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Solicitation for FY 2008 Highways for LIFE Demonstration Construction Projects
I am pleased to announce the solicitation of grant applications for demonstration construction projects under the Highways for LIFE (HfL) Pilot Program for FY 2008. As you know, three such projects were selected last October for FY 2006. Currently, we are reviewing submittals for FY 2007 funding, and, as of January 30, we have received 21 applications from 17 States. We will announce the selected projects at the AASHTO Spring Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, May 4-7.
This initiative is important to our Agency and our partners as we look for opportunities to significantly improve America's driving experience through the use of innovations. Your efforts to involve your State in this vital undertaking will be one of the keys to its success.
Highways for LIFE discretionary funds are provided as incentives to the State departments of transportation (DOT) to demonstrate how innovative technologies and practices can be used to build projects safer, faster, of higher quality, and with a minimum of impact on the driving public during their construction, thereby achieving a higher level of user satisfaction. The success stories these projects generate will be shared with the whole transportation community with the ultimate goal of improving the safety and performance of our highways, while reducing the impact of construction on highway users.
Rather than merely promoting the additional funds that come with a HfL project, the division office should consider this an opportunity to work with its State DOT in thinking outside the box -- to try innovations that will better meet a need or achieve a higher performance on a project. There are some excellent tools available for you to use in developing a project through a team effort. These include the Accelerated Construction Technology Transfer Workshop, Accelerated Bridge Construction Workshop, and Road Safety Audits Peer-to-Peer Program. The HfL team will work with you to plan and deliver a workshop.
The FHWA is introducing the concept of performance contracting to provide increased opportunity for innovation in contracting. Under performance contracting, the contractor is responsible for achieving a defined set of goals or outcomes, instead of the specifications used in traditional methods. Additional consideration will be given to projects that propose to use performance contracting to achieve the HfL performance goals. A briefing and hands-on technical support on performance contracting will be provided to any DOT/division office upon request.
I strongly encourage you to work with your state in developing a HfL project application. There will be only two more solicitations to achieve the goal of having a HfL project in every State.
Several significant changes have been made for the upcoming applications:
For FY 2008, applications will not be required to be submitted through Grants.gov. All applications from the State must be submitted to the division offices. The division office is to forward the State's application and provide a recommendation memorandum to the HfL office by July 16 with the following information:
The selection panel will be ranking the candidate projects using the following criteria:
In addition to traditional HfL project applications, FHWA invites applications of larger-scale projects that provide strategic safety and congestion benefits under the HfL program.
As you know, highway safety has been an increasing focus and priority for FHWA over the recent past. Targeting discretionary funding, in a results-oriented comprehensive approach to safety is a means of directing limited discretionary funding to those projects that will yield tangible transportation and safety benefits. With respect to safety, applicants should describe the safety benefits associated with the project or activity for which funding is sought, including whether the project, activity, or improvement:
Increasing mobility by reducing congestion has also been a priority for FHWA over the past few years. The application of discretionary funding to improve mobility and reduce congestion will yield tangible transportation and economic benefits that should far exceed the limited amount of discretionary funding provided to the project.
In furtherance of measuring the congestion reduction and mobility benefits associated with a project that qualifies for funding under the HfL program, within the application, the applicant should describe how the HfL project, activity or improvement:
The candidate projects must meet the eligibility criteria for the HfL program and will be evaluated on the selection criteria established for the HfL program and the safety and congestion criteria set forth above and in the Federal Register Notice of Funds Availability of March 22.
States that have already received HfL funds may apply for another HfL project if they choose the "Option 2 - waive match." Option 2 is for projects carried out using funds apportioned to the State under Section 104(b)(1)-(4) of Title 23, United States Code, (i.e., NHS, CMAQ, STP, and IM funds), the State may request the Federal share be adjusted up to 100 percent. The funding category proposed in the nomination must meet the program funding eligibility requirements. However, not more than 10 percent of total of any one particular apportioned Federal-aid fund can be applied to the HfL project.
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