Interstate Rail Compacts


The purpose of the IRC program is to provide a Federal funding opportunity to entities implementing interstate rail compacts. Congress authorized the IRC grant program for the Secretary to invest in a wide range of projects within the United States to promote passenger rail service, including activities related to the financing of such service, and to encourage multi-state grant applications.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Federal Railroad Administration, Department of Transportation
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
B - Project Grants
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2023 In FY 2023, FRA published the Notice of Funding Opportunity for an estimated $5.8 million.
49 U.S.C. 22910
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
Entities implementing interstate rail compacts means an existing entity, such as a commission, that has been established by member states to implement the Interstate Rail Compact. Applications must identify an eligible applicant as the lead applicant. The lead applicant serves as the primary point of contact for the application, and if selected, as the grantee. Eligible applicants may reference entities that are not eligible applicants in an application as a project partner.
Beneficiary Eligibility
Not applicable.
SF424 (Application for Federal Assistance); SF 424A - Budget Information for Non-Construction or SF 424C Budget Information for Construction; SF 424B - Assurances for Non-Construction or SF 424D - Assurances for Construction; FRA's Additional Assurances and Certifications; and SF LLL: Disclosure of Lobbying Activities. Other documents may be required as pre-requisites to funding based on program type; documentation demonstrating applicant eligibility (for applicants other than States); National Environmental Policy Act documentation for construction projects and service development programs; program-specific Assurances and Certifications; planning and engineering documentation.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is required. This program is eligible for coverage under E.O. 12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.
Application Procedure
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. For any supporting application materials that an applicant cannot submit via, such as oversized engineering drawings, an applicant may submit an original and two (2) copies to Mr. Douglas Gascon, Office of Rail Program Policy and Evaluation, Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Room W38-212, Washington, DC 20590. Due to delays caused by enhanced screening of mail delivered via the U.S. Postal Service, FRA advises applicants to use other means of conveyance (such as courier service) to assure timely receipt of materials before the application deadline. Additionally, if documents can be obtained online, providing instructions to FRA on how to access files on a referenced website may also be sufficient. Applicants should use generally accepted formats such as .pdf, .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx and .ppt, when uploading attachments. While applicants may embed picture files, such as .jpg, .gif, and .bmp, in document files, applicants should not submit attachments in these formats. Additionally, the following formats will not be accepted: .com, .bat, .exe, .vbs, .cfg, .dat, .db, .dbf, .dll, .ini, .log, .ora, .sys, and .zip. If an applicant experiences difficulties at any point during this process, please call the Customer Center Hotline at 1-800-518-4726, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (closed on Federal holidays). For information and instructions on each of these processes, please see instructions at:
Award Procedure
Applications selected for funding will be announced in a press release and on FRA's website after the application review period. FRA will contact applicants with successful applications after announcement with information and instructions about the award process. This notification is not an authorization to begin proposed project activities. A formal grant agreement or cooperative agreement signed by both the grantee and the FRA, including an approved scope, schedule, and budget, is required before the award is considered complete.
Contact the headquarters or regional location, as appropriate for application deadlines
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
FRA is committed to responding to applicants in a reasonable and timely manner. Response times will vary based on size, scope, complexity and volume of applications.
Not applicable.
Not applicable.
How are proposals selected?
FRA will evaluate the project benefits of the proposed project for the anticipated private and public benefits relative to the costs of the proposed project and the summary of benefits provided in response to subsection D(2)(b)(ii) including-- (A) Effects on system and service performance; (B) Effects on safety, competitiveness, reliability, trip or transit time, and resilience; (C) Efficiencies from improved integration with other modes; and (D) Ability to meet existing or anticipated demand. ii. Technical Merit: FRA will evaluate application information for the degree to which-- (A) The tasks and subtasks outlined in the SOW are appropriate to achieve the expected outcomes of the proposed project. (B) Applications indicate ongoing commitment from each member state to achieving the proposed project. (C) The applicant has, or will have the legal, financial, and technical capacity to carry out the proposed project. The technical qualifications and experience of key personnel proposed to lead and perform the technical efforts, and the qualifications of the primary and supporting organizations to fully and successfully execute the proposed project within the proposed timeframe and budget are demonstrated. (D) The proposed project is consistent with planning guidance and documents set forth by DOT, including those required by law or State rail plans developed under Title 49, United State Code, Chapter 227, as appropriate. c. Selection Criteria In addition to the eligibility and completeness review and the evaluation criteria outlined in this subsection, the FRA will apply the following selection criteria: i. The amount of funding received (including funding from a rail carrier (as defined in section 24102)) or other participation by State, local, and regional governments and the private sector; ii. The applicant's work to foster economic development through rail service, particularly in rural communities; iii. Whether the applicant seeks to restore service over routes formerly operated by Amtrak, including routes described in section 11304(a) of the Passenger Rail Reform and Investment Act of 2015 (title XI of division A of Public Law 114-94); iv. The applicant's dedication to providing intercity passenger rail service to regions and communities that are underserved or not served by other intercity public transportation; v. Whether the applicant is enhancing connectivity and geographic coverage of the existing national network of intercity passenger rail service; vi. Whether the applicant has prepared regional rail or corridor service development plans and corresponding environmental analysis; and vii. Whether the applicant has engaged with appropriate government entities and transportation providers to identify projects necessary to enhance multimodal connections or facilitate service integration between rail service and other modes, including between intercity passenger rail service and intercity bus service or commercial air service.
How may assistance be used?
a. Costs of Administration, which include staffing costs for administrative, professional, or technical staff, or contractors serving administrative functions or providing technical oversight. Costs of administration also include the cost of activities or work products that facilitate Interstate Rail Compacts carrying out their duties effectively and timely, such as information technology, accounting, human resources, and procurement. b. Systems Planning, a high-level planning study that considers new transportation services or enhancing existing transportation systems by examining broad needs, challenges, and opportunities, including studying the impacts of freight rail operations on system performance and ridership. Systems planning occurs prior to corridor or project planning and identifies potential solutions to transportation challenges that can be examined at a more detailed level of study. Examples of systems planning work products include development of new or updates to existing regional rail planning studies. Systems planning should include strong community and stakeholder engagement elements, advisory and participation mechanisms to obtain planning input in a thorough, inclusive, and equitable basis. This will also include community engagement efforts already taken or planned, the extent to which engagement efforts are designed to reach impacted communities, whether engagement is accessible for persons with disabilities or limited English proficient persons within the impacted communities, and how community feedback is taken into account in decision-making. c. Promotion of intercity passenger rail operation, including marketing and advertising intercity passenger rail services. Promotional activities include website development, social media management, print materials, direct advertising, collecting customer feedback, and stakeholder outreach. d. Preparation of applications for competitive federal grant programs, including technical staff or contractor support to prepare applications and documentation associated with preparing an application for financial assistance, such as preparing operating plans, funding plans, benefit-cost analysis, and any other documentation that is required to be provided as part of an application for a federal grant. e. Operations Coordination, including coordinating interstate passenger rail services among states and with shared freight operations. Examples include, syncing schedules to facilitate better connections between overlapping services, identifying opportunities for creating operational efficiencies through optimizing the use of shared Amtrak resources, coordinating corridor utilization by other stakeholders such as freight rail, right of way coordination, shared maintenance, and joint procurement of services or equipment.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Performance Reports: Grant recipients will be monitored periodically by FRA to ensure that the project goals, objectives, performance requirements, timelines, milestones, budgets, and other related program criteria are being met. Monitoring may include onsite visits or detailed, interactive desk reviews. In addition, grantees are provided with intensive technical assistance from grants staff on a daily basis.
Not applicable.
During the course of its activities under a grant agreement and for three years thereafter, the applicant must agree to retain intact and to provide any data, documents, reports, records, contracts, and supporting materials relating to its performance under the agreement as FRA may require. Reporting and record-keeping requirements are set forth in 2 C.F.R. Part 200 for private non-profit and for-profit Grantees. Closeout does not alter these requirements.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory formula is not applicable to this assistance listing.

Matching is mandatory. The Federal share of total project costs under this section shall not exceed 50 percent.

MOE requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
After the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) is published, FRA will provide 90 days for applications to be submitted. No restriction on period of time the assistance normally is available. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: Assistance is awarded upon request for reimbursement Funding is obligated through cooperative agreements or grants, and outlays occur as reimbursement. Funding will only be obligated and disbursed as milestones are achieved.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
None/Not specified.
Headquarters Office
Matthew Lorah
Chief, Grants & Program Management Division, Office of Infrastructure Investment
1200 New Jersey Ave SE
Washington, DC 20590 USA
Phone: (202) 579-1074
Website Address
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Project Grants) FY 22$0.00; FY 23 est $0.00; FY 24 est $5,815,800.00; FY 21 Estimate Not Available - There were no obligations in FY 2022 and no obligations are expected in FY 2023.
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
There were no obligations in FY 2022 and no obligations are expected in FY 2023.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
Recipients of funds must comply with all applicable requirements of Federal law, including, without limitation, the Constitution of the United States; the conditions of performance, nondiscrimination requirements, and other assurances made applicable to the award of funds in accordance with regulations of the Department of Transportation; and applicable Federal financial assistance and contracting principles promulgated by the Office of Management and Budget. In complying with these requirements, recipients, in particular, must ensure that no concession agreements are denied or other contracting decisions made on the basis of speech or other activities protected by the First Amendment. If the Department determines that a recipient has failed to comply with applicable Federal requirements, the Department may terminate the award of funds and disallow previously incurred costs, requiring the recipient to reimburse any expended award funds. Examples of administrative and national policy requirements include: 2 CFR Part 200; procurement standards; compliance with Federal civil rights laws and regulations; requirements for disadvantaged business enterprises, debarment and suspension requirements, and drug-free workplace requirements; FRA's and OMB's Assurances and Certifications; Americans with Disabilities Act; safety requirements; NEPA; environmental justice requirements; performance measures under 49 U.S.C. 22907(f); grant conditions under 49 U.S.C. 22905, including the Buy America requirements, the provision deeming operators rail carriers for certain purposes and grantee agreements with railroad right-of-way owners for projects using railroad right-of way. See an example of standard terms and conditions for FRA grant awards at
Examples of Funded Projects
Fiscal Year 2023 Examples of projects anticipated for funding in FY 2023 include systems planning, promotion of Intercity Passenger Rail operations, preparation of applications for competitive federal grant programs, service operations coordination and administration costs.
Fiscal Year 2024 Examples of projects anticipated for funding in FY 2024 include systems planning, promotion of Intercity Passenger Rail operations, preparation of applications for competitive federal grant programs, service operations coordination and administration costs.


Federal Grants Resources