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Discretionary Grants Application Process

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) posts grant opportunities, cooperative agreements, as well as modifications to current grants or cooperative agreements on is a "one-stop shop" for all potential grantees to electronically find and apply for grants and cooperative agreements. 

To view discretionary grant programs that are currently accepting applications as well as those that are no longer accepting applications, please refer to FRA’s Discretionary Grant Programs page.

To review a consolidated listing of FRA discretionary grant programs and respective eligibilities by project sponsor and activity type, explore the FRA Discretionary Grant Program Tool

For additional grant application resources, see FRA’s Additional Resources page. 

Four key phases in the application process:

FRA developed a Grant Application Guide to support those applying for FRA Discretionary grant funding. This guide is a tool that shares information and best practices on collecting required and supporting information for FRA’s grant programs. This guide is only a tool and is not all encompassing; please pay close attention to Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) requirements which vary by grant program. 

PHASE 1 – Typical time frame: up to 1 monthGrants Application Process flowchart

STEP 1 — Register your organization in the Federal government's System for Award Management (SAM). You will be assigned a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI), or the Entity ID as part of the registration process. After registering, send SAM 1) a notarized letter, and 2) An Employer Identification Number (EIN)/Tax Identification Number (TIN).

STEP 2 Register at, creating a username and password. Then complete an Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) profile. The E-Biz POC at the applicant’s organization must respond to the registration email from and login at to authorize the applicant as the AOR.

PHASE 2 – Typical time frame: 1 month

STEP 3 — Complete and submit an application addressing all requirements outlined in the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) in The portal for completing an application is called Workspace. It allows flexibility for multiple organization members to work on an application. It also can help reduce technical issues when you are submitting an application. Learn more about Workspace

Forms needed for the electronic application process can be accessed via or on the Additional Resources page.

NOTE: FRA will not accept paper grant applications. Grant applications for FRA’s Discretionary Grant Programs must be submitted electronically at For up-to-date information on upcoming changes, please check the Notices section.

PHASE 3 – Typical time frame: 4–5 months

STEP 4 — Receive a tracking number from after you submit your application. Use the Track My Application webpage to confirm that your application was submitted and then received by FRA. 

STEP 5 — Project selections are announced via press release.

PHASE 4 – Typical time frame: 6–15 months

STEP 6 — Work with FRA to complete required documentation before funds can be obligated. Grantees submit to FRA 1) Grant Agreement, 2) Terms and Conditions, and 3) NEPA Requirements.

STEP 7 — Submit invoices to FRA for reimbursement for eligible expenses. Once funds are obligated, grantee follows Grant Agreement/Terms and Conditions to ensure grant compliance.