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Grant Readiness Checklist

Applying for Grants

Grant applicants responding to Notices of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) must submit applications to Each NOFO defines requirements applicants must address and each NOFO lists forms required to be completed. Forms such as SF 424 - Application for Federal Assistance; SF 424A - Budget Information for Non-Construction; or SF 424C – Budget Information for Construction can be accessed via SF 424 Family on One of the first steps when completing an SF 424 is to develop an accurate project title.

The checklist below will assist applicants in preparing their grant applications and completing required application forms.

Entities selected to receive funding must generally satisfy the following requirements as a precondition to the Federal Railroad Administration issuing a grant award. Not all requirements will apply to all projects.

Definition (Statement of Work)

  • Scope: Objectives, rationale, benefits, description of work to be performed
  • Schedule: Timing of steps and milestones
  • Budget: Budgets by project milestone and cost category, with documented assumptions:  See the FRA Budget Tool
  • Special Conditions: Specific requirements applicable to this project (e.g. milestones, FRA approvals, reporting requirements, etc.)


  • Operating Financials: Ridership and revenue projections; operating and maintenance costs
  • Capital Program: Capital plan for infrastructure, rolling stock, and stations
  • Financing Approach: Institutional authority, financial condition, capital sources (including for cost overruns), and annual operating sources


  • Risk Management Approach: Identified risks and mitigation strategies
  • Management Capability & Approach: Plan for management structure of project, including org charts and staffing plans
  • Project Implementation & Procurement Approach: Description of project delivery method, including information on procurement and compliance
  • Safety and Security Approach: Consideration of safety and security concerns and approaches for both construction and operations


  • Host Railroad Agreements: Legal agreements with all applicable host railroads, with details on engineering, statement of work, construction, service outcomes, cost sharing, or any other relevant issues
  • Service Operator Agreements: Commitments and concurrences from the operator of the intercity passenger rail service that will benefit from the project
  • Other Agreements: Other agreements as necessitated by specific project conditions, such as with real estate owners, utilities, other states, local governments, etc.


  • Engineering Documentation: Conceptual engineering, preliminary engineering, final design
  • Environmental Documentation: Service NEPA (P-EIS, P-EA) and/or Project NEPA (EIS, EA, CE)
  • State Rail Plan: Long-term vision for rail services in state, as prescribed in PRIIA (if applicable)
  • Service Development Plan: Proposed service characteristics for corridor