6, 2014, FTA published a joint final rule with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) that adds a number of new categorical exclusions (CEs) for FHWA and FTA pursuant to Section 1318 of MAP-21. The new CEs are effective November 5, 2014. The CEs were developed based on responses to a stakeholder survey. The guidance can be found here. You can access a recording of an FTA webinar on the subject at this link.
CIRCULAR FROM THE FTA ON GRANT PROCESS FOR FORMULA GRANTS
On October 24, 2014, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) published Circular 9040.1G. This circular provides recipients of FTA financial assistance with updated instructions and guidance on program administration and the grant application process for Formula Grants for Rural Areas, established by MAP-21, the current authorizing law.
FTA DIALOGUE ON PRIVATE SECTOR PARTICIPATION
The FTA is currently hosting an Online Dialogue on Private Sector Participation through November 26, 2014. The Private Sector Participation provisions of MAP-21 require FTA to undertake actions, including a rulemaking, to promote more effective utilization of private sector expertise, financing, and operation capacity to deliver complex new fixed guide way capital projects. To implement the Private Sector Participation provisions of MAP-21, FTA is conducting this Online Dialogue to engage grantees and other stakeholders to inform the rulemaking, as well as obtain feedback on FTA’s proposed guidance on assessments and model contracts. Register and sign-up to participate in the Online Dialogue.
FTA CAN ASSIST IN CORRIDOR AQUISITIONS
FTA can now, under certain conditions, assist in the acquisition of both non-railroad and railroad right-of-way (ROW) for corridor preservation before the environmental review process under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is complete for any transit project that could eventually use that ROW or could later receive FTA financial assistance. The final guidance defines the type of ROW to which this MAP-21 provision applies and explains the conditions and requirements pertaining to its application. This guidance can be found here.
NEW FINAL RULE FROM THE FRA ON TRAINING REQUIREMENTS
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) issued a final rule that strengthens training requirements for railroad employees and contractors who perform safety-related work. The rule, which was required by the Rail Safety Improvement Act (RSIA) of 2008, aims to ensure that safety-related employees are trained and qualified to comply with any relevant federal railroad safety laws, regulations, and orders. The rule directs the training for all safety-related railroad employees, regardless of whether the person is employed by a railroad, a contractor or a subcontractor, and requires:
- Minimum training standards for each type of safety-related railroad employee; Safety-related is a new term as it is broader than “safety sensitive”;
- FRA review and approval of each employer’s training program to ensure employees will be qualified to measurable standards;
- Greater use of structured on-the-job and interactive training;
- Methods for each employer to review and improve training programs annually with a focus on closing performance gaps;
- A streamlined, nation-wide approach that bolsters training for operators of roadway maintenance machines equipped with a crane that work across multiple jurisdictions, in addition to any applicable OSHA requirements;
- Separate implementation dates for employers with over 400,000 annual hours, and those with less than 400,000 hours.