Special Experimental Project No. 14 - FHWA/HUD Livability Initiative
Excerpt from June 25, 2010 Federal Register Notice
Excerpt from June 25, 2010 Federal Register Notice
From pages 36470-36471 of the Federal Register Notice at: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2010-06-25/html/2010-15438.htm
The FHWA has decided to permit States to request SEP-14 approval for contracting practices intended to enhance livability and sustainability as part of any project that is to be jointly funded with HUD. In order to receive SEP-14 approval, States should follow the normal process and submit work plans to the appropriate FHWA division office. For more information on the SEP-14 process, please see: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/programadmin/contracts/sep_a.cfm.
In particular, with respect to projects involving activities that otherwise meet the requirements for the use of FHWA and HUD funds, States may experiment under SEP-14 with combining these funding sources for single, integrated projects that are procured and bid under a single contract while complying with training, employment, and contracting requirements of HUD's Section 3, to the greatest extent feasible. The purpose of the experiment is to gauge the extent to which HUD funding may be used for highway projects, the effects on competition whenever HUD's economic opportunity requirements are used on a joint FHWA/HUD project, and the extent to which the alignment of FHWA and HUD requirements further livability.
The FHWA will only consider the possible use of HUD's economic opportunity requirements under SEP-14 in the context of a joint FHWA/HUD project and only to the extent necessary to comply with applicable HUD statutes. The FHWA will not consider the use of such preferences unless necessary to meet the requirements of a Federal grant-in-aid program.
In developing their work plans, States should address, at a minimum, the following points:
- States should describe how they will evaluate the effects of HUD's economic opportunity requirements on competitive bidding. In doing so, the States may wish to compare the bids received for the proposed project to prior projects of similar size and scope and in the same geographic area.
- States should quantify and report on the expected economic benefits from advancing the joint FHWA/HUD project under a single contract.
- States wishing to utilize SEP-14 to permit the use of HUD-required hiring preferences on joint FHWA/HUD projects should identify the amount of HUD and FHWA funding involved in the project as well as the estimated total project cost. In order to qualify for a SEP-14 approval to use a geographic preference for a joint FHWA/HUD project, the amount of HUD funding involved with the project must be:
- At least 10 percent of the amount of Title 23 eligible work, or
- With respect to projects financed with $100,000,000 or more in Federal funding in the aggregate, 5 percent of such eligible work.
In any event, the FHWA may reject SEP-14 work plans for projects with only de minimis amount of HUD funding.
- States should address whether the HUD provision at issue conflicts with FHWA regulations and is necessary to meet HUD program requirements.
- The work plan should address the degree to which the project enhances livability and sustainability.
Livability investments are projects that not only deliver transportation benefits, but are also designed and planned in such a way that they have a positive impact on qualitative measures of community life. This element of long-term outcomes delivers benefits that are inherently difficult to measure. However, it is implicit to livability that its benefits are shared and therefore magnified by the number of potential users in the affected community.
The workplan should provide a description of the affected community and the scale of the project's impact. Factors relevant to whether a project improves the quality of the living and working environment of a community include:
- Will the project significantly enhance user mobility through the creation of more convenient transportation options for travelers?
- Will the project improve existing transportation choices by enhancing points of modal connectivity or by reducing congestion on existing modal assets?
- Will the project improve accessibility and transport services for economically disadvantaged populations, non-drivers, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities, or to make goods, commodities, and services more readily available to these groups?
- Is the project the result of a planning process which coordinated transportation and land-use planning decisions and encouraged community participation in the process?
Sustainability refers to whether a project promotes a more environmentally sustainable transportation system. The workplan should address the following issues relevant to sustainability:
- Does the project improve energy efficiency, reduce dependence on oil and/or reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Applicants are encouraged to provide quantitative information regarding expected reductions in emissions of CO2 or fuel consumption as a result of the project, or expected use of clean or alternative sources of energy. Projects that demonstrate a projected decrease in the movement of people or goods by less energy-efficient vehicles or systems will be given priority under this factor.
- Does the project maintain, protect or enhance the environment, as evidenced by its avoidance of adverse environmental impacts (for example, adverse impacts related to air quality, wetlands, and endangered species) and/or by its environmental benefits (for example, improved air quality, wetlands creation or improved habitat connectivity)?
- Does the project further the goals of the DOT, HUD, and EPA Sustainable Communities Partnership discussed above?