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    Document Summary
    - Report Published -

    Report Document No. 58
    PUBLICATION YEAR 2016

    Document Title
    Rail Programs Legislative, Policy and Expenditure Review of 2015 - December 9, 2015

    Author
    Secretary of Transportation

    Enabling Authority
    Appropriation Act - Item 427 O. (Regular Session, 2015)

    Executive Summary
    In HB 1887, the 2015 General Assembly directed the Commonwealth Transportation Board to “develop no later than December 1, 2015, a legislative proposal to revise the public benefit requirements of the Rail Enhancement Fund….”

    Section 427 of the Appropriations Act that same year directed the Secretary of Transportation and the Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) to summarize previous Rail Enhancement Fund allocations, expenditures and transfers, as well as the long-term needs of the Rail Enhancement Fund. In addition, the General Assembly directed a more expansive review of all rail programs to “include the amounts of funds allocated to rail freight projects, the amounts allocated to rail passenger projects, and the outstanding commitments to each type of project by year. Also included in this review shall be an accounting of any funds transferred in or out of the fund for other purposes, and additional funds made available, by year, for rail projects in the Commonwealth. The review shall include the uses of any funding deposited into the Intercity Passenger Rail Operating and Capital Fund, and the source of such funds. Finally, the review shall assess outstanding needs for rail improvement projects and any modifications to the Commonwealth’s rail programs that would help better address those needs.”

    The Commonwealth Transportation Board, through its Rail Subcommittee, expanded the study to include an equivalent consideration of program policy goals for both the Rail Enhancement Fund (REF) and the Rail Preservation Fund (RPF). The Department of Rail and Public Transportation, in conjunction with the Rail Subcommittee and an open process of stakeholder engagement, is conducting administrative improvements to simplify the grant process and to enhance overall transparency and accountability of the Rail Enhancement Fund activities.

    This report addresses the above issues in four ways:

    • Review and analysis of the REF legislative and policy goals, including a proposed prioritization process to use in allocating increasingly scarce Rail Enhancement funds

    • Review and analysis of all DRPT rail program expenditures—REF, RPF, Intercity Passenger Rail Operating and Capital Fund (IPROC), Rail Industrial Access (RIA) program, Federal Railroad Administration’s High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail program, and the Virginia Transportation Act of 2000 (VTA)

    • Legislative and policy recommendations for REF and RPF

    • Establishing a process for updates and enhancements to the REF benefit-cost model and its associated administrative procedures