Determine engineering requirements for your program and identify amount of engineering costs eligible to be covered by your grant.
In Michigan all plans for structures on State Land must be engineered by a licensed engineer. And at a minimum DNR engineers must review and approve the plans for any structure to be built on State Lands. Even then we've had plans come in that weren't acceptable. This can cause PR issues locally.
Often these days projects are multiple source funded. Remember to review match requirements up front. Programs have different requirements; it's much easier to make changes in the planning process than later on.
Long, long ago...in a land far, far away...we requested and received FHWA approval for a project planned to be used as match for a larger project. When it came time for billing it was discovered that the RTP funds could not match the other main grant as planned. Payments were delayed as we scrambled to get a letter to FHWA to request a change in our Program and identify another funding source to pay the match and then wait for a reply. We lucked out this time; we had just enough funds in another completed project from another source to cover the oversight.
Develop a STRONG communication relationship with your DOT and FHWA RTP personnel. Send 'em Holiday cards, wish 'em Happy Birthday etc. etc.
Funding Source Timing
Funding sources may have different periods of eligibility/cycles. Be aware and track those periods so you have enough time for extensions, etc. if and when they are necessary.
Once upon a time we overlooked requesting extensions for a matching source until the day they needed to be signed. We had to get a hold of all of the project mgrs. and fax paperwork back and forth for signatures to be followed by hard copy originals in the mail. NOT an efficient method of doing business. We lucked out once again; all the project managers were available.
MAIN DISCUSSION POINTS
What do we, as States, need and/or want from FHWA?
More detailed guidance? More detail in certain areas? What we have is fine just update to current legislative requirements? ETC.
What are we doing, as States, to make sure we are outreaching the opportunity of the RTP Program to trails recreation, to our users?
Michigan: RTP Program info available in Grants Booklet on the Michigan DNR website
What do you want to see in the RTP Clearinghouse?
Discuss implementation opportunities for the new "Assumption of Responsibility" provision.