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TCSP Federal Register Notice-FHWA Docket No. FHWA-98-4370

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION [4910-22-P]
Federal Highway Administration [FHWA Docket No. FHWA-98-4370]
Transportation Equity Act For the 21st Century (TEA-21);
Implementation for the Transportation and Community and System Preservation Pilot Program

Section I: TCSP Program Information

Introduction

The TCSP provides funding for grants and research to investigate and address the relationship between transportation and community and system preservation. States, local governments, tribal governments, and MPOs are eligible for discretionary grants to plan and implement strategies which improve the efficiency of the transportation system, reduce environmental impacts of transportation, reduce the need for costly future public infrastructure investments, ensure efficient access to jobs, services and centers of trade, and examine development patterns and identify strategies to encourage private sector development patterns which achieve these goals. Through the TCSP, States, local governments, and MPOs implement and evaluate current preservation practices and activities that support these practices, as well as develop new and innovative approaches. FY 2001 is the third year of the TCSP program.

The TCSP supports the Administration's high priority goals to encourage the development of livable communities. Within the context of livable communities, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector is one focus for the TCSP.

Purposes

Section 1221 of TEA-21 identifies five purposes for TCSP projects. The purposes are broad and include transportation efficiency, environment, access to jobs, services, and centers of trade, efficient use of existing infrastructure, and land development patterns. A key element of TCSP is exploring the link between transportation and land development patterns. The FHWA is looking for innovative approaches to test and evaluate the effectiveness of integrating land use planning and transportation planning to meet the purposes of TCSP.

Innovation

The TCSP is a small pilot program developing and testing new strategies for use by State and local agencies nationwide in their ongoing transportation programs. Funding in TCSP is not intended to implement community preservation practices nationwide, but to plan, implement, and test new approaches meeting the TCSP program goals. As a pilot program, the TCSP provides the opportunity for agencies to support and encourage non-traditional approaches, and for communities to exchange experiences on new transportation and community preservation strategies.

Evaluation and Results

Evaluation, a key component of the TCSP, requires projects to identify the expected results of the project activities, and apply objective measures to and measure their outcomes and results. This is critical to the success of the pilot program. Only through evaluation, with descriptions of expectations and documentation of results, will other communities be able to learn from the projects and apply the lessons learned. Clearly, stating the project's objectives and activities and anticipated results are important for successful proposals, as are demonstration of how results will be measured, and how evaluation information will be made available to a national audience (e.g., through reports, web-sites, new models, etc.). In addition, successful proposals should include a schedule of the project's major milestones for undertaking completing the project, and conducting project evaluation.

Partnerships

The TCSP encourages public and private participation in proposed projects. In addition, TCSP encourages including non-traditional partners on the project team. The type and scope of the project will determine the best mix of partners and whether these should include members of the general public, as well as environmental, community, business, and other groups. The roles and functions of the partners should also be explained.

FY 2000 TCSP Program

In response to the May 10, 1999, Federal Register notice (64 FR 25098-25114) requesting applications for TCSP funding, the FHWA received 292 applications from 48 States and the District of Columbia for $151 million. A complete list of the applicants is available on the TSCP web site: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/tcsp/. Under the FY 2000 DOT Appropriations Act, Congress authorized $25 million for 39 special projects and provided an additional $10 million to the TCSP. The FHWA received 292 grant proposals for FY 2000. These proposals are being reviewed and awards are planned to be made in December 1999.

TCSP Resource Working Group

The DOT established the TCSP in cooperation with other Federal agencies, State, regional, and local governments. The FHWA is administering the program and established a working group to assist with program direction. Representatives from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the Research and Special Programs Administration/ Volpe Center (RSPA), the Office of the Secretary of Transportation (OST), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are essential partners in this effort.

Summary of Comments to the Docket

The May 10, 1999, Federal Register notice requested comments on the TCSP program implementation in FY 2000 and beyond. The complete docket may be viewed at the locations provided under the captions ADDRESSES and Electronic Access in the preamble. The following organizations submitted comments to the docket (FHWA-98-4370): a combined letter on behalf of the Idaho, Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming State Transportation Departments and a letter from the State of California Department of Transportation. The most significant comments are summarized below.

  1. Define the role of State and local agencies in the application process.

    Comment: Several States recommend that regional and local government applicants pass applications through the appropriate State DOT or MPO for endorsement and approval to ensure that the proposals meet the needs identified in existing plans and to reduce the possibility of duplication.

    Response: The FHWA continues to emphasize the importance of project applicants coordinating with the appropriate State DOT or MPO. Such coordination is indicative of well planned project proposals and project partnerships. Applicants are encouraged to coordinate and form partnerships with their State DOT and MPO. Applications to date have shown such coordination.

  2. The TCSP program and funding applicants should be consistent with and respect the State and MPO planning processes rather than attempting to redesign the existing processes.

    Comment: The TCSP proposals should be consistent with and supported by statewide and metropolitan planning processes. The commenters expressed concern that the TCSP pilot could circumvent the existing planning processes and proposed that the FHWA should require all applicants to include written confirmation or endorsement from the applicable State or MPO.

    Response: The FHWA's commitment to the transportation planning process is established by the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) (Public Law 102-240, 105 Stat. 1914 (1991)) and the TEA-21. As elaborated under Section II below, the TCSP is committed to enhancing the existing planning processes -- not to weakening them.

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