Best Practices in State Rail Planning: Comparing California's State Rail Plan with those of Other States Based on the Federal Railroad Administration's Requirements

Since the passage of the Passenger Rail Infrastructure Investment Act (PRIIA) of 2008, states have been required to prepare and submit to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) comprehensive plans that are intended to address all aspects of the railroad infrastructure within their respective jurisdictions including the current state of the infrastructure, the amount and type of rail service that operates on that infrastructure, the relationship of that infrastructure to other modes of transpotration, the type and state of the technology used to operate that infrastructure, and plans for the future operation of that infrastructure. Originally, these plans were to be submitted to the FRA every five years, but more recently the FRA has requested state to submit their plans every four years. The state of California, in 2018, published what many consider the most comprehensive state rail plan ever submitted to the FRA, and is presently in the conceptual stages of preparing its 2022 submission. This research project is intended to identify all of the FRA's rail planning requirements and prepare a matrix that details how California addressed each of those requirements, as well as how other states addressed the FRA's requirements. Then the research will identify the best practices and gaps in both the California plan and those of the other states, with the intention of setting forth a set of recommendations that California and other states may address as they prepare their next round of plan submissions. The project will have five deliverables: (1) Preparation of the matrix identifying all of the FRA's requirements; (2) Review of California's 2018 rail plan and identification of how the plan addressed each of the FRA's requirements; (3) Review of all other submitted state rail plans and identification of how each plan addressed the FRA's requirements; (4) Identification of the best practices and gaps with recommendations for addressing those best practices and gaps; and (5) Final submission of the research product and subsequent presentations via workshops and webinars of the projects findings and recommendations.