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Economic Recovery HomeQuestions & Answers > Jobs Bill of 2010

Questions & Answers on the
Proposed Jobs Bill of 2010

Originally issued: 2/19/10

Planning and Environment

Question PE-1: What should local agencies be doing to ensure their projects are "ready to go" as part of preparing for the Jobs Bill of 2010 (Jobs Bill)?

Answer PE-1: In order for a surface transportation infrastructure project to advance for Federal funding, it must be included in the relevant metropolitan Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) or Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). Therefore, we strongly encourage you to reach out to your Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) or State Department of Transportation (State DOT) to begin work as soon as possible to ensure your projects are included in a locally-approved TIP or STIP, so they are ready and available. You may want to consider including projects for which only non-Federal resources had been considered but project development had followed all federal project development requirements including planning, NEPA, and ROW. The FHWA/FTA will not approve the amended STIP and any associated conformity determination until the President signs the Jobs Bill economic recovery legislation. In addition, with the likelihood of a time limit for having the funds "under contract," MPOs and States should consider their ability to act expeditiously in taking actions, such as processing administrative modifications and being able to take approval actions between regularly scheduled meetings via phone or electronic voting should the need arise.

Question PE-2: Can the State and MPOs do public involvement; demonstrate fiscal constraint; determine conformity and other planning and environmental process steps that are needed for various scenarios prior to passage of the Jobs Bill by Congress so MPOs can vote approval literally hours after the President signs the bill?

Answer PE-2: Yes, the State and the MPOs can do the necessary planning work such as model runs; analysis work needed for conformity, if necessary; and public involvement prior to signing of the bill by the President. This work should have already begun. If it has not, it should be started immediately. These planning activities are eligible for FHWA and FTA planning program funds (SPR, PL, and 49 U.S.C Section 5305(d) and (e)). For purposes of fiscal constraint, it is reasonable to assume that the Jobs Bill will have similar levels of funding to those received in ARRA I. Once the planning and necessary conformity work has been completed, the MPO policy boards and State DOTs may amend their plans, TIPs and STIPs even before the bill is signed by the President. FHWA/FTA will withhold approval of any necessary conformity findings on the amended plans and TIPs, and withhold approval of the STIP amendment until the Jobs Bill is signed into law by the President.

Question PE-3: Can the States and MPOs use the funds expected from the Jobs Bill to demonstrate fiscal constraint?

Answer PE-3: Yes, the funds expected from the Jobs Bill can be used to demonstrate fiscal constraint, and can be regarded as "available" when a bill is signed into law by the President.

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