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Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Releases Guidance for Developing State Rail Plans.  FRA’s Draft State Rail Plan Guidance, which was announced in the Federal Register on Tuesday, August 14, 2012, provides an explanation of the proposed process to be followed in developing State rail plans. State Rail Plans provide a basis for federal and state rail investment by describing how rail fits into a state’s overall transportation planning and presenting a series of goals, objectives, and strategies for its rail system.  The guidance includes FRA’s review and acceptance procedures, the standardized State rail plan format, a list of the minimum State rail plan content requirements, and requirements established by the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act (PRIIA).

For more information on the draft guidance, please see FRA’s notice in the Federal Register https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2012/08/14/2012-19910/state-rail-plan-guidance.  The public comment period is open for 60 days from the date of publication. Contact: Kevin Thompson (202) 493-6024.

Federal Railroad Administration Proposes Revisions to Roadway Worker Protection Regulations.  The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today announced a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that would boost protections for railroad employees and contractors. The rulemaking would revise FRA’s Roadway Worker Protection regulations to further advance the on-track safety of railroad employees and contractors engaged in maintenance-of-way activities and clarify existing regulations.

FRA will also review existing technical bulletins and a safety advisory dealing with on-track safety to consider implications, and consider enhancements to the existing regulations. Interested parties are invited to submit comments on the proposed rule https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2012/08/20/2012-20065/railroad-workplace-safety-roadway-worker-protection-miscellaneous-revisions-rrr by Oct. 19. Contact: Kevin Thompson (202) 493-6024.

U.S. DOT SBIR Program Awards Contracts for Transportation Research.  The U.S. Department of Transportation's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program has selected ten companies to receive awards to conduct research in transportation safety, infrastructure and other transportation-related topics.  Contracts, each worth approximately $150,000, will be issued to the companies to conduct research on behalf of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in eight topic areas that were specified in the award solicitation. 

The SBIR Program encourages small businesses to engage in transportation research that has the potential for commercial application and meets federal research objectives. The awards are posted on the SBIR website, http://www.volpe.dot.gov/sbir/awards121.html.   The next solicitation will be released in December 2012.  Contact: Nancy Wilochka (202) 366-5128.

BTS Releases State Transportation Statistics 2011.  The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), today released its annual State Transportation Statistics 2011 (STS) – a web-only reference guide to transportation data for the 50 states and the District of Columbia. STS 2011 includes a wide range of state-by-state information, such as the calculations showing which states had the highest and lowest number of highway traffic fatalities per 100,000 population in 2010. 

The ninth annual STS consists of 115  tables of state data on infrastructure, safety, freight transportation, passenger travel, registered vehicles and vehicle-miles traveled, economy and finance, and energy and environment, plus a U.S. Fast Facts page. STS 2011 can be viewed on the BTS website.  Contact: Dave Smallen (202) 366-5568.

Government Transportation Financial Statistics Released. Federal and state government expenditures on transportation were almost $243 billion in 2009, according to data released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). Government Transportation Financial Statistics (GTFS) shows that $200 billion of the expenditures were by state governments, with $43 billion from the federal government (Table 15A). More than 50 percent of the funds were used for highways, with 22 percent for transit and 20 percent for aviation (Table 12).

Total revenue allocated for transportation in 2009 was almost $245 billion (Table 2A). GTFS consists of 43 tables showing federal, state and local transportation expenditures and revenue in current and inflation-adjusted dollars from 1995 through 2009. For 2009, GTFS does not include local government outlays for highways. Today’s release is the fourth GTFS issued by BTS. Contact: Dave Smallen 202-366-5568.

Friday, August 24, 2012