- Briefing Room
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
March 27, 2009
The Illinois Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration agree to administer the Federal-aid Highway Program in the State of Illinois as set forth within this agreement.
Norman R. Stoner, P.E.
This document is also available as a PDF: Illinois Stewardship/Oversight Agreement - March 27, 2009 (1.5 MB)
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The purpose of this agreement is to document compliance with Section 1904 (g) of Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), which states, "The Secretary shall establish an oversight program to monitor the effective and efficient use of funds authorized to carry out this title. " and "At a minimum, the program shall be responsive to all areas relating to financial integrity and project delivery." This agreement also documents Illinois' implementation of the program efficiencies of Section 106 of Title 23 -United States Code (U.S.C.), which allows delegation of certain project actions to the State, and documents compliance with Section 106 (c)(3), which states,
"The Secretary and the State shall enter into an agreement relating to the extent to which the State assumes the responsibilities of the Secretary under this subsection. "
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) stewardship is the careful and responsible management of the Federal-aid Highway Program. These responsibilities include Title 23 and non-Title 23 program areas, and they involve past, current, and future investments. Oversight is a key component of stewardship, as it is the act of ensuring the Federal-aid Highway Program and projects are delivered consistent with laws, regulations, and policies. Another key component of effective stewardship is the concurrent and integrated efforts of adding value. For FHWA, adding value means the personal, direct, and concerted effort of FHWA employees to not only deliver a variety of services and products, but to improve them, so the end result is better highway travel. Improved products and services are those that advance FHWA's mission and strategic agenda to better meet State and local needs in concert with advancing the Nation's transportation agenda. To meet stewardship responsibilities, FHWA works in partnership with the State and local agencies to deliver Federal funding programs and to address the Nation's transportation needs.
This agreement provides a road map to deliver the Federal-aid Highway programs and projects with financial integrity, with efficiency and striving for the maximum benefit to the traveling public. It formalizes the individual and shared roles and responsibilities of the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and FHWA in the administration of the Federal-aid Highway Program in the State of Illinois. It describes the partnership approach used to achieve the mutual objectives of an effective highway program and implementation in accordance with Federal and State requirements.
Congress has charged FHWA with administering the Federal-aid Highway Program under Title 23, and other associated laws. The FHWA's responsibility for administering the Federal-aid Highway Program has been clearly outlined in the following legislation: the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991; the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) of 1998; and SAFETEA-LU of2005.
In Illinois, FHWA and IDOT have jointly administered the Federal-aid Highway Program for many years. While IDOT may assume certain project approval authorities in accordance with Section 106, Title 23 U.S.C., FHWA is ultimately accountable for ensuring the Federal-aid Highway Program is delivered consistent with the established requirements. The first expectation of this agreement is for FHWA to have confidence IDOT is implementing Federal Highway Programs in compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and policies. The second expectation is to ensure procedures are in place to systematically advance State and Federal improvement efforts.
The Federal-aid Highway Program is a State administered, federally assisted program. Thus, IDOT has been tasked with carrying out the Federal-aid Highway Program efficiently and effectively to accomplish national, State, and local goals, to maintain and improve the national highway network throughout Illinois, improve its operation and safety, and provide for national security while protecting and improving the environment.
In this capacity, IDOT is responsible for administering the federally assisted highway program activities, including projects and activities administered by local public agencies. As FHWA makes programs available to States, IDOT also makes programs available to local units of government. The IDOT provides the parameters, assists the locals in administration, and provides oversight of Federal and State funded programs. Eligible public agencies may be permitted, by IDOT, to take approval actions and administer Federal-aid design and construction projects when IDOT assures the public agency has the knowledge and capability to achieve compliance with State and Federal requirements.
State and Federal 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 the Federal-aid Highway Program is administered in regulatory compliance and in ways that enhance the value of the program funds.
The IDOT will meet the responsibilities of their roles in accordance with Illinois control documents, which are discussed in Section 4.
The IDOT will collect and process highway related data that ensures trust fund dollars are accurately distributed and the appropriate trust fund revenues are collected. The data also provides a basis for IDOT to effectively provide for maintenance and safety improvements.
The IDOT will continue as a leader and cooperative member in Illinois' Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO). The IDOT works with MPOs to establish work plans to effectively distribute Federal planning funds, and works with the MPOs to ensure the Federal funds are effectively distributed within Illinois' metropolitan areas.
With the assistance of FHWA and in cooperation with MPOs and other local agencies, IDOT will develop statewide investment strategies for utilizing available Federal-aid funding streams in the form of Multi-Year Programs, State Long Range Plans, and Statewide Transportation Improvement Programs (STIP) so as to optimize the value of the State's transportation assets and deliver a transportation system performance responsive to current and future travel demands.
The IDOT implements its research program through the Illinois Center for Transportation (lCT), an innovative partnership between IDOT and the University of Illinois. The ICT Executive Committee selects research projects based on prioritized needs identified by IDOT's Technical Advisory Groups composed of IDOT, industry, FHWA, and academic representatives. Each selected project is monitored by a Technical Review Panel of similar representation to ensure desired objectives are met.
The IDOT will continue to implement its Phase 1 work in conjunction with project sponsors to identify feasible solutions to transportation problems so the appropriate projects can be further developed. This includes Access Justification Reports (AJRs) for Interstate access additions and major modifications. The IDOT will brief the FHWA on the early steps of these efforts when it is expected the FHWA will eventually need to take action, such as an AJR approval.
The IDOT will provide quality control of environmental study and documentation to meet the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) requirements for IDOT and local projects. When the IDOT submits NEP A documentation to the FHWA, IDOT will clearly recommend the action FHWA should take, such as concurrent review, forwarding to a regulatory agency, or approval. If a project is classified as a type that has minimal environmental impacts, FHWA will rely on IDOT to verify those projects can be categorically excluded from preparing a detailed NEP A document.
The IDOT will ensure right-of-way acquisition and management are properly conducted, including disposal of excess right-of-way and granting of access.
When project costs are between $100 million and $500 million, IDOT will lead the preparation of a financial plan and send FHWA an informational copy. When project costs exceed $500 million, IDOT will submit a financial plan and a project implementation plan for FHWA approval. As IDOT complies with the Value Engineering (VE) requirements, IDOT will invite FHWA to all VE Closeout meetings for required VE studies.
The Federal-aid Highway program sets design standards for the National Highway System (NHS) and the interstate system, which is part of the NHS. These design standards must be met regardless of funding source, unless a design exception is approved. The IDOT will document exceptions when necessary and seek FHWA approval as shown in Table 2 (Appendix A).
On federally funded projects where a local unit of government has the lead, IDOT will be involved with these projects to ensure requirements are met. When IDOT delegates the authority for design and construction activities to these public agencies, IDOT retains responsibility for the appropriate use of Federal funds. On federally funded projects where IDOT has the lead, IDOT will oversee the design and construction of the projects. The IDOT will also ensure federally funded design and construction are properly procured.
On projects with full FHWA involvement, IDOT will invite FHWA participation in all project activities in accordance with Table 2 (Appendix A). During the design phase, IDOT will submit, at a minimum, draft plans and specifications to FHWA at the Preliminary, Pre-Final and Final plans stages for FHWA's review.
On Low Risk Interstate New Construction/Reconstruction (4R) projects, where FHWA grants prior approval of project actions in accordance with the programmatic agreement in Appendix B, IDOT will document the applicable project activities as if they were seeking FHWA approval, and this documentation will verify the action meets the conditions of FHWA's prior approval. No additional coordination with FHWA, or prior concurrence from FHWA, will be necessary to continue implementation of such projects.
For all other Federal-aid projects, IDOT will assume all responsibilities in accordance with Title 23 U.S.C. Section 106. This applies to all design activities, Plan, Specifications, and Estimates (PS&E) approvals, concurrence in awards, and all construction and maintenance activities. This precludes the need for any FHWA approval or concurrence, except for those actions that require FHWA approval outside of Title 23 U.S.C., such as NEPA, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, Fair Housing Act, and the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Land Acquisitions Policies Act.
Project level actions are summarized in Table 2 (Appendix A). The IDOT will ensure the appropriate approvals are obtained and the appropriate documentation is submitted to FHWA. For all Federal-aid projects on the NHS, IDOT will conduct all final inspections in lieu of FHWA to ensure the work was completed in substantial conformance with the approved PS&E.
The IDOT will process payments to contractors, consultants, sub-recipients, and IDOT itself, to be reimbursed with Federal funds, in accordance with approved procedures and will conduct audits to ensure the accuracy of these payments.
The IDOT will continue to participate in the joint IDOT/FHWA process review program to identify and implement process improvements, to promote identified best practices, and to validate conformity with requirements.
In furtherance of the objectives of this agreement and in pursuit of making highway travel safer, less congested, more efficient, and more reliable in Illinois, FHWA will:
The FHWA is often designated the lead Federal agency for the preparation of environmental documents for highway projects. In this role, FHWA ensures the requirements of the different agencies are met as IDOT delivers transportation projects. This role extends to non-Federal agencies, such as MPOs and State resource agencies. As necessary, FHWA will serve as arbitrator and transportation advocate.
An FHWA role is also to ensure the NEP A process is implemented correctly. The FHWA independently assures NEPA requirements are met on projects. This includes, among other things, that the basis for decision-making is open and deliberate. This ensures the impacts of long-term investments are understood, as resources are irretrievably committed to implement the Federal-aid Highway Program.
Where access modifications are requested on the Interstate System, the FHWA has approval authority for AJRs if there has been, or will be, Federal-aid Highway Program funding in the Interstate route. In Illinois, this is the case for all IDOT maintained Interstate routes and not the case for all Interstate routes under the jurisdiction of the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (Tollway).
For any new or revised access points on the IDOT maintained Interstate System, IDOT must review and endorse the recommendations contained in an AJR before requesting FHWA's approval. This applies to all IDOT maintained Interstate facilities regardless of the funding source proposed for access revision. Therefore, it applies to interchanges sponsored by private developers or local agencies. For Interstate routes under the jurisdiction of the Tollway, FHWA AJR approval is not needed for Illinois' toll roads designated as Interstate, except when access to an IDOT maintained Interstate is affected. For new or modifications to service interchanges on the Tollway, an AJR is not required even when Federal funds are used, off the Tollway, to implement such access modifications.
The FHWA will be available to provide technical assistance to IDOT and local agencies on any aspect of the transportation program. Such technical assistance activities will be identified on a case-by-case basis in consultation with IDOT and other interested partners.
The FHWA will continue to participate in the joint IDOT/FHWA process review program to identify process improvements, to promote identified best practices, and to validate conformity with requirements.
The FHWA is ultimately accountable for all Federal-aid highway projects. The FHWA will work with IDOT to facilitate timely approvals for the steps shown in Table 2 (Appendix A). Many of the necessary decisions will be reached at IDOT's District Coordination meetings and FHWA staff will actively participate in them.
The FHWA Illinois Division will fulfill its oversight role at a project level as described below:
Full Involvement Projects -The FHWA seeks to retain full involvement on projects with significant national interest, substantial impact to transportation and communities, and projects with opportunity to add the greatest value through FHWA's direct involvement. The determination of projects with full FHWA involvement is discussed in Section 6.3.
Involvement on Other Projects -The FHWA may become involved with any Federal-aid funded project, including those for which IDOT has the full project oversight responsibility. The FHWA oversight activities for these projects will focus on making program improvements and ensuring compliance with Title 23 and non-Title 23 requirements. In general, FHWA involvement on these projects will be through program level activities (such as joint process reviews), answering specific inquiries, or resolution of specific issues.
Non-Title 23 Responsibility -The FHWA will continue to be responsible for the oversight of applicable non-Title 23 requirements. Such oversight will be conducted through a combination of both project and program level activities. Applicable non-Title 23 requirements include, but are not limited to:
In setting project priorities, IDOT annually assembles a multi-year highway improvement program. This is done in early spring/late winter. The IDOT emphasizes the need to preserve the system as this program is developed. The IDOT sets specific goals for State-system bridges and pavements to be in good condition. This program leads to IDOT completing an annual element. These programs identify the projects IDOT will be progressing and the results are included in the STIP. The MPOs develop Transportation Improvement Plans (TIP) for urban areas and these TIPs are included in the STIP.
The IDOT utilizes a balanced scorecard approach to develop a multi-year strategic plan for the entire organization. The execution of this plan is verified through IDOT's International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001:2000 Certification Program. Third party assessment visits are required in order to achieve ISO 9001:2000 Certification and these assessments assure IDOT has completed the planning necessary to achieve its strategic and quality objectives and has effectively implemented a management system to ensure customer, statutory, regulatory and procedural requirements are being met with the aim of enhancing customer and stakeholder satisfaction.
The FHWA conducts its performance planning on an annual cycle. Program assessment is a key consideration and the following activities make up its implementation:
As part of the FHWA Business Plan, reviews and monitoring activities are identified to meet the Financial Integrity Review and Evaluation (FIRE) program requirements for FHWA.
The IDOT and FHWA are established leaders in the joint process review program. The cooperative approach taken in Illinois has led to reviews that are an integral part of process improvement at IDOT and FHWA.
These reviews meet and exceed the SAFETEA-LU requirement of Section 1904 (g) concerning the oversight plan addressing project delivery, which states, "(3) PROJECT DELIVERY -The Secretary shall perform annual reviews that address elements of the project delivery system of a State, which elements include I or more activities that are involved in the life cycle of a project from conception to completion of the project." During the annual process review selection meeting, IDOT and FHWA will ensure at least one review addressing project delivery is selected. Most of these reviews do address project delivery.
Additional program reviews will be conducted at the required frequencies. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
Even though FHWA has delegated authority to IDOT in delivering Federal-aid programs, FHWA retains responsibility for its delivery. To safeguard this responsibility, FHWA remains engaged at the program level throughout the Federal-aid program. The FHWA will manage and provide oversight of Illinois' Federal-aid programs in various ways. The methods used will be:
The IDOT performs fiscal management of funds at IDOT.
The FHWA performs FIRE and fiscal management of funds at FHWA.
The IDOT has a comprehensive set of control documents that are conveniently available on their website. The following IDOT control documents will be adhered to in the development and administration of Federal-aid projects:
The FHWA review and approval of changes to control documents is a program-level review activity. Prior to implementation of changes in the above documents, IDOT will make the updated changes available to FHWA for review and comment and/or approval as appropriate. Only changes, which relate to the controlling laws, regulations and policies, under which the Federal Aid Highway Program must be delivered, require FHWA approval. The FHWA's review of the Standard Specifications for Road and Bridge Construction will be through participation on the Specification Committee. The application and implementation of procedures established in the control documents may be reviewed on a program level as part of the joint IDOT/FHWA process review program.
Federal Regulations and Policies are incorporated into IDOT manuals and procedures of Section 4.1. The IDOT has strived to make the State requirements the same as the Federal requirements to avoid duplicative systems. The IDOT procedures account for the exceptions where that is not possible. As new Federal regulations or policies emerge, FHWA will work with IDOT to incorporate these into the appropriate control documents.
The IDOT performance indicators with the greatest relevance are:
There are multitudes of sub-elements within each of these core program areas and many of these areas may be applied differently depending on funding source and complexity of the project and its surroundings.
The IDOT delivers the Federal-aid Highway Program with FHWA assistance. The roles and expectations are discussed in Section 2.
The FHWA assists IDOT in delivering the Federal-aid Highway Program. The roles and expectations are discussed in Section 2. This section includes the criteria, which will be used to designate projects with full FHWA involvement.
By authorizing legislation, FHWA is to designate 4R projects on the Interstate with construction costs greater than $1 million as projects with full involvement. Illinois defines 4R projects as shown in Table 1 (Appendix A). However, some 4R projects can be determined as Inherently Low-Risk Oversight Projects on the Interstate System and IDOT can request prior approval on these projects by FHWA as delineated in the Programmatic Agreement, shown in Appendix B. The IDOT can make such requests either at the District coordination meeting or by letter. The FHWA may suggest a 4R project be covered under the programmatic agreement, but it is IDOT's responsibility to make the request. For the purposes of this agreement, IDOT has the full oversight responsibility for all other projects unless otherwise mutually agreed to by IDOT and FHWA.
The FHWA may also request other Federal-aid projects have full involvement, but it is IDOT's option to grant or deny the request, although a denial would not prohibit FHWA from looking at any aspect of the project as it is implemented. Large or complex Interstate Rehabilitation projects may be designated as projects with full involvement when there is an agreement by an FHWA Transportation Engineer, IDOT District Project Engineer, and the Central Office Design and Environment Field Engineer.
Large or complex non-Interstate projects may be designated as projects with full involvement upon agreement by an FHWA Transportation Engineer, IDOT District Project Engineer, and the Central Office Design and Environment Field Engineer or the Central Bureau of Local Roads and Streets Project Development Engineer for a local agency project. Examples of what is intended under this category include projects using experimental contract procedures, construction of major or unusual bridges, projects of national significance, NHS projects on new alignment and major urban projects on new alignment.
The additional flexibility in designating full FHWA involvement projects under this agreement will result in the need to delineate the projects more clearly. The FHWA will provide IDOT with a project list on an annual basis within six weeks after the publication of the IDOT multi-year program. The IDOT will review FHWA's list of projects with full Federal involvement and IDOT will either concur or resolve any discrepancies with FHWA involvement.
|Pavement||Thin Overlays||Structural Overlays||Pavement Replacement|
(incl. minor deck widening)
|Superstructure Widening that
adds a lane width or more
|Traffic Operations||Pavement Marking
& Safety Projects
|Add Auxiliary Lanes||Add Through Lanes|
For projects with a combination of 3R and 4R activities, the category with the majority (i.e., greatest cost) of work will govern.
|Oversight||NHS: Interstate (IR) and non-IR||City of Chicago
(NHS and non-NHS)
|Governing Policy||FHWA Policy||FHWA Policy with
to, or Documented
|FHWA Policy with
Delegated to IDOT
|FHWA Policy with
Delegated to IDOT
|Structure Type, Size and Location (TSL) Approval||Required||IDOT**||Not required||IDOT||IDOT**||IDOT**|
|Design Report Approval||Required||IDOT||Not required||IDOT||IDOT*||State Policy and Procedures*|
|Level 1, IR Exceptions||Formal
|Not required for
retention of existing
|Level 2, IR Exceptions||At Coordination
|NHS, non-IR Exceptions||IDOT||IDOT||IDOT|
|Preliminary, Pre-final and Final Plan Review||Required||Determine at
|Bid Review in Concurrence Award||Required||IDOT||IDOT||NA||IDOT*||State Policy and Procedures*|
|Change Order Approval||Required -
Major Changes ***
Except scope or
Except scope or
|Materials Certification||Required||IDOT||IDOT||IDOT Procedures||IDOT*||IDOT Procedures*|
|FHWA Project Inspection||Inspections and
review sampling ****
review sampling ****
* With FHWA input and concurrence if Full FHWA Involvement
** FHWA approval of the TS&L is required for a major or an unusual structure
*** Major Change = >$100,000 or Major Change (See Construction Memorandum 06-4 (sheet 3 of 19)
**** Inspections will be conducted for projects with Full FHWA involvement.
Programmatic Agreement for Inherently Low-Risk Oversight Projects on the Interstate System between the Federal Highway Administration Illinois Division Office (FHWA) and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT)
WHEREAS, FHWA has the responsibility for administering Federal requirements with respect to all projects constructed with funds made available under Title 23, United States Code (U.S.C.), including responsibilities relating to design, plans, specifications, estimates, contract awards, contract administration, and inspections;
WHEREAS, there are some projects on the Interstate System that are routine and inherently low-risk that are generally non-controversial, without significant national interest, and in which IDOT has a high level of experience and documented procedures and processes in place for ensuring compliance with Federal requirements;
WHEREAS, it is mutually desirable to both FHWA and IDOT to streamline the approval process of these routine and inherently low risk projects;
WHEREAS, 23 U.S.C. 106(c)(4) provides that the Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation may not assume any greater responsibility than the Secretary is permitted on September 30, 1997;
WHEREAS, on September 30, 1997, 23 U.S.C. 106(b) permitted the States to approve, on a project-by-project basis, plans, specifications, and estimates for projects to resurface, restore, and rehabilitate highways on the National Highway System (NHS), and further permitted the States to request that the Secretary no longer review and approve highway projects on the NHS with an estimated construction cost of less than $1 million;
NOW THEREFORE, FHWA and IDOT hereby agree as follows:
Inherently low-risk oversight projects include those that are routine and generally non-controversial projects in which IDOT has a high level of experience and documented procedures and processes in place for ensuring compliance with Federal requirements. These projects would not include complex or unique engineering features, would not traditionally involve major changes in scope or cost, satisfy design standards, and would not jeopardize the safety or operation of the Interstate System. Complex projects that are classified as "major projects," or involve new partners (public/private partnerships), or involve new, innovative contracting methods, or are viewed as high risk, are not considered inherently low-risk oversight projects. For purposes of this agreement, inherently low-risk oversight projects include all Interstate projects over $1 million and under $100 million that are agreed to by FHWA as documented by letter or minutes of an IDOT Coordination Meeting.
For the projects listed in paragraph 1, FHWA is granting its approval, in advance of the actual delivery of the projects, for these projects' designs, plans, specifications, estimates, contract awards, contract administration, and inspections. These advance approvals are not deemed to occur until after the completion of the National Environmental Policy Act process and the satisfaction of other related environmental laws and procedures.
For the projects listed in paragraph 1, FHWA's oversight will be satisfied by a risk management framework and process/program reviews. It is understood that FHWA's approval of funds for these projects at either the preconstruction or construction phase constitutes a determination that the project in question is eligible for Federal-aid and that the appropriate Federal requirements have been met to date or defined steps are to be taken to ensure that requirements will be met. Notwithstanding this determination, FHWA continues to retain overall responsibility for all aspects of Federal-aid programs and, as such, shall be granted full access to review any aspect or record of a Federal-aid project at any time.
IN WITNESS THEREOF, the parties hereto have caused this instrument to be duly executed and made effective on the dates of the signatures below.
STATE OF ILLINOIS
ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
|BY /s/ Gary Hannig
Acting Secretary of Transportation
Illinois Department of Transportation
|DATE March 30, 2009|
FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION
|BY /s/ Norman R. Stoner, P.E.
Federal Highway Administration
|DATE March 27, 2009|