FHWA issued a Final Rule on closing out inactive projects. The main point of the Final Rule is below the Links: Please close out all inactive RTP projects [and TE projects, and any other inactive Federal-aid projects].
From: Solury, Tony
Sent: Tuesday, January 31, 2006 7:13 AM
Subject: Final Rule on Inactive Projects
Below are links to this final rule which is in today's Federal Register. It is effective on March 2. Here is the summary:
SUMMARY: The FHWA is revising its regulations relating to project authorization and agreements and the effect on obligations of Federal-aid highway funds under these requirements. The changes in this rulemaking will assist the States and the FHWA in monitoring Federal-aid highway projects and provide greater assurance that the Federal funds obligated reflect the current estimated cost of the project. In the event that Federal funds are de-obligated as a result of these changes, those funds may then be obligated for new or other active projects needing additional funding to the extent permitted by law.
Please note that the requirements apply to any project for which a Federal-aid project is needed; in essence, that would be all projects for which funds are obligated in FMIS. Here is a comment and response from the preamble that addresses this:
There were some questions about the application of these new requirements, i.e., would the requirements apply to all projects, and how are projects defined? For example, the Arizona DOT recommended that congressionally mandated projects be exempt from the proposed changes, and the South Carolina DOT recommended that a State be allowed to choose whether to define a project as the entire project or as a phase of the project. The Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, California, recommended that projects for statewide planning and environmental studies be excluded from the proposed requirements.
The requirements established in the final rule apply to any project for which the State and the FHWA enter into a project agreement under Title 23 CFR 630, subpart A, which generally includes congressionally mandated projects and planning projects. There is no basis to exempt any project from the requirement to maintain a valid obligation. The scope of the project is defined in the project agreement that is initiated by the State and may include only a single phase of work, such as design or construction, or may include multiple phases under a single agreement.
Engineering and traffic operations: Preconstruction procedures; project authorizations and agreements, 4992-4996 [06-863]
MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE TEXT:
Sec. 630.106 Authorization to proceed and Project Monitoring.
(a) * * *
(3) The State's request that Federal funds be obligated shall be supported by a documented cost estimate that is based on the State's best estimate of costs.
(4) The State shall maintain a process to adjust project cost estimates. For example, the process would require a review of the project cost estimate when the bid is approved, a project phase is completed, a design change is approved, etc. Specifically, the State shall revise the Federal funds obligated within 90 days after it has determined that the estimated Federal share of project costs has decreased by $250,000 or more.
(5) The State shall review, on a quarterly basis, inactive projects (for the purposes of this subpart an "inactive project" means a project for which no expenditures have been charged against Federal funds for the past 12 months) with unexpended Federal obligations and shall revise the Federal funds obligated for a project within 90 days to reflect the current cost estimate, based on the following criteria:
(i) Projects inactive for the past 12 months with unexpended balances more than $500,000,
(ii) Projects inactive for the past 24 months with unexpended balances of $50,000 to $500,000, and
(iii) Projects inactive for the past 36 months with unexpended balances less than $50,000.
(6) If the State fails to comply with the requirements of paragraphs (a)(3), (4), or (5) of this section, then the FHWA shall revise the obligations or take such other action as authorized by 23 CFR 1.36. The FHWA shall advise the State of its proposed actions and provide the State with the opportunity to respond before actions are taken. The FHWA shall not adjust obligations without a State's consent during the August redistribution process, August 1 to September 30.
Draft Guidance on RTP Federal Share CORRECTION
We received some questions about the Federal share for the Recreational Trails Program under SAFETEA-LU. Several FHWA Divisions and States are still unaware of the new flexibilities allowed in SAFETEA-LU. We posted Draft RTP guidance on the Federal share at www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/recreational_trails/guidance/matchingfunds.cfm.
On January 6, I stated the following incorrect information:
Since posting it, I see we also need to state that:
Below is the CORRECTION, based on further discussion with the Office of Chief Counsel. Because SAFETEA-LU amended the Federal share in codified law, it applies to any obligations after the date of enactment, regardless of the year the funds were apportioned. This correction will be inserted at the top of the draft guidance on our webpage:
The Federal/Matching share provisions below apply to RTP apportioned funds obligated after August 10, 2005, including funds apportioned prior to FY 2005. The provisions below do not apply to projects obligated prior to August 10, 2005: projects obligated prior to August 10, 2005, must follow the statutory Federal share in effect at that time. A State cannot deobligate and reobligate projects to change the Federal share. The provisions below also do not apply to funds allocated in FY 1993, 1996, or 1997. [There also will be a footnote at the bottom.]
FHWA Memorandum on Public Rights-of-Way
FHWA issued a Public Rights-of-Way Access Advisory on January 23, 2006, to announce that the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) published revised draft accessibility guidelines (the Draft Guidelines) for public rights-of-way in the Federal Register on November 23, 2005. The Draft Guidelines are available at http://www.access-board.gov/prowac/index.htm. They cover pedestrian access to sidewalks and streets, including crosswalks, curb ramps, street furnishings, pedestrian signals, parking, and other components of public rights-of-way.
National Trails Surface Study--National Center on Accessibility
From: NCA Trail Research [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2006 3:25 PM
Subject: National Trails Surface Study
Please visit http://ncaonline.org/trails/research/cover_letter.html if you are interested in participating in the National Trails Surface Study implemented by the National Center on Accessibility (part of Indiana University, Bloomington IN). Please direct trail related inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Center for Bicycling and Walking Centerlines
The National Center for Bicycling and Walking has a very informative biweekly newsletter called CenterLines at http://www.bikewalk.org/centerlines/. It has a lot of pedestrian and bicyclist information and news. Among items from the January 13th version: PRO WALK/PRO BIKE 2006 PRESENTATION SUBMISSIONS FORM.
According to Gary MacFadden, director of operations for the National Center for Bicycling & Walking, the online form for submitting presentation proposals for Pro Walk/Pro Bike 2006 (Sept. 5-8 in Madison WI) is now available. The instructions for completing the form are at http://www.bikewalk.org/PWPB2006/proposal.html and the form itself is linked from that page. The theme for Pro Walk/Pro Bike 2006 is "Making Connections."
CenterLines is also available as a podcast. Go to: http://www.bikewalk.net/podcasts.
Nevada needs some serious help with GIS data collection, data storage, and data sharing standards. I just returned from a meeting with the State Directors office staff and they are hoping to find funding for a Statewide GIS coordinator position, that would bring the agencies together. This would include Emergency Management, Conservation, Housing, Transportation etc.... I'm sure that there must be a Federal program out there to address these concerns. This position would also be responsible for acquiring and disseminating grant funding. Just a query...has anybody used federal dollars to fund such a statewide GIS position? Reply to email@example.com.
Cheryl Surface, Recreational Trails Program Manager
Nevada State Parks
901 S Stewart St Suite 5005
Carson City NV 89701
775-684-2788; 775-684-2777 Fax
National Trail-Related Conferences
See more National Trails Conferences at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/recreational_trails/events/rtevents.cfm and lots of national and local conferences and training at http://www.americantrails.org/Calendar.html
Trailbuilders, Reno NV. Feb 14-16 (associated activities Feb 12-17)
National Bike Summit, Washington DC. March 1-3.
National OHV Meeting and Conference. Birmingham AL. March 22-25, 2006.
Detailed agenda and registration information is available at www.nohvcc.org. Please register by February 10, 2006. If you have questions or need more information, contact NOHVCC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 22 Meetings of 1) National Association of OHV Program Managers; 2) NOHVCC Board of Directors; 3) Tread Lightly! Tread Trainer Course & More
March 23 National OHV Program Managers Conference (everyone welcome)
March 24 National OHV Conference: Program managers, NOHVCC members, OHV industry, OHV recreationists
March 25 NOHVCC Conference (everyone welcome)
March 26 NOHVCC Board of Directors Meeting (primarily for Board members)
If you have suggestions for the NAOPM managers meeting on March 22, please contact Bob Walker (Montana) at email@example.com or call 406-444-4585.
The 2006 Partnership for the National Trails System Historic Trails Workshop
WHAT: The 2006 Partnership for the National Trails System Historic Trails Workshop
WHEN: Friday, May 5 to Sunday, May 7, 2006
WHO: You, Other Leaders & Staff of Your Organization, Federal Trail Staff
WHERE: Kansas City MO, Quarterage Hotel of Westport
ProWalk/ProBike, Sept 5-8, Madison WI. See #4 above.
National Trails Symposim / FY 2006 State Trail Administrators Meeting
Each year the National Trust celebrates the best of preservation by presenting National Preservation Awards to individuals and organizations whose contributions demonstrate excellence in historic preservation.
We invite you to nominate a deserving individual, organization, agency, or project for a National Preservation Award. The deadline for the Trustees, ACHP and HUD Awards is March 1, 2006, while the deadline for the National Preservation Honor Awards is May 1, 2006. Those nominations not selected to receive a Trustees, ACHP or HUD Award are automatically considered for an Honor Award. Download the nomination form from the National Trust's website at www.nationaltrust.org/preservation_awards/.
If you have questions or need additional information about the awards or the nomination process, please feel free to contact Sarah Hopson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.588.6236.
Job Opening with Scenic America
Draft Guidance on RTP Federal Share
We received some questions about the Federal share for the Recreational Trails Program under SAFETEA-LU. Several FHWA Divisions and States are still unaware of the new flexibilities allowed in SAFETEA-LU. We posted Draft RTP guidance on the Federal share at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/recreational_trails/guidance/matchingfunds.cfm.
Correction (January 26):
The Federal / Matching share provisions below apply to RTP apportioned funds obligated after August 10, 2005, including funds apportioned prior to FY 2005. The provisions below do not apply to projects obligated prior to August 10, 2005: projects obligated prior to August 10, 2005, must follow the statutory Federal share in effect at that time. A State cannot deobligate and reobligate projects to change the Federal share. The provisions below also do not apply to funds allocated in FY 1993, 1996, or 1997. [See footnote.]
National Trails Training Partnership (NTTP)
I received a copy of correspondence between Florida and Delaware thanking each other for an opportunity for cooperative training. A Delaware trail crew contributed toward a project on the Cross Florida Greenway mountain bike trails in December 2005, and the Delaware Trail Crew gained trail building knowledge, experience, and team work. Furthermore, David Bartoo of Delaware State Parks will be a lead presenter at a training session on Designing Naturalistic Accessible Trails at the Trailbuilders Conference in Reno NV on February 17, 2006. See www.trailbuilders.org/conference/2006/accessible_trails06.html. If you can go, go!
I heard some northeastern States may cooperate on Universal Trail Assessment Process training. See http://www.americantrails.org/nttp/UTAPnttp.html for UTAP info.
This is the kind of cooperation we envision under the National Trails Training Partnership (NTTP). We encourage States to link to the National Trails Training Partnership at www.NTTP.net to enable your staff and volunteers to access resources and training opportunities nationwide. NTTP is a partnership of all Federal land management agencies and national trails organizations, coordinated by American Trails. The online clearinghouse includes thousands of articles, studies, and links as well as an online calendar of trail-related courses and conferences.
NTTP would like to list your State Trails Program as a NTTP partner on the appropriate State training resources page; see the State index at: http://www.americantrails.org/nttp/states/index.html.
Please keep NTTP posted on any training opportunities. NTTP can publicize and post on its national online calendar. NTTP is also always looking for resources, articles, or studies to share with the nationwide trails community. NTTP's goal is to promote the good work being done by organizations and communities for trails and greenways throughout America.
For more information, contact Stuart Macdonald, program manager, National Trails Training Partnership www.NTTP.net, www.AmericanTrails.org, 801-712-3407, email@example.com. Stuart may be in contact with many of you in the near future.
National OHV Meeting and Conference: March 22-25, 2006, Birmingham AL
Also see the schedule change below.
From: Ann Vance [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, January 03, 2006 4:28 PM
Subject: The National OHV Program Managers & The NOHVCC Conference
Hello to all. It is time for the National OHV Program Managers and the NOHVCC Conference to be held in Birmingham, AL.
Attached (to the original email) is the Conference Registration and Agenda Packet (Please contact Jonathan LeClere for a copy). You may register on-line at: https://conference.nohvcc.org/?EVENT&EVENTCODE=010193-5&PASSWORD=Ni9IgcLhI4&TEMPLATE=ag. Please do not hesitate to call or email Russ or myself if you have questions.
On behalf of the NOHVCC Board of Directors and Staff we look forward to seeing you in Birmingham.
We have a change to the agenda for the NOHVCC Conference and wanted to make you aware of it. The Friday Evening Tour of Minooka Park will not be offered. There will be a Minooka Park presentation at 4:00 Friday afternoon at the Radisson Hotel by Jon Strickland, Recreation Programs Manager Alabama Dept. of Economic & Community Affairs. After his presentation there will be a short hors d'oeuvre reception and time for you to visit with Jon on any questions you may have concerning the Minooka Park. After the reception, dinner will be on your own. We look forward to seeing you in Birmingham.
National Trails Day Registration Now Open
National Trails Day is Saturday, June 3, 2006. National Trails Day Registration is now open. Register your trail at www.nationaltrailsday.org.
National Trails Symposim / FY 2006 State Trail Administrators Meeting