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TCSP - 2002 Federal Register Notice, Request for Proposals

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION [4910-22-P]
Federal Highway Administration [FHWA Docket No. FHWA-98-4370]
2002 Federal Register Notice, Request for Proposals


 

Section II
Request for FY 2002 TCSP Grants

Introduction

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.

Application Process

Applicants must follow 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.

Funds Availability

Because of the high demand for the limited TCSP funds, applicants are strongly recommended to request TCSP support for the smaller innovative phases of larger projects that could be funded from other sources. In addition, leveraging other Federal, State, local, and private funds will further demonstrate local commitment to the project. Phased projects should stand alone and be capable of being implemented and producing results in each phase.

TCSP grant funds are not available up front in a lump sum. Like other Federal-aid programs, TCSP funding is reimbursable to the grant recipient after initial expenditures are made.

Eligible Recipients

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. While non-governmental organizations are not eligible to receive TCSP funds under section 1221 of the TEA-21, they are encouraged to form partnerships with an eligible recipient as the project sponsor.

A State or MPO may be both a project sponsor and endorse other activities proposed and submitted by a local government within its boundary.

Grant Program Purposes

Activities funded under the TCSP should address and integrate each of the program purposes listed below. Priority will be given to those proposals which most clearly and comprehensively meet and integrate the TCSP purposes and are most likely to produce successful results. How well proposed projects address each purpose is a principal criterion in recommending proposals for funding. Applicants should develop proposals that specifically address these purposes, as follows:

  1. Improve the efficiency of the transportation system.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Explore the long-term direct and indirect social, economic, and environmental impacts of transportation investments on the natural and built environment. The environmental factors discussion should include air quality, as well as ecosystems, habitat fragmentation, water quality, and community and cultural issues, such as, disadvantaged populations and environmental justice, as appropriate.
    • Performance measures should relate the results of TCSP activities to the larger community, regional environment, and the transportation system.
  2. Reduce the need for costly future public infrastructure.
    • Describe how the project 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.
  3. Ensure efficient access to jobs, services and centers of trade.
    • Clearly demonstrate how the project will 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.
  4. Encourage private sector development patterns.
    • 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 and that avoid or mitigate negative equity impacts on neighborhoods and businesses, 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.

Grant Priorities

In addition to meeting the purposes of the TCSP as discussed above, grant applications are evaluated on the following factors:

  1. Demonstrated commitment of non-Federal resources.

    Although matching funds are not required, priority is given to projects that leverage non-Federal funds and take advantage of in-kind contributions, such as, maintenance agreements, land donations, and volunteer time. Local funds and resources contributed for a project demonstrates commitment to a project and indicates the likelihood that it will be fully implemented.

    Matching funds and resources should be directly related to the proposed project and its activities. The local match also should be available for use at the time the project activities occur.

    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 related programs sponsored by other Federal agencies and departments. A description of the President's Livability Initiative can be found on the White House web site: http://www.livablecommunities.gov/. (Note: This web site is no longer active. Links to Federal agencies and programs may be found at - http://www.firstgov.com/.)

  2. Project Evaluation Plan.

    The plan to evaluate the project's objectives and outcomes is a required, key element of the grant proposal. The evaluation plan should describe and evaluate goals, expected outcomes, measures, evaluation methodologies, major evaluation milestones and deliverables for the project. See the discussion on Evaluation below.

  3. Equitable distribution of grants to diverse 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.

  4. Demonstrated commitment to public and private involvement, including the participation of non-traditional partners in the project team.

    Project partners could 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 non-traditional partners should be active players on the project team who help develop the project's assumptions and scenarios. Applicants will describe the roles and commitments of all their partners in the application.

Applicant Category

The TCSP was intended to support localities that have already begun preservation practices and to encourage those areas just starting these practices. The legislation refers to the types of grants being requested as planning grants and implementation grants, as follows:

  1. Planning grants - test or implement new, innovative planning methods, programs and outreach strategies that facilitate the development and/or dissemination of information that meets the purposes of the TCSP.
  2. Implementation grants - will result in the rehabilitation and/or development of a transportation or transportation-related facility that meets the purposes of the TCSP program.
Eligible Activities

Projects 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 are also eligible for TCSP funding. 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.

The grant request may include funding for travel for one representative to attend two national workshops to present the project plans, status, and results.

Strategic Priorities

The TCSP's goal is to develop a broad range of strategies for urban, suburban, and rural communities that help promote livable communities through transportation investments and operations. The TCSP legislative language is general and provides States, MPOs, tribal governments, and local agencies the flexibility to create innovative approaches to address TCSP goals. Grants will be awarded for activities that meet the purposes of the program described above and are innovative and replicable.

The FHWA is using individual project evaluations conducted by grantees, the results of research, and overall program evaluation to determine the strategic priorities for the TCSP. Rather than setting specific strategic priorities, the FHWA is providing information about previously funded projects with suggestions to prospective applicants of the FHWA's interest areas. Applicants should:

  1. Highlight innovative and unique aspects of their proposals, and how the results of their proposal will further the purposes of the TCSP;
  2. Not duplicate previously funded activities (see TCSP Grant Awards for information about past grant recipients) unless there is a significant change in the scope, application, or results of the strategy;
  3. Highlight the results and broad impacts on communities of current preservation practices including urban growth boundaries, infill development, and land use changes. Identify how these were measured; and
  4. Consider projects that:
    • Integrate community health, safety and social equity goals with transportation to promote livable communities;
    • Plan or implement regional and local strategies to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions;
    • Use technology and communications that provide people and businesses with improved access to goods and services to promote livable communities; and
    • Enhance intermodal and freight access to promote economic growth and access to jobs in communities.

Projects should be ready to begin at the beginning of the Federal fiscal year for which funds are requested. Plans and documented results should be available to be shared with others at the completion of each phase of the project. Applications should identify when the project will be started and when results are expected.

Evaluation

Each application is required to have an evaluation plan that monitors, evaluates, and analyzes the project in three areas: process, product, and outcome. The project sponsor will provide the results of the analysis to the FHWA. This information is necessary to provide an opportunity for others to learn more about the practical implications of integrating land use, transportation, and environmental decisionmaking.

The project evaluation should be based on the project's goals and objectives. The project's current and future performance should be measured and evaluated through: (a) Quantitative assessments, such as the measurement of changes in traffic flow and mode choice (e.g., increased pedestrian and bicycle traffic), environmental impacts, and reduced number of trips; (b) analytic procedures which forecast the current and future impacts of projects, such as, travel demand, land development, or economic forecasting; and/or (c) qualitative assessments, such as, interviews, surveys, changes in local ordinances, or other anecdotal evidence.

Developing measures to determine the results of the projects is difficult and there is no general consensus on operative measures. A TCSP program evaluation resource guide, references, and case studies are available on line or from the FHWA Division in your State.

Relationship of the TCSP to the Transportation Planning Process

The TCSP intends to complement, strengthen, and enhance the Statewide and MPO planning process mandated 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).

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. Applicants:

  • Must clearly demonstrate their coordination with State and local planning agencies and the project's consistency with appropriate statewide and metropolitan transportation planning processes.
  • May test or implement new, innovative planning methods and programs that significantly enhance the existing statewide and MPO transportation planning processes.
  • Must coordinate with the appropriate State DOT or MPO to ensure the project is consistent with and doesn't circumvent the planning processes.
  • Should encourage and improve public involvement in the overall planning process, as well as for the individual project.
  • May not request funds for projects that have already been scheduled for funding and are in the current State or MPO TIP.

Construction projects funded by the TCSP will ultimately be included in an approved State or MPO Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). If proposed highway and transit projects using Federal funds or requiring Federal approvals are in air quality non-attainment or maintenance areas, they should be included in any 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, it is important to document a project's beneficial air quality impacts.

Non-construction activities, such as, regional plan and policy developments, 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 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, should be coordinated with other jurisdictions within a metropolitan region or State.

FHWA Division Role

The FHWA Division Office is the first line of contact for the TCSP program. The staff person assigned responsibility for the TCSP will work with applicants and successful grant recipients to ensure that all Federal requirements above those of the TCSP have been met. This person can also help develop project agreements, obtain reimbursements, and can assist in preparing environmental and other paperwork clearances.

Questions about the grant program should be directed to the FHWA's Division Office in the State in which the project is located (Attachment III).

Schedule and Administrative Processes

The FHWA has an established financial management process with the State Departments of Transportation to administer Federal-aid projects. However, if a grant recipient prefers another process, i.e., a cooperative agreement or grant through another eligible agency (e.g., a public transit agency) the FHWA Division will work with the grantee to develop a different funding mechanism.

By close of business Wednesday, January 31, 2001, applicants must submit four (4) printed and stapled copies of the application and a 3.5-inch disk with the application file to the appropriate FHWA Division office. The announcement of FY 2002 grant recipients will not be made until after the beginning of the FY 2002 fiscal year (October 1, 2001).

TCSP FY 2002 Time Line

TCSP Milestones

FY 2002

Grant applications due to the FHWA Division Offices

January 31, 2001

Research project recommendations due to the FHWA

January 31, 2001

Grant projects awarded

After October 1, 2001

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