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2012 Discretionary Grant Programs

This collection of information is voluntary and will be used to select projects for funding with Highways for LIFE (HfL) program funds. Public reporting burden is estimated to average 8 hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. The purpose of HfL is to accelerate the rate of adoption of innovations and technologies, thereby, improving safety and highway quality while reducing congestion caused by construction. Please note that an agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number. The OMB control number for this collection is 2125-0607 with an expiration date May 30, 2012. Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden to: Information Collection Clearance Officer, Federal Highway Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Washington, DC 20590.



Statutory References

SAFETEA-LU Section 1502

Program Summary

The Highways for LIFE (HfL) Pilot Program was established under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy For Users (SAFETEA-LU, Pub. L. 109-59) to advance longer-lasting highways using innovative technologies and practices to accomplish the fast construction of efficient and safe highways and bridges. The program authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to provide leadership and incentives to demonstrate and promote state-of-the-art technologies, elevated performance standards, and new business practices in the highway construction process that result in improved safety, faster construction, reduced congestion from construction, and improved quality and user satisfaction.

The incentive grants for the Demonstration Construction Project element under the HfL Pilot Program is 20 percent of the total cost of the construction project with a maximum incentive of approximately $2,000,000, or waive the matching requirement to allow 100-percent Federal-aid funding for projects.


Funded by contract authority; funds are not transferable. Funds are subject to the overall Federal-aid highway obligation limitation. See Attachment 1 for funding options.

Federal Share

The Federal share of the cost of a project carried out under this program may amount to 100 percent of the cost of construction of such project.

Eligible Use of Funds

A proposed project shall be eligible for assistance under the HfL program if the project:

  1. Constructs, reconstructs, or rehabilitates a route or connection on a Federal-aid highway eligible for assistance under chapter 1 of Title 23, United States Code;
  2. Uses innovative technologies, manufacturing processes, financing, or contracting methods that improve safety, reduce congestion due to construction, and improve quality; and
  3. Meets the additional criteria outline in this solicitation.

Statutory Priority Consideration

In selecting projects under this program, the Secretary of Transportation will give priority to projects that:

  1. Address achieving the HfL performance goals for safety, construction congestion (including speed of construction), quality, and user satisfaction (see details below);
  2. Deliver and deploy "proven" innovative technologies, manufacturing processes, financing, contracting practices, and performance measures that are never, or rarely used, by the State, and that will demonstrate substantial improvements in safety, congestion, quality, and cost effectiveness;
  3. Include innovation that is intended to change the administration of the State DOT's transportation program to more quickly construct long-lasting, high-quality, cost effective projects that improve safety and reduce congestion on a recurring basis;
  4. Are or will be ready for construction within 1 year of approval of the project proposal. For the purposes of the HfL program, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) considers a project to be "ready for construction" when the FHWA Division Office authorizes the construction project;

Project Selection Criteria

FHWA has not established regulatory criteria for the selection of HfL projects; however, FHWA will consider the following in the evaluation of candidates for this program, in addition to the priority considerations set forth above:

  1. The State DOT demonstrates a willingness to participate in subsequent technology transfer and information dissemination activities associated with the project(s);
  2. The State DOT is willing to accept FHWA Division Office oversight if the project is approved by HfL. and
  3. Projects which deploy Every Day Counts technologies and processes and meet the HfL performance goals will be given additional consideration. (Innovations listed at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/everydaycounts/)

The performance goals of HfL projects that satisfy the first statutory priority consideration described above include:


Construction Congestion


User satisfaction


Restoring economic health and creating jobs through improvements to transportation infrastructure are among the highest priorities of the FHWA. In furtherance of these priorities, the FHWA will give priority consideration to projects and activities that create new jobs in the short-term and contribute to the economic competitiveness of the United States over the long-term. Applicants are encouraged to explain how their project will contribute to increased employment and enhance economic competitiveness.

In addition to a project's transportation and economic benefits, when allocating funds to carry out the FY 2012 discretionary programs, the FHWA will also give consideration to providing an equitable and geographic distribution of funds.

Submission Requirements

States are requested to submit applications to their respective FHWA Division Office by January 6, 2012.

NOTE: The Highways of LIFE narrative application cannot exceed 10 pages.

All applications from the State must be submitted to their FHWA Division Office.

Only STAs may submit applications for funding under this program. The STA is responsible to collect, review, prioritize and submit all applications for local and other State agencies to the appropriate FHWA division office. The following information must be included to properly evaluate the candidate projects:

  1. Applicant Information
  1. Project Information
  1. Highways for LIFE Incentives

Examples of the funding options are attached in Attachment 1.

  1. Innovative Features:

    An "innovation", as defined here, must be one that the State has never before or rarely used. Innovations used on emergency or unique projects are exceptions. The proposed innovations must be available and ready for use. They should not require further development or test and evaluation. The innovations must have (as appropriate) standards, specifications, test procedures, training and operations guidance to support the application of the innovation in routine highway design and construction. Further, the innovations have been used successfully in the U.S. or internationally and documentation or sufficient evidence of the benefits must also be available. Please provide sufficient information to support the feasibility of the proposed innovations.

  2. Safety
  1. Construction Congestion
  1. Quality
  1. User Satisfaction
  1. Summary

State Transportation Agency Responsibilities

  1. Coordinate with State and local agencies to develop project applications.
  2. Ensure applications are complete and in accordance with eligibility and submission requirements outlined above.
  3. Submit the applications electronically to the local FHWA division office on time so that the submission deadline can be met.
  4. Submit request to FHWA division office for allocation of funds, after awards are announced, and when project funds are ready to be obligated.

Announcement Of Awards / Allocation Of Funds

After the applications are received and projects are selected for funding, it is required that Congress be notified before the funds are allocated to the States. When this Congressional notification process is completed, the HfL program office will issue an announcement by email to all FHWA division offices, announcing the HfL projects that will be funded and the amount of funding for each project.

At that time, States may request that funds be allocated for any projects for which the funds are ready to be obligated. The State transportation agency shall send an email to the FHWA division office indicating the project, the amount requested for allocation, and the date by which the funds will be obligated. The HfL program office will issue the allocation memorandum within a few days of receiving the allocation request from the division office.

FHWA Point of Contact

Mary Huie
Highways for LIFE

Attachment 1

Highways for LIFE Funding Examples

State XYZ receives the following federal apportionments for FY 11:

  10% Limit
Interstate Maintenance: $8,000,000 $ 800,000
National Highway System: $45,000,000 $ 4,500,000
Surface Transportation Program: $30,000,000 $ 3,000,000
Congestion Mitigation/Air Quality: $8,000,000 $ 800,000

The proposed HfL project has a construction cost of $18,000,000. It is an 80/20 project.

Option 1- Highways for LIFE funds

Federal 80% of $18,000,000 : $14,400,000
State 20% of $18,000,000 : $3,600,000

Project receives $2,000,000 in HfL funds.

State is still responsible for $1,600,000.

The HfL funds are used to offset the State's 20% match therefore, the State is still responsible for remaining 20% share. The HfL funds do not impact the State's obligation authority.

Option 2 – Waive State Match

Federal 80% : $14,400,000

State 20% : $3,600,000 ⇐ Of the $3,600,000, the State could choose Option 2 to use other federally apportioned funds for the State match.

IM funds : $ 800,000
STP funds : $ 2,800,000
NHS funds : $ 3,600,000

The State could choose to use the maximum 10% of their IM funds and $2,800,000 of STP funds as their State match OR use all NHS funds to make the match. The funding category (IM and STP, or NHS) the State chooses to use for their State match must meet that program funding eligibility requirements.

Option 3 – Highways for LIFE funds and Waive State Match

Federal 80% of $18,000,000 : $14,400,000
State 20% of $18,000,000 : $3,600,000

Project receives $2,000,000 in HfL funds.

State is still responsible for $1,600,000.

Of the $1,600,000, the State could and use other federally apportioned funds for the State match.

HfL funds : $2,000,000
STP funds : $1,600,000

This option allows the State to receive the $2,000,000 of HfL funds and use other federally apportioned funds for the remaining amount of the 20% State match. The funding category (i.e. STP) the State chooses to use for their State match must meet that program funding eligibility requirements.

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