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Talking Freight Transcript

MAP-21 Freight Provisions

November 28, 2012

Presentations

Nicholas Kehoe
Good afternoon or good morning to those of you to the West. Welcome to the Talking Freight Seminar Series. My name is Nicholas Kehoe and I will moderate today's seminar. Today's topic is on the Freight Provisions of MAP-21.

Before I go any further, I do want to let those of you who are calling into the teleconference for the audio know that you need to mute your computer speakers or else you will be hearing your audio over the computer as well.

Today we will have four presenters: Robert Arnold, Crystal Jones, and Ed Strocko of FHWA as well as Paul Baumer of the Office of the Secretary.

Robert (Bob) Arnold has been serving as the Federal Highway Administration Acting Director, Office of Freight Management and Operations since July 2012. His official position is Director, Office of Transportation Management. This office is responsible for National programs focused on the reduction of roadway congestion. Its focus is mainly with recurring congestion in such areas as pricing, active traffic management, and traveler information. As a member of the Agency's Senior Executive Service he is responsible for contributing to the development of overall strategic planning, policy development, and developing legislative proposals for the Administration.

Crystal Jones currently serves as a lead transportation specialist on the Office of Freight Management and operations Program Delivery Team. In this capacity she is responsible for overseeing the delivery of freight infrastructure programs, freight capacity building, vehicle size and weight enforcement and implementation of legislation. Prior to her current position, Crystal Jones served as a program manager within the Office of Freight Management and Operations. During this time Crystal has been responsible for the development and implementation of programs and initiatives to improve efficiency of goods movement across U.S. international land border crossings. She also led FHWA's effort to establish performance measures in the area of freight. Most recently Crystal served as the FHWA program manager for the TIGER program.

Ed Strocko works in the Federal Highway Administration's Office of Freight Management and Operations where he is the Team Leader for Policy, Research and Analysis. Ed has served as FHWA's TIGER Program Coordinator and manages several large infrastructure programs including Projects of National and Regional Significance. Ed focuses on freight performance measures, urban freight issues, freight policy, economics and finance. He is the co-Chair of TRB's Freight Planning and Logistics Committee. Prior to joining FHWA, Ed was the manager of Multi-modal Studies for the Maryland Department of Transportation. Ed also worked as a land use and community planner for a number of jurisdictions.

Paul Baumer serves as a Policy Analyst in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy, U.S. Department of Transportation. His work focuses on freight and goods movement, innovative infrastructure finance and project delivery, as well as discretionary grant program design and implementation. He has worked as an evaluator and provided extensive programmatic support to the multi-modal TIGER Discretionary Grant program and is currently staffing DOT's Freight Policy Council and helping coordinate the Implementation of MAP-21 freight provisions.

Today's seminar will last 90 minutes, with 60 minutes allocated for the speaker, and the final 30 minutes for audience Question and Answer. If during the presentations you think of a question, you can type it into the chat area. Please make sure you send your question to "Everyone" The presenters will be unable to answer your questions during their presentations, but I will start off the question and answer session with the questions typed into the chat box. If we run out of time and are unable to address all questions we will attempt to get written responses from the presenters to the unanswered questions.

The PowerPoint presentation used during the seminar is available for download from the file download box in the lower right corner of your screen. The presentation will also be available online within the next few weeks, along with a recording and a transcript. I will notify all attendees once these materials are posted online.

One final note: Talking Freight seminars are eligible for 1.5 certification maintenance credits for AICP members. In order to obtain credit for today's seminar, you must have logged in with your first and last name or if you are attending with a group of people you must type your first and last name into the chat box. I have included more detailed instructions in the file share box on how to obtain your credits after the seminar. Please also download the evaluation form from the file share box and submit this form to me after you have filled it out. While FHWA does not formally offer the professional development hour credits and will not provide proof of attendance, we have made an agenda available in the file download box that participants can use to self-certify and submit for credits on their own.

We're now going to go ahead and get started. Today's topic, for those of you who just joined us, is on MAP-21's Freight Provisions. As a reminder, if you have questions during the presentation please type them into the chat box and they will be answered in the last 30 minutes of the seminar. Our first presenter will be Bob Arnold of FHWA. Bob, when you are started, you may begin.

Bob Arnold
Thank you very much. Looks like we have pretty good attendance for this webinar. I am very excited to be able to share some of our thoughts with you on the Map-21 freight provisions.

Let me kind of start off and overlay what Map-21 did, or will be doing for us. Map-21 creates a streamlined performance based and multimodal program to adjust the many challenges facing the US transportation system. These challenges include improving safety, maintaining infrastructure condition, reducing traffic congestion, protecting the environment, reducing delays and project delivery, and relevant to this webinar, improving efficiency of the system and freight movement. It contains a number of themes. Strengthen America's highways; Map-21 expands the national highway systems to incorporate principal arterials not previously included. Investment targets the enhanced NHS with more than half of the highway funding going to the new program devoted to improving the most deserving highways.

It establishes a performance-based program. Under Map-21, performance management will transform Federal highway programs to provide a means to more efficient investment of Federal transportation funds by focusing on national transportation goals.

It creates jobs and supports economic growth. Map-21 authorizes $82 billion in Federal funding for fiscal years 13 and 14, or road, bridge, cycling and walking improvements. In addition, Map-21 enhances innovative financing and encourages private sector investment, to a substantial increase in funding for the (inaudible) program. It also includes a number of provisions designed to improve freight movement in support of national goals.

It supports the department's aggressive safety agenda. Map-21 continues the successful highway safety improvement program, doubling funding for infrastructure safety, strengthening the linkage among mobile safety programs and creates a positive agenda to make significant progress in reducing highway fatalities. It also continues to build on other aggressive safety efforts, including the departments fight against distracted driving and its push to improve transit and motor carrier safety.

Streamlines Federal highway transportation programs. The complex array of programs was simplified. Essentially, we consolidated the program structure into a smaller number of broader core programs.

Map-21 accelerates project delivery and motivation. It incorporates a host of changes aimed at ensuring the timely delivery of transportation projects. Changes will improve innovation and efficiency in the development of projects through the planning environmental process to project delivery.

Freight had a prominent role in Map-21, with a number of significant freight provisions included. It elevated freight as an important issue, not only in terms of economic vitality, but also safety of freight movement. Map 21 is not the end, and as we begin to implement Map-21, we should be thinking toward the future and where the free program would be in two years, when Map-21 expires.

Crystal Jones
Thank you, Bob. At this time I will talk about some of the funding provisions that are under Map-21. Specifically, the most significant funding provisions related to freight. In general, as Bob said, this is a two-year bill, it actually extended extends SAFETEA-LU through FY 2012 which is September 30th for the Federal government and most of the other provisions went into effect October 1st.

In terms of funding, the funding for the Map-21 law is at FY12 levels plus minor adjustment for inflation. Again, it ensures that the highway trust fund taxes are solvent for two years, so it's a two-year bill that we're working with. It's not a four or a five-year bill, as we have seen in the past. In terms of freight, the most significant funding provision was the provision that would allow us to increase the Federal share up to 95% on interstate projects and 90% for other projects. This funding provision, I will note, is not additional funding, it allows the states to increase funding using their current appropriated funds for up to 95% on the interstate, and again, 90% for other projects that are freight related. In terms of what types of projects are eligible: there are two major provisions or two major criteria that have to be met before you can qualify or be eligible for the increased Federal share.

Number one, it has to enhance the efficient movement of freight, including making progress toward meeting performance targets for freight movement, which will talk about later on in the webinar. It also has to be identified in the state freight plan. Again, the main key word here, that I want to emphasize, and will talk a little bit about how the department is implementing that, is not a "must" provision, it is a "may" provision. In terms of how we implement it, the next slide will talk about that.

The Department has made a determination to implement this section, which is section 1116, on an interim basis. During that interim period, no state can authorize projects for the increased Federal share above 10% of their allocated funds, unless otherwise approved by the secretary. So, that's the first part of the interim implementation that should be a take away from this - it's only allowed up to 10% of the states allocated fund. The selection of projects is done on a case-by-case basis. So, just because it's an eligible project, doesn't mean that it will be selected for the increased Federal share. It's going to be evaluated on a case-by-case and project by project basis. The Secretary has determined that the highest priority of projects will be eligible under this interim period, will be those projects that make improvements to intermodal freight connectors, improvements to freight and truck bottlenecks, provide public rail facilities or private rail facilities that benefit public highway users, and also projects or groups of projects that are integrated along the corridor.

In terms of what types of projects are eligible, the legislation says that it can be a construction or rehabilitation project, it can be an intelligent transportation systems project, and it can be an effort to decrease environmental impact. The guidelines for types of projects that are eligible are outlined in the law. These are the types of projects during the interim period that will be given the highest priority for the increased Federal share.

In terms of process of how this works, there is no new funding with this provision. Again, it is based on the state's current allocation of funding. This project, through the project by project selection process, will be evaluated first at our Federal highway division offices and then eventually come to FHWA headquarters, to coordinate with the Office of the Secretary, to make a determination on whether the project should be allowed to utilize the increased Federal share. In terms of what types of information will be needed, in order to submit or have a project be considered, a project authorization, it will be data-driven. It can't be just be a project that doesn't come with the analysis that shows how it benefits freight movement. So, that's the key factor in whether or not the project will ultimately be selected for the increased Federal share.

In the interim period, we won't have the performance measures for freight that are required in the section 150 D of Map-21. So, in the interim, we will be requesting as part of the project justification or authorization, a demonstration of how the project meets freight performance goals that are outlined in the state freight plan, which we will talk about as another major freight provision, in the following slides. Again, that next bullet is that it has to be referenced in a state freight plan. That state freight line can be a standalone freight plan, or a freight section of an existing state transportation plan. So, again, another key point is that it must be identified either as a project or as an investment strategy, within the state freight plan. Again, in order to allow a decision to be made on whether the increased Federal share should be allowed, there needs to be significant information that clearly describes how the project addresses freight needs and freight movement on the highway or highway system or transportation system. So, that's another point to emphasize. It does not have to be a highway project. It can be a project that is multimodal. The projects that are eligible are projects that would otherwise be eligible under title 23. The funding that's available for these projects are funds that are available under the regular title 23 funding process.

Another key point to make is that the projects must also meet other Federal requirements such as NEPA, such as meeting the Uniform Act. These other projects r will authorized through the regular Federal aid.

Ed Strocko
This is Ed Strocko and I'm going to talk a little bit more about some of the funding provisions in here. On this slide, you see some of the core highway formula programs. As Bob mentioned earlier, there's a real consolidation of programs that we have, down to a half dozen or so. I will highlight a couple of important ones on here. Couple of the elements under there, I'd like to touch on. The first one is under the surface transportation program. There is new language that allows Federal funds to be spent inside the port gate on intermodal facilities. That's a big change, there, an important change.

The other thing that runs through the STP program, the Highway Safety Improvement Program and the National Highway Performance Program, is the eligibility for truck parking, which is new. Last time, as you see here, in SAFETEA-LU, we had a specific truck parking program. You could say we were so successful that we got rid of it and now it's eligible under many different formula programs. I think that this shows that Congress has recognized the importance of truck parking, as we have. Something that you need to consider now: although there is more money eligible for truck parking, you are going to be competing against a whole variety of other projects. So, it is important for you to get your information together, make a good case for truck parking because it is an important element of the freight system.

For TIFIA, freight projects have always been eligible. We know that for many of the mega freight projects we need to cobble together resources and TIFIA is a good component of that. Under MAP-21, we see that program funding levels have expanded. As you can see up there, rail projects are still eligible. They have tweaked the language a little bit. The underlying language is new, but rail projects are still eligible, as are projects inside the gates on port properties, just as they are under STP.

Projects of National Regional Significance was a program that was established under SAFETEA-LU. It looks at funding any transportation projects. Some of the big, critical ones that are important for national regional freight of passenger transportation needs. There are a couple of minor tweaks to the eligibility and to the criteria, but it stayed mostly the same.

The difference, here, from some of the other programs under MAP-21 and the traditional way that Federal highway is funded, is that this is going to be a two-step progress. Congress has only authorized $500 million. They need to take another Act; they need to appropriate the money for us to be able to do anything. They haven't taken that action, yet. So, although this $500 million is authorized, they still need to appropriate it.

The other thing to note, regardless of what Congress does with the appropriations, they have also asked for a report back to them by October 1, 2014. This is really to look at what types of projects are out there that could be considered projects of national or regional significance. We are supposed to put together a comprehensive list of these projects and do an analysis of the information collected and see how it would rate as a project of national regional significance. We will be going forward with that.

The next area is a bunch of Ps: policy, planning and performance. The first thing is national freight policy. This is under section 1115. There are a number of different sub provisions in here. On the screen, you see the goals that Congress has set out related to national freight policy. It covers a wide variety of areas that are very familiar to us in the transportation sector. From safety, to infrastructure, good repair, operations, economic efficiency, congestion, the environment, all very important.

One of the sub elements under this section is the establishment of the National Freight Network. This says that it's to be established by the Secretary. There are three different elements. The primary freight network, and that needs to be designated by USDOT within a year. This is 27,000 miles of the really critical highway corridors around the nation. There is a second part, which are the portions of the interstate system not designated as part of primary freight network. Then, the third component is critical rural freight corridors designated by the states.

In addition to the National Freight Network, there have been some changes to the national highway system. Bob had mentioned this briefly before. It takes the cap off where we were and expands it. For us, I think what we are most interested in on the freight side is the principal arterial routes. And, some of the connector highways that go to the border crossings and some of the key facilities there.

Another section is the development of the national freight strategic plan. This is to be developed within three years. This needs to be an inclusive process and is really being seen as a multi- modal document. We need to look at all those different goals we saw before and across all the modes. The Freight Policy Council is gearing the effort in this department.

On this slide you see some of the elements we need to consider. Conditions and performance of the system, bottlenecks, best practices for improving the system, and a couple of other key ones for us that we have been working on over the last couple of years, and also multistate projects and encouraging jurisdictions to collaborate.

In addition to that, within two years, the department needs to come out with the freight conditions and performance report. Again, this is multimodal, has measures covering all modes of transportation and relates to all policy goal areas. I think that it's important to note that in MAP-21 there are really two sets of performance measures related to freight. One of them is in this conditions and performance report. The department is working on establishing them now. We started with a couple of outreach sessions to hear from folks about what type of performance measures we should be looking at. We are going to continue moving forward on that. This is what will be used for the national conditions and performance report. It's also something that states will want to consider when they establish their state freight plans and they are looking at performance. It should be correlated, there.

The other section of MAP-21 that deals with freight performance measures is section 1203. 1203 is not just freight performance measures, but it's a variety of measures for the national highway system. One measure that we have under there for freight is freight movement on the interstate system. We have 18 months to start developing and get a performance metric in place for that. States will be required to set targets after that. Then start reporting on those. MPOs will also have to set targets. In this case, that's a very focused measure: its freight movement on the interstate system. This is the measure that states and MPOs will be reporting on.

The other one that we just talked about, under the condition of performance report, is a much broader set of measures and multimodal in nature. Crystal, I will turn it back to you.

Crystal Jones
Okay, the next two sections that we will go over briefly are section 1117 and section 1118. Section 1117 deals with state freight advisory committees. Both these sections, 1117 and 1118, are encouragements. They are not required by law. They are encouraged. The Secretary must actively encourage these two provisions. The department has already issued guidance on both of these provisions. The main purpose of the state freight advisory councils is to ensure that all sectors of the transportation stakeholder communities are represented in the development of freight priorities for particular state. A freight advisory committee must consist of representatives from the public and private sectors, including state DOTs, local governments, freight carriers, ports, freight industry, workforce and freight associations. I know many of the states who already have advisory committees in place have gone through this process. The legislation specifically prescribes what types entities should be involved in the state freight advisory committee.

The state advisory committee, again, this is an encouragement, but the legislation does say that in order for a state to say that a state advisory committee exists, it must meet certain things. Again, the types of folks that are involved and the types of activities the advisory committee should engage in are described in the law. As an example, again, they advise the state on developing freight-related priorities for a particular state, including the types of projects, the funding needs, and it also serves as a forum for the state transportation decision-makers to impact freight mobility within the state.

Again, this is an encouragement, not required. The department has issued guidance on these two provisions. The next one is state freight plans. If you remember the slides on the increased Federal share, one of the things that must be met is that you must a state freight plan in place. Along with the state advisory committee guidance and the department-issued guidance on state freight plans - it is an encouragement - however, to qualify or to be eligible for the increased Federal share, you must have a state freight plan in place. That plan must be incorporated in the state freight long-range plan, which is the point that a mentioned earlier when we discussed the increased Federal share.

With regard to the elements of a state freight plan, if any of you reviewed the guidance that was put out by the department, you will see that it included some things that were in addition to some of the elements or that were a complement to some of the elements that were prescribed in the legislation. These are the minimum elements that must be included in the state freight plan. However, those elements that were described in the guidance issued by the department are done to ensure consistency, so that when we rolled the information we gleaned from the state plans up to the national levels for the national strategic plan that Ed talked about, there will be consistency.

At a minimum, to be considered a state freight plan, these particular elements identified on this slide: identification of trends, description of freight policies, strategies and performance measurements, description of how the plan will meet national freight goals when established, again, this was the area that we talked about in the interim period, until we establish those performance goals under section 167, you will have state freight goals or goals that are specific to a particular jurisdiction. Eventually those goals that will be included in state freight plan must be consistent with the goals that would be established under section 167, which is the area on performance measures.

The state freight plan is seeking to address innovative technologies as a method of increasing freight need. It doesn't have to necessarily tie into how you address freight for infrastructure improvement. It is seeking to use intelligent transportation and innovative technology as a method to address freight issues within a particular state. Again, those last two bullets, particularly the inventory of the facility, mobility issues, freight bottlenecks, all this ties back to the types of projects that could potentially be eligible for the increased Federal share. The goal of this section is to encourage states to develop a freight plan, in order that they might be eligible for the increased Federal share for projects that address efficiency and good movement.

Before I turn it over to Ed, I will note again that the department has issued the guidance on these two sections and the comments were received on November 15. The department is currently evaluating those comments. Some of the questions that come up today, we may not have specific answers to. Certainly, when those comments that were received as part of the interim guidance that was issued are evaluated, we will arrange another outreach opportunity to address those concerns and comments that came in as part of that guidance process.

Another area was one related to vehicle size and weight. Fortunately or unfortunately, as it may be interpreted, we had the opportunity to exercise the section 1511 provision, which essentially allows the state to issue divisible load permits for the interstate system during times of national emergency. The guidance for this has also been issued. At the end, I'm sure we will have our Map-21 guidance link that we can make available to where the guidance is. Specifically, what this provision 1511 does is give states the ability to issue permits for divisible loads, which typically can't be dismantled or divided in times of an emergency. Again, key points to note, it has to be a presidentially declared disaster under the Stafford act. It can't be on emergency declared by a state government. It has to be an emergency declared by the President under the Stafford act. Permits are issued in accordance with state law. What this does, it give states the ability to issue a permit. It does not require them to issue permits for special emergencies. It gives them the ability to issue divisible load permits that augment their current ability to issue permits for non-divisible load. The state already had the ability to issue permits for non-divisible loads. This gives the ability to issue permits for divisible load.

The permits are not for anything traveling on a highway system in a state or area that's been impacted by emergency. It is specifically for those vehicles delivering relief supplies, which is defined in our guidance, to an emergency area. The permit is required to expire no later than 120 days after the declaration of the emergency by the President. It is time specific. Again, it specifically gives the authority to issue permits for the interstate.

Again, we had the opportunity to exercise this provision recently with Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast. One of the big things to emphasize from what we learned from Sandy, it is not a waiver. It's a permit. Congress gave the authority to issue a permit for divisible loads, not a waiver. It still considered a permitting process, not a waiver process.

When operating through multiple states, it's still important that the carrier understand that one state issuing a permit does not give you the authority to operate in another state. So there is some multistate coordination that may be necessary. We did plenty of that for Hurricane Sandy. In essence, what the carrier would end up doing during situations like this is operating to the lowest common denominator. If you are a load that is traveling through multiple states, it's important to understand that the coordination process must allow for the carriers to operate throughout the multiple states based on the permit that issued in the individual states.

Another lesson that we learned, is that it's very difficult. When we issued our guidance, we envisioned that the permit would be issued on a per load basis. Obviously, when you have rapid movement and rapid response, we did learn that it's probably most likely that this provision well lay out akin to a blanket permit that specifies routes and weight and permits that are allowed within a state. In our guidance, we will be issuing revised guidance in the near future that takes into consideration some of the lessons that we learned from Sandy. These are the three that we picked out to share with this webinar. We anticipate issuing revised guidance on section 1511 in the very near future.

A couple other size and weight provisions, these are fairly minor in nature. We do still have some guidance and, perhaps, some regulation changes that we will have to make for these particular provisions. One of those was that we had a provision to allow increased weight allowance for auxiliary power units. This provision was increased from 400 pounds to 550 pounds per vehicle. This is a very minor change. But, something that obviously was important to some sectors of the industry and it emerged as a provision under MAP-21. We will look at guidance and regulatory changes that will have to be made with regard to this. The key thing to note here: it's not a must. The states can allow this, but they do not have to allow this. We will have to understand how this will be implemented throughout the United States. This is not a required must. The state may allow the exemption for the weight allowance for auxiliary power units.

The other thing, there was a temporary provision to exempt axle weight restriction for public transit vehicles. This has been made permanent. We will be issuing revised regulations to account for the permanent nature of this provision that was previously a temporary provision in section 1522.

Ed Strocko
There are three truck related studies I want to touch on. The first is a truck parking survey that USDOT is going to conduct. We have 18 months to do this. There are really three components of this. Take a look at what the truck volumes are in each state. Looking at the ability to provide adequate parking and rest facilities for the trucks in each state. Then, develop metrics to measure the adequacy of truck parking. The second one is a truck size and weight study. You could see this as two evaluations and assessments that are going to be done simultaneously. The first one is comparative analysis of trucks operating at or below the Federal truck size and weight limit in comparison to trucks operating above the Federal truck size and weight limit and looking at that in relationship to crash rates, pavement impacts, bridge impacts, the level of compliance, and also the cost to deliver the enforcement.

The second piece is evaluating the implications of operating some alternative configuration vehicles, including a six axle 97,000-pound truck on different parts of the Federal aid system. And also looking at elements such as diversion between rail and trucks, impacts on safety, and pavement and bridges. We have two years to complete that. The last one I want to touch on dealt with compilation of existing size and weight laws in the states. Congress has directed USDOT to compile these laws and do that within two years. With that, I'm going to turn it over to Paul to look a little but about implementation of the freight provisions in MAP-21.

Paul Baumer
Thank you Ed. I can tell you I'm very excited that there is so much participation on this webinar. There is so much interest in this area because obviously there is a lot going on. As you can understand, we just took 30 minutes going through everything that is going on. It's good to see so much enthusiasm out there. I'm going to talk about the implementation. About how we are going to try to work on all of these things we have been discussing for the next three years or so.

The first thing I will bring up is the Freight Policy Council. I've already seen some questions about that. It's good to get that out-of-the-way. The secretary decided, recognizing how much Map-21 provided us in terms of instructions to work on these freight issues, to create the Freight Policy Council. It's an internal council consisting of representatives from the several different operating administrations and the department and across the office of the secretary, to really help coordinate the effort of implementing these provisions across the modes.

I think, one of the things that the department has been lacking for a long time has been a real coordinated freight initiative. That's what the Freight Policy Council is assembled to serve. I know there's been a lot of confusion about Freight Policy Council. It's membership-if you want to get a good understanding of what it's supposed to do, actually, the charter for the Freight Policy Council is on the Office of Policy's website you go and search and Google DOT Office of the Secretary Office of Policy, somewhere in there is the charter for the Freight Policy Council. That will give you a good sense of the mission of the Freight Policy Council, its members, and what they're going to be working on. Obviously, there is a lot here. The Freight Policy Council relies on a multimodal staff to help propel it forward. I'm a member along with Ed and Crystal. There are a number of other folks across the department who are working on these issues simultaneously, sort of pushing them forward as they move forward. That is sort of the composition of the Freight Policy Council and the staff that are supporting it.

Another important component to this whole implementation effort is you, out there around the country, the stakeholders engaged in the freight initiatives. We've already held a number of freight events here locally in Washington. We've reached out to a lot of you and are going to do more roundtables around the country. As DOT officials travel, they want to hear what you have to say on how we should implement this bill and on the products as we produce them. We will of course publish them in the Federal Register and you will be asked to contribute to us, frequently, along the way.

Obviously, we have a lot of outreach to be doing. You can find a lot of information on our website, including fact sheets and Q&A's and the like on our guidance. As we move forward, obviously, October 1, we start to phase in all the requirements. That's when the bill became official. We are going to continue to produce guidance and regulation as we move forward. We look forward to working with all of you. I look forward to answering some of your questions on what I've already seen coming up in the chat window. With that, I guess we will move to the question period.

Question and Answer Session

Nicholas Kehoe
Thank you to the presenters. We are going to move on to the question and answer session and will be ordering the questions by topic. We will get started with the questions that have already been typed into the chat. After we address those, we will see if there are additional questions. Following the webinar, if there are any questions that were not answered, we will follow up with the presenters and release a question and answer document. To begin, the first question is with respect to the guidelines for Section 1116, where can these be found?

Crystal Jones
They can be found on the MAP-21 website that is listed on the next steps slide. It's the FHWA MAP-21 website, it should be fairly well indexed and link to specific guidance on 1116. There is a Q&A that is companion guidance to the Federal Register Notice by the Office of the Secretary. The relationship between 1116 and the requirement for a State freight plan make it necessary that in addition to looking at the 1116 guidance, which is on the MAP-21 website for FHWA, you also need to be familiar with the guidance issued on the Federal Register Notice. We will get that out there - if we don't already have it - for 1117 and 1118.

Paul Baumer
As Crystal said earlier, there was interim State Freight Plan guidance published on October 15, on which we received a number of wonderful comments that we are currently working our way through. I want you to know that it's still just an interim document and there will likely be some changes. You can still find that document and the comments that we did receive on regulations.gov. You should be able to search for "interim state freight" and it will come up. You'll be able to read both what we proposed and the comments that we received. That link is on the MAP-21 website, as well.

Nicholas Kehoe
Who do we contact to get our projects on the list of projects of national and regional significance (PNRS)?

Paul Baumer
That's a very good question. The PNRS program is sort of in limbo right now. As Ed said, it was authorized as part of MAP-21 at a $500 million level, but as you all know from your evening news, we are operating in an interesting budgeting environment where we don't know what the full appropriations for fiscal year 2013 will look like. Right now, we are waiting on Congress to act to see what, if anything, they appropriate for a new PNRS program. While we are waiting, we are not taking a lot of action on that. However, if you have additional questions as they come forward on the PNRS program or other questions about the freight effort, you can always contact us at freight@dot.gov. As time goes by, if you see something on the news or you have questions that come up, you can always contact that inbox, and either I or someone else who has knowledge about the issue will respond.

Ed Strocko
Regardless of what happens with the $500 million, we will go forward with the Report to Congress that identifies and analyzes those projects of national and regional significance. We will reach out to - at a minimum - State DOTs to understand what those projects are. I would start discussing it with your State DOT if you think you have a PNRS so that when we start to do the survey and study next year, we can capture that. You should definitely coordinate with your State DOT, at this point.

Nicholas Kehoe
As you go forward with the PNRS study, will there be an opportunity for States, MPOs etc. to submit potential projects?

Ed Strocko
I think that was the same type of question as before.

Nicholas Kehoe
There was a question or two about how to access the slides for this presentation. Those are located in the file share box in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen. The next question is how does the Department of Transportation see rail fitting into the goals?

Paul Baumer
Our imperative throughout all of this is to approach the freight system from a multimodal perspective. We are very aware that freight moves across different modes and that there are a lot of different systems out there that help move our nation's freight. While the law has us doing very specific things for various modes, when we are considering what we are producing and as we are producing products, we are doing it with staff from the different operating administrations and we are considering, as much as possible, working the other modes into our analysis. So that's something that's very important to us.

Nicholas Kehoe
How will projects eligible for an increased Federal share be selected?

Crystal Jones
In general, the project authorization process will follow the same project authorization process that regular projects follow under Title 23. Ultimately, to be considered or to even be eligible to be certified by the Department, it still has to go through the regular process within a State. It has to go through NEPA it has to be in the State Freight Plan, and it also has to go through the regular transportation planning process. Nothing in 1116 eliminates the need to follow the regular transportation planning process. A project that comes up to be considered to be authorized would be considered the same way that a typical project is authorized within the State DOT. The only difference is that in order to certify or to allow the Federal share, that's the only decision that's made at the FHWA and Office of the Secretary level. Everything else in the project planning and development process follows the regular process that you would follow on a regular Title 23 project. I can't tell the identity of the person asking the question with regard to your familiarity with that process, but in essence, the State DOT becomes the linchpin for this process because the funds that are available are at the State DOT and have been allocated to the State DOT. Ultimately, they are the decision-makers as to whether or not a project is even going to be considered for use of their appropriated funds.

Nicholas Kehoe
With regards to the granting of a 95% Federal share for a freight project, will this be managed as a national competition like the TIGER program or will it be more focused on a state by state approach?

Crystal Jones
Again, I think the fact that the funding that's available for the increased Federal share is State funding necessitates that it be a project that has gone through the State process before it even gets considered at the Federal level. It certainly is not a competition among projects at the Federal level. It still needs to go through the State process. It won't be something where we will wait until a pool of projects become available to make a decision because at the time that a project has been submitted, the assumption is that the project is at or near the point of being ready to be authorized at the State level. It won't be a process where we wait until we get 10 or 15 projects and select among those projects. Each project will be evaluated on its own merits through the process we've established in the guidance. Again, they're will eventually be an authorization process where that project is ready to go forward at the State level.

Ed Strocko
To reiterate, the 95% Federal share is for Federal-aid formula program dollars that are apportioned to the states. There is no competitive nature about this. It's within the State apportionment whether there are projects that the State chooses to advance in this manner.

Crystal Jones
I guess the only internal thing within the State would be that because in the interim period there is the limitation of no more than 10% of the allocated funds to a State, the State may have some internal prioritization process by which they determine whether or not to even request the project through the Department to be considered. One other thing to note is that during the interim period there is a limitation of no more than 10% of the allocated funds to any particular State.

Nicholas Kehoe
Does the Department consider the diversion of freight from the Interstate and other NHS routes to rail as being important for addressing freight mobility?

Paul Baumer
When we evaluated freight projects in the TIGER program, we looked at the impacts of the project from a public benefit perspective. After the project is built and a certain impact happens, what are the benefits to the public in terms of environmental sustainability, safety, state of good repair, etc.? That said, we are not planning the way freight moves in any deep sense. We are trying to determine guidelines and provide better information to States as they plan their freight system investments. I wouldn't say that is a priority of the Department, but we certainly acknowledge that when those diversions happen they can have positive public benefits.

Nicholas Kehoe
How are rail facilities considered in the national freight network?

Ed Strocko
The national freight network is a highway system. It's not the multimodal freight system that we know we need to function as a country. When we are designating the national freight network, we will just be looking at designating highways. That said, when we look at how the national freight network and particularly the primary freight network is established, we will look at how it connects with the rail system to intermodal facilities, railheads, and also other parallel rail lines close by so that if there is only a highway in an area, we can figure out alternatives. From a more global perspective, as we get into the national strategic freight plan, we'll be looking at whether we need to highlight other modes and their systems as part of a larger system.

Nicholas Kehoe
If PNRS has its own appropriations, do projects not compete for funds from other sources?

Paul Baumer
I don't know that I quite understand that question. I would say that if PNRS is appropriated, there will likely be some language that modifies how those funds are meant to be distributed if it's going to be a merit-based composition, it it's earmarked. We don't know. I would say that the appropriation language - whatever it ends up being - will shape how those funds are used. A PNRS program would not necessarily be related to the State level formula funding, if that's what you're asking.

Ed Strocko
I think the other thing is that it's a competitive program. You would compete just like you would for TIGER funds. I think, based on our experience with TIGER and where we have been as a department, we would look to see a lot of leveraging of any PNRS funds and a package put together. If there were a solicitation, we would be looking for other Federal funds, local funds, private sector funds, etc. to make up the package. PNRS might even be considered the gap funding.

Nicholas Kehoe
Will a timeline be issued in regards to applying for the increased Federal share?

Crystal Jones
I would ask for clarification: are you talking about the response time from the time you submit a project for consideration to how long it would take for the Department to render a decision as to whether it's eligible? If that's the question, we still have some additional outreach to do with our FHWA partners and our division offices on specific timelines. For instance, if you are one month from going out to bid with your project and you want to issue an RFP for the project, we need to be made aware of that so we can expedite that process as much as possible. In the end, I would think forward in terms of when you want to have the Federal under consideration. I would submit it as soon as you think it might be a project that you would want to have considered for that Federal share. Unfortunately, we don't have any examples yet of anyone requesting the increased Federal share, so I can't really speculate on timelines for response in terms of when we'd render a decision as to whether or not a project would be certified to go forward with the increased Federal share. That's one of those questions where we haven't had any experience yet to judge what the response times are. The intent is certainly not to hold up a project in the process of evaluating it. Again, the main thing is to understand how that project is addressing needs described in the State freight plan and understand what data and information you will use to justify it as a project that increases the efficiency of goods the movement.

Ed Strocko
If they wanted to, they could come in today - it's open now.

Crystal Jones
That's another thing. If you have a project for consideration, at this point, as of the time the guidance has been issued, you can start to submit those projects now. You are eligible and it's effective, now.

Nicholas Kehoe
Are airport (with freight operations) improvements included in the multi-modal definition for increased freight Federal share funding?

Crystal Jones
The main thing is that the project has to be eligible under Title 23. I'm not versed enough to know what types of airport projects are eligible, but it is a surface transportation program, so the eligibility of airport projects would only be considered to the degree that they are otherwise eligible under Title 23.

Paul Baumer
To add to that, in terms of the national freight strategic plan, the creation of the national freight network, and all of those things, we are including air cargo, along with rail and marine cargo in our broader analysis. It's not something that we are trying to ignore.

Crystal Jones
From FHWA's perspective with regard to what types of projects are eligible, if you are a stakeholder asking a question who's not familiar with how FHWA funding processes and project planning and development processes work, we encourage you to contact the FHWA division within your State to ask specific questions about project eligibility in general under Title 23 and the Federal aid process.

Nicholas Kehoe
Can States reference a freight project through the MPO's MTP?

Crystal Jones
The provision says that it has to be a State freight plan to be eligible for the increased Federal share. It's not in our guidance specifically, but in order to be recognized as a project, we've said it has to be in a State freight plan. Whether or not a State determines that they want to reference an MPO plan as part of their State freight planning process, if you can demonstrate that a reference has been made to an MPO plan within your State freight plan, then we would probably find that sufficient to represent reference to the project. It can't be a standalone MPO plan that is used; it has to be an MPO plan that is referenced in a State freight plan.

Robert Arnold
A number of the comments that came in our guidance asked for more clarification on how MPO plans and other State level plans would fit into the new State freight plan process. As we move forward and work on issuing our responses to the comments, I would expect to hear more on what our thoughts are and how those would integrate. We are not intending to make this too hard. We are hoping that we will be able to find some flexible solutions.

Nicholas Kehoe
I think this next question was at least partially addressed, but I will read it again. Will the national freight network be only roads or will it include the surface transportation marine highway program?

Paul Baumer
This gets to the way the bill is written. The bill defines for us what they're calling the national freight network as a road-only network. That said, we are trying to take a very broad approach and look at the national freight system, understanding that rail and marine highways and pipelines and airports that carry air cargo are all important elements in our national freight system. We are considering those and using a lot of the resources the Department has to develop those other systems and those other maps as part of our analysis. That said, when we do produce a map of the national freight network, it will be a road-only network because that's the way the bill has defined it for us. We are trying to examine how freight moves and evaluate how freight moves on all of our modal systems.

Nicholas Kehoe
If State DOTs are trapped into highway freight solutions because of their in-state analysis, how does the DOT implement multi-modal planning for freight systems that pass through multiple state borders?

Paul Baumer
A lot of MAP-21 instructs us to encourage States to engage in freight planning, both in the development of State freight plans and the development of State advisory committees. In our efforts to encourage States to do that, we have spent a lot of time in our guidance trying to suggest that they examine these issues in a real multi-modal way and that they look at the freight system across modes, not on roads only. That's essentially the answer. In terms of what we're doing, we are trying to encourage all of the stakeholders in each State to get involved with their states, including the stakeholders that represent rail and port and other non-road modes. We're also trying in our guidance to states to really show that the system is a multi-modal one. In our national freight strategic plan language, we are required to identify gateways and freight corridors and other non-road specific assets. I think there's going to be a lot coming out of this department to try to capture the multi-modal nature of the freight system.

Crystal Jones
I will that the MAP-21 language does add to the eligible applicants for PNRS. That alone will necessitate that through the development of the study that catalogs the PNRS projects, we do have some process to get input from other eligible entities. Again, it was emphasized that we would survey the states, but it doesn't say that we can survey other eligible applicants.

Paul Baumer
Through our TIGER discretionary program, we have really recognized that a lot of very important freight and transportation projects are not road-only projects. I think a lot of States have sat up and taken notice that there are other investments that you could make that aren't just road investments and that might improve freight systems in a really significant way.

Ed Strocko
I think one other thing is that the PNRS language talks about transportation projects, not highway projects. It could be a Title 23 eligible port or rail project. We shouldn't get locked into it being highway.

Nicholas Kehoe
Does including "truck stop electrification" (full HVAC, shore power only, or in between), or setting aside "no idle zones" for trucks with APUs/BACs, improve the funding prospects for a truck parking proposal, given the ability to show greater environmental benefits?

Ed Strocko
We are lucky to have Tom Kearney, our Freight Operations Manager, with us today. We will give this one to Tom.

Tom Kearney
The question has to do with local project selection. It is certainly not a question that we would answer here at the national level. State DOTs have processes for selecting and prioritizing projects. If the environmental aspects of a project are part of that review process for a project to be included in the capital plan, then those projects would compete more effectively.

Nicholas Kehoe
Has the Section 1510 APU weight increase been printed in the CFR, yet?

Crystal Jones
No it has not, but we are working on getting the update to the CFR.

Nicholas Kehoe
Who on the Federal level is coordinating the truck size and weight study?

Tom Kearney
Good afternoon. My name is Tom Kearney. I'm with the Freight Office of FHWA. I am leading the truck size and weight study under Section 32801.

Ed Strocko
Tom, could you talk a little about some of the other groups in working with you in the department?

Tom Kearney
We have pavement and bridge safety experts, both in the research area and program area working as subject manner experts. They will be looking to help shape and develop the contents of the technical study that will form the foundation for the Report to Congress. On top of that, we have assembled a policy oversight group that includes all of the modal agencies within USDOT, and we're working very closely with the Secretary's office as we progress the study.

Nicholas Kehoe
With respect to the intermodal diversion aspect of the truck size and weight study, will this consider the economic impacts on other modes?

Tom Kearney
It is required under Section 32801 that we do exactly that. The impact of a change in the Federal truck size and weight limits and how it impacts the operation of the overall transportation system of the nation is required to be investigated. Modal shifts amongst trucks, between modes - be it air, rail, or waterborne - that would be impacted by a change in Federal truck size and weight limits will be evaluated and included within the study.

Nicholas Kehoe
Will the truck size and weight study include an economic analysis of the impact of regulatory change on mode split? In other words, will an increase in max truck weight result in an increase in the amount of freight moving by truck, which would impact aggregate pavement damage?

Tom Kearney
That's exactly what we will be investigating. We will be building on research that's been conducted through the Transportation Research Board and the National Cooperative Highway Research Program and will be tapping into the libraries of the State DOTs that have done a noteworthy amount of investigation into the impacts of trucks. We will be certainly addressing that aspect within the study and we will be capitalizing, not reengineering and not redoing previously completed work, but looking to integrate any completed technical work within the study that we will present to Congress.

Nicholas Kehoe
Given the big lift for states to develop MAP-21-compliant freight plans and the time it'll take all the states to get there, what is the USDOT's process to build the national plan? How exactly will State freight plans be incorporated? How will a national plan be created if only some states develop compliant State freight plans? How can states participate in the process?

Paul Baumer
That's a good question and one we've seen in the comments we've already received on the State freight plan guidance. To be honest, I don't have a complete and accurate answer for you. Since the bill has been passed, we've been working on a lot of different issues simultaneously. The State freight plan guidance, given the time it would take States to actually make freight plans, was one of our first priorities that we published and are still working on. We are also still working some statutory deadlines that are more immediate in our future, including the designation of a primary freight network and some of the reports to congress. I think for the national freight strategic plan, which is due in three years from the passage of the bill, we're waiting to see as we push out these more immediate issues how we are going to set up our process for putting that together. It's important to note that what the States are expected to do in the State freight plans - or at least what we suggest and encourage that they do - is not necessarily exactly the same as what we will be doing on the national level. Our effort to encourage States to conduct the State freight plan level was an effort to get them to help inform what we put together as a national freight strategic plan. We are not necessarily just going to stitch together what the States give us, wholesale. We will be evaluating things on a national benefit level, not a State or regional level. So the answer to your question is that we don't have an exact process. We're waiting to see how the States approach the State freight plan guidance process, and we will be working on that for several years to come.

Nicholas Kehoe
The Interim Guidance on Section 1116 "Prioritization of Projects to Improve Freight Movement" says that non-interstate freight projects eligible for the Federal-aid highway program must be included in a State freight plan to be eligible for an increased 90/10 Federal funds match. The proposed freight projects must also demonstrate that they will improve performance per Section 1203, which (1) directs states to measure freight performance on the interstate system and (2) MPOs and States to measure performance (freight performance isn't specifically mentioned) of the expanded National Highway System (NHS). Will the USDOT Secretary establish truck freight performance measures for the expanded NHS?

Paul Baumer
This is a great question. In Section 1116, one of the requirements is that the project for the increased match shows that it will improve the freight performance. This person wants to know, well, how will we know that? Is the secretary going to establish truck freight performance measures? There answer to that question is yes. We're working on freight performance measures for all of our freight modes, in addition to trucking. That's one of the more immediate tasks that we're working on, ahead of the national freight strategic plan. That's something currently ongoing right now. In the interim, though, FHWA has posted guidance on their website, and I will let Crystal speak to that a little bit more. Ultimately, yes, we will be publishing standardized freight performance measures across modes.

Ed Strocko
Paul, you mentioned we are going to look at those types of performance measures. We need to probably have a little bit more discussion on what it means for Section 1203. As you noted, the performance measures under that section say freight movement on the interstate system. Then there is another one that is not freight related that says condition and performance of the NHS. We would have to have another internal discussion about what that would mean for non-interstate projects.

Crystal Jones
As Paul pointed out, in the interim guidance, what we said is that until those measures and targets are established, the State can rely upon freight performance measures that are in their State freight plan. From that perspective, I believe that if you have a facility that's not an interstate, which is what Section 1203 covers, as long as it is sufficiently addressed in the State freight plan from a performance perspective, we would still be able to have flexibility in considering that project under Section 1116. Again, that's as of today, because today Section 1203 doesn't exist. We are still relying upon performance data in the State freight plans. At this point, if you were to request a project tomorrow, Section 1203 wouldn't exist yet. We would rely upon the State freight plan to describe how performance is being addressed in the State and performance goals for freight that are already in existence in the State or part of the State planning process.

Nicholas Kehoe
What's being proposed to overcome the data deficits we face at the National and State levels in order to effectively identify freight system needs and trends and establish performance measures to support decision-making?

Paul Baumer
This is definitely something that's come up in a lot of our internal meetings. There are all kinds of things we want to measure and want to be able to track, but oftentimes the data just doesn't exist, or if it does exists, it's in a lot of different places and it's private and not all that accessible to the public. The answer to your question is we don't have a uniform strategy currently on how we are going to address those issues. In determining what our performance measures will be, we're looking at the existing data that we do have. In terms of the freight performance measures from 1115, we are looking at having a lot of meetings on what data we could feasibly collect but maybe haven't collected up to this point. It's definitely something we are examining and will be approaching on a piece by piece basis.

Ed Strocko
I would recommend that you take a look at FHWA's Office of Freight Management and Operations website. We have a number of data sources on there. We have the Freight Analysis Framework that provides a great national tool for looking at loads and origins and destinations, and things of that nature, and it works well at the regional level. We also have the Freight Performance Measures Program that uses probe data on the interstate system. We are expanding that and will be getting that data out to the State DOTs and MPOs to use. We also have a whole bunch of NCFRP reports that have a number of different techniques that you can use. We have the Freight Model Improvement Program and the Freight Quick Response Freight Manual. In addition, we have a number of courses and we recognize that there are data gaps. Oftentimes, it's about working with the private sector to get localized data. One of the things we are always encouraging folks to do is engage the private sector. We have a couple workshops on that. If you haven't taken them, consider taking them. We will come out with a data course in the near future, too.

Nicholas Kehoe
Who is on the Freight Policy Council (i.e. what main agencies and organizations make it up) that is developing the National Freight Strategic Plan?

Paul Baumer
We didn't want to limit the development of the national freight strategic plan and the outreach that we'll do in conjunction with that to any set group of individuals. In terms of what the Freight Policy Council is, (and again, you can always find the charter), it's an internal DOT-level group with a number of deputy administrators, folks from the Office of the Secretary, and high-level officials who are helping coordinate the staff needs to get this process completed and to implement these provisions. We are doing a full-court press on outreach. We are always open to new input from private and public sector stakeholders across the country. The Freight Policy Council is an internal government group here at DOT. In terms of getting the input from the States, from MPO's, from the ports and railroads and businesses, we have already identified a number of forums that we'll be able to use to engage those groups, and we are always looking for more. We are going to really try to incorporate as much expertise as we can.

Nicholas Kehoe
Can a State DOT have more than one State Freight Advisory Committee, such as committees that cover separate urban regions?

Paul Baumer
We understand that every State will come up with different solutions to how they want to do freight planning. The law, again, requires us to encourage States to create a State-level advisory committee. There are a number of these that already exist. They go by different names. That's largely the reason why it was in the bill. Whether a State would like to create a single entity or would like, instead, to utilize different, smaller groups for different urban regions, will be entirely up to them. There is no requirement in MAP-21 for the establishment of a State freight advisory committee. We are only expected to encourage States to do that.

Nicholas Kehoe
When a plan is submitted for grant funding consideration, what will the evaluation process include?

Crystal Jones
What's going to be submitted to FHWA and the Department, if what you're referencing is the provision under 1116, is not a plan. It will be a project for grant funding. There is no plan submission for grant funding. The State freight plan is what determines whether a specific project is addressed in that State freight plan. We won't be submitting a plan to FHWA. In terms of what you submit to the division, our guidance on the MAP-21 website prescribes the types of things that have to be present in a request for the project. If you are a non-State DOT entity, you can't directly submit a project to a FHWA division office without submitting to the State for consideration. It's a process that has to go from State DOT to FHWA division and from FHWA division to the Office of the Secretary, eventually. The process always has to include the State because they are the funding source for the 1116 provision. With regard to how it will be evaluated, (1) the project has to be sufficiently addressed in a State freight plan and 2) you have to have quantitative data that shows how the State's goods movement efficiency is going to be improved. In our guidance, we list the types of things our divisions will be evaluating after the project is submitted through the State, and the State can use the same guidelines to make the determination of whether to submit it to the division. In terms of the evaluation process, the first endorsement is from our FHWA division. Beyond that, the Secretary will do internal prioritization based on the things that were put out in the interim guidance as the highest priority type projects. The evaluation process is a per-project, project-by-project basis, and each project is evaluated on its own merit. It's not a compilation of projects that are evaluated against one another.

Paul Baumer
When a lot of the comments came in they said, how do I know that what I consider a State freight plan is what DOT also considers a State freight plan? I think a lot of folks are looking to see if they've already got plans made that will that fit as a State freight plan, based on what we recommend in the guidance. What I can say is that the guidance is very broad and includes a lot of recommended elements that are not in the bill. These are elements that we thought were potentially useful and would help bring your State freight plan in line with what we are intending to do nationally. That said, there are a few minimum requirements in the bill. You can find those explicitly laid out not only in this presentation but also in the State freight plan guidance. It will at a minimum have to have the five or six things that MAP-21 spells out for it to be a State freight plan, whether that's in a section of a larger surface transportation investment plan, or whether it's a standalone plan. We don't know yet what people are going to try to do on that front. Just look to see that your freight plan addresses what's in the bill.

Crystal Jones
I guess I misinterpreted the question because of the grant funding part of that. With regard to the compliance of the plan itself, we will provide technical assistance and coordination with our division offices to do pre-plan reviews and give feedback on what things can be added. We are working aggressively at this point, mostly with AASHTO and internally, but eventually with the individual division offices to understand what constitutes a sufficient State freight land in accordance with MAP-21.

Nicholas Kehoe
Are there efforts underway to streamline exemptions for buy America for projects that cannot source American made products?

Paul Baumer
I don't know if that's a subject we're covering in terms of MAP-21 freight provisions. There wasn't anything in MAP-21 in terms of freight provisions that addresses buy America, exclusively.

Nicholas Kehoe
What is the timetable for the national standards to be released?

Paul Baumer
In terms of the performance goals, I think we are still working out how quickly we can get those out. I don't have an explicit timetable for you right now.

Nicholas Kehoe
Will USDOT remind State DOTs that rail-highway grade separations are eligible projects under the National Freight Program and should be included in the State Freight Plan?

Ed Strocko
There is no National Freight Program funding, but there are a number of formula programs. We do have eligibility guidance on our site, so folks can look at that.

Paul Baumer
A good resource is always your FHWA division office. If you are curious about whether or not a project is eligible, you can approach them and they can let you know if it's eligible or not.

Nicholas Kehoe
Is there any work being done on containers on trailers on rail? Units like the FedEx triple units on I-70 in western Colorado, only hooked together (tractors only, no driver's cab) similar to multiple diesel units on freight trains to eliminate putting containers on railcars. Similar to the IBM shift from large computers to the Smart Phone many of you are now using as a computer.

Ed Strocko
We are not doing anything specifically on that topic, right now, but we're always looking for innovative solutions because we know there's a lot more freight coming and we need to maximize use of all of our modes.

Nicholas Kehoe
Has a schedule been established for the Freight Policy Council's regional listening roundtables?

Paul Baumer
No, we don't have anything approaching a formal schedule yet. Right now, as officials from the Department are on travel, they're scheduling informal roundtables with stakeholders in the areas where they may be. I can keep you in the loop on that as we plan those. As we plan regional listening sessions, we will broadcast that out to the freight community.

Nicholas Kehoe
Do you foresee a separate program for grade separation projects? They can be quite costly and might be better funded through their own program.

Ed Strocko
I agree, they can be quite costly. I think the philosophy going into MAP-21 is to consolidate the number of programs down to a very small number and give a lot of flexibility to the States and MPOs as far as what's eligible under there. So that eligibility is in there, but having specific programs is something we are trending away from.

Nicholas Kehoe
How will infrastructure improvements of border crossings be funded? Will it be a CBI type program in MAP-21?

Crystal Jones
There is no CBI type program in MAP-21. Just like Ed said, the eligibility is there under the programs that are under MAP-21, but there is no specific CBI program, as it existed under SAFETEA-LU.

Nicholas Kehoe
Why wasn't there anything in MAP-21 on freight for MPOs?

Paul Baumer
I think there was stuff in MAP-21 on for freight for MPOs. You need to look at some of the target settings for the freight performance measures, as well as some of the roles in the rest of 1115. I think that MPOs play a really important role in the whole freight dialogue, especially with some of the advisory committees that are set up. They have a very rich local knowledge and are able to work closely with the State DOTs to have a great understanding of what's going on in the State. MPOs have a very important role, and even if it's not explicitly throughout MAP-21, we think they are critical to making freight work in the US.

Nicholas Kehoe
If there are any additional questions that were not covered, we will do our best to get answers for those and send them with the follow-up information. I will begin the closeout of the webinar now. I thank you all for attending today's seminar. The recorded version of this event will be available within the next few weeks on the Talking Freight website. As a reminder, if you are an AICP member and would like to receive 1.5 certification maintenance credits for attending the seminar, please make sure you were signed in today with your first and last name, or type your first and last name into the chat box if you were attending with a group of people. Please download the evaluation form and e-mail it to me after you have completed it. Please also download the CM credit instructions if you are unsure of how to obtain credits for today's seminar. The next scheduled seminar will be held on December 19 on the topic of Freight Academy Capstone projects. Registration for this seminar is not yet available, but e-mails will be sent out when registration opens. I encourage you all to join the freight planning listserv if you have not done so already. With that, we will close out the webinar. Thank you again for attending and enjoy the rest of your day.

Updated: 01/29/2013
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