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Prioritization of Projects to Improve Freight Movement Guidance


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U.S. Department of
Transportation
Federal Highway
Administration

Memorandum

Subject: Information: Prioritization of Projects to Improve Freight Movement Guidance Date: October 19, 2012
From: Jeff Lindley
Associate Administrator for Operations
Reply to Attn. of: HOP-1
To: Division Administrators
Directors of Field Services
Director of Technical Services

On July 6, 2012, the President signed into law P.L. 112-141, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). The attached preliminary guidance on Prioritization of Projects to Improve Freight Movement provides policy direction and information on funding, eligible activities, and specific requirements.

We anticipate that you may have questions. A companion Q&A document is electronically linked to this on the MAP-21 website at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/map21/.

If you have any questions, please contact Ms. Crystal Jones (202-366-2976) or Mr. Ed Strocko (202-366-2997) of the Office of Freight Management and Operations.

Attachment


PRIORITIZATION OF PROJECTS TO IMPROVE FREIGHT MOVEMENT

A. PROGRAM PURPOSE

The purpose of this document is to provide guidance on the implementation of Section 1116 of MAP-21- Prioritization of Projects to Improve Freight Movement, which allows an increase in the Federal share payable to 95 percent for projects on the Interstate System and 90 percent for any other project that meets the requirements outlined in that Section.

The program allows the Secretary to approve an increased Federal share for projects eligible under Section 1116. The allowable Federal share payable for a project is established at the time of project authorization.

To be eligible for the increased Federal share, the Secretary must certify that the following two requirements are met:

  1. The project demonstrates an improvement to the efficient movement of freight, including making progress toward meeting performance targets for freight to be established under section 23 U.S.C 150(d) (MAP-21 §1203). Until the targets under 23 U.S.C. 150(d) are established, States should describe how the project makes progress toward achieving the national goal for freight movement and economic vitality under 23 U.S.C. 150(b)(5) to improve the national freight network, strengthen the ability of rural communities to access national and international trade markets, and support regional economic development. After the targets are established, the State will need to demonstrate how a project makes progress toward meeting these targets for freight movement; and

  2. The project is identified in a State Freight Plan. For purposes of this section, the State Freight Plan must include the elements described under MAP-21 Section 1118(b), State Freight Plans. While Federal law does not require the States to have State Freight Plans, the inclusion of a project in a State Freight Plan is an express statutory requirement to be eligible for increased Federal share under Section 1116(b)(2). Thus, States must develop State Freight Plans in order to take advantage of Section 1116. States may develop State Freight Plans either separate from, or incorporated into the strategic long-range transportation plan required by 23 U.S.C. 135.

B. FUNDING

  1. Authorization Levels under MAP-21: There is no new formula or discretionary funding associated with this section.

  2. Federal share: The Federal share payable for Federal-aid projects is generally governed by 23 U.S.C.120. Projects that meet the requirements of Section 1116 have a Federal share payable of up to 95% if on the Interstate System and up to 90% on non-Interstate facilities. For States subject to the sliding scale match in 23 U.S.C 120, the sliding scale allows an increase in the Federal share to a maximum of 95%. Section 1116 does not allow an additional increase in the Federal share where the project is already at or above the maximum Federal share allowed under Section 1116 due to the sliding scale increase.

C. ELIGIBILITY

General: In general, an eligible project is any surface transportation project eligible for assistance under 23 U.S.C. that improves the movement of freight.

MAP-21 explains that eligible projects may include, but are not limited to:

  1. construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, and operational improvements directly relating to improving freight movement;

  2. intelligent transportation systems and other technology to improve the flow of freight;

  3. efforts to reduce the environmental impacts of freight movement on the primary freight network;

  4. railway-highway grade separation;

  5. geometric improvements to interchanges and ramps;

  6. truck-only lanes;

  7. climbing and runaway truck lanes;

  8. truck parking facilities eligible for funding under Section 1401,"Jason's Law";

  9. real-time traffic, truck parking, roadway condition, and multimodal transportation information systems;

  10. improvements to freight intermodal connectors; and

  11. improvements to truck bottlenecks.

There may be projects other than the types listed above that the Secretary may find to be eligible for increased Federal share under Section 1116. For projects that do not fit within one of the types listed above, the Secretary will make a case-by-case determination as to whether the project falls under a category that should be considered eligible under the Act.

Ineligible Activities/Projects: The following would generally not be eligible for increased Federal share under Section 1116:

  1. Projects located on facilities that prohibit commercial vehicles. This includes managed lanes where commercial vehicles are restricted.

  2. Freight projects that are not eligible under 23 U.S.C.

Interim Implementation: Since the Secretary's authority to approve an increased Federal share under Section 1116 is discretionary, and because of linkages to other freight provisions of MAP-21, the Secretary has made a policy decision to implement Section 1116 through this interim guidance. This interim guidance will be effective from October 1, 2012, until revised guidance is provided. During this interim period the following conditions apply:

  1. The total annual project(s) costs receiving an increased Federal share under this provision will not exceed 10% of the State's allotment unless otherwise approved by the Secretary. The Secretary's decision to allow a State to exceed 10% of its allotment will only be allowed for projects that the Secretary determines to provide significant improvement to freight movement. The Division Office will be responsible for tracking total annual project(s) costs.

  2. The Secretary's selection of projects for increased Federal share under Section 1116 will be made on a project-by-project basis, in consultation with the Department's newly created Freight Policy Council, depending on the improvement that project will make to the movement of freight. Project eligibility alone will not be the deciding factor as to whether increased Federal share is approved. The highest priority types of eligible projects under this provision during the interim period are:

    1. Improvements to freight intermodal connectors;

    2. Improvements to freight and truck bottlenecks;

    3. Projects for a public freight rail facility or a private facility providing public benefit for highway users by way of direct freight interchange between highway and rail carriers; and

    4. Projects or a group of projects that are integrated in function, such as along a major freight corridor.

D. PROJECT AUTHORIZATION

Projects proposed for an increased Federal share under Section 1116 must meet all applicable requirements under 23 U.S.C. and other Federal laws, such as the National Environmental Policy Act and the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act. Also, the State must ensure the project meets the requirements of the Statewide Transportation Planning regulation (23 CFR 450 Subpart B). If the project is in a metropolitan planning area, it must also meet the requirements of the Metropolitan Transportation Planning regulation (23 CFR 450 Subpart C).

A State's request for project authorization with the increased Federal share should include sufficient information to allow the Secretary to certify, following consultation with the Freight Policy Council, that the project will improve the efficiency of freight movement. Information to demonstrate how the project will improve efficiency of freight movement should include but is not limited to:

  1. A statement that describes how the project will improve the efficient movement of freight, including data and information that support a quantitative analysis that compares forecasted conditions if the project is not built with anticipated conditions after the project is complete. This analysis may include factors such as travel time savings, travel time reliability, congestion reduction, or other factors that reduce costs and enhance economic benefits for freight carriers and shippers.

  2. A statement on how the project will make progress toward meeting freight performance goals described in the State Freight Plan, or (when established) make progress toward meeting national performance targets for freight under 23 U.S.C 150(d) for the Interstate System.

  3. Reference to the project in the State Freight Plan or the freight sections of the statewide long range transportation plan, including a statement that describes the processes, methods and data used to prioritize projects for inclusion in the state freight plan.

  4. A purpose and needs statement that clearly describes the freight needs the project will address.

The Secretary can certify the project as eligible for the increased Federal share after the project has been verified in the State Freight Plan or freight section of the state's long range transportation plan. After the certification is made, at the time of project authorization there will be an annotation that accepts the State's demonstration of how the project will improve freight movement in the remarks section of the project agreement developed in accordance with 23 CFR 630.108(c).

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