Mr. Michael W. Behrens, P.E.
Texas Turnpike Authority Division
Texas Department of Transportation
125 E. 11th Street
Austin, Texas 78701-2483
Re: I-35 High Priority Trans Texas Corridor
Dear Mr. Behrens:
We are writing to inform you that the administration of the I-35 High Priority Trans Texas Corridor (TCC) project has been transferred from FHWA's Special Experimental Project No. 14 (SEP-14) program to the recently established Special Experimental Project No. 15 (SEP-15). The transfer of the administration of the TTC to SEP-15 has no effect on FHWA's February 27, 2004, concurrence in the proposed concepts for the project.
SEP-15, developed after FHWA concurred in the TTC proposed areas of experimentation presented in the SEP-14 application, expands the permissible areas of experimentation beyond contracting practices to all areas of the Federal-aid highway program that are governed by title 23 of the United States Code. SEP-15 is specifically designed to allow States to experiment with all phases of the delivery of a transportation project, including project planning, project development, finance, design, construction, maintenance, and operations. Given the uniqueness of the TTC, we believe that SEP-15 is a better vehicle to track and monitor the current areas of experimentation on the project. Moreover, SEP-15 will provide the State of Texas with greater flexibility to develop and implement future experimental features associated with the TCC that may surface as the project progresses.
We have been assigned to serve as the co-facilitators to assist you with the administration of the TTC under SEP-15. Our duties will include overseeing the development and execution of an Early Development Agreement with you, ensuring that the project is coordinated within the U.S. Department of Transportation and other stakeholders in the Federal government, monitoring the status of the project through the start of construction, and ensuring that eligibility for Federal-aid funding is preserved and that timely FHWA approval is provided at key stages of the project's development.
We look forward to working with you on the TTC SEP-15 project.
D. J. Gribbin