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Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)
The grants funded under the TCSP program will develop, implement, and evaluate transportation strategies supporting transportation and community and system preservation practices which incorporate beneficial short- and long-term environmental, economic, and social equity effects to help build livable communities.
Applicants are to submit a 15-page application using the format identified under Attachment I to this notice. The FHWA and a multi-agency technical review panel will review the applications before making recommendations to the Federal Highway Administrator and the USDOT Secretary for final approval.
Applicants should recognize that the TCSP has limited funding with a high application volume and should develop their budgets accordingly. In FY 1999, several applicants received less funding than requested which caused them to reevaluate and redefine their project's scope. The FHWA sees this as a reality based on the program applicants' funding requests as related to the funds available.
It is appropriate for applicants to request TCSP support for a smaller innovative portion of a larger project which can be funded under other transportation funding. This may also help increase the local matching share committed to the project, a factor in project selection. In addition, leveraging other Federal funds (e.g., EPA, HUD, or other highway and transit funding) as part of a larger project will also demonstrate local commitment to the project.
Grants may be spent over a period of up to two years, but no commitment can be made for subsequent years of grant awards. Thus, phased projects should stand alone and be capable of being implemented and producing results in each phase.
State agencies, MPOs, tribal governments, and units of local governments recognized by a State are eligible recipients of TCSP grant funds. This includes towns, cities, public transit agencies, air resources boards, school boards, and park districts, but not neighborhood groups or developers. While non-governmental organizations are not eligible to receive TCSP funds under section 1221 of TEA-21, these organizations are encouraged to form partnerships with an eligible recipient as the project sponsor.
States or MPOs may be both a project sponsor and endorse other activities proposed and submitted by a local government within its boundary. A State or MPO may consider packaging related activities for submittal as one larger grant request in coordination with the respective project applicants.
Grant Program Purposes
Activities funded under TCSP should address and integrate each of the purposes of the program listed below. Priority will be given to those proposals which most clearly and comprehensively meet and integrate the purposes and are most likely to produce successful results. How well proposed projects achieve each of these purposes will be a principal criterion in selecting proposals for funding. Applicants should develop proposals that specifically address these purposes. Grant proposals should address how proposed activities will meet and integrate all of the following:
Improve the efficiency of the transportation system.
Proposals for TCSP activities should identify, develop, and evaluate new strategies and measures of transportation efficiency that are based on maximizing the use of existing community infrastructure, such as, highways, railroads, transit systems and the built environment. Proposals should address the transportation system as a whole rather than focusing on one mode of transportation. This may include for example, improving the integration of various modes of travel, such as, highway, transit, pedestrian, bicycling, and rail or improving the efficiency of port, rail and highway connections for freight and jobs. Performance measures should include a focus on movement of people and goods and access rather than movement of automobiles, and on services provided rather than vehicle miles traveled.
Reduce the impacts of transportation on the environment.
Proposals for TCSP activities should explore the long-term direct and indirect social, economic, and environmental impacts of transportation investments on the natural and built environment. Consideration of environmental factors should not be limited to air quality but should also address, if appropriate, ecosystems, habitat fragmentation, water quality, as well as community and cultural issues such as disadvantaged populations and environmental justice. Performance measures should relate the results of TCSP activities to the larger community, regional environment, and the transportation system.
Reduce the need for costly future public infrastructure.
Proposals for TCSP activities should describe how they will reduce the need for costly future public infrastructure investment or create tools and techniques to measure these savings over the life cycle of the activities. Performance measures should include projected life cycle savings obtained through avoiding future investments or maintenance.
Ensure efficient access to jobs, services and centers of trade.
Proposals for TCSP activities should clearly demonstrate how they improve efficient, affordable access to jobs, services, and centers of trade and address benefits for disadvantaged populations. This could also include the use of new technologies that increase access for people and businesses while reducing the need to travel. Performance measures should include improved access to jobs and services, and improved freight movements.
Encourage private sector development patterns.
Proposals for TCSP activities should identify and test effective strategies to encourage private sector investments that result in land development patterns that help meet the goals of this pilot program. Effectively linking land use and transportation is a key feature of TCSP. Performance measures should demonstrate and permit monitoring of changes in development patterns and private sector investment trends or opportunities resulting from TCSP-related activities.
In addition to meeting the purposes of the TCSP as discussed above, grant applications are evaluated on the following factors:
A demonstrated commitment of non-Federal resources.
Although matching funds are not required, priority will be given to projects which leverage non-Federal funds and take advantage of in-kind contributions, such as, maintenance agreements, land donations, and volunteer time. The contribution of local funds and resources for a project demonstrates local commitment to a project and indicates the likelihood that it will be fully implemented. In addition to non-Federal funds, applicants are encouraged to pursue other Federal resources to support Livability Initiatives such as Transportation Enhancement, Congestion Management and Air Quality funds, as well as HUD, EPA, DOI, and other programs. A description of the President's Livability Initiative can be found on the White House Web site: http://www.livablecommunities.gov/.
An evaluation component.
The plan to evaluate the project's objectives and outcomes is a key element of the grant proposal. The evaluation plan should include goals, expected outcomes, measures, evaluation methodologies, major evaluation milestones and deliverables for the project. See the discussion on Evaluation in this section.
An equitable distribution of grants with respect to a diversity of populations.
The FHWA will ensure the equitable geographic and demographic distribution of funds. Applicants should identify and describe who will be served by the project.
Demonstrated commitment to public and private involvement including the participation of non-traditional partners in the project team.
Such partners might include public utility operators, social services agencies, community groups, environmental organizations, non-profit organizations, public health agencies, private land development organizations, and real estate investors. The TCSP also envisions non-traditional partners as active players on the project team who help develop the project's assumptions and scenarios. In the proposal, applicants should describe the roles and commitments of all their partners.
The TCSP was intended to support localities which have already begun preservation practices and to encourage those areas just starting these practices. The legislation referred to the types of grants being requested as implementation grants and planning grants respectively. To clarify these terms, the following definitions will be used: (a) those just beginning to start community preservation practices--initial stage, or (b) those who have already initiated transportation related community preservation programs and policies--advanced stage. The latter category includes those who have coordinated with State and locally adopted preservation and development plans; integrated transportation and community and system preservation practices; promoted investments in transportation infrastructure and transportation activities that minimize adverse environmental impacts and lower total life cycle costs; or encouraged private sector investments and innovative strategies that address the purposes of the TCSP program.
Activities eligible for TCSP funding include activities eligible for Federal highway and transit funding (title 23, U.S.C., or chapter 53 of title 49, U.S.C.) or other activities determined by the Secretary to be appropriate. This allows a broad range of transportation activities to be funded. Grants will be awarded for new and innovative transportation activities meeting the purposes of the TCSP program, but remain unfunded under the current Federal-aid program.
Grants will be awarded for activities which meet the purposes of the program described above and are innovative and can be replicated by others. The goal of the TCSP is to develop a broad range of strategies for urban, suburban, and rural communities which help promote liveable communities through transportation investments and operations. The legislative language that created TCSP is general and provides States, MPOs, tribal governments, and local agencies flexibility to create innovative approaches to address the goals. As the program evolves, the FHWA will use individual project evaluations conducted by grantees, the results of research, and overall program evaluation to determine the strategic priorities for TCSP. Therefore, rather than setting specific strategic priorities, the FHWA is providing information about previously funded projects with suggestions to prospective applicants of FHWA's interest areas. The FHWA continues to seek additional strategies that are innovative and can be replicated by others.
Applicants should highlight innovative and unique aspects of their proposals, and how the results of their proposal will further the purposes of the TCSP. Applicants also should not seek to duplicate previously funded activities unless there is a significant change in the scope, application, or results of the strategy.
The FHWA is also interested in proposals which measure the results and broad impacts on communities of current preservation practices including urban growth boundaries, infill development, and land use changes. Other areas that may be considered include integrating community health and safety goals with transportation to promote livable communities; planning or implementing regional and local strategies to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions; using technology and communications that provide people and businesses with improved access to goods and services to promote livable communities; and enhancing intermodal and freight access to promote economic growth and access to jobs in communities.
The FHWA is particularly interested in supporting projects that are ready to begin and have plans to collect and document results that can be shared with others quickly and successfully. The proposal should highlight when the proposal would be initiated and when results are expected.
Every proposal funded under the grant program should include a description of the applicant's plans for monitoring, evaluating, and analyzing the project and provide the results of the analysis to the FHWA. This information is necessary to provide an opportunity for the DOT, States, MPOs, and local governments to learn more about the practical implications of integrating land development, transportation, and environmental decisionmaking-- what works and what doesn't and why for each project. The grant request may include funding for travel for one representative to attend two national workshops to present the plans, status, and results of the project.
The measures used to evaluate project results should be based on the goals and objectives of the project. In addition to individual project evaluations, an overall program evaluation will be conducted by the FHWA under the research component of the program described in Section III of this notice.
Developing measures to determine the results of the projects is difficult and there is no general consensus on operative measures. A resource guide on program evaluation for TCSP projects and other related information, including references and case studies, are available on the FHWA Web page (http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/tcsp/index.html). Methods to measure and evaluate current and future performance may include, for example:
Quantitative assessments, such as, measurement of changes in traffic flow and mode choice (e.g., increased pedestrian and bicycle traffic), environmental impacts and reduced number of trips;
Analytic procedures which forecast the current and future impacts of projects, such as, travel demand, land development, or economic forecasting; or
Qualitative assessment, such as, interviews, surveys, changes in local ordinances, or other anecdotal evidence.
Relationship of the TCSP to the Transportation Planning Process
The TCSP will complement, strengthen, and enhance the Statewide and MPO planning process created by the ISTEA, and refined by the TEA-21. This process promotes the ongoing, cooperative, and active involvement of the public, transportation providers, public interest groups, and State, metropolitan, and local government agencies in the development of statewide and metropolitan transportation plans and improvement programs (23 CFR part 450).
Applicants should clearly demonstrate their coordination with State and local planning agencies and the project's consistency with appropriate statewide and metropolitan transportation planning processes. To accomplish this, TCSP applicants should coordinate with the appropriate State DOT or MPO to ensure their project is consistent with and doesn't circumvent the planning processes. In addition, the FHWA will post the list of FY 2001 applicants and project proposals on its Web site as soon the information can be compiled.
The DOT fully supports this planning process, which has brought diverse constituencies and government agencies together, and views the TCSP activities as a logical step in the continuing improvement of transportation planning at the State and regional level. The TCSP can help broaden the scope and impact of the planning process to better integrate land development planning, environmental goals and objectives, economic development, social equity considerations, and other private sector activities. The integration of interest groups, investors, and developers through partnering with government applicants is a goal of the program. The TCSP activities also consider incorporation of much longer planning horizons and consider the impacts on future generations.
Activities funded by this program may be used to test or implement new, innovative planning methods and programs that significantly enhance the existing statewide and MPO transportation planning processes. The TCSP funds are intended to leverage new transportation and community preservation initiatives rather than to fund the ongoing planning activities of States and MPOs. In addition, activities should encourage and improve public involvement in the overall planning process, as well as in the individual project.
Construction projects funded by the TCSP will ultimately be included in an approved State or MPO Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). The TCSP funds should not be requested for projects that have already been scheduled for funding and are in the current State or MPO TIP. Highway and transit projects which either use Federal funds or require Federal approvals and are in air quality non-attainment or maintenance areas should be included in an air quality conformity analysis required as part of the transportation planning process. Because TCSP projects may target improved air quality as part of their broader goals, documentation of the beneficial air quality impacts of the project is important.
Non-construction activities funded by the TCSP, such as the development of regional plans and policies, project evaluations, and land development code changes, may not need to appear in a statewide or MPO TIP, but should still have the support or endorsement of the State or MPO. Planning activities funded by TCSP should be reflected in the metropolitan area's Unified Planning Work Program. Non-construction activities may result in changes to existing State and MPO plans and, therefore, need coordination with other jurisdictions within a metropolitan region or State.
Schedule and Administrative Processes
There are several options for the administration of grants under TCSP. The FHWA has a financial management system with the State Departments of Transportation and anticipates that most TCSP grants will be channeled through this established process. However, if another process such as a cooperative agreement or grant through another eligible agency (e.g., a public transit agency) is preferred, the applicant can work with the appropriate FHWA Division Office to develop a different funding mechanism.
Applicants must submit four (4) printed copies of their application and a diskette with the application file to the appropriate FHWA Division office by January 31, 2000. Questions about the grant program should be directed to the FHWA's Division Office in the State in which the applicant is located (Attachment II). The time line for FY 2001 TCSP activities follows:
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