FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION FIELD REORGANIZATION
MISSION AND ROLE OF THE RESOURCE CENTERS
September 30, 1998
As a result of the restructuring of the Federal Highway Administration's field reorganization, Resource Centers (RCs) have been established in Baltimore, MD; Atlanta, GA; Olympia Fields; IL (Chicago area); and San Francisco, CA. Each of the four RCs serve a core constituency of State-level Federal-aid and motor carrier division offices and Agency partners and customers in designated States. The term "core constituency" means that for the purpose of administrative supervision of the division offices, the RCs are assigned a designated group of States in their respective geographical areas; however, depending on the specific technical disciplines involved, each RC may serve partners and customers in a varying number of States within and outside the designated boundaries. The RCs will not exercise any program control over division offices. Communication from Headquarters will go directly to division offices.
The fundamental purpose of the RCs is to serve in a support and advisory capacity to the division offices in their primary role of program delivery to State departments of transportation, metropolitan planning organizations, and other partners and customers responsible for providing highway transportation and safety services. The RCs will serve as central locations for technical and program specialists who are to be available to assist the division offices and other customers and partners as needed. In addition to technical, process, and program assistance, the specialists will develop and present training, support technology transfer activities, and assist with intermodal and interagency coordination. The individual functions are explained below. An important distinction from the regional office concept is that the RCs will have no program authority. In fact, most of the program authorities formerly retained in the regional offices have already been delegated to the division offices.
Leadership Of The Field Organization
In exercising leadership of the field organization within the core group of division offices that are served by an RC, the RC Leadership Team, comprised of the RC Director and Operations Manager, will facilitate interaction with and among the division offices and the RC as they develop the initiatives and activities intended to achieve the Annual Performance Plan targets as well as make progress toward achieving the goals of the National Strategic Plan. Achievement of annual and multi-year Corporate Management initiatives will be a significant part of this effort. The initiatives and activities will reflect collective views of the RC Leadership Team and the Division Administrators/State Motor Carrier Directors (DAs/SDs) indicating that the combined efforts of the offices are needed to meet the Annual Performance Plan targets and make progress on achieving the Strategic Plan goals.
The supervision of DAs/SDs by the Leadership Team will include the usual formal performance evaluation responsibility, but it also will include informal supervision that should occur through coaching and mentoring. These interactions will provide the opportunity for the DAs/SDs to demonstrate their achievement of program objectives and their effective management of financial and human resources. It is worth repeating that the type of leadership and supervision described above does not include decisionmaking on program matters, which is delegated to the division offices.
Individual office leadership will also be charged with the management of its financial resources following allocation by Headquarters. Individual operating budget proposals for the division offices and the RCs will be submitted to Headquarters and allocation of general operating expense and training funds will be transmitted directly to the Divisions and the RCs.
The RCs will provide assistance on technical and program issues and in areas where these issues overlap. The specialists will provide assistance on complex technical and/or legislative and regulatory matters and support toward meeting strategic initiatives and advancing the FHWA Quality Journey. The assistance is based on mastery of technical concepts, principles, and practices in specialty areas and/or extensive knowledge of and experience in legislative and regulatory matters as well as national policy. Assistance will be provided in diverse subject areas ranging from strictly technical matters such as geotechnical engineering and hazardous materials issues to predominantly regulatory areas such as air quality and federal motor carrier safety regulations. Assistance will also include overlapping areas involving both technical and regulatory issues such as environmental documentation, planning matters, and State motor carrier planning.
The RCs will be staffed with highly skilled personnel experienced and knowledgeable in technical and program issues and capable of developing and presenting training. The RCs will have a significant role in training offered by FHWA. In many cases, RC Staff will serve as instructors for training courses including courses developed and presented by the National Highway Institute (NHI) and Office of Motor Carriers' (OMC's) National Training Center (NTC). The RC staff will be an excellent resource for the development of training and will participate with NHI, NTC and other FHWA organizations involved in training development.
The role of the RCs in technology transfer is to identify, evaluate, and promote the deployment of the latest advancements in all aspects of highway transportation. Within this broad scope, the RCs will provide the technical assistance that their customers need in order to accomplish strategic objectives. The RCs will identify proven processes, methods, equipment, devices andfeatures that have the potential to advance the state-of-the-art in the highway community. They will help lead the transition from research to state-of-the-practice to common practice.
Intermodal And Interagency Coordination
While the division offices will have responsibility for intermodal and interagency coordination on project specific matters within their States, the RCs will have intermodal and interagency coordination responsibility for broad program matters. Also, in keeping with the "One DOT" concept and to create opportunities to further FHWA vision and goals, the RCs will provide FHWA field coordination with the other Department of Transportation (DOT) modal administrations in the implementation of the DOT and FHWA Strategic Plans.
Legal Counsel will provide advice and service to DAs/ SDs, and RC officials on a variety of legal issues that arise from both internal and external sources. They will also function as primary litigation counsel in lawsuits brought against the Secretary and Administrator. The Counsel will be collocated in the RCs; however, they will report to the Office of Chief Counsel.
OMC Enforcement Program (see note)
The OMC enforcement program is a function unique to OMC operations. The OMC enforcement personnel will be collocated with the RCs. Under the FHWA field restructuring, program authority has been redelegated to the SDs. This includes full program authority to determine whether domiciled motor carriers, shippers/offerors of hazardous materials, and manufacturers of cargo tanks are in compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and the Hazardous Materials Regulations, including the issuance of administrative subpoenas for motor carrier records and initiation of enforcement action by issuing a Notice of Claim to the carrier. At this point the enforcement personnel at the RC assume responsibility to process the action and conduct necessary negotiations with the motor carrier to resolve the case. This responsibility does not constitute exercise of program authority as the Divisions' responsibilities (compliance) and the responsibilities of the staff at the RC (enforcement) are two distinct processes. Due to fairness considerations this is necessary to assure that the persons responsible for resolving the enforcement action are separate from the persons responsible for initiating it. The Division will receive program guidance on carrier selection and compliance review methodology from Headquarters. The RC will provide expert assistance related to compliance efforts when requested by the Divisions.
Civil rights staff at the RC will have responsibility for program/technical assistance, training, external complaint investigations, and intra-Departmental coordination and external liaison.
Note: All motor carrier operations and functions previously performed within the FHWA
are now the responsibility of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
which was established on
This page last modified on December 26, 2000.