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MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT
ON OPERATING PROCEDURES
FOR THE NATIONAL COOPERATIVE
HIGHWAY RESEARCH PROGRAM


  1. INTRODUCTION


    1. State highway and transportation officials today are confronted with increasingly complex technological and administrative problems as transportation demands increase and urbanization continues to be dynamic. Full advantage must be taken of all developments and techniques for improvement in the highway transportation field; new and improved technologies and the methods for assimilating them into the highway transportation system must be researched and developed.


    2. Tomorrow's highway transportation needs must be answered through research today; much of this research, like the AASHTO Road Test of the 1950s and the Strategic Highway Research Program, is of mutual interest and can best be conducted through combined effort. Research projects covering subjects of special interest can be undertaken better by individual States, and such activity should be encouraged.


    3. The purpose of this agreement is to provide a basis for undertaking a substantial national program of highway transportation research, development, investigations, and studies addressed to the resolution of major problems of significance to many or all of the State departments of highways and transportation and to provide for a continuing long-range program in which the States and other interested parties have an opportunity to combine their efforts toward a common objective by pooling funds, thereby avoiding the time-consuming and highly complex procedure that might otherwise be required to initiate and to conduct such a program on an individual project basis.


  2. ORGANIZATION FOR ADMINISTRATION


    1. Under these procedures, three principal organizations have an interest in the administration of the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, hereinafter referred to as "NCHRP." These are the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, Inc., hereinafter referred to as "AASHTO", acting in behalf of the State departments of highways and transportation (including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico), hereinafter referred to as the "Member Departments", the Federal Highway Administration, hereinafter referred to as "FHWA, and the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council, hereinafter referred to as the "Academy," acting through its Transportation Research Board, hereinafter referred to as "TRB." These organizations are encouraged and expected to make such recommendations as they deem appropriate from time to time with regard to a vigorous and effective national program of highway transportation research.


    2. AASHTO, through its Board of Directors and Members Departments, is responsible for project initiation, program formulation, and approval of those portions of NCHRP that are funded by the Member Departments. AASHTO will provide a Standing Committee on Research (SCOR), or other suitable entity of its selection, to assist in this process.


    3. TRB is responsible for technical review of research programs referred to the Academy for ultimate acceptance and action. TRB, upon the request of AASHTO, will provide the secretary for the AASHTO SCOR. Project panels of TRB will be responsible for the following:


      1. Developing plans for the attainment of project objectives, including an estimate of the total cost and time to achieve the objectives;


      2. Drafting definitive statements of objectives for projects;


      3. Reviewing proposals submitted by research agencies and making recommendations regarding selection of research agencies;


      4. Reviewing the progress of research;


      5. Providing counsel and advice regarding technical aspects of research projects;


      6. Reviewing and evaluating project reports as to the accomplishment of objectives and suitability for publications; and


      7. Making recommendations regarding the continuation of studies on problem areas included in prior fiscal year programs.


    4. The Academy or TRB, as appropriate, will furnish periodically financial information or statements to the Member Departments, through AASHTO, and to FHWA on the progress of NCHRP and will publish and furnish such technical reports as are necessary and desirable for accomplishing the objectives of NCHRP.


  3. PARTICIPATION AND FUNDING
  4. Participation in and funding of NCHRP is to be in accordance with the following:

    1. Interested Member Departments annually will indicate to AASHTO their intention of participating in NCHRP and contributing an amount equal to five and one-half percent (5.5%) of their State Planning and Research (SP&R) funds (23 U.S.C. 505) available under the apportionment of Federal-aid highway funds for any fiscal year. A Member Department's contribution, at its own election, and when so authorized by the Federal Highway Administrator, may be financed entirely from the Federal-aid SP&R funds without State matching. In lieu thereof, a Member Department's contribution may be financed from both Federal-aid and State matching funds or entirely from State funds.


    2. AASHTO participation in a fiscal year program will become effective when two-thirds or more of the Member Departments execute agreements with the Academy. The approved program for any fiscal year will consist of only those problems that receive the favorable vote of two-thirds or more of the Member Departments, through balloting to be conducted by AASHTO.


    3. The programs, projects, and contracts in connection with the program are subject to review and audit by FHWA.

  5. PROBLEM PROPOSALS
    1. Problems to be considered for inclusion in a fiscal year program may be proposed to the AASHTO SCOR by the following:

    1. The chief administrative officer of any participating Member Department,
    2. The Chairman of any Standing Committee or Subcommittee of AASHTO,
    3. The AASHTO Board of Directors, and
    4. The Federal Highway Administrator.


  6. EVALUATION AND PROGRAM FORMULATION
    1. The AASHTO SCOR will carry out the following functions in evaluating proposed problems:


      1. Determine if the proposed problem represents an immediate research;


      2. Determine if the proposed problem is of mutual interest to the States and whether it can be handled more effectively under a cooperative program than by an individual Member Department;


      3. Determine whether the proposed research does or does not, to SCOR's knowledge, duplicate any similar effort undertaken currently or previously in which the results are considered adequate and sufficiently conclusive;


      4. Formulate an annual program consisting of new problems and, when appropriate, continuations of projects authorized in prior fiscal year programs, and transmit the suggested program, along with appropriate recommendations to the Board of Directors of AASHTO for review, approval, and/or modification. SCOR's estimate of costs for continuations and new problem areas, plus the Academy's estimate of costs for administration of NCHRP and the cost of publications and contingencies, shall be limited to the total funds made available by the Member Departments for any fiscal year plus the uncommitted balance from prior years.

    2. SCOR is responsible for monitoring NCHRP and recommending to the Board of Directors of AASHTO any corrective action that SCOR may deem necessary and appropriate.

  7. PROGRAM APPROVAL AND ACCEPTANCE


    1. The annual program, as approved by the Member Departments in a ballot of the Board of Directors in accordance with Section III 2, will be transmitted to TRB for review and acceptance by the Academy.


    2. Problem areas unacceptable to the Academy will be returned to the AASHTO Board of Directors with the reason for nonacceptance and, when appropriate, a recommendation for their disposition.


  8. AUTHORIZATION OF FUNDS


    1. Following the announcement of Federal-aid apportionments for each fiscal year, Member Departments will receive the following:


      1. From the AASHTO Executive Director, copies of an agreement between each Member Department and the Academy, and


      2. From the FHWA division offices, copies of Form PR-2.1, Federal-aid Project Agreement (National Cooperative Highway Research Program), between each Member Department and FHWA.

    2. Upon receipt of the above, each Member Department will be requested to take the following actions:


      1. Execute the agreement with the Academy indicating that the Member Department will participate in the approved portion of the program. The agreement will describe the procedure under which the Member Department's share of the cost of the program may be financed, either by


        • (1) making payments directly to Academy, or from

          (2) funds provided in the project agreement entered into with FHWA, which authorizes FHWA to reimburse the Academy for the Member Department's share of costs incurred.

      2. Prepare a program item for the amount of funds provided in the Member Department's agreement with the Academy. To eliminate the need for a detailed description of the research in each annual program, reference may be made to the program for the appropriate fiscal year.


      3. Execute the project agreement, Form PR-2.1.

    3. FHWA shall authorize expenditures for the fiscal year program based on receipt of executed copies of the agreement, Form PR-2.1.


  9. ADMINISTRATION OF PROGRAM

  10. Following approval of the annual program by the participating Member Departments, either the Academy or FHWA may administer, conduct, or monitor, as may deemed appropriate by the Academy and mutually agreed, the performance of individual research and technology transfer projects. These may be conducted directly through TRB when authorized by the Academy; by appropriate agencies under contract with the Academy; or through FHWA contracts, grants, cooperative agreements, or other transactional authority. The selection of agencies to perform research or technology transfer activities under contract with the Academy is subject to approval by AASHTO through SCOR prior to contracting. For those activities administered by FHWA, direct billing of the NCHRP account will be permitted. Such billings will not exceed a predetermined annual total as determined by TRB, in consultation with AASHTO.

  11. REVISION OR TERMINATION OF THIS MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT
  12. This memorandum of agreement is annually subject to mutually acceptable revision or modification at the request of any subscriber hereto (including Member Departments), and any subscriber's participation thereto may be terminated on 6 months' notice to the other subscribers, provided such termination shall not impair any obligations or commitments already incurred and provided further that, if two-thirds of the Member Departments do not vote favorably for continuing NCHRP in any ensuing fiscal year, NCHRP shall be considered terminated.

  13. EFFECTIVE DATE
Date: 2/ 23/99 Original signed by:
For Federal Highway Administration
   
Date: 12-31-98 Original signed by:
For the American Association of State
Highway and Transportation Officials, Inc.
   
Date: 3-10-99 Original signed by:
For National Academy of Sciences


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