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2012 Discretionary Grant Programs

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Public Lands Highways Discretionary Program - Selection Criteria/Additional Information

Statutory References

23 U.S.C. §§ 202-04

Program Summary

The Public Lands Highway Discretionary (PLHD) Program provides funding for transportation planning, research, and engineering and construction of, highways, roads, parkways, and transit facilities that are within, adjacent to, or provide access to Indian reservations and Federal public lands, including national parks, refuges, forests, recreation areas, and grasslands. PLHD funds may be used for any type of Title 23 transportation project providing access to or within Federal or Indian lands and may be applied as the State/local matching share to match apportioned Federal-aid Highway Funds, as provided by 23 U.S.C. § 120(l).

More information on the PLHD Program may be found here: http://flh.fhwa.dot.gov/programs/plh/discretionary/


Funded by contract authority; funds are not transferable. Funds are subject to the overall Federal-aid highway obligation limitation. Funds are to be allocated by the Secretary of Transportation to States. Funds shall remain available for obligation for three years after the last day of the fiscal year in which the project was authorized.

Federal Share

In accordance with 23 U.S.C. 204(b), the Federal share of the costs for any project eligible under this program is 100 percent.

Eligible Use of Funds

PLHD funds are available for any kind of transportation project eligible for assistance under Title 23, United States Code, that is within, adjacent to, or provides access to Federal lands or facilities as set forth in 23 U.S.C. § 204 (b)(5).

Under the provisions of 23 U.S.C. § 204(b)(1)(A), PLHD funds are available for transportation planning, research, engineering, and construction of the highways, roads, and parkways, and of transit facilities within the Federal public lands, and in accordance with 23 U.S.C. § 204(b)(1)(B), PLHD funds are also available for operation and maintenance of transit facilities located on Federal public lands.

Under 23 U.S.C. § 204(h), funds may be used to carry out eligible projects that include:

Statutory Priority Consideration

The Secretary shall give preference to those projects which are significantly impacted by Federal land and resource management activities that are proposed by a State that contains at least 3 percent of the total public land in the United States. The following eleven States have at least 3 percent of the Federal public lands in the United States: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming (23 U.S.C. § 202(b)(1)(B).

Project Selection Criteria

The Office of Federal Lands Highway (FLH) has not established regulatory criteria for the selection of PLHD projects; however, FLH will use the following criteria in evaluating candidates for this program.

Sub-recipients of PLHD funds should coordinate applications with the State department of transportation, Federal Lands Management Agency, and Tribal or local government, and metropolitan planning organization, to ensure proposals are consistent with statewide and metropolitan planning requirements. Sub-recipients should discuss the application with the State PLHD coordinator to determine whether their proposed project is eligible for funding consideration, and if their organization has the capacity to implement their proposed project using PLHD funds.

Sub-recipients should also demonstrate how they will meet the requirements of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 18, including financial management standards and audits. In addition, they should discuss how they will meet other Federal requirements such as Title 23 of the United States Code, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, environmental laws and standards including the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act, the Uniform Relocation Act, and other applicable Federal laws and regulations.

Policy Considerations

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

Applications must be submitted to the State department of transportation (DOT) electronically in MS Word or compatible word processor format (no PDF's). The State DOT must then submit applications to the appropriate FHWA division office and the official application of record will be the document submitted to the FHWA Division Office. The information requested in the narrative must be included to properly evaluate the candidate projects.

Announcement of Awards/Allocation of Funds

Congress will be notified before funds are allocated to the States. When this Congressional notification process is completed, the Office of Federal Lands Highway will issue an announcement by email to all FHWA division offices, announcing the PLHD projects that will be funded and the amount of funding for each project. States may then request that funds be allocated for any projects for which the funds are ready to be obligated. Awarded projects can be found at the website http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/discretionary. 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 Office of Federal Lands Highway will issue the allocation memorandum within a few days of receiving the request. These funds are subject to August redistribution.

FHWA Point of Contact

Cindi Ptak
Public Lands Highway Coordinator
Office of Federal Lands Highway
Phone: (202)366-1586
Email: cindi.ptak@dot.gov

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