ASLRRA: Navigating the Grant ProcessWritten by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
New U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) tools, including RAISE webinars, are now available to help organizations navigate the grant process for railroad projects, according to the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA).
The USDOT has issued a discretionary grant preparation checklist as part of its new DOT Navigator online resource to help groups capitalize on the more than $32 billion in grant funding available for Fiscal Year 2023 programs.
The checklist can help potential applicants “prepare for the year ahead and chart a strategic pathway,” according to USDOT. Applicants can use the list to familiarize themselves with the DOT’s calendar of funding opportunities, prepare a benefit-cost analysis for capital projects, and build a workforce and development plan, among other tasks. ASLRRA reports that the DOT Navigator website not only consolidates a variety of resources, including those for grant applications and technical assistance, but also includes a section on Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) funding opportunities as well as links to help individuals connect with local transportation contacts.
The Federal Railroad Administration has also released guidance for the development and implementation of railroad capital projects. The guidance can help project sponsors prepare for funding opportunities and successful grant-funded projects, ASLRRA reports. Since having a strong project plan is a key part of the grant application process, the FRA guidance document provides an overview of a typical project lifecycle before going into more detail concerning the stages of a project lifecycle and project management.
Additionally, ASLRRA offers its members resources to help navigate the federal grant process—from general tips on preparing a successful application (visit the CRISI Grant Application webpage) to recorded webinars (check out the On-Demand Webinar library). ASLRRA’s Member Discount Program includes grant-writing preferred providers who can assist as well.
USDOT has added two webinars to the RAISE discretionary grant series to help prospective applicants navigate the process. Applications for FY 2023 grants are due Feb. 28.
USDOT will present “How to Prepare a Benefit-Cost Analysis for RAISE Grants” on Jan. 26, and “How to Use the New RAISE Mapping Tool” on Feb. 1. Attendees will be able to participate in question and answer segments, but those who cannot join “live” can access event recordings that will be uploaded to the USDOT website. Recordings of previous webinars are available online.