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Signed on 09/05/2013
FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF THE
This Stewardship and Oversight Agreement is the result of the joint efforts of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration, New Hampshire Division.
The purpose of this Agreement is to facilitate the implementation of provisions contained Title 23, U.S.C. This Agreement is a comprehensive agreement that covers all aspects associated with administering the Federal-aid Highway Program (FAHP) under Title 23, and other associated laws.
It is understood that this Agreement is subject to change and modification as additional information and implementing guidance becomes available. This Agreement replaces the existing Agreement dated October 20, 2008, and becomes effective on the date of the last executed signature below.
Table of Contents
Section I: BACKGROUND AND INTRODUCTION
APPENDIX B – PROJECT ACTION RESPONSIBILITIES LIST
I. BACKGROUND AND INTRODUCTION
Congress has charged the FHWA with administering the FAHP under Title 23, and other associated laws. FHWA’s responsibility for administering the FAHP has been clearly outlined in the following Title 23 legislation: the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991; the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) of 1998; and, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) of 2005; Moving Ahead For Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) of 2012. These laws allow States to assume specific delegated responsibilities for FHWA in certain National Environmental Policy Act approvals and in the design, construction, award, and inspection of certain Federal-aid projects.
The FHWA and the NHDOT have jointly administered the FAHP with a strong sense of partnership for many years. These parties have administered the FAHP efficiently and effectively to help accomplish national, state, and local goals–to develop and maintain a national highway network, improve its operation and safety, and provide for national security and commerce while protecting and improving the environment. Stewardship efforts include oversight and approval actions, as well as many day-to-day actions that are routinely performed by either or both of the parties to ensure that the FAHP is administered in compliance with established laws and regulations and in ways that reflect responsible use of the program funds authorized by Congress. The Stewardship/Oversight Agreement formalizes these delegated responsibilities to address how the FAHP will be administered in the State of New Hampshire.
Several years ago when Stewardship Agreements were first introduced and developed in response to ISTEA provisions, the documents principally addressed how the State DOT and FHWA would handle the delegation of authority for certain project actions. Since that time, the overall program has evolved requiring a more comprehensive Agreement that covers all aspects of the FAHP. This new Agreement provides a framework to effectively and efficiently execute the Federal-aid program in a financially responsible, risk-based manner.
Section 106 of Title 23, United States Code, requires that the FHWA and the State enter into an agreement documenting the extent to which the FHWA delegates its responsibilities to the State under Title 23. This Agreement formalizes these delegated responsibilities and provides a written document setting forth standards and procedures adopted by the NHDOT and the FHWA. This document will be used for the planning, design, construction, operations, maintenance, and administration of Federal-aid projects as well as programs and systems which meet the requirements of MAP-21 and SAFETEA-LU.
This Stewardship Agreement provides an approach consistent with the July 1, 2011 guidance issued by FHWA headquarters for developing future Agreements with State DOTs throughout the country. It requires a risk-based approach where FHWA and the NHDOT agree on how the FAHP will be administered within NH, with specific actions to be taken by one or both parties. This Agreement outlines the basic stewardship concepts and approaches as well as mandatory specific procedures. It also addresses the delegation of certain project actions to New Hampshire with specified exceptions for special interest projects. Notwithstanding the Agreement, FHWA retains overall responsibility for all aspects of Federal-aid programs. This Agreement does not preclude FHWA’s access to and review of a Federal-aid project at any time and does not replace the provisions of Title 23, USC. On the broader program level, FHWA will continue to provide stewardship and oversight of the FAHP through a rigorous risk management process, programmatic monitoring, and through general actions and concurrences in its day-to-day activities, including improvements to program procedures, training, technical assistance, sampling and testing of program/project data, and development and deployment of new technologies, as well as routine program/project involvement and approvals. Each of these activities contributes to the intent that the FAHP operates with integrity and for the public’s maximum benefit. The FHWA, and by extension the NHDOT (including sub-recipients), is responsible for the effective and efficient use of Federal funds.
The Stewardship and Oversight Agreement contains sections on 20 broad program areas that address most of the main elements of the Federal-aid highway program, based on regulations and national policies. These program area sections are arranged in alphabetical order in Appendix A. Most of these program names reflect common divisions of work related to highway projects, such as design, construction, maintenance, etc.
The Agreement is signed by both the NHDOT and FHWA Division Office to signify it as a Memorandum of Agreement regarding how the FAHP will be administered in New Hampshire.
II. STATE AND DIVISION ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
This Agreement implements the oversight provisions in MAP-21, SAFETEA-LU, and Section 106 of Title 23 and describes the stewardship and oversight responsibilities. This Agreement references a list of actions and procedures that are required or needed to administer the FAHP. These specific actions are broken out by functional area in Appendix A and under the section of this Agreement titled “Delegated NHDOT Program and Project Responsibilities”.
MAP-21 provided the FHWA and the States increased flexibility related to FHWA’s project involvement, and created a higher level of program accountability for the federal-aid program (FAHP) with Transportation Performance Management provisions. FHWA is leveraging this flexibility to strengthen our stewardship and oversight responsibilities via a Risk Based Stewardship and Oversight (RBSO) program. Using RBSO will also facilitate FHWA to effectively deliver an increasingly complex FAHP that requires us to find better ways to use our limited resources more efficiently and effectively. Recent evaluations of our current approach to S&O conducted by the Office of the Inspector General, Government Accounting Office, and FHWA personnel have identified concerns with our current practices of S&O, and they have also identified valid suggestions for improving it.
Therefore, FHWA is moving away from the concept of “full oversight” and toward a risk-based approach for determining the appropriate level of FHWA project involvement. The core principles guiding our risk-based S&O approach are:
Through the implementation of the program efficiencies provided for in MAP-21, SAFETEA-LU, and Section 106 of Title 23, the FHWA and the NHDOT will select Projects of Division Interest (PoDI) using a two-step project identification process. PoDI’s consists of projects such as $10 million or greater on the Interstate System and those projects of $30 million or greater on the remainder of the NHS, EIS projects, Bi-state projects ≥ $5 million for those projects where New Hampshire is the Lead state, complex ITS projects, and major or unusual bridges. MAP-21 prohibits State DOT assumption of responsibility for projects determined by the Division to be high risk. FHWA will retain oversight for projects deemed high risk. High risk projects will be jointly identified by NHDOT and FHWA. In addition, the FHWA and the NHDOT may agree at any time to select other projects or portions thereof for FHWA oversight. Table 1 outlines the initial screening of PoDI projects for Federal-aid project oversight.
PoDI Project Selection two-step process
Annually, FHWA and NHDOT will meet in the Fall to review the current list of PoDIs and select additional projects to be designated as PoDIs based FHWA or NHDOT goals and/or have an elevated potential to either pose a risk or present an opportunity to advance key initiatives.
Step 1: Using Table 1 to initially screen projects, FHWA and NHDOT will jointly identify oversight projects based on risk. These projects could also be candidates for Projects of Corporate Interest which are submitted annually for FHWA HQ approval. Please note that PoCIs are a subset of the PoDIs.
Step 2: Document project oversight activities that are deemed higher risk via a concise Project S&O Plan. This step can also verify activities that are of lower risks to the program or individual project (formerly known as Inherently Low Risk Projects).
NHDOT and FHWA staff will also discuss new projects as they become active to determine if they are selected as PoDI. Risk-based projects may not necessarily be what are traditionally known as Full Oversight. A risk-based example could include the selection of locally administered projects or non-NHS projects typically administered by the NHDOT that could be designated as a PoDI for FHWA oversight due to implementation of an EDC innovation. In addition, and most importantly, within that same PoDI, FHWA may only be involved in targeted areas such as PS&E, consultant procurement, etc. Furthermore, the NHDOT may, at any time, invite FHWA to participate on delegated projects.
The provisions of this Agreement do not modify FHWA’s non-Title 23 program oversight and project approval responsibilities for activities such as required under the Clean Air Act as amended in 1970; the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and other related environmental laws and statutes; the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970; and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and related statutes, unless expressly permitted by SAFETEA-LU Section 6004 and 6005, and MAP-21. Also, under Title 23, Planning functions cannot be delegated. In addition, since the NHDOT does not have Assumption of Responsibility for Categorical Exclusions, NEPA functions cannot be delegated.
NHDOT PROGRAM AND PROJECT RESPONSIBILITIES
The method for selecting FHWA oversight versus State oversight projects (i.e. exempt “delegated”) is discussed in Section II State and Division Roles and Responsibilities section of the Agreement. FHWA retains authority for the following actions on FHWA oversight projects in addition to those noted under Division Office Responsibilities. These will be further outlined, subject to risk-based oversight, via the PoDI project S&O Plan:
On delegated projects, NHDOT is responsible for the above noted project approval actions. The determination of whether a project is FHWA oversight or delegated is generally governed by the type of work, route designation (Interstate, NHS, and non-NHS), level of risk and local/national interests, and cost; not by the category of Federal funds used.Delegated projects are not subject to further approvals by FHWA, unless it is jointly agreed with the NHDOT that FHWA should be involved. However, nothing prevents FHWA from reviewing any project. That decision may be based on the project having unique features, high-risk elements, unusual circumstances, or if the project is included in a Compliance Assessment Program (CAP) or program/process review.FHWA and NHDOT agree to work cooperatively as necessary to develop ad hoc arrangements to address responsibilities for new or evolving areas such as design-build, Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreements, and GARVEE projects. On delegated projects, a courtesy copy of all Contract Claims Settlements should be provided to FHWA within 2 weeks of the settlement. And, all project funds must be authorized through FMIS for FHWA approval regardless of who has oversight responsibilities.
For all delegated projects, the NHDOT shall comply with Title 23 and certain non-Title 23, USC Federal-aid program requirements, such as metropolitan and statewide planning, environment, procurement of engineering and design related service contracts, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and related statutes, participation by disadvantaged business enterprises, prevailing wage rates, acquisition of right-of-way, etc.
For all delegated projects, the NHDOT shall assure that right-of-way approval, utility approval, environmental approvals, railroad approval and related activities, consultant agreement approval, design approval, design exceptions (NHS), PS&E approval, concurrence in award, and construction-related activities are performed in accordance with State policies, practices and standards, and in accordance with all requirements of Title 23, USC and 23 CFR. For all projects receiving Federal-Aid funds, NHDOT will ensure adequate documentation is available to document such compliance and retain such documentation until at least 3 years after the final voucher of the final contract or activity is approved. The termini for a "project" shall be as defined in the NEPA document.
When NHDOT assumes project approval responsibilities, it must have mechanisms in place to assure that all project actions will be carried out on FHWA’s behalf, according to laws, regulations, and policies, and be able to produce evidence of compliance at any time. This applies to both projects administered by NHDOT as well as those administered by Municipalities or other subrecipients. These mechanisms include the Project Agreement required under Section 106, Title 23, United States Code, processes, procedures, and program manuals. The NHDOT is responsible for determining that sub-recipients of Federal funds have adequate staffing, project delivery systems, and sufficient accounting control. The NHDOT is ultimately accountable to FHWA for ensuring compliance with Federal-aid requirements on such projects.
FHWA DIVISION OFFICE RESPONSIBILITIES
For delegated projects, FHWA retains authority for the following actions and approvals:
FHWA will periodically conduct activities to verify that NHDOT’s implementation of the FAHP conforms to applicable laws, regulations and policies; that NHDOT is appropriately carrying out its roles and responsibilities accordingly; and that subrecipients also meet these requirements. FHWA will evaluate the risks/benefits in the implementation of federally funded programs and establish activities and reviews to develop confidence that NHDOT’s mechanisms and activities are sufficient.
To the extent possible, regardless of project approval and oversight responsibilities in this Agreement, the FHWA agrees to provide technical assistance to NHDOT on any aspect of an eligible Title 23 project, when requested.
LOCALLY ADMINISTERED PROJECTS
NHDOT is responsible for ensuring compliance with Federal laws and regulations for Locally Administered Program delegated activities. NHDOT will provide the necessary processes, approvals, oversight, and review to ensure that Locally Administered projects receive adequate supervision and inspection, and are completed in conformance with approved plans and specifications, and applicable federal requirements. NHDOT will offer certification training, advice, or other assistance as may be needed by a local public agency to aid it in successfully completing its Federal-aid project.
Title 23, U.S.C. does not recognize local entities as direct recipients of Federal-aid funds. Accordingly, local agencies cannot take the place of NHDOT in the context of the FAHP. NHDOT is responsible for all requirements of the Federal-aid program whether these requirements stem from Title 23 or non-Title 23 statutes. However, the USDOT TIGER Program has allowed a limited number of Direct Recipients, which work directly with the Division Office in agreement with the NHDOT.
The language of 23 USC 106, as amended by Section §1904 of SAFETEA-LU, is clear in its assignment of responsibility for locally administered projects to the States. This amendment to Section 106 specifically charges the States with the responsibility for determining that sub-recipients of Federal funds have adequate project delivery systems for projects approved under this section; and sufficient accounting controls to properly manage such Federal funds. NHDOT shall ensure that all applicable state and Federal requirements are met, and the work is accomplished efficiently. The same Section also states that FHWA shall periodically review the monitoring of subrecipients by the States. See Appendix A section 12 for further information on roles and responsibilities.
OBLIGATION OF FUNDS
FHWA has the sole authority to authorize Federal-aid projects since Authorization of a Federal-aid project is a contractual obligation of the Federal government under 23 U.S.C. 106. On all Federal-aid projects, FHWA oversight or State administered, the New Hampshire Division will authorize the project by execution of the Project Agreement contained in the FHWA’s Fiscal Management Information System (FMIS (current version)).
TRANSFER OF FUNDS
SAFETEA-LU provided greater flexibility for the transfer of funds, specifically to other Federal agencies or to other States. (23 U.S.C. 103 (d), 104(k)(3), 119(b) and 132) The NHDOT must initiate the request for transfers to other agencies or the transfer among their unobligated program funds. All requests for transfer of funds are reviewed by the Division office for adherence to the Federal requirements prior to submission to the Headquarters’ Office of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO).
The oversight arrangement requires that at the time of project authorization, appropriate entries will be made in the designated fields of FMIS (current version), such as FHWA Oversight, State Administered, or Locally Administered. Until changes can be made to the FMIS, PoDIs should be coded as “full oversight” in FMIS, with an appropriate note added to the comment field.
III. METHODS OF OVERSIGHT
FHWA Risk Based Stewardship and Oversight (RBSO) – In 2012, FHWA initiated an effort to establish a new, more systematic and comprehensive process for managing our Stewardship and Oversight roles. In 21013, FHWA created a RBSO approach that is more risk-based, data-driven, value-added and consistent. The new process will incorporate both national and local program and project priorities, as input into the development of S&O Plans for each field office. The key elements of the plan include:
RBSO is evolving to incorporate new approaches and strategies for Stewardship and Oversight in a MAP-21 era. As we implement the above key elements, we anticipate these strategies may further evolve to incorporate lessons learned and best practices.
FHWA will utilize various approaches to accomplish oversight activities, including: process reviews, sampling/testing of program and/or project compliance, project-by-project involvement, telephone contacts, participation in meetings, participation on task forces and committees, and similar types of activities. As appropriate, a variety of the following techniques may be used to provide stewardship and oversight to the FAHP:
Performance Measures/Indicators – These indicators track trends that are associated with the health of the FAHP and compliance with Federal requirements. They generally relate to the actual execution of the program, not the performance of the transportation system itself. The indicators provide insights into stewardship/oversight needs (e.g. design errors review), fiscal and planning (e.g. unobligated balance, STIP construction projects advanced), project quality (e.g. Cost Overruns), etc. They can also be mutual service requirements for the Division Office such as “document review time” and “FMIS approvals.” As well as, the measures under development per section 1203 of MAP-21.
Program Assessments – This technique includes joint risk assessments, self-assessments and program assessments. All of these tools are based on the common concepts of identifying strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities, and the identification and sharing of “best” practices to continually improve the program.
Program Reviews – These reviews are a thorough analysis of key program components and the processes employed by the NHDOT in managing the program. The reviews are conducted to 1) ensure compliance with Federal requirements; 2) identify opportunities for greater efficiencies and improvements to the program; and/or 3) identify exemplary practices. They can be referred to, or known as, program improvement reviews, program assessments, program accountability and results reviews, process reviews, program/product evaluations, or Continuous Process Improvement System (CPIS). NHDOT agrees that the product evaluation portion of these reviews may sample from all Federal-aid projects without regard to system or extent of FHWA oversight in this agreement.
Program Management – This includes the daily stewardship of Federal-aid programs, including project and program oversight and program assistance. Program management ensures Federal program requirements are met while proactively seeking opportunities to add value in the course of routine program approval actions, participating on joint task forces, joint committees and joint quality improvement teams, and aiding and assisting the NHDOT and other transportation stakeholders with answering questions on program issues. In monitoring the program, various techniques can be used to help determine which reviews are to be conducted including risk assessments and pre-determined schedules for regular reviews of specific programs or components. The incorporation of the Division Office Financial Integrity Review and Evaluation (FIRE) Program may also be used as a means to assess the financial aspects of programs and projects.
The FHWA, NHDOT, or both may initiate process and program evaluations of the FAHP. All evaluations are intended to assess procedures and policies used in delivering the FAHP, along with identifying deficiencies and opportunities for improvement. FHWA will employ a risk management framework in consultation with the NHDOT to take into consideration available staffing and funding resources, as well as the NHDOT’s transportation needs. The NHDOT may work collaboratively with FHWA to identify risks and make resources available to address the risk assessment findings.
Monthly, FHWA and NHDOT conduct an Executive Partnering meeting to discuss current program matters, identify streamlining/innovation efforts, provide updates on proposed legislation, and vet any issues that may need leadership resolution.
Process Reviews – This will be accomplished using a team approach. NHDOT will be fully involved with selecting review areas, developing review guidelines, conducting the actual reviews, and resolving issues resulting from the reviews. Within the FHWA, an individual having responsibilities associated with the particular review areas will generally be assigned as the team leader. FHWA Resource Center personnel may also be offered an opportunity to participate. A report will be prepared for each review and the agreed upon resolution of all findings or recommendations will be documented. The report will also identify best practices both nationwide and as implemented in New Hampshire. The findings, recommendations, and action items will be uploaded by FHWA to the Sharepoint Process Review Tracker.
Review Team Leaders will have the responsibility to follow-up to ensure that review findings are satisfactorily resolved. When necessary, the status of resolution of findings will be discussed in periodic meetings held with the NHDOT. Team Leaders will maintain an updated status of all reviews performed by them and/or their Team Members, and implementation actions will be documented in a "Status Report."
IV. CONTROL DOCUMENTS/STANDARDS
In assuming certain program/project-level responsibilities under 23 USC 106 and SAFETEA-LU, the NHDOT agrees to comply with FHWA-approved standards in accordance with 23 CFR 625.4, 655.603 and related Federal regulations and policies. The FHWA Division Office may approve or accept NHDOT policies or standards that expand on, amplify, or amend these standards. These control documents include definitions not included elsewhere in this Agreement. Additional control documents will be added to this list as they are developed, jointly approved, and implemented. The following are control documents for NH.
Applicable State Standards approved or accepted by FHWA for use on Federal-aid projects:
NHDOT will retain project records to support all activities including the estimated cost of construction. Such records shall be available for review and retained for a period of 3 years after payment of the final project costs in accordance with 23 CFR 17.5. The scope of the project is defined in the Record of Decision (ROD), Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), or Categorical Exclusion document (CE), and includes all work and phases associated with implementing the project. It is understood by NHDOT that multipl contracts developed for bidding by the Project Sponsor for contract administration purposes, or due to funding shortfalls, are generally not considered to be operationally independent, and the records for all phases/contracts must be kept until 3 years after final voucher of the final phase/contract.
This Oversight Agreement is structured as a working document that can be modified to incorporate additional legislative, regulatory or policy requirements, and other processes or changes that impact the oversight responsibilities. The FHWA Division Administrator or the NHDOT Commissioner can initiate changes to the Oversight Agreement. Both parties, NHDOT and FHWA, must mutually agree upon all future changes.
V. ISSUE RESOLUTION PROCESS
The FHWA New Hampshire Division and NHDOT work as partners in delivering the Federal-aid transportation program in New Hampshire. It is recognized, however, that there may be times when consensus cannot be achieved between the two agencies. Whenever these situations arise, the FHWA New Hampshire Division and NHDOT agree to work together to resolve disputes in a timely manner. In those cases where a solution cannot be identified, NHDOT and the FHWA New Hampshire Division may elevate the issue to the next level in the “chain of command.” It has been agreed that only the NHDOT Commissioner or NHDOT Assistant Commissioner/Chief Engineer will make NHDOT appeals to FHWA Headquarters’ offices.
VI. FRAUD, WASTE, AND ABUSE
The reporting of fraud, waste, and abuse is everyone’s responsibility, specifically, those involved in the delivery of the Federal Aid Highway Program and for all public servants in general. As stewards of public funds, our duties involve verifying that work performed by private contractors meets the required specifications, both in materials used and in construction practices rendered. On behalf of the FHWA and NHDOT, it is expected that fraudulent activities will not be tolerated and will be reported immediately to the appropriate authorities. Proactive and effective fraud prevention and detection is a collateral duty of all public employees and citizens of the state. Pursuant to the Inspector General Act of 1978, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) Office of Investigations, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) is responsible for conducting investigations of fraud, waste, and abuse involving FHWA programs. Any suspected fraudulent activities by federal or state employees, contractors, subcontractors, and any other participants on federally funded highway construction projects, should be reported to the FHWA New Hampshire Division and OIG.
The OIG maintains a hotline to facilitate the reporting of allegations of fraud, waste, abuse, or mismanagement in USDOT program or operations. Per the OIG Web site; “Confidentiality is established by Section 7(b) of the Inspector General Act of 1978, which precludes the IG from disclosing the identity of a DOT employee who reports an allegation or provides information, without the employee's consent, unless the IG determines that disclosure is unavoidable during the course of the investigation. Non-Department of Transportation employees who report allegations may specifically request confidentiality.”
This Agreement supersedes the Stewardship and Oversight Agreement that was executed between the FHWA and NHDOT in October 2008. This Agreement will take effect as of the effective date stated in Section I and, upon execution, will apply to all new Federal-aid projects and all existing Federal-aid projects under design that have not yet been authorized for construction. Federal-aid projects under construction will retain their current exemption classification through completion.
FHWA and NHDOT agree to periodic reviews of this Agreement to reflect changes in Federal or State laws, regulations, and requirements. Changes to the Agreement will require an updated version of the Agreement and the approval of the signatory agencies. However, since changes will continually occur to the contents of the documents referenced in the Appendices, and acknowledging that policy and guidance updates developed and implemented by NHDOT program areas are made in consultation with FHWA, changes to the contents of the documents in the Appendices will not require an updated Agreement. Addition and deletion of documents to the Appendices will be automatically incorporated into the signed agreement as amendments through written correspondence between NHDOT and FHWA.
Appendix A - PROGRAM SPECIFIC TOPICS1. AIR QUALITY
Transportation conformity is required under the Clean Air Act (CAA) Section 176(c) to ensure that Federally supported transportation activities are consistent with ("conform to") the purpose of a State's air quality implementation plan, or SIP. Transportation conformity establishes the framework for improving air quality to protect public health and the environment. Conformity to the purpose of the SIP means FHWA and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funding and approvals are given to highway and transit activities that will not cause new air quality violations, worsen existing air quality violations, or delay timely attainment of the relevant air quality standard, or any interim milestone. The conformity process applies to areas of the State that are designated as nonattainment or maintenance areas for criteria pollutants, and is applied to MPO Transportation Improvement Programs or TIPs and long-range transportation plans in nonattainment or maintenance areas, and to certain transportation improvement projects that may impact air quality. Under current law, conformity requirements apply in areas that either do not meet or previously have not met national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for ozone (O3), carbon monoxide (CO), particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) or nitrogen dioxide (NO2).
A conformity determination demonstrates that implementation of the metropolitan transportation plan, TIP, or project, will not cause any new violations of the air quality standard, increase the frequency or severity of violations of the standard, or delay timely attainment of the standard or any interim milestone. For metropolitan transportation plan and TIP conformity, the determination shows that the total emissions from on-road travel on an area's transportation system are consistent with goals for air quality found in the SIP. Before a SIP is available, other tests of conformity are used. For project-level conformity, the determination shows that the project is consistent with the regional conformity determination and that potential localized emissions impacts are addressed. All Federally funded or approved highway and public transportation projects subject to conformity are required to meet project-level conformity requirements. To demonstrate project-level conformity, a project must come from a conforming metropolitan transportation plan and TIP; its design concept and scope must not have changed significantly from that in the metropolitan transportation plan and TIP; the analysis must have used the latest planning assumptions and latest emissions model; and in PM areas, there must a demonstration of compliance with any control measures in the SIP. In carbon monoxide and particulate matter nonattainment and maintenance areas, additional analysis may be necessary to determine if a project has localized air quality impacts. This localized air analysis is referred to as a "hot-spot" analysis, and is often undertaken as part of the NEPA review process.
Planning-level conformity determinations are made by FHWA/FTA. MPO policy boards make initial conformity determinations for metropolitan transportation plans and TIPs in metropolitan areas, while State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) usually do so in areas without MPOs, and typically conduct the analyses associated with project-level conformity. A formal interagency consultation process is required for developing SIPs, metropolitan transportation plans, TIPs, and making conformity determinations, and includes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), FHWA, FTA, and State and local transportation and air quality agencies. Conformity determinations must be made at least every four years, but may occur more often if metropolitan transportation plans or TIPs are updated more frequently or amended with non-exempt projects. Also, conformity determinations must be made within 24 months after SIP motor vehicle emissions budgets are found adequate or approved, whichever is first. Project-level conformity must be determined prior to the first time a non-exempt Federal project is adopted, accepted, approved, or funded. In addition, conformity determinations must be made within 12 months of an area being designated by EPA as nonattainment for ozone, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, or nitrogen dioxide. By recent EPA actions, as of July 20, 2013 all of New Hampshire was classified as unclassifiable/attainment for the 2008 8-Hour Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard (the 2008 ozone standard). Also, as of July 20, 2013, the 1997 8-Hour Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard (the 1997 ozone standard) was revoked for transportation conformity purposes in the Boston-Manchester-Portsmouth (SE), NH area.
As a result, in New Hampshire, only the following areas are currently in maintenance status for transportation conformity purposes:
Thus, only the Manchester (SNHPC) and Nashua (NRPC) MPOs are now located in the carbon monoxide maintenance area and are subject to planning-level conformity requirements, and projects located in Manchester or Nashua may also require localized, hot-spot analyses.
The FHWA Division Office and FTA Region 1, in consultation with US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Region 1, make joint conformity determinations on the MPO long-range transportation plans and TIPs, and updates and amendments to these documents and the STIP. Roles and responsibilities for each agency are outlined in the August 9, 2004 Memorandum Of Agreement Between The Federal Highway Administration Division Offices In Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, and The Federal Transit Administration, Region 1. Project-level conformity determinations for highway projects are typically incorporated into the NEPA process.Interagency Consultation
New Hampshire has established an interagency consultation process for planning-level conformity that takes place monthly, and is also documented in New Hampshire’s STIP Revision Procedures. The Division Office is an active participant in these monthly consultations. Meetings or conference calls are coordinated by NHDOT and include all of New Hampshire’s MPOs, the State Air Quality Agency (NHDES), EPA, FHWA, and FTA. The air quality exempt or non-exempt status of projects, project regional significance, and the triggering of determinations of conformity and the need to update the air quality regional emissions analysis versus relying on the previous analysis are all discussed through the interagency consultation process to support joint FHWA conformity determinations for MPO long-range plan and S/TIP updates and S/TIP amendments.Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Program
The purpose of the CMAQ program is to fund transportation projects or programs that will contribute to attainment or maintenance of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). The FHWA New Hampshire Division Office, jointly with FTA Region 1, advises and determines eligibility for inclusion in this funding program on a project-by-project basis using criteria contained in the 2008 Program Guidance issued jointly by the FHWA Office of Planning and Environment and the FTA Office of Planning. Key Division actions include participation in an advisory capacity on New Hampshire’s Statewide CMAQ Advisory Committee, project eligibility determinations, and submittal of the annual State CMAQ Report to FHWA headquarters.
NHDOT will monitor MPO Plans and TIP development activities to ensure that the work is being managed and performed satisfactorily, and that conformity requirements are being met. FHWA and NHDOT will consult with EPA and the NHDES, and will work closely with each MPO in nonattainment and maintenance areas to assure the timely delivery and approval of documents relative to program delivery schedules.
FHWA will review and take action on CMAQ eligibility determinations within 30 business days of receipt. FHWA will review and comment on the draft and final conformity documentation for Metropolitan Transportation Plans and the TIP as necessary, and will work together with FTA and EPA to provide joint FHWA/FTA conformity determinations for associated MPO TIP/STIP and MPO Plan amendments and updates within a 30-60 day timeframe. This includes time for coordination with FTA and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). NHDOT will involve FHWA in decisions involving special and unusual circumstances at the earliest reasonable time to ensure that thorough and appropriate decisions can be made.
NHDOT will assist the FHWA Hampshire Division Office in preparing the annual report of each fiscal year’s CMAQ program that meets the requirements of 23 USC 149 by January 31 of each calendar year. Additional guidance for preparing the annual report is discussed in the 2008 Program Guidance issued jointly by the FHWA Office of Planning and Environment, and the FTA Office of Planning.
2.BRIDGES AND STRUCTURESNational Bridge Inspection Program (NBIS)
FHWA Division Office will conduct an annual review to assess key areas of the NHDOT’s Bridge Inspection Program for compliance with the NBIS regulations. Twenty-three (23) metrics founded in the NBIS regulations will be assessed using random statistical based sampling of bridge files, field review of bridges, review of operating policies and procedures, interviews of personnel, and review of personnel qualifications. 23 USC 151 National Bridge Inspection Program: Statutory authority for establishment of the National Bridge Inspection Standards and bridge inspector training program. 23 CFR Part 650, Subpart C establishes National Bridge Inspection Standards (NBIS) that apply to all bridges carrying vehicular traffic that are greater than 20 feet in length and located on a public road.Highway Bridge Program (HBP)
Eligibility for this program is based on bridge condition and inventory data that NHDOT submits annually to FHWA Division Office. NHDOT also annually submits bridge construction unit cost data to FHWA Division Office. The HBP funds apportioned to each State are based on the relative area of deficient bridges and the relative bridge construction unit costs. Not less than 15 percent of the apportioned funds shall be expended for projects located off the Federal-aid system. A waiver request must be approved by the FHWA Division Office for all bridges that do not meet the eligibility requirements for rehabilitation or replacement. 23 USC 144 Highway Bridge Program: Statutory authority for establishment and requirements of the Federal-Aid Highway Bridge Program, which provides funding for rehabilitation, replacement, preventive maintenance, inventory, inventory management, and inspection. It also includes Historic Bridge Program requirements. 23 CFR Part 650, Subpart D establishes the procedures for administering the Highway Bridge Program (HBP). The program was established to replace, rehabilitate, and preserve deficient bridges. While MAP-21 eliminated this program, unobligated funds which were apportioned under the HBP will continue to follow the requirements of 23 U.S.C. 144 as it existed prior to the enactment of MAP-21.Innovative Bridge Research and Deployment Program (IBRD)
Grants are distributed annually based on competitive application. NHDOT, in coordination with FHWA Division Office identifies potential projects, prepares application and submits it to FHWA Division Office. The FHWA Division Office reviews the application and submits them to FHWA Headquarters with endorsement. If grant is awarded, the FHWA Division Office handles it as a non-exempt project. NHDOT prepares and submits report to FHWA Headquarters on evaluation of the innovative technology. 23 USC 503(b) establishes the Innovative Bridge Research and Deployment Program (IBRD) to demonstrate the application of innovative material technology in the construction of bridges and other structures. While MAP-21 eliminated this program, unobligated funds which were apportioned under the IBRD will continue to follow the requirements of Section 5202 (b)(2) of SAFETEA-LU as it existed prior to the enactment of MAP-21.National Historic Covered Bridge Preservation Program (NHCBP)
Grants are distributed annually based on competitive application. NHDOT in coordination with FHWA identifies potential projects, prepares application and submits it to FHWA Division Office. The FHWA Division Office reviews the application and submits it to FHWA Headquarters with endorsement. If grant is awarded, the FHWA Division Office handles as a non-exempt project. SAFETEA-LU Section 1804 continues the National Historic Covered Bridge Program (NHCBP) by providing funds to assist the States in the rehabilitation, repair, or preservation of the Nation's historic covered bridges. While MAP-21 eliminated this program, unobligated funds which were apportioned under the NHCBP will continue to follow the requirements of Section 1804 of SAFETEA-LU as it existed prior to the enactment of MAP-21.Bridge Preventive Maintenance Program
The NHDOT Bridge Preventive Maintenance Program is evaluated during the annual NBIS compliance reviews. The FHWA Division Office will review the NHDOT Annual Bridge Preventive Maintenance Work Schedule to ensure the eligibility of the proposed preservation activities. 23 USC 116 – Maintenance Establishes eligibility of title funds for preventive maintenance. It also includes the requirement to maintain facilities constructed using Federal-aid funds and authority to withhold funds if not put in proper condition after finding of improper maintenance.
3. CIVIL RIGHTS
FHWA and NHDOT are committed to effectively implementing and enforcing the Civil Rights programs within the Federal-aid Highway Program. NHDOT is obligated to ensure nondiscrimination in all programs and activities, and in the provisions of all services and benefits, as a basis for continued receipt of FHWA funds according to Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the codified Federal regulations that implement these acts.
FHWA and NHDOT review all Civil Rights programs work plans and program documents. FHWA will review and approve NHDOT programs on an ongoing basis through process and program reviews as well as ongoing program assessments and various program management activities. The NHDOT Office of Federal Compliance (OFC) administers the following Civil Rights programs:
4. CONSTRUCTION AND CONTRACT ADMININSTRATION
In general, NHDOT is responsible for the construction of all Federal-aid projects and for ensuring that such projects receive adequate supervision and inspection to ensure that projects are completed in conformance with approved plans & specifications. The primary objectives of the FHWA construction-monitoring program are:
To better address identified risk areas and leverage FHWA’s limited resources, the FHWA NH Division will implement an annual risk-based, statistical Construction Monitoring Plan (CMP) to assure that projects are completed in reasonably close conformance to the plans and specifications (PS&E), to evaluate the quality of construction, and to promote appropriate improvements in construction quality. The implementation will include: construction inspections, reviews, and training through visible monitoring, enhanced financial oversight, and communication and outreach. A key component of the CMP is also implementation of the new Compliance Assessment Program (CAP). The CAP replaces the current requirement to conduct reviews on 10% of “delegated” active construction projects. Annually, FHWA HQ will provide a random sample of projects for the Division’s review.
As a contract administration reminder, Title 23 requirements apply to all projects on the NHS, regardless of oversight process. Non-Title 23 requirements (e.g., Environmental, Civil Rights, Davis-Bacon wage rates, Disadvantaged Business Enterprises, etc.) apply to all projects and are subject to review, regardless of oversight process.
Public Interest Finding
FHWA continues to support the principle of competition in the selection of materials whenever more than one equally suitable product exists to fulfill project requirements. NHDOT may specify proprietary products when they certify that there is no suitable alternative product (such as an innovative product offering better performance) or that the product is needed for synchronization. FHWA must approve, through a public interest finding (PIF), the specification of a proprietary product when other equally suitable alternatives exist.
A public interest finding of cost effectiveness (or a determination that an emergency exists) must be made, as required by 23 U.S.C. 112, when construction by some method other than competitive bidding is to be used.
A public interest finding of cost effectiveness must be made for any Federal-aid participating State force account work, except for routine minor work (≤$20,000) performed by State forces (i.e. Bureau of Traffic signs, pavement markings, signals; minor eligible maintenance work). A public interest finding must be made for any Federal-aid participating proprietary products and State Furnished equipment or materials.
A public interest finding approval will designate the period of time it is good for, which will typically be valid for two years.
FHWA Final Inspection/Final Acceptance
The FHWA Division Office and NHDOT will follow jointly developed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) established to satisfy the requirements of 23 USC 121, requiring final payments to states for projects completed under a Federal-aid project agreement, and to provide assurances that safeguards are in place that the project was completed in compliance with the terms of that agreement. The procedures will outline the two-step process used to close out Federal-aid projects: final acceptance of a Federal-aid project and the approval of the final voucher between the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) and FHWA.
Typically, Final Acceptance will entail a letter/memo from FHWA PoDI Projects or NHDOT Delegated Projects citing completed compilation and acceptance of the following project information:
On FHWA PoDI projects, the above information will be aggregated by NHDOT over the life of the project and submitted to the FHWA Division Office to issue a letter of final acceptance. On Delegated projects, NHDOT will aggregate the information for their own project files and only send a letter/memo of final acceptance to the Division Office with or before their request for Final Voucher.
Final Voucher will entail the following:
FHWA PoDI Projects – For all FHWA oversight projects or programs, FHWA shall ensure that all necessary approvals and activities are in accordance with Federal policies, practices, and standards, and Title 23, U.S.C. On FHWA PoDI projects, FHWA personnel will approve changes in contract (change orders, supplemental agreements, time extensions, claims, etc.), conduct project inspections, final inspections, and project acceptance.
Following authorization to proceed with a project, all major changes in the plans and contract provisions, and all major extra work, shall have formal approval by the Division in advance of their effective dates. However, when emergency or unusual conditions justify, the Division may give tentative advance approval orally to such changes or extra work and ratify such approval with formal approval as soon thereafter as practicable.
Furthermore, in accordance with 23 CFR 635.109, when a major item of work, as defined in the contract, is increased in excess of 125% or decreased below 75% of the original contract quantity, an adjustment excluding anticipated profit will be made to the contract. Any allowance for an increase in quantity shall apply only to that portion in excess of the 125 percent of original contract item quantity, or in case of a decrease below 75 percent, to the actual amount of work performed. The basis for the adjustment shall be agreed upon prior to the performance of the work.
On FHWA PoDI projects, FHWA's prior verbal or written approval will be sought for contract changes (including item variances), supplemental agreements, and extra work orders for those actions or independent items in excess of $25,000 (increase or decrease to the contract). Formal written approval by FHWA of the executed document is also required.
For the purposes of this part, a major change is defined as being greater than $25,000 (see above) or in accordance with any of the following:
On FHWA PoDI projects, the FHWA must formally approve, in writing, all change orders, supplemental agreements, and extra work orders prior to the work being performed when the change has an impact on:a) The scope of the project
b) Material modifications
c) Adding a feature to the project
d) Designer's intent, assumptions, calculations, etc.
e) The original contract bid amount
f) Contract time extensions (not pertaining to weather delays)
Appropriate independent government analysis and review should occur on all actions to ensure that the basis for comparison and determination of reasonableness is justified and documented. Actions on all projects should be reviewed by the appropriate NHDOT personnel and compared to average unit prices for similar work, prior to approval.
In establishing the method of payment for contract changes or extra work orders, force account procedures shall only be used when strictly necessary, such as when agreement cannot be reached with the contractor on the price of a new work item, or when the extent of work is unknown or is of such character that a price cannot be determined to a reasonable degree of accuracy. The reason or reasons for using force account procedures shall be documented.
Informational copies of all Change Orders, Supplemental Agreements, and Extra Work Orders on FHWA PoDI projects will be transmitted to FHWA. Project personnel are encouraged to engage in open and timely communication with FHWA throughout the life of the project, and in particular when such actions occur.
No FHWA approval is required for Supplemental Agreements, Extra Work Orders, or Change Orders on projects delegated as NHDOT oversight.Experimental Features
The Research Section acts as coordinator to NHDOT units that incorporate experimental features and "problem solving" research into their projects. The Section also acts as a clearinghouse to disseminate the information learned from the use of experimental features. The FHWA will work with NHDOT, as appropriate, to disseminate information and encourage the implementation of successfully used experimental features.
The FHWA exercises oversight for experimental features through review of the project applications prior to approval actions.
The FHWA Division Research and Technology Specialist oversees the administrative aspects and coordinates with the Division Office specialists for technical aspects.
Pursuant to 23 CFR 1.9, Federal funds shall not be paid on account of any cost incurred prior to authorization by the Administrator to the State Highway Department to proceed with the project or part thereof involving such cost. As such, NHDOT will consult, coordinate, and seek concurrence from FHWA on oversight projects when contemplating scope changes necessary during the engineering phase of a contract. Formal written approval for such changes during the engineering phase will be required prior to exceeding previously authorized contract amounts. This approval must be in writing and supported by the necessary documentation needed to make the approval. This provision applies to all types of contracts and work performed by State or others acting on behalf of the State, regardless of the phase of the project.
For all FHWA Oversight projects or programs, FHWA shall also ensure that projects or programs comply with certain non-Title 23, U.S.C. Federal-aid program requirements, such as procurement of engineering and design related service contracts and construction procurement procedures (competitive bidding). On PoDI projects FHWA personnel will concur in consultant selection, agreements, and modifications.
Design Exceptions – Design exceptions for FHWA PoDI and Interstate projects may be requested by NHDOT to FHWA. NHDOT has assumed the responsibility to approve and document design exceptions for State Administered projects that are not on the Interstate system. The determination to approve a project design exception is made after due consideration is given to all project conditions and parameters. Additionally, NHDOT should document design variances where the NHDOT standard(s) is (are) not being met; however, the design satisfies the applicable AASHTO standard(s).
In accordance with Title 23, USC, Section 111, "the State will not add any points of access to, or exits from, the project in addition to those approved by the Secretary in the plans for such project, without the prior approval of the Secretary." (Secretary refers to the Secretary of the US Department of Transportation.) Interstate Access Requests may take the form of either an Interstate Justification Report (IJR) or an Interstate Modification Report (IMR). An IJR is a request for approval to add a new interchange, new partial interchange, or new ramps to-from frontage roads on the Interstate System. An IMR is a request for approval to add or modify access points to an existing Interstate interchange. The NHDOT will prepare an Interstate Access Request for FHWA’s approval for the following actions:
An access point is defined as each entrance to or exit from the Interstate mainline including "locked gates."
All Interstate Access Requests should demonstrate good design practice, constructability, and operational and safety acceptability. The formal request must come from the NHDOT with supporting documentation commensurate with the scope of the proposed access approval.
All Interstate Access Requests must address the eight (8) policy points below:
In 2010, FHWA issued Order 6640.1A clarifying the FHWA's policy regarding the permissible project-related activities that may be advanced prior to the conclusion of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. Preliminary design activities include, but are not limited to:
On FHWA PoDI Projects, the Plans, Specification & Estimate (PS&E) Reviews are the last Design reviews done by the FHWA Division Office allowing project authorization to take place. The reviews generally utilize a checklist approach and involve a cursory design review if there was adequate FHWA involvement during the intermediate reviews leading up to the final plans. These reviews are required on all FHWA PoDI projects to assure that the project is ready for authorization. Please plan for allowing 10 working days/two weeks for Division Office review and comment. Half-size plans are preferred
Preliminary Plan, Specifications & Estimate (PPS&E) Reviews will be done by the FHWA Division Office when plans have been developed to about 60% following slope and drain. These reviews are appropriate during the time the design concepts and major design features are being developed and finalized. The purposes of PPS&E reviews are to assure that appropriate design considerations are used during layout development, to assure that environmental commitments are observed, to assure cost-effective design alternates are considered, to maintain communication with the highway agency, and to evaluate the quality of the product.
Delegated Projects - Incidental PS&E/PPS&E reviews will be done as part of Program/Process Reviews that are in keeping with the Division’s Risk Based Stewardship and Oversight Initiatives. Reviews will be done in cooperation with NHDOT timelines to the maximum extent possible.
Local Publically Administered Projects - Incidental PS&E/PPS&E reviews will be done as part of Program/Process Reviews that are in keeping with the Division’s Risk Based Stewardship and Oversight Initiatives. Reviews will be done in cooperation with NHDOT timelines to the maximum extent possible.Value Engineering (VE)
Per MAP-21, as a minimum, NHDOT will perform Value Engineering Analyses on Federal-aid projects estimated to cost $50 million or more, and for Federal-aid bridge projects expected to exceed $40 million. The FHWA Division Administrator – or NHDOT at its discretion - may designate other projects for which a Value Engineering Analysis is needed. In addition, VE analyses are no longer required for non-NHS bridges and Design-Build projects.
NHDOT will include a Value Engineering Change Proposal (VECP) clause in their construction contracts to encourage contractors to propose changes in contract requirements which will:
The net savings of each proposal will be shared with the contractor at a stated reasonable rate. Reimbursement for such share is eligible for pro-rata reimbursement with Federal-aid funds. NHDOT retains the right to accept or reject all proposals and acquire all rights to use accepted VE proposals in current and future projects without restriction.
For maximum benefit, VE should be employed as early as possible in the project development/design process so that valid VE recommendations can be implemented without delaying the progress of the project or causing significant rework of completed designs.
7. EMERGENCY RELIEF
Congress authorized in Title 23, United States Code, Section 125, a special program from the Highway Trust Fund for the repair or reconstruction of Federal-aid highways and roads on Federal lands which have suffered serious damage as a result of: (1) natural disasters or (2) catastrophic failures from an external cause. This program, commonly referred to as the emergency relief or ER program, supplements the commitment of resources by States, their political subdivisions, or other Federal agencies to help pay for unusually high expenses resulting from extraordinary conditions. See the Emergency Relief Manual (Federal-aid Highways) for more detail on the ER program.
Whether the project is FHWA Oversight (PoDI) or State Administered, where federal funding is involved, FHWA will have involvement through the environmental analysis and documentation, through NEPA approval. It is important to understand that there will be some cases where no federal funds are being used but a federal approval is required, such as Interstate access modification, which invokes NEPA. FHWA will always have approval authority for any accompanying NEPA approval, even though the project may not use federal funding.
In addition, FHWA has agreed, in coordination with the NHDOT, to delegate consultant task orders/agreements less than $10,000 that are issued and administered through the Bureau of Environment in accordance with their internal procedures.
FHWA is required to consider the social and natural environment in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) prior to making any decisions on projects that have federal involvement; that is, federal funding or federal action (e.g. Interstate Access modifications, permitting). FHWA has a direct oversight role in implementing NEPA. FHWA and NHDOT will work together to ensure that social, environmental, and economic factors are given proper consideration along with engineering factors, in program and project decision-making. In general, under environmental actions:
9. FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
The New Hampshire Division has implemented the Financial Integrity Review and Evaluation (FIRE) program to ensure that Federal-aid funds are properly managed and effectively used in accordance with Federal policies, and that safeguards are in place to minimize fraud, waste, and abuse. In addition, the FIRE program ensures that proper internal controls are established and followed, with objectivity and a separation of financial duties in conducting the Agency's day-to-day operations. The Division's Financial Management Team is responsible for completing the FIRE activities on an annual basis, and they coordinate with NHDOT personnel and Division staff, as necessary.
The FIRE activities consist of the following:
NHDOT conducts various financial audits (involving respective program staff, as applicable) of external agencies receiving Federal-aid funds to ensure the proper use of these funds and that Federal and State requirements are met.GARVEE Bonds
In 2010 and 2012, NHDOT and FHWA entered into separate MOAs for the GARVEE Bond funding of the I-93 Salem to Manchester major project. Under the FAHP, once a project is selected for debt financing:
Debt service and bond issuance payments will be made by the State through the New Hampshire State Treasurer's Office twice per year and pro-rated to each Individual Construction Project based upon the estimated project debt service schedule, which will be attached to the payment request. As authorized amounts change with project modifications and final bond issuance, debt service payments will be adjusted accordingly. NHDOT will submit requests and supporting documentation to FHWA at least three weeks prior to submitting the request to convert the Advance Construction and use Obligational Authority sufficient to cover the scheduled debt service payments within a fiscal year, subject to the availability of Federal-aid contract and obligation authority. In the event that only a portion of the annual Obligational Authority is provided, NHDOT will reserve a pro-rata share of the Obligational Authority for debt service payments until the full Obligational Authority is available; provided that, in any event, NHDOT will set aside each year obligation authority sufficient for scheduled payments of debt service on the Bonds and other Bond-related costs during such year. Debt service costs will be billed to FHWA through the NHDOT Current Billing System to FMIS billing process. The debt service payments can be billed to FHWA up to 4 business days (in accordance with Federal Cash Management Improvement Act (CMIA)) in advance of the payment due date. The State may request that debt service payments be paid directly to the trustee for the Bonds.
The NHDOT recognizes and acknowledges the FHWA's authority to review the NHDOT's accounting procedures and process to ensure that the NHDOT's accounting system can support the allocation of eligible principal, interest and issuance expenses back to the individual Federal-aid projects being financed under 23 U.S.C. 115 and 122 on an annual basis.
The NHDOT agrees to authorize an audit of the Federal-aid projects being financed under 23 U.S.C. § 115 and § 122 by an independent auditor, which shall be charged to Federal-aid and eligible for participation at the Federal share as authorized under 23 U.S.C. 101 (a)(3) no less than every two years, but as frequently as on an annual basis.
10. INTELLIGENT TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS (ITS) Program
NHDOT, in consultation and cooperation with FHWA, will lead the development of ITS initiatives ITS deployments, integrations, research, and operations. NHDOT and FHWA will work cooperatively with MPOs to promote ITS planning, regional architecture development and use, and to facilitate the adoption and integration of ITS elements at the local level as may be appropriate.
NHDOT will adhere to the provision of 23 CFR 940, Intelligent Transportation System Architecture and Standards, for ITS initiatives and deployments with Federal-aid funding associated.
Per 23 CFR 940.3, an ITS project is any project that in whole or in part funds the acquisition of technologies or systems of technologies that provide or significantly contribute to the provision of one or more ITS User Services as defined in the National ITS Architecture. It is understood that:
23 CFR 940.9 states that Regional ITS architectures for each of the MPO areas and statewide shall be developed and maintained to document the ITS integration strategies and guide the development of specific projects and programs. FHWA will serve as a technical resource during the development, maintenance, and use of the regional architectures, and shall be furnished a copy of the adopted regional architectures and any amendments. Regional architectures will conform to the latest version of the National ITS Architecture and comply with the provisions of 23 CFR 940.9. FHWA will make an acceptance determination based on these requirements.Systems Engineering Analysis
All ITS projects shall be based on a systems engineering analysis and shall be developed to be consistent with the accepted regional architecture. The systems engineering analysis will be on a scale commensurate with the project scope. NHDOT shall make a determination of compliance of ITS Projects with the systems engineering analysis requirement, with FHWA concurrence.Project Administration
Prior to authorization of Federal-aid funds for construction or implementation, NHDOT shall demonstrate that ITS projects conform to the National ITS Architecture and were developed using standard systems engineering practices for highway projects as may be found in FHWA’s publication, ‘System Engineering for Intelligent Transportation System’ and other guidance acceptable to FHWA. NHDOT shall demonstrate that there is a commitment to the operation, management, and maintenance of the overall system. All ITS projects shall use applicable ITS standards and interoperability tests that have been officially adopted by the USDOT, and will use to the extent practical other ITS standards under development that have general industry acceptance or use. NHDOT shall make a determination, with FHWA concurrence, of ITS project compliance with these requirements.
NHDOT will document and maintain an ITS project development and implementation process that standardizes the Department procedures for compliance with the fore mentioned requirements of both Federal and State ITS projects. The document will include policies, guidance, and procedures that will be used internally within the NHDOT, and externally with FHWA. FHWA will review and approve all associated documents and amendments thereto. FHWA and NHDOT will jointly conduct process reviews, as appropriate, of the ITS program.
FHWA and NHDOT will establish criteria that will be used to categorize all ITS projects as either a lower-risk or higher-risk projects. Lower-risk projects will be overseen by NHDOT only and higher-risk projects will be considered FHWA PoDI Projects. For projects not clearly fitting into either category, or that may have some components of a higher-risk project while otherwise being considered lower-risk, NHDOT will obtain FHWA concurrence on the ultimate categorizing of the project. All ITS projects will comply with the requirements of this section, however, only oversight projects will require FHWA involvement and approval of design, development, and implementation. The Departments procedures for ITS project development and implementation described earlier in this section will include any procedures for both oversight and non-oversight ITS projects.
For Congressional ITS earmark projects, FHWA will monitor pre-award activities to ensure that the project being pursued meets program purposes and other requirements and implementation processes issued by FHWA Headquarters. Congressional ITS earmark projects shall comply with the other provisions stated in this agreement unless otherwise determined by FHWA to be inapplicable.11. INNOVATIVE PROJECT DELIVERY
Innovative Program Delivery methods are new to NHDOT and the NH Division. As such, all projects utilizing innovative program delivery methods such as Design-Build, CMGC, PPP, ATC’s, etc. will be FHWA Oversight. Once established procedures are in place for the innovative program delivery method, and the NH Division and NHDOT have developed a comfort level with using the method, the parties may agree to revisit the oversight designation.
FHWA supports awarding at least one project every year utilizing an innovative program delivery method.
12. LOCAL PUBLIC AGENCY PROGRAM AND PROJECTS
Local Public Agency (LPA) administered Federal-aid projects are those which are, at a minimum, managed through design or construction or both, by an entity delegated to do so by a State Transportation Agency (STA). In many cases, the LPA may also manage environmental studies and documentation, appraisal and acquisition of right-of-way, the bid and award process, and the billing process.
The LPA program in New Hampshire consists mainly of programs now administered under the MAP-21 Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP). The program includes most activities previously eligible as Transportation Enhancement, Recreational Trails, CMAQ, and Safe Routes To School. We should note there are several Transportation Enhancement activities that are no longer eligible under TAP funding.
Although some LPA projects may be selected as FHWA PoDI projects, the majority of these projects are administered by the NHDOT. By written agreement with the local agency, NHDOT may delegate all or some project activities to local agencies, whether or not Federal-aid is used for the activity. Those activities include, but are not limited to:
NHDOT is responsible, under Federal law and regulations, for all delegated activities. NHDOT will provide the necessary processes, approvals, oversight, and review to ensure that delegated projects receive adequate supervision and inspection, and that they are completed in conformance with approved plans and specifications and applicable Federal requirements. The following activities will not be delegated to local agencies:
In the event that a Municipality holds the consultant design agreement, or does its own design and the NHDOT administers the construction contract, then this section is only valid through final design. From the PS&E forward, the State-Administered Project Development and Project Construction delegations apply as outlined in this Appendix A sections 4 and 6. Also, if a Municipal Project is determined to be federal oversight, it is administered like any other FHWA oversight project.
LTAP was created to provide training and technical assistance to rural, small urban governments, and contractors that do work for local agencies on roads, bridges, and public transportation. The LTAP program is regulated under 23 U.S.C. 504(b). The Technology Transfer (T2) Center at the University of New Hampshire was established in 1986. T2 Center is the local entity that works with NHDOT and FHWA to administer LTAP to communities and organizations throughout the state.
The T2 Advisory Committee determines the direction for the New Hampshire LTAP. The Committee, consisting of UNH personnel, federal, state, and local government representatives, typically meets quarterly. The Quarterly Committee meetings review, modify, and approve the content of New Hampshire's annual local training and assistance plan, and monitor progress, discuss opportunities and needs, develop plans for future programs, and associated budget needs. New Hampshire's LTAP annual training schedule typically consists of more than ten courses. T2 Center coordinates with NHDOT and the FHWA to adapt an LTAP Management Plan based on a calendar year.
FHWA exercises its oversight responsibilities through the review and approval of the annual work plan prior to approval actions, review of work plan amendments prior to approval, participation in the T2 Steering Committee, and participation or planning of various LTAP-related activities.
NHDOT, T2 Center, and FHWA coordinate to process amendments to LTAP. FHWA also coordinates with NHDOT for program development, eligibility, and fiscal issues.
13. MAJOR PROJECTS
Major Projects are those projects receiving Federal financial assistance with an estimated cost of $500 million or more, or projects that have been identified by the United States Department of Transportation Secretary as being "Major" because of special interest. The NEPA decision for each project defines the project scope, limits, and cost for each category of project.
Projects Costing greater than $500 million – These projects will be designated as FHWA oversight projects regardless of the system on which they occur. In the early development of each Major Project, NHDOT shall submit to FHWA an initial Project Management Plan (PMP). The purpose of the PMP is to define the roles, responsibilities, processes, and activities, which will result in the Major Project being completed on time, within budget, with the highest degree of quality and safety, and in a manner in which the public trust, support, and confidence in the project is maintained.
The preparation of an initial PMP during the project's environmental study is critical to ensure that the project is delivered in an efficient and effective manner. The initial PMP shall be prepared by NHDOT and submitted to the FHWA prior to the submission of the NEPA decision document for the project. The PMP is to be a living document in which revisions will be issued as the project progresses in order to add, modify, or delete provisions, with the result being the most effectively managed project. PMP guidance is posted on the FHWA Major Project Web site.
Major Project Cost Estimates are required to be prepared and updated by NHDOT. To validate the Cost Estimates, FHWA will perform at least one review prior to approving the NEPA decision document, and another review prior to authorization of the first mainline construction contract. Additional reviews may be required any time an update of the Financial Plan or PMP shows a significant change to the Cost Estimates or schedule. Details for developing Cost Estimates can be found on the FHWA Major Project web site.
Every Major Project also requires the development and submittal of a Financial Plan. A Financial Plan is a comprehensive document that reflects the Project's cost estimate and revenue, and provides reasonable assurance that there will be sufficient financial resources available to implement and complete the project as planned. The plan should clearly explain the assumptions about both cost and revenue upon which the plan is based. Financial Plans for Major Projects shall be prepared by NHDOT and submitted to the FHWA.
The initial Financial Plan should be prepared as early in the project development process as practical. In all cases, the initial Financial Plan must be submitted and approved by FHWA before authorization of Federal-aid funding for project construction. Financial Plans are to be updated annually. The annual updates of the Financial Plan should provide information on actual costs, expenditures, and dedicated revenue in comparison to initial estimates. Additionally, updated estimates of future years’ costs, expenditures, and dedicated revenue will be included. Identified funding shortfalls should be highlighted along with proposed resource solutions. Financial Plan guidance is posted on the FHWA Major Project web site.
Projects Costing $100 - $500 million – These projects are also required to have Financial Plans and annual updates of the Financial Plans prepared by the project owner. The Financial Plan should address the same items as those for Major Projects. The initial Financial Plan should be prepared as early in the project development process as practical. In all cases, the initial Financial Plan must be completed before authorization of Federal-aid funding for project construction. These projects will be designated as FHWA PoDI projects regardless of the system on which they occur. Any amount of federal funding used to reach the project threshold amount, such as federal earmarks, would invoke the Initial Financial Plan requirement.
Major Projects that have been approved for Operational Independence and Non-Concurrent Construction (per FHWA Major Project Guidance) will be treated in accordance with the new dollar amounts of each approved phase.
A Value Engineering study is required for any Federal-aid project meeting thresholds described in current legislation, excluding non-NHS bridges and Design-Build projects. The Division Administrator may require more than one Value Engineering analysis for those projects.
14. PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE AND SYSTEM PRESERVATION
The following types of Federal-aid projects shall be excluded from the established dollar thresholds shown in the Table 1 entitled FHWA Federal-aid Project Oversight Responsibilities for the State of New Hampshire and, therefore, remain State Oversight.NHS Preventive Maintenance
This type of project includes all NHS roadways, including Interstate Highways. Preventive Maintenance projects consist of work proposed to preserve, rather than improve, the structural integrity of the pavement and/or structure. Examples of preventive maintenance activities include ACP overlays (maximum 2” thick, excluding level-up); seal coats; cleaning and sealing joints and cracks; shoulder repair; scour countermeasures; cleaning and painting steel members to include application of other coatings; steel beam repair; repair or replacement of slopes and/or riprap, restore drainage systems; cleaning and sealing bridge joints; microsurfacing; bridge deck protection; milling or bituminous level-up; pavement inlay; clean, lubricate, and reset bearings; clean rebar/strand and patch structural concrete, and seal cracks. Projects that increase the capacity of a facility or address major deficiencies along a facility are not considered preventive maintenance.
In general, all preventive maintenance projects should consider appropriate ways to maintain or enhance the current level of safety and accessibility. Isolated or obvious deficiencies should always be addressed. Safety enhancements such as the installation or upgrading of bridge rail, guardrails, and end treatments, installation or replacement of traffic signs and pavement markings, removal or shielding of roadside obstacles, mitigation of edge drop offs, the addition of paved or stabilization of unpaved shoulders, or installation of milled rumble strips, should be included in projects where they are determined to be a cost effective way to improve safety. To maintain preservation program flexibility, and in accordance with 23 U.S.C. 109(q), safety enhancements can be deferred and included within an operative safety management system or included in a future project in the STIP. In no way shall preventive maintenance type projects adversely impact the safety of the traveled way or its users.
15. PAVEMENTS AND MATERIALS
The FHWA New Hampshire Division is committed to assisting NHDOT in development and implementation of their Pavement Management System (PMS). FHWA will participate in various meetings to ensure that pavement related activities, including new and rehabilitated pavement design and construction, pavement management, research, technology transfer, etc., to provide readily available support to NHDOT through our HQ and Resource Center, as well as coordination among other functional/administrative areas of the division office.
In general, FHWA will monitor the implementation, operation, and effectiveness of the PMS through joint reviews and on-going involvement.Materials Quality Assurance Monitoring Program
The FHWA Division Office monitoring of NHDOT Quality Assurance (QA) Program is structured around 23 CFR 637. The overall purpose of the monitoring program is to ensure the quality of materials incorporated into Federal-aid highway projects on the National Highway System (NHS).
For Federal-aid highway projects on the NHS, the primary objectives of the monitoring program are:
The FHWA Division Office will review and approve NHDOT Materials QA Program on an on-going basis. The NHDOT Materials QA Program includes the Acceptance Program, the IA Program, the Materials Certification of projects located on the NHS, the AASHTO Accreditation Inspection Reports, the Qualified Laboratory Program, and the Qualified Sampling and Testing Personnel Program. Additionally, the FHWA Division Office will have an ongoing involvement in the development and implementation of the NHDOT‘s Materials QA Program. In general, the FHWA Division Office will monitor the implementation and effectiveness of the QA Program through process reviews.ASSET MANAGEMENT
Asset management is a strategic and systematic process of operating, maintaining, and improving physical assets, with a focus on engineering and economic analysis based upon quality information, to identify a structured sequence of maintenance, preservation, repair, rehabilitation, and replacement actions that will achieve and sustain a desired state of good repair over the lifecycle of the assets at minimum practicable cost. (23 U.S.C. 101(a) (2), MAP-21 § 1103)
Per MAP-21, each State is required to develop a risk-based asset management plan for the National Highway System (NHS) to improve or preserve the condition of the assets and the performance of the system. To avoid a reduction in the Federal share under National Highway Performance Program (NHPP), States are required to have developed and implemented an NHS asset management plan by the second fiscal year beginning after the USDOT Secretary establishes by regulation the process for asset management plan development. (23 U.S.C. 119(e)(1), MAP-21 § 1106)
Not less than once every 4 years, FHWA will review and recertify that the process the State used to develop and maintain the State asset management plan for the NHS meets requirements established under 23 U.S.C. 119(e)(8), MAP-21 § 1106.16. PLANNING AND PROGRAMMING OVERVIEW
Work Programs: Title 23 CFR, Part 420, Planning and Research Program Administration contains the policies and procedures for administering activities and studies undertaken by States and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) funded through their respective Work Program or as separate projects not included in a Work Program.
Statewide Transportation Planning: Title 23 CFR, Part 450, Subpart B, addresses the requirements of the statewide transportation planning process.
Metropolitan Transportation Planning: Title 23, CFR Part 450, Subpart C, addresses metropolitan planning requirements.
NHDOT is required to submit to FHWA and FTA, for joint approval, a Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). Under MAP-21, NHDOT is required to update the STIP and submit for approval to FHWA and FTA at least every four years.
NHDOT and the MPO shall certify to FHWA that the planning process is addressing the major issues facing the area and is being conducted in accordance with all applicable requirements. This certification is submitted with the STIP update.
Under MAP-21, the NHDOT is required to provide for 50% statewide suballocation of funds under the Surface Transportation Program (STP) and Transportation Alternatives Program (TA). In addition, there will be STP funds suballocated for the Nashua urbanized area (UZA) due to its current Transportation Management Area (TMA) designation. MAP-21 also requires that an MPO serving a TMA select all projects except those on the NHS, which are selected by the State with MPO cooperation.
Under MAP-21, projects carried out in areas having less than 50,000 persons shall be selected from the approved STIP (excluding NHS projects, Bridge program, IM program, or under sections 5310 and 5311 of title 49) by the State in cooperation with the affected non-metropolitan local officials with responsibility for transportation, or, if applicable, through Regional Transportation Planning Organizations (RTPOs).
NHDOT will work with FHWA and New Hampshire’s MPOs and non-MPO RPCs to establish procedures and agreements as necessary to ensure that these suballocation and project selection requirements are in place by September 30, 2013, at the latest.
NHDOT will monitor all SPR and UPWP activities to assure the work is being managed and performed satisfactorily and that time schedules are being met. NHDOT will submit a report annually to FHWA documenting the results of its monitoring process.
NHDOT will periodically review its statewide long-range transportation plan to assure its goals and objectives are still relevant, and that the plan still meets the requirements of 23 CFR 450.214. As NHDOT and FHWA deems it necessary, NHDOT will update or reaffirm the long-range transportation plan.
FHWA and NHDOT periodically monitor MPO plans and activities to ensure they are in conformance with all applicable federal and state guidelines.
FHWA and FTA conduct certification reviews of Transportation Management Areas (TMA) and MPO planning reviews for non-TMA areas on a four-year cycle. NHDOT will participate as a partner agency in these reviews.
NHDOT will provide FHWA (and FTA and EPA, where appropriate, at least 30 business days to review and comment on the draft and final Statewide Transportation Improvement Program, Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Program, State Planning and Research Work Program, the Metropolitan Planning Organization Unified Planning and Work Program, and the Statewide and Metropolitan Transportation Plans.
NHDOT will involve FHWA in decisions involving special and unusual circumstances at the earliest reasonable time to ensure thorough and appropriate decisions can be made cooperatively.
NHDOT will comply with all sub-grantee reimbursement requirements for PL and SPR funds in a timely manner, including the 15 business day turnaround that is required under MAP-21 for metropolitan planning funds that are requested for reimbursement by a MPO.
As a condition for receipt of Federal aid funds, NHDOT agrees to develop plans and work programs for statewide transportation planning activities, as required in 23 CFR, Parts 420 and 450, and in cooperation with Metropolitan Planning Organizations. FHWA will review these plans and programs to assure they meet applicable laws and regulations.Programs requiring oversight include:
17. RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT and TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM
The purpose of the program is to implement the provisions of 23 U.S.C. 307 for research, development and technology transfer programs and studies undertaken with FHWA planning and research funds.State Planning and Research (SPR) Program
The main requirements under 23 CFR 420 are to create a SPR Work Program, monitor planning and research activities, submit performance and expenditure reports, conduct peer reviews, develop and maintain an FHWA approved research and development manual, and maintain program certification. The SPR Work Program consists of two parts: (1) Part I, Planning, which is prepared by NHDOT’s Bureau of Planning and Community Assistance and (2) Part II, Research, which is prepared by NHDOT’s Research Section of the Bureau of Materials and Research.
New Hampshire DOT prepares the Work Program biennially. FHWA provides pre-program guidance, draft review comments, if any, approves the Work Program, and authorizes SPR funds. FHWA monitors the work throughout the year using day-to-day involvement as appropriate. New Hampshire DOT submits Annual Accomplishments and Expenditure Reports to FHWA.SPR Part I
Title 23 CFR, Part 420, Planning and Research Program Administration contains the policies and procedures for administering activities and studies undertaken by States and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) funded through their respective Work Program or as separate projects not included in a Work Program.SPR Part II
NHDOT is responsible for preparation and overall coordination of the Work Program in accordance with 23 CFR 420. The SPR program operates on a biennial state fiscal-year basis. NHDOT considers how to address research needs and may, at its option: 1) conduct research with in-house personnel or contracted researchers, including university, federal, or private organizations, 2) conduct research through a transportation pooled fund project wherein NHDOT or another state DOT or FHWA is the lead agency, or 3) participate in one of the regional or national cooperative transportation research programs.
FHWA exercises its oversight responsibilities through review and approval of the biennial SPR Work Program prior to approval actions, review of SPR Work Program amendments prior to approval, and ongoing participation of its technical specialists in study technical panels. As appropriate, FHWA personnel participate in peer exchanges.
The FHWA Division Research and Technology Specialist oversees the administrative aspects and coordinates with the Division Office specialists for technical aspects.
FHWA reviews and approves an updated version of the NHDOT RD & T2 Primer - Official Manual of the Research, Development and Technology Transfer Program when there are significant changes in the management process or new Federal regulation/policy are enacted.
Eligible SPR funded activities include:
All recipients of Federal assistance must comply with the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 (Uniform Act), and its amendments, on programs and projects that require real property acquisition. The Uniform Act applies whenever Federal funds are used in any phase of the program or project. The Uniform Act encourages agencies to negotiate with property owners in a prompt and amicable manner in order to avoid litigation.
While there are no oversight exemptions in the Right of Way (ROW) program, there are essentially two levels of Federal interest. On Federal-aid projects where ROW is acquired without federal funds, the Federal concern is to ensure that the rights of property owners and displaced persons are protected. On Federal-aid projects where ROW is acquired with federal funds, there is a dual Federal concern for the rights of property owners and displaced persons, as well as the stewardship of federal dollars.
49 CFR 24 provides the implementing regulations for the Uniform Act regarding appraisal, acquisition, and relocation. 23 CFR 710 provides requirements concerning the ROW operations manual, direct and indirect costs, ROW project agreements, Interstate and NHS air rights, airspace leases and joint use agreements, transfers of excess ROW, early acquisition, protective buying, hardship acquisitions, donations, functional replacements, and Federal land transfers. 23 CFR 750 provides requirements for highway beautification; 23 CFR 751 provides requirements for junkyard control; and 23 CFR 752 has requirements for roadside development.
The Division will conduct regular reviews of specific ROW activities to ensure compliance with Uniform Act requirements. The Division will also conduct process reviews and program evaluations as needed. These will be typically conducted jointly with the NHDOT.
The NHDOT is responsible for ensuring that ROW acquisitions and relocations by local agencies on Federal-aid projects are made in compliance with Federal and State requirements. The NHDOT will provide annual performance indicators of the ROW program by November 15 (see APP C) for the previous Federal Fiscal Year.
The NHDOT and the Division agree to the following roles and responsibilities regarding the listed actions. Typically, 5-7 day review times, after receipt by the Division, should be adequate.
Outdoor Advertising Control
The Highway Beautification Act requires States to provide effective outdoor advertising control along certain Federal-aid highway systems. Prior to MAP-21, these highway systems were the Interstate system, the Federal-aid primary system (as it existed on June 1, 1991), and the National Highway System (NHS). Effective October 1, 2012, MAP-21 Section 1104 amended 23 U.S.C. 103 to incorporate additional routes not previously included in the NHS and created an enhanced NHS. This enhanced NHS is now subject to outdoor advertising control. The penalty for not providing effective control of outdoor advertising remains at 10 percent.Junkyard Control
Effective October 1, 2012, MAP-21 Section 1404(b) amended 23 U.S.C. 136 to require States to now provide effective junkyard control in areas adjacent to the enhanced NHS. Section 1404(b) also amended 23 USC 136 by reducing the penalty for not providing effective control of junkyards from 10 to 7 percent.
The HSIP is a core Federal-aid program with the purpose of achieving a significant reduction in fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads. States shall fund safety projects or activities that are most likely to achieve fatality and serious injury performance targets.
The program and policy language for implementing the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) is codified as 23 USC 148, with related policies in 23 CFR 924. Specific provisions related to the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) are also provided under section 1112 of MAP-21. Each State is required to develop, implement, and evaluate on an annual basis a comprehensive HSIP that has the objective of significantly reducing fatalities and serious injuries resulting from crashes on all public roads. Further guidance on implementing the HSIP is given through various FHWA HSIP program guidance documents.
NHDOT has the responsibility for carrying out the State's HSIP. FHWA exercises its oversight responsibilities through review of the annual program of projects, review of program processes, and review of annual reports, as well as through various approval and acceptance actions in accordance with 23 USC 148, 23 CFR 924 and other guidance as released by FHWA.
NHDOT will maintain a documented process, approved by FHWA, for programming projects that conforms to 23 USC 148 and 23 CFR 924. This documented process will be updated by NHDOT as needed. All changes to this process will be approved by FHWA.
The NHDOT will establish and maintain a multi-disciplined HSIP Steering Committee that includes local representation for the purpose of establishing program guidance and HSIP project selection and prioritization criteria; FHWA will have representation on that committee. The Committee will meet regularly throughout the year and as needed to address issues.
The NHDOT, in cooperation and consultation with FHWA, will establish and maintain an HSIP Guidance document that aligns with Federal regulation and guidance on administering a State HSIP program. The Guidance will include the methodology for establishing HSIP project selection, reevaluation of projects throughout development, and project prioritization. The Guidance will also include the tracking of goals and established measures. This guidance document will be used by the NHDOT and HSIP Committee in administering the HSIP program of projects.
In addition, NHDOT will provide project analysis/selection information to FHWA for review at the time a Federal-aid Project Agreement for an HSIP funded project is submitted to FHWA and/or during HSIP Committee meetings where projects are to be included in the HSIP program. Oversight of HSIP projects will be determined using risk based criteria determined through cooperative agreement with NHDOT, and as may be determined for any other Federal-aid highway projects as described in other sections of this Agreement.
NHDOT will manage the overall HSIP in accordance with 23 USC 148 and 23 CFR 924. NHDOT will prepare an annual report on the progress made and on the effectiveness of the HSIP. The report will be submitted to FHWA on or before August 31st of each year. The report contents will substantially follow the HSIP Reporting Guidance document developed by FHWA for this program.Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP)
23 USC 148 states that safety projects funded with HSIP funds must be consistent with the SHSP. NHDOT has met the requirement to develop an SHSP. NHDOT and the SHSP steering committee will evaluate the effectiveness of the SHSP annually using the HSIP reporting process. NHDOT will revise the SHSP every three to five years, or earlier as needed.
As part of the SHSP, safety emphasis areas will be established based on safety data. FHWA and NHDOT will ensure that action plans and strategies are developed and tracked for each emphasis area and where appropriate projects are implemented that will significantly reduce the number of fatal and serious injury highway crashes.
FHWA and NHDOT will ensure that SHSP implementation efforts are developed and tracked for each emphasis area. Through crash and other safety data analysis the SHSP will be utilized to identify, prioritize, and program appropriate highway safety related projects that will correct hazardous road locations, sections, and elements.Crash Data Systems and Analysis
23 USC Section 148(c) provides that States, as part of their Strategic Highway Safety Plans, shall have crash data systems capable of identifying and determining the relative severity of hazardous locations on all public roads using criteria that the States deem most appropriate. Therefore, NHDOT and FHWA will continue to actively participate in the New Hampshire State Traffic Records Coordinating Committee (TRCC) to assist in the development of comprehensive, statewide safety data systems. NHDOT will assist the TRCC in efforts to improve Statewide system crash data. NHDOT will work with FHWA and other agencies, cities, local municipalities, and State regional planning organizations to develop a process to analyze safety data from all public roads to be included as part of the annual reporting process, by the deadline documented by FHWA. NHDOT and FHWA will actively participate in reviews of traffic records efforts.
23 USC 148 outlines specific requirements for identifying and prioritizing projects. NHDOT will continue to use crash data analysis as the foundation of the HSIP and as a major factor when making funding decisions and allocating resources. Federal-aid Safety funds will be focused on the most effective treatments at the locations with the greatest needs and potential.Rail-Highway Crossing Safety
The NHDOT will continue to administer the Rail-Highway Grade Crossing Program per 23 USC 130 and 23 USC 148. The FHWA will review this program in conjunction with the annual HSIP reporting process.
USC Section 130(g) requires each State to submit an annual report to the Secretary of Transportation on the progress being made to implement the railway-highway crossings program, the effectiveness of such improvements, an assessment of the costs of the various treatments employed, and subsequent crash experience at improved locations. MAP-21 Section 148(g) requires States to submit to the Secretary a report that describes how improvements contributed to reducing fatalities and serious injuries at railway-highway crossings, which may be included in the Section 130 report. NHDOT will submit a report(s) annually at the time of the HSIP report submission that meets the above requirements. FHWA will review and take acceptance action on the report(s).
Required Safety Programs – NHDOT and FHWA will maintain a written agreement on how safety will be addressed on 3R and preventive maintenance projects in accordance with FHWA requirements. FHWA will review the use of the safety planning factor as part of our HSIP reviews and MPO certification process. FHWA and NHDOT will perform process improvement reviews of other safety program elements as needed, such as Safe Routes to School, High Risk Rural Roads, design standards, MUTCD compliance, work zones, etc.
Additional Highway Safety-Related Activities:
20. TRAFFIC OPERATIONSTraffic Control and Standards
The NHDOT will adopt in a timely manner the latest version of the national Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) as required by 23 CFR 655.603 and will submit all NHDOT proposed supplements to the FHWA for approval of substantial conformance with the MUTCD prior to implementation. NHDOT will provide and update traffic control devices on Federal-aid routes to meet the standards of the MUTCD, and approved supplements. NHDOT will develop, implement, and maintain a program acceptable to FHWA for maintaining the minimum retroreflectivity requirements in the MUTCD and for maintaining traffic control devices in an acceptable condition on Federal-aid highways. Projects on Federal-aid highways, as well as those funded with Federal-aid funds, shall only include traffic control devices in compliance with the MUTCD and approved NHDOT supplements.
NHDOT will develop and maintain a policy and guidance on the use of Changeable Message Signs and the messages thereby put on them. The NHDOT policy and guidance shall substantially conform to the MUTCD and associated FHWA policy and guidance. The FHWA will work with the NHDOT on any updates to the policy and guidance and shall concur in any changes made thereto.
Work Zone Safety and Mobility (23 CFR 630 Subpart J)
23 CFR 630 Subpart J provides guidance and establishes requirements for systematically addressing the safety and mobility impacts of work zones, and developing strategies to help manage these impacts on all Federal-aid highway projects through the development of project level Traffic Management Plans (TMP). The NHDOT and FHWA will partner in the development, implementation, and maintenance of policies, procedures, and processes to address work zone impacts both early on and throughout the project delivery process, and to expand work zone planning beyond the project work zone itself to address corridor, network, and regional issues. This effort also includes expanding work zone management beyond traffic safety and control, to encompass broader solutions that address the need for continued mobility during road construction, including operational and public outreach plans on project considered ‘Significant’ per NHDOT policy.
The NHDOT will maintain a Traffic Control Committee (TCC) for the purpose of administering the Departments work zone safety and mobility program in conformance with 23 CFR 630 Subpart J and K. FHWA will maintain an active presence on the TCC. NHDOT will conduct a process review, at a minimum of every two years, of the Departments work zone safety and mobility procedures as required by and in conformance with 23 CFR 630.1006(e).
NHDOT will participate with appropriate personnel in the FHWA facilitated annual Work Zone Self-Assessment. The Self-Assessment will use the FHWA Work Zone Self-Assessment Tool and results will be reported to FHWA Headquarters office for general analysis with other States, but will not be released to other States.
Temporary Traffic Control Devices (23 CFR 630 Subpart K)
The NHDOT and FHWA will partner in the development and implementation of policies and procedures for the appropriate use of, and expenditure of funds for, uniformed law enforcement officers, positive protective measures between workers and motorized traffic, and installation and maintenance of temporary traffic control devices during construction, utility, and maintenance operations. FHWA will review the NHDOT’s policies and procedures, and revision thereto, for conformance with appropriate regulations.
Real-Time System Management Information Program (23 CFR 511)
NHDOT, with participation from public safety agencies, transit operators, and other operating agencies necessary to sustain mobility through the region and/or municipality, will establish a ‘Real-time Information Program’ as required by 23 CFR 511, by which they will gather and make available data for traffic and travel conditions. The program shall be consistent with the parameters defined under 23 CFR 511.309, 311, and 313.
Traffic Incident Management (TIM)
NHDOT, in partnership with FHWA, will maintain a program to address traffic incidents on major highways in the State for the purpose of reducing the impact of non-recurring delays. NHDOT will partner with NH Department of Safety (State Police), NH Department of Environmental Services, NH Department of Health and Human Services, private towing associations, and others as may be appropriate, and to the extent practical, to establish statewide and regional policies and procedures for safely and quickly clearing highways of such incidents. The NHDOT, FHWA, and other partners will meet on a regular basis to address TIM issues, plan and implement training, and administer post incident reviews as may be desired.
Appendix B - PROJECT ACTION RESPONSIBILITY
Appendix C – PROGRAM ACTION RESPONSIBILITY
The Program Responsibilities List is to be used as a tool to jointly manage program activities that are integral parts of the FAHP. This comprehensive list defines program level activities, roles and responsibilities. The list also outlines the approval authorities and is broken down by program area identifying frequency of approvals and actions, regulatory references, and provides the FHWA and NHDOT contact information. Effective management of these activities contributes to the overall health of the FAHP.
Appendix D - PERFORMANCE/COMPLIANCE INDICATORS
This section of the Agreement identifies performance/compliance indicators that will be an integral part of the joint Federal/State stewardship/oversight agreement(See Table below). FHWA and the NHDOT jointly developed a broad set of performance/compliance indicators that both parties will use to gauge the effectiveness of the FAHP. These indicators should be used to track performance trends and to implement countermeasures/actions when the data is not moving in the desired direction. For example, countermeasures may include raising the attention level of the issue, instituting additional data and trend analysis, developing new processes or procedures, initiating additional targeted oversight activities, or implementing additional program review activities.
The NHDOT will generally provide the performance/compliance indicator data to the FHWA on a schedule coinciding with the Balanced Scorecard, although some indicator data may be provided less frequently, as agreed. The agreed upon performance/compliance indicators are identified in the table below:
Appendix F - TERMS AND DEFINITIONS
3R Project – A type of project typically intended to extend the service life of existing highways, bridges, and related appurtenances; and/or restore safe, efficient travel on an existing facility. 3R projects are typically constructed within existing right-of-way, or require only minor acquisitions necessary to enhance safety.
Advanced Construction (A/C) – An authorization technique which allows a State to initiate a project using non-federal funds while preserving eligibility for future Federal-aid funds. Eligibility means that FHWA has determined that the project technically qualifies for Federal-aid; however, no present or future Federal funds are committed to the project. After an advance construction project is authorized, the State may convert the project to regular Federal-aid funding when Federal funds are made available for the project or when additional obligation authority is allocated to it. This can be accomplished as one action, or the project may be partially converted over time. For clarification, FHWA authorization of Advance Construction does not constitute any commitment of Federal funds and the FHWA shall not reimburse the State until the project is converted.
Apportionments - The distribution of funds using a formula provided in law is called an apportionment. An apportionment is usually made on the first day of the Federal fiscal year (October 1) for which the funds are authorized. At that time, the funds are available for obligation by the State in accordance with the State’s approved transportation improvement program.
Authorization – Also known as Project Agreement per 23 CFR 630.108. Approval by the FHWA to the State Highway Department to proceed with the project or program, and thereby obligating federal funds. FHWA authorizes all federal funds regardless of oversight responsibilities. This typically occurs through a Fiscal Management Information System (FMIS) transaction. Care should be taken as 23 CFR 1.9 states “Federal funds shall not be paid on account of any cost incurred prior to authorization”.
The State DOT and its subrecipients must obtain approval and authorization to proceed prior to beginning work on activities to be undertaken with federal funds. Authorization to proceed with the FHWA funded work in whole or in part is a contractual obligation of the Federal Government.
The Federal-aid share of eligible project costs shall be established at the time the project agreement is executed as Pro-rata or Lump Sum. The pro-rata or lump sum share may be adjusted before or shortly after contract award to reflect any substantive change in the bids received as compared to the NHDOT’s estimated cost at the time of authorization.
Betterment (Emergency Relief Program) – With respect to Emergency Relief projects, a betterment is defined as: (i) added protective features or upgrades to existing features, such as the rebuilding of roadways at a higher elevation, the lengthening of bridges, and increasing the size of a drainage structure, or (ii) changes which modify the function or character of a highway facility from what existed prior to the disaster or catastrophic failure, such as additional lanes or added access control.
Change Order – An order covering changes in the plans or quantities or both, within the scope of the contract, and establishing the basis of payment and time adjustments for the work affected by the changes.
Compliance Assessment Program (CAP) – The CAP uses a statistical approach to establish minimum compliance review requirements for Federal-aid highway project inspections. The CAP replaces the current requirement to conduct reviews on 10% of “delegated” active construction projects.
Construction Engineering – For funding purposes, the phase of a project following the Preliminary Engineering phase that begins at the time of Construction Award through project completion.
Construction Manager/General Contractor (CMGC) – An innovative procurement delivery method in which the owner of a project contracts with a general contractor to serve as the construction manager by providing the owner with constructability, pricing, and scheduling information during the design process. As the design nears completion, if the owner and the construction manager are able to agree on a price for construction, they sign a construction contract and the construction manager then becomes the general contractor. CM/GC allows State DOTs to remain active in the design process while assigning risks to the parties most able to mitigate them.
Control Documents – Applicable standards, policies, and standard plans and specifications that FHWA accepts for application in the geometric and structural design of highways.
Core Functions – Activities that make up the main elements of the Division’s Federal-aid oversight responsibilities based on regulations and national policies. Core functions in the Division Office are Planning, Environment, Right-of-Way, Design, Construction, Finance, Operations, System Preservation, Safety, and Civil Rights.
Design-Build (D/B) – An innovative procurement delivery method in which the designer-builder assumes responsibility for the majority of the design work and all construction activities. This provides the designer-builder with increased flexibility to be innovative, along with greater responsibility and risk.
Exempt Projects – Projects that do not require FHWA to review and approve actions pertaining to design, plans, specifications, estimates, right-of-way appraisal and acquisition, contract awards, inspections, and final acceptance of Federal-aid projects on a project-by-project basis. FHWA oversight has been delegated to the State for these tasks.
Extra Work Order – A document that amends the contract and identifies work to be paid by the force account method.
Final Design – Any design activity following preliminary design and expressly includes the preparation of final construction plans and detailed specifications for the performance of construction work.
Final Voucher – A final voucher represents the final claim, submitted by the State for a single completed project accepted by the FHWA. The approval of the final voucher does not eliminate the FHWA's right to disallow costs and recover funds on the basis of a later audit or other review, or the State's obligation to return or request any additional funds due as a result of later refunds, corrections, or other transactions.
FHWA Oversight Projects – (formerly “Full Oversight” Projects). Projects that require FHWA to review and approve actions pertaining to design, plans, specifications, estimates, right-of-way appraisal and acquisition, contract awards, inspections, and final acceptance of Federal-aid projects on a project-by-project basis. Now called Projects of Division Interest (PoDI).
GARVEE (Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicles) – A designation applied to a debt financing instrument that has a pledge of future Federal-aid for debt service and is authorized for Federal reimbursement of debt service and related financing costs. This financing mechanism generates up-front capital for major highway projects that the state may be unable to construct in the near term using traditional pay-as-you-go funding approaches.
ITS Project – As defined in 23 CFR 940, an ITS project is any project that in whole or in part funds the acquisition of technologies or systems of technologies that provide or significantly contribute to the provision of one or more ITS user services as defined in the National ITS Architecture.Inactive Project – Is considered a project where:
Locally Administered Projects – For the purpose of the Agreement, a Federal-aid project in which an entity other than the State DOT is a sub-recipient, and this entity is administering the particular phase being authorized, i.e., PE, ROW, or Construction. These would include projects where the non-traditional entity will either perform the work itself or enter into a contract for services or construction.
Local Public Agency (LPA) – Any organization, other than the State DOT, with administrative or functional responsibilities which are directly or indirectly affiliated with a governmental body of any tribal nation, State, or local jurisdiction. LPAs would most often include cities or counties. However, a LPA, as defined here, could also include a State entity as well, perhaps even a part of a State DOT. An example could include a Port Authority or Toll Authority that had not traditionally worked with the FAHP.
Major ITS Projects – Any ITS project that implements part of a regional ITS initiative that is multi-jurisdictional, multi-modal, or otherwise affects regional integration of ITS systems.
Major Projects – Projects with an estimated total cost greater than $500 million (in year of expenditure dollars), or projects approaching $500 million with a high level of interest by the public, Congress, or the Administration. The NEPA decision for each project or program of projects, defines the project scope, limits, and cost for each project.
Major or Unusual Structure – A major or unusual structure involves difficult or unique foundations, longer than usual spans, or design practices that depart from current practice. Examples include segmental concrete, arch, suspension, cable stayed, movable, and bridges with individual spans exceeding 500’.
National Highway System (NHS) – The National Highway System, as defined in 23 CFR 470 which includes the Interstate Highway System.
New or Reconstruction (4R) Project – A type of highway-oriented project that is designed to add capacity, modify and/or create new access points, reconstruct existing pavements and structures, or create new facilities on new location. 4R (resurfacing, rehabilitation, restoration and reconstruction) work includes the placement of additional surface material and other work necessary to return an existing roadway to a condition of structural or functional adequacy. This may include improving geometric features such as flattening curves, improving sight distance and minor roadway and/or shoulder widening.
Obligation – An obligation is a commitment. The Federal government’s promise to pay a State for the Federal share of a project’s eligible cost. This commitment occurs when the project is approved and the project agreement is executed. Obligation is a key step in financing. Obligated funds are considered “used” even though no cash is transferred.
Oversight– A subset of stewardship, defined as the act of ensuring that the Federal-Aid Highway Program is delivered consistent with Federal laws, regulations, and policies. FHWA oversight is conducted through a wide range and variety of mechanisms. These include stewardship reviews, risk assessments, program management activities, and project involvement activities.
Performance/Compliance Indicators – These indicators track performance trends, health of the Federal-aid Highway Program, and compliance with Federal requirements.
Projects of Corporate Interest (PoCI) – PoCIs are projects that are identified by program offices and/or Division Offices that require additional resources at a corporate level because of their impact on FHWA’s strategic success. They will receive focused, strategic, agency-wide attention, and an increased level of S&O.
Projects of Division Interest (PoDI) – PoDIs are projects jointly identified by the FHWA and NHDOT that have an elevated level of risk (threat or opportunity) to the successful delivery of the federal-aid program. This will allow FHWA to concentrate resources on project phases or areas that add the most value on important projects.
Preliminary Design – defines the general project location and design concepts. It includes, but is not limited to, preliminary engineering and other activities and analyses, such as environmental assessments, topographic surveys, metes and bounds surveys, geotechnical investigations, hydrologic analysis, hydraulic analysis, utility engineering, traffic studies, financial plans, revenue estimates, hazardous materials assessments, general estimates of the types and quantities of materials, and other work needed to establish parameters for the final design. Prior to completion of the NEPA review process, any such preliminary engineering and other activities and analyses must not materially affect the objective consideration of alternatives in the NEPA review process
Preliminary Engineering – For funding purposes, preliminary engineering is defined as the phase of a project beginning with project initiation through award of the construction contract.
Preservation Projects – Projects employing planned, cost effective strategies to an existing roadway system and its appurtenances that preserve the system, retards future deterioration, and maintains or improves the functional condition of the system without increasing structural capacity.
Programmed – Federal-aid and other regionally significant projects and their funding sources are listed in the STIP, and also the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) TIP and long-range transportation plan for projects located in metropolitan urbanized areas. A project is programmed when it is included in such documentation, and this programming is required for transportation projects to be eligible for funding under Title 23 USC and Title 49 USC Chapter 53.
Project – The scope of the project is defined in the Record of Decision (ROD), Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), or Categorical Exclusion document (CE), and includes all work and phases associated with implementing the project. Multiple contracts developed for bidding by the Owner for contract administration purposes or due to funding shortfalls are generally not considered to be operationally independent. The termini for a "project" shall be as defined in the NEPA document. It is understood in the case of large NEPA corridors that the corridor may be split into smaller projects for construction. These are termed "construction projects".
Reconstruction – Projects that rebuild infrastructure, such as a bridge or section of roadway, in or close to current location.
Responsible Charge – Administers inherently governmental project activities, including those dealing with cost, time, adherence to contract requirements, construction quality, and scope of Federal-aid projects; makes or participated in decisions on change orders, contract modifications, etc.; maintains a current awareness of the project conditions, and is held accountable for completion of all aspects of the federal-aid project. The persons or persons in responsible charge must be a full time employee of the contracting agency. For NHDOT administered projects, this person must also be an engineer.
Right-of-Way – Real property and rights therein used for the construction, operation, or maintenance of a transportation or related facility funded under title 23 of the United States Code.
Risk Assessment – The process of identifying a risk event, determining the likelihood of the event happening, determining the impact (positive or negative) of the event on the delivery of the Federal-aid Highway Program, and identifying an appropriate risk response strategy.
Risk-Based Approach - Incorporating risk assessment and risk management into investment and strategic decision making (the means by which limited resources are focused).
Risk Management – The systematic identification, assessment, planning, and management of threats and opportunities faced by projects and programs.
Scope Change – a programmatic change in the work to be performed under a grant or cooperative agreement that is outside the range of work contemplated at the time of award.
Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) – A statewide prioritized listing/program of transportation projects covering a period of four years that is consistent with the long-range statewide transportation plan, metropolitan transportation plans, and Transportation Improvement Programs (TIPs), and required for projects to be eligible for funding under Title 23 USC and Title 49 USC Chapter 53. Projects are typically listed by phase (Preliminary Engineering (P), Right of Way (R), or Construction (C), and are programmed with a dollar amount and a fiscal year. Preliminary Engineering can include environmental analysis and classification work under NEPA, as well as PS&E, preliminary, and final design work. Planning activities that are funded with formula-based Statewide Planning and Research (SPR) or metropolitan planning funds, such as PL or 5303 dollars, are also programmed via New Hampshire’s SPR Program or MPO Unified Planning Work Programs (UPWP) documents. Planning funding or planning activities that receive other/discretionary Title 23 or Title 49 authorized funds are programmed as Preliminary Engineering phase work in the STIP.
Stewardship – The efficient and effective management of the public funds that have been entrusted to FHWA, and subsequently to the NHDOT, and through NHDOT to subrecipients, such as Local Public Agencies (LPAs) and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs). FHWA’s stewardship involves all activities necessary to deliver the Federal-Aid Highway Program, such as leadership, technology deployment, technical assistance, problem solving, program administration and oversight. Stewardship efforts include oversight and approval actions, as well as many day-to-day actions that are routinely performed by either FHWA or NHDOT, to ensure that the FAHP is administered appropriately. FHWA stewardship activities, beyond oversight, include continuous process improvement initiatives, technical assistance, technology deployment, performance measurement, project involvement activities, and sharing best practices.
Supplemental Agreement – A written agreement between the Contractor and the Engineer for the performance of work by the Contractor at agreed prices under items not originally included in the contract.
Value Engineering – The systematic application of recognized techniques by a multi-disciplined team to identify the function of a product or service, establish a worth for that function, generate alternatives through the use of creative thinking, and provide the needed functions to accomplish the original purpose of the project, reliably, and at the lowest life-cycle cost, without sacrificing safety, necessary quality, and environmental attributes of the project.
Value Engineering Change Proposal (VECP) Clause – This is a construction contract provision which encourages the contractor to propose changes in the contract requirements which will accomplish the project's functional requirements at less cost or improve value or service at no increase or a minor increase in cost. The net savings of each proposal is usually shared with the contractor at a stated reasonable rate.