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Proposed Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request

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Federal Railroad Administration, DOT.




In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 and its implementing regulations, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) hereby announces that it is seeking approval of the following information collection activities. Before submitting these information collection requirements for clearance by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), FRA is soliciting public comment on specific aspects of the activities identified below.


Comments must be received no later than February 17, 2009.


Submit written comments on any or all of the following proposed activities by mail to either: Mr. Robert Brogan, Office of Safety, Planning and Evaluation Division, RRS-21, Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE., Mail Stop 17, Washington, DC 20590, or Ms. Nakia Jackson, Office of Information Technology, RAD-20, Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE., Mail Stop 35, Washington, DC 20590. Commenters requesting FRA to acknowledge receipt of their respective comments must include a self-addressed stamped postcard stating, “Comments on OMB control number 2130-New.” Alternatively, comments may be transmitted via facsimile to (202) 493-6216 or (202) 493-6497, or via e-mail to Mr. Brogan at, or to Ms. Jackson at Please refer to the assigned OMB control number and the title of the information collection in any correspondence submitted. FRA will summarize comments received in response to this notice in a subsequent notice and include them in its information collection submission to OMB for approval.

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Mr. Robert Brogan, Office of Planning and Evaluation Division, RRS-21, Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE., Mail Stop 17, Washington, DC 20590 (telephone: (202) 493-6292) or Ms. Nakia Jackson, Office of Information Technology, RAD-20, Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE., Mail Stop 35, Washington, DC 20590 (telephone: (202) 493-6073). (These telephone numbers are not toll-free.)

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The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), Public Law No. 104-13, § 2, 109 Stat. 163 (1995) (codified as revised at 44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), and its implementing regulations, 5 CFR Part 1320, require Federal agencies to provide 60-days notice to the public for comment on information collection activities before seeking approval of such activities by OMB. 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A); 5 CFR 1320.8(d)(1), 1320.10(e)(1), 1320.12(a). Specifically, FRA invites interested respondents to comment on the following summary of proposed information collection activities regarding (i) Whether the information collection activities are necessary for FRA to properly execute its functions, including whether the activities will have practical utility; (ii) the accuracy of FRA's estimates of the burden of the information collection activities, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used to determine the estimates; (iii) ways for FRA to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information being collected; and (iv) ways for FRA to minimize the burden of information collection activities on the public by automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology (e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses). See 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)(I)-(iv); 5 CFR 1320.8(d)(1)(I)-(iv). FRA believes that soliciting public comment will promote its efforts to reduce the administrative and paperwork burdens associated with the collection of information mandated by Federal regulations. In summary, FRA reasons that comments received will advance three objectives: (i) Reduce reporting burdens; (ii) ensure that it organizes information collection requirements in a “user friendly” format to improve the use of such information; and (iii) accurately assess the resources expended to retrieve and produce information requested. See 44 U.S.C. 3501.

Below is a brief summary of the proposed information collection activities that FRA will submit for clearance by OMB as required under the PRA:

Title: Notice Requesting Expressions of Interest in Implementing a High-Speed Inter-city Passenger Rail Corridor. (Please see the other FRA Notice in today's Federal Register that provides details of this proposed information collection.)

OMB Control Number: 2130-New.

Abstract: Section 502 of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008, Public Law 110-432 (October 16, 2008), requires the Secretary of Transportation to “issue a request for proposals for projects for the financing, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of a high-speed intercity passenger rail system operating within” either the Northeast Corridor or a Federally-designated high-speed rail (HSR) corridor. To satisfy this requirement, FRA is soliciting and encouraging the submission of Expressions of Interest for potential projects to finance, design, construct, operate, and maintain an improved HSR intercity passenger system in the Northeast Corridor or in one of ten Federally-designated corridors. FRA envisions this as the first phase of a qualification process that Congress may follow with more specific actions regarding particular concepts in one or more corridors. Section 502 prescribes that Expressions of Interest received will be considered by FRA and possibly by commissions, representing affected and involved governors, mayors, freight railroads, transit authorities, labor organizations, and Amtrak. The results of these reviews will be summarized in one or more reports to Congress, which will make recommendations for further action regarding no more than one project concept for each corridor. FRA envisions this as the first phase of a qualification process that Congress may follow with more specific actions Start Printed Page 76443regarding particular concepts in one or more corridors.

Although authorized, no funds have been appropriated to support implementation of HSR under this program, and the availability of such funds in the future is not known. Respondents to the request in today's Federal Register acknowledge, by virtue of their response, that the likelihood of future funding and implementation of the projects covered by that notice is unknown, and that the Federal Government will not be liable for any costs incurred in the preparation of responses to this notice.

The information collected will be used by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), commissions to be formed in accordance with Section 502, and Congress. The collection of information—responses that describe high speed rail proposals—will be used to inform the Department and Congress about the benefits to the public and the national transportation system from high speed rail proposals received. Upon receipt of responses and after the close of the Expression of Interest solicitation, FRA will evaluate them and determine if each Expression of Interest is complete and if there is evidence provided in the response that would support conclusions, based on criteria specified in Section 502. If FRA determines that one or more Expressions of Interest satisfy this screening evaluation, FRA would form a commission for each relevant corridor to review and consider the response(s).

Form Number(s): N/A.

Affected Public: Businesses, States, Individuals, Entities.

Respondent Universe: 50 Individuals or Entities.

Frequency of Submission: On occasion; annually.

Reporting Burden

RFEI noticeRespondent universeTotal annual responsesAverage time per responseTotal annual burden hours
—Responses to Notice50 Individuals or Entities10 responses3,400 hours34,000
—Identifying Letters to FRA regarding RFEI questions50 Individuals or Entities25 letters30 minutes13
—RFEI Informational Sessions with FRA50 Individuals or Entities25 sessions2 hours50

Total Responses: 60.

Estimated Total Annual Burden: 34,063 hours.

Status: Regular Review.

Pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 3507(a) and 5 CFR 1320.5(b), 1320.8(b)(3)(vi), FRA informs all interested parties that it may not conduct or sponsor, and a respondent is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

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Authority: 44 U.S.C. 3501-3520.

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Issued in Washington, DC on December 11, 2008.

Kimberly Orben,

Director, Office of Financial Management, Federal Railroad Administration.

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[FR Doc. E8-29788 Filed 12-15-08; 8:45 am]