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Coordinated Border Infrastructure Program

III. Program Administration: Facts and Figures

FY 1999: First Year of Administration

The FHWA published the first solicitation for grant applications in theFederal Registerdated November 12, 1998. That notice requested comments about the administration of the program. A docket was established. Applicants for funding were provided 60 days to deliver applications to the FHWA division offices. The State DOTs were asked to prioritize applications from their State. Multistate applications were to be prioritized by the lead State. Subsequent to the review of applications by the FHWA Division offices in each State for completeness and accuracy, the applications were sent to the FHWA program office (HEPI).

There were about 150 applications and the total funding sought was about $2 billion--more than 14 times the authorized funding. The number of applications is not exact because some applications contained bundles of separate subapplications-applications, some with no associated funding request. The funding total is also ambiguous because, for a number of applications, the amount requested was not discernible or contradictory information appeared in the application regarding the amount of funding requested. Many applications also were comprised of a number of elements or phases. Finally, the GSA requested funds without enumerating projects.

The FHWA program office (Planning, Environment and Realty) analyzed each application[1] and provided that analysis to an evaluation panel comprised of persons from various organizations and agencies in the US DOT (ONE DOT panel[2]). The ONE DOT panel then rated all the applications. The results were provided to the FHWA Administrator and then to the Office of the Secretary of Transportation. The Secretary of Transportation selected applications for award and also determined the amount of the award.

Awards were frequently less than the full amount the applicant was seeking. As noted, the total requests in the applications were about $2 billion with $140 million ($123,603,000 after obligation limitation) authorized. The highest awards in FY 1999 were $10.6 million for the Ambassador bridge gateway in Michigan , $10 million for the FAST corridor in Washington and $10 million for I-69 environmental work for which Arkansas was the lead state. The applications for these three projects were for: $55 million, $30 million and $44 million respectively.

The first NCPD/CBI awards were announced May 27, 1999. Subsequent to the awards, the FHWA debriefed State and MPO officials seeking information on how their applications were evaluated.

For this year:

Because of Section 1102 of TEA-21, obligation authority for a fiscal year ends with that fiscal year. By the last months of FY 1999, it was apparent to the FHWA that projects totaling $5.6 million would not be obligated in FY 1999. To comply with the law, the obligation authority for these projects was withdrawn, but then restored soon after enactment of the US DOT 2000 Appropriations Act.

FY 2000 Second Year of Administration

On August 24, 1999, a solicitation for applications for grants under the program was issued for FY 2000 funds and appeared in the August 30, 1999Federal Register. This included an analysis of ten comment letters sent to the docket. Although the comment letters did not raise common issues, a number of them noted the difficulty of addressing the quantitative criteria (e.g. regarding quantifying commercial vehicle traffic) in the Congressional language and the difficulty of deciding where to place information within an application. The FHWA also received, outside the docket, verbal comments from State and local officials requesting more time to apply.

Ultimately, the FHWA made the following changes in its second year solicitation compared to the first year: encouraged applications addressing the five FHWA strategic goals[3]; committed to evaluate applications for these characteristics; and, increased application time from 60 to 90 days.

Applicants were provided 90 days to deliver applications to the FHWA Division offices. The State transportation agencies were asked to prioritize applications from their State. Multistate applications were to be prioritized by the lead State. Subsequent to the review of applications by the division offices for completeness and accuracy, the applications were sent to the FHWA program office. As in the previous year, there were about 150 applications and the total funding requested was about $2 billion. Like the first year, many applications were comprised of a number of elements or phases.

In FY 1999, the GSA requested funds without enumerating projects so the FHWA specifically requested that the GSA provide project specific information for FY 2000. In response, GSA requested funding for four projects eligible under the provisions of Section 1119 of TEA-21 (all at the Canadian border).

Two Congressional actions directed project selection. First, there was report language accompanying the US DOT FY 2000 Appropriations Act. The November 1999 appropriations report directed funds to specific projects as well as for several general project categories that corresponded to a number of existing applications. Second, there was the Consolidated Appropriations Act that directed funding for the planning and design of a highway corridor between Dothan, Alabama and Panama City, Florida for which there was no existing application. This designation did result in a brief project summary, sufficient to establish eligibility. Thus began the practice of requiring only a project summary for Congressionally designated projects.

The FHWA process for evaluating and analyzing grant applications was the same for this fiscal year as for the previous year[4] and $121,796,751 of awards, including those for projects designated by Congress, were announced June 9, 2000.

For FY 2000:

As noted in the FY 1999 discussion, Section 1102 of TEA-21 requires certain actions regarding obligation authority at the end of a fiscal year. In late FY 2000, it was apparent that projects totaling $18.3 million would not be obligated in FY 2000. The obligation authority for these projects was withdrawn and then restored soon after the US DOT provided FHWA with allotments subsequent to the US DOT 2001 Appropriations Act.

FY 2001 Third Year of Administration

A solicitation for applications for grants under the program was issued on June 13, 2000 and published on June 15, 2000. The docket had remained open. A number of comments requested advanced scheduling of application, more time for application and earlier selection of awards. Ultimately, the FHWA made the following changes in its solicitations: encouraged comprehensive model border proposals which were to include performance evaluation, operations and other aspects; and, reduced the application period to 60 days. As in the previous fiscal year, the FHWA solicitation contained language that encouraged applications to address the FHWA strategic goals and policies and committed to evaluating applications for this same characteristic.

Applicants were provided 60 days to deliver applications to the FHWA division offices. The State transportation agencies were asked to prioritize applications from their State. Multistate applications were to be prioritized by the lead State. Subsequent to the review of applications by the division offices for completeness and accuracy, the applications were sent to the FHWA program office. As in the previous years, there were about 150 applications and the total funding sought was about $2 billion. Many applications were comprised of a number of elements or phases. GSA provided six applications.

For FY 2001, two Congressional actions provided information relating to the NCPD/CBI. One was in statutory language and report language accompanying the US DOT 2001 Appropriations Act. Section 378 of that Act contained a provision directing the FHWA to fund about $1.3 billion in specific projects, (some of which were applications for NCPD/CBI funds) with over half the funding directed to project corridors designated by Section 1105 of the ISTEA as amended. The Conference Report contained language that, in effect, directed NCPD/CBI funds to other specific projects. The other Congressional action was the Omnibus Consolidated and Supplemental Appropriations Act of December 2000. This act reduced the total obligation authority for the program by 0.24% beyond the reduction made as a consequence of Section 1102 of TEA-21.

The FHWA followed the same application evaluation and review procedure in the previous year. The Secretary of Transportation selected applications for award totaling $123,081,300 and these awards were announced November 3, 2000.

For FY 2001:

As noted in the discussion for previous fiscal years, Section 1102 of TEA-21 requires certain actions regarding obligation authority at the end of the fiscal year. In late FY 2001, it was apparent that projects totaling $18.8 million would not be obligated in FY 2001. The FHWA withdrew the obligation authority for these projects and restored it soon after the US DOT provided FHWA with allotments subsequent to the US DOT 2002 Appropriations Act. For the first time, $0.9 million in awarded funds were unallocated at the end of the fiscal year because the States were unable to provide the information needed to establish eligibility for two projects, either because of a lack of environmental clearance or because the non-federal share was not committed.

FY 2002 Fourth Year of Administration

By the spring of 2001, the FHWA determined that there was a substantial probability that all or nearly all the projects to be selected in FY 2002 would be determined by Congressional action. Thus, the FHWA decided to instead solicit 'intent to apply.' This would allow advanced coordination if Congress decided not to determine the selections. It would also minimize paperwork if Congress did determine all the selections.

On April 27, 2001, the FHWA issued a solicitation for intent to apply for grants under the program which appeared in the May 5th, Federal Register. Applicants were provided 60 days to deliver statements of intent to apply to the FHWA Division offices. There were about 200 projects for which a statement of intent was submitted and the total funding sought was about $3 billion. Many statements of intent to apply were comprised of a number of elements or phases. There were no GSA project applications. This was because the provisions of section 1119 of TEA-21, which made GSA projects eligible for funding, lapsed at the end of FY 2001.

Congressional action provided selection information in the Conference Report accompanying the US DOT 2002 Appropriations Act. This contained language directing 100% of available funds to specific projects[5]. The statute also directed funds made available from section 1105 or RABA of TEA-21 to be added to those available for the NCPD/CBI program. Thus, the total project funding directed by Congress for FY 2002 was $477,980,576.

For FY 2002:

A separate provision of the US DOT 2002 Appropriations Act provided $56 million (over and above the NCPD/CBI awards) for vehicle inspection station related projects on the US border with Mexico.

As noted above, Section 1102 of TEA-21 requires certain actions regarding obligation authority at the end of fiscal year. In late FY 2002, it was apparent that projects totaling $96.4 million would not be obligated in FY 2002. The FHWA withdrew the obligation authority for these projects and then restored it soon after the US DOT provided FHWA with allotments subsequent to the US DOT 2002 Appropriations Act. In addition, $29.1 million in awarded funds were unallocated at the end of the fiscal year because the States were unable to provide the information needed to establish eligibility for a number of projects, either because there were no environmental clearances, the non federal share was not committed or there were problems identifying an eligible project consistent with the Congressional designation. The totals that went unallocated are higher in FY 2002 because of the unexpected increase in funding for the NCPD/CBI program in FY 2002 (about four times as large as in the previous fiscal years).

FY 2003 Fifth Year of Administration

Because of the experience of FY 2002, the FHWA solicited neither applications nor intent to apply for FY 2003. Congressional action provided selection information in the Conference Report accompanying the US DOT 2003 Appropriations Act (a.k.a., Division I of the

FY 2003 Consolidated Appropriations Act). This report contained language directing 100% of available funds to specific projects. The statute also directed funds that would have been available for the TIFIA provisions (Sections 1501-1511) of TEA-21 to be added to those available for the NCPD/CBI program and it eliminated the applicability of Section 1102 of TEA-21 for FY 2003. Thus, the total project funding directed by Congress for FY 2003 was $255,000,000.

For FY 2003:

A separate provision of the US DOT 2003 Appropriations Act provided $47 million (over and above the NCPD/CBI awards) for vehicle inspection station related projects near the US border with Mexico.

Another portion of the US DOT 2003 Appropriations Act directed funds to projects previously funded by the NCPD/CBI. This was section 330 of Division I of the Consolidated Appropriations Act. Because the mechanics of this section are complex, the FHWA is not yet able to determine the number of projects on the Congressionally designated high priority corridors.


[1]In some cases the FHWA consulted with other agencies (e.g., the Customs Service) during the analysis.

[2]FHWA, FHWA Motor Carrier Safety (which later became the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Office of the Secretary, Federal Railroad Administration and Federal Transit Administration

[3] mobility, safety, productivity, human and natural environment and national security

[4] except that the Maritime Administration replaced the Federal Transit Administration on the ONE DOT panel.

[5] Thus there was no need for full applications nor need for a ONE DOT panel.

Updated: 12/03/2012
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