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Notice

Information Collection Requirement (ICR)

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Federal Railroad Administration, DOT.

ACTION:

Notice and request for comments.

SUMMARY:

In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), this notice announces that the Information Collection Requirement (ICR) abstracted below has been forwarded to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and comment. The ICR describes the nature of the information collection and its expected burden. The Federal Register notice with a 60-day comment period soliciting comments on the following collection of information was published on December 16, 2008 (73 FR 76442).

DATES:

Comments must be submitted on or before March 26, 2009.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mr. Robert Brogan, Office of Safety, Planning and Evaluation Division, RRS-21, Federal Railroad Administration, 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE., 3rd Floor, Mail Stop 25, 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., 3rd Floor, Mail Stop 35, Washington, DC 20590 (telephone: (202) 493-6073). (These telephone numbers are not toll-free.)

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), Public Law 104-13, Section 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 issue two notices seeking public comment on information collection activities before OMB may approve paperwork packages. 44 U.S.C. 3506, 3507; 5 CFR 1320.5, 1320.8(d)(1), 1320.12. On December 16, 2008, FRA published a 60-day notice in the Federal Register soliciting comment Start Printed Page 8304on this ICR that the agency was seeking OMB approval. 73 FR 76442. FRA received no comments after issuing this notice. Accordingly, DOT announces that these information collection activities have been evaluated and certified under 5 CFR 1320.5(a) and forwarded to OMB for review and approval pursuant to 5 CFR 1320.10(a).

Before OMB decides whether to approve these proposed collections of information, it must provide 30 days for public comment. 44 U.S.C. 3507(b); 5 CFR 1320.12(d). Federal law requires OMB to approve or disapprove paperwork packages between 30 and 60 days after the 30-day notice is published. 44 U.S.C. 3507(b)-(c); 5 CFR 1320.12(d); see also 60 FR 44978, 44983, Aug. 29, 1995. OMB believes that the 30-day notice informs the regulated community to file relevant comments and affords the agency adequate time to digest public comments before it renders a decision. 60 FR 44983, Aug. 29, 1995. Therefore, respondents should submit their respective comments to OMB within 30 days of publication to best ensure having their full effect. 5 CFR 1320.12(c); see also 60 FR 44983, Aug. 29, 1995.

The summary below describes the nature of the information collection requirement (ICR) and the expected burden. The revised requirement is being submitted for clearance by OMB as required by the PRA.

Title: Notice Requesting Expressions of Interest in Implementing a High-Speed Inter-City Passenger Rail Corridor.

OMB Control Number: 2130—New.

Type of Request: Regular approval of a new collection of information.

Affected Public: 50 states, District of Columbia, Amtrak, eligible entities.

Abstract: Section 502 of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008, Public Law 110-690 (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 regarding 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 FRA's request in the December 16, 2008, Federal Register (73 FR 76443) 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).

Annual Estimated Burden Hours: 34,063 hours.

Addressee: Send comments regarding this information collection to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, 725 Seventeenth Street, NW., Washington, DC 20503, Attention: FRA Desk Officer. Comments may also be sent via e-mail to OMB at the following address: oira_submissions@omb.eop.gov.

Comments are Invited on the Following: Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Department, including whether the information will have practical utility; the accuracy of the Department's estimate of the burden of the proposed information collection; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

A comment to OMB is best assured of having its full effect if OMB receives it within 30 days of publication of this notice in the Federal Register.

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Authority: 44 U.S.C. §§ 3501-3520.

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Issued in Washington, DC, on February 18, 2009.

Kimberly Orben,

Director, Office of Financial Management, Federal Railroad Administration.

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[FR Doc. E9-3901 Filed 2-23-09; 8:45 am]

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