Memorandum of Understanding
Federal Transit Administration
Federal Highway Administration
Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska Division Offices
FTA Region VII, FHWA Missouri, FHWA Iowa,
FHWA Nebraska, FHWA Kansas
Collaborative Planning Initiative
Memorandum of Understanding
A joint September 2, 2003 memorandum from Federal Highway Administrator Peters and Federal Transit Administrator set forth a proposal to develop plans for collaboration initiatives in transportation planning. As a result, Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration field and headquarters staff participated in several teleconferences and developed national guidelines for a joint Federal Transit Administration and Federal Highway Administration National Memorandum of Understanding. This effort established a mechanism through which the Federal Transit Administration Region VII Office (hereinafter referred to as FTA) and the Federal Highway Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska Division Offices (hereinafter referred to as FHWA) can further improve coordination and service delivery mechanisms. This Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the FTA and FHWA outlines general operating procedures for reviewing and processing required metropolitan and statewide planning products and processes.
Sections 134 and 135 of Title 23 U.S.C. establish Federal requirements for metropolitan and statewide transportation planning 23 CFR Parts 420 and 450 and 49 CFR Part 613 describe FTA and FHWA oversight responsibilities with regard to the Metropolitan and Statewide planning products and processes.
Products of the planning process covered by this agreement include the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), the Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), the Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP), the Metropolitan Long Range Transportation Plan, the Statewide Long Range Transportation Plan, and Transportation Air Quality Conformity Determinations for designated Air Quality non-attainment and maintenance areas. Planning Process Oversight activities covered by this agreement include the Planning Finding, Transportation Management Area (TMA) Planning Certification Reviews, non-TMA urbanized area planning management reviews, non-urbanized area planning reviews and "mid-year meeting" type activities.
Underlying Principles of Agreement
The following principles of intent apply to the development and execution of each element of this agreement:
- Strive to ensure adherence to required planning process and product time frames.
- Implement activities covered by the agreement in a mutually supportive manner between the PTA and FHWA offices.
- Strive to share planning process and product responsibilities in a way that is equitable and provides a range of experience for each FTA and FHWA employee responsible for activities covered by the agreement.
- The agreement applies to the PTA Region VII staff and the staff of the FHWA Division Office(s) responsible for the geographic area covered by the specific product of the process or management! oversight activity.
- Both PTA and FHWA will work to promote good planning and project development practices with all our partners and to help make current best practices part of their routine method of conducting business.
Products of the Process Requiring FTA/FHWA Approval Procedures
Products of the process procedures apply to: Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) and amendments, the Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP), and Air Quality Conformity Determination for designated Air Quality non-attainment and maintenance areas.
- Document Distribution - The State will submit the draft STEP and UPWP to the FHWA Division Office and FTA Regional Office. The MPO will submit the draft TIP, draft UPWP, and draft air quality conformity determination to the State, FHWA Division Office and FTA Regional Office. The specifics regarding transmittal responsibilities and media used (paper vs. electronic copy) can be negotiated on a state-by-state and product- by product basis. The key is to facilitate a process that includes Federal participation on a value added basis, without causing delay in meeting state and local project approval and implementation schedules goals.
- Product Reviews - A maximum of 30 days should be allowed for the coordinated agency review. The PTA Region and FHWA Division Office should coordinate comments and/or deficiencies and reach a consensus prior to taking formal action. When either agency provides comments separately to the State Transportation Agency or the MPO, the correspondence should be identified as FTA or FHWA ONLY comments as appropriate and should be copied to the other agency (i.e. PTA or FHWA as appropriate). However, generally it is best practice to share and coordinate comments in advance as comments made independently by one agency can inadvertently contradict or limit the other agency's ability to properly carry out its responsibilities. All verbal or written comments provided to the state or the MPO should be shared between agencies as appropriate. Any comments that condition the approval of a STIP or UPWP must be submitted to the State/MPO by joint signature of the FTA Region and FHWA Division Offices.
- Product Approvals - The FTA Regional and FHWA Division Offices will prepare, as mutually agreed per instance, joint approval correspondence. The FTA Regional and FBI WA Division offices will provide the jointly signed approval to the State Transportation Agency. Copies will also be provided to the FTA Regional and FHWA Division office, covered MPOs and transit providers. In the instance of a STEP approval, a joint planning finding will be made and documented in the STIP approval letter as to the extent that projects in the STEP are based on a planning process that meet the requirements of Title 23.
- Management of Changes to Products of the Process - The FTA Region and FHWA Division offices encourage State Transportation Agencies and MPOs to establish and adopt procedures to manage changes to UT's, STIPs and UPWPs. These procedures should establish thresholds for changes that can be made by notification to the MPO/State/FTA and FBI WA and changes that need to be processed as an amendment. STEP or LTPWP amendments that contain projects that are not regionally significant and are for only one transportation mode may be unilaterally approved by the appropriate modal administration (either FTA Region or FHWA Division office). The FTA Regional and FBI WA Division Administrator or their authorized designee must jointly approve all other STEP amendments. Copies of all approved STEP amendments shall be provided to the other involved agencies.
Products of the Process Required but not Approved by FTA/FHWA
Although FTA/FHWA do not approve the Long Range Transportation Plans (LRTP), the timely adoption of a compliant LRTP is crucial as a basis for the FTA/FHWA to issue approval of STEPs and to make air quality conformity determinations. This MOU emphasizes the importance of timely FTA and FBI WA review.
- Long Range Metropolitan Plans, Long Range Statewide Plans, Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Programs - The State will submit the draft statewide LRTP to the FHWA Division Office and PTA Regional Office. The MPO will submit the draft urbanized area LRTP, and draft metropolitan TIP to the State, FBI WA Division Office and FTA Regional Office. The specifics regarding transmittal responsibilities and media used (paper vs. electronic copy) can be negotiated on a state-by-state and product- by-product basis. The key is to facilitate a process that includes Federal participation on a value added basis, without causing delay in meeting state and local project approval and implementation schedules goals.
- Document Review - The PTA Region and FHWA Division Office should coordinate comments prior to sending them to the State Transportation Agency or MPO. When either agency provides comments separately to the State Transportation Agency or the MPO, the correspondence should be identified as PTA or FHWA ONLY comments as appropriate and should be copied to the other agency (i.e. FTA or FHWA as appropriate). However, generally it is best practice to share and coordinate comments in advance as comments made independently by one agency can inadvertently contradict or limit the other agency's ability to properly carry out its responsibilities. All verbal or written comments provided to the state or the MPO should be shared between agencies as appropriate.
This MOU sets standards for the Planning Findings, TMA Planning Certification Reviews and other planning reviews, Mid-Year Meeting Activities and Region FTA/FHWA Coordination Meetings.
- FTA/FHWA Planning Finding - Titles 23 U.S.C. 1350(4) and 49 U.S.C. 5323 (1) require that FTA and FHWA make a "Finding" at least biennially that the STIP is developed through a continuing, comprehensive transportation planning process carried on cooperatively by the State, MPO and transit operator in accordance with 23 U.S.C. 134 and 49 U.S.C. 5303. This planning finding is to be based on the self-certification submitted by the MPO and State (23 CFR 450.334) and upon other reviews deemed necessary by the FHWA and FTA such as planning certification reviews, planning management reviews and other oversight meetings such as MPO meetings, etc.
- TMA Planning Certification Reviews, Non-TMA Urbanized Area Planning Management Reviews and Rural Planning Reviews - This MOU associates actions and target time-frame guidelines for TMA certification reviews. A similarly collaborative and appropriately scaled process is recommended in the instance that FHWA and FTA decide to conduct TMA urbanized area or rural area planning process reviews.
Notify Grantee and Determine review date
Conduct on-site review (including presentation
of initial findings)
Issue Draft Report
Resolve Corrective Actions
Target Time Frame
90 days prior to review
60 days of review
within negotiated time frame
- Mid-Year Meeting Activities - This MOU encourages, but does not require FTA regional offices and FHWA Division offices to conduct formal mid-year meetings. This agreement does, however, acknowledge the value of mid-year meetings as the results can be used to help support the FTA/FHWA planning finding and provide an opportunity to enhance effective communication among PTA, FHWA and the State (often within the State Transportation Agency). When a FHWA Division and FTA Regional office agree to conduct a mid-year type meeting, a collaborative process for development of an agenda, meeting date and definition of roles and responsibilities of the on-site meeting and follow-up activities is envisioned.
- Annual Region VII FTA / FHWA Coordination Meetings - FTA and FHWA agree to continue the Region VII tradition of annual intermodal planning meetings. The timing of these meetings will be determined by mutual agreement.
Duration of Agreement
This agreement is considered to be a guide for current and future FTA and FHWA staff. Its intent is to document and refine the current effective collaborative planning process practices in use between the FTA Regional and FBI WA Division offices in Region VII and to facilitate good customer service in the federal management of the metropolitan and statewide planning processes. This agreement is also intended to be a living agreement and should be modified as needed in the future.
FTA Region VII
Date: June 8, 2004
Date: May 26, 2004
Philip E. Barnes
Date: May 25, 2004
William M. Brownell
Date: June 3, 2004
J. Michael Bowen, P. E.
Date: June 2, 2004