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Legislation, Regulations, & Guidance

Eligibility of 'Other Mode' Planning for FHWA Planning and Research Funds

From: Shepherd, Gloria
Sent: Tuesday, January 18, 2005 2:06 PM
Cc: ##ALLDFS; ##ALLFLH; Burbank, Cindy; Paniati, Jeff; Furst, Tony; HEPODs; HEPP; HEPRCTeams; Solury, Tony; Goodman, Charles <FTA>
Subject: INFORMATION/GUIDANCE: Eligibility of "Other Mode" Planning for FHWA Planning and Research Funds
TO THE ATTENTION OF: Division Office Planning Staffs

The purpose of this message is to provide updated clarification on the use of FHWA planning and research funds, as defined under 23 CFR Part 420 (e.g., Metropolitan Planning (PL), Statewide Planning and Research (SPR), National Highway System, Surface Transportation Program, and Minimum Guarantee) for "other mode" planning studies and associated activities. This message was developed in coordination with the Office of Freight Management and Operations.

Dating back to the enactment of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, questions have been raised about whether planning studies involving other modes of transportation are eligible for FHWA planning and research funds. For example, a May 14, 1993 memorandum from the then-Metropolitan Planning Division to the former Region 10 Office addressed the proposed use of SPR funds in Oregon for an independent study of air service needs. This message supercedes the 1993 memorandum and other prior guidance on use of PL and SPR funds for "other mode" planning.

First and foremost, there is a key distinction between the eligibility of "other modes" for FHWA planning funds and FHWA program funds for specific project implementation stages. As stated in the previous guidance, transportation planning studies for modes other than highway or transit generally are eligible for FHWA planning and research funds, as long as these studies are performed in conjunction with the development of statewide or metropolitan transportation plans. For example, 23 CFR 450.206(a)(4) states that one of the general process requirements includes the "development of a statewide transportation plan that considers a range of transportation options designed to meet the transportation needs (both passenger and freight) of the state including all modes and their connections." Among the types of multimodal studies often conducted in the Statewide and metropolitan transportation planning processes are:

In general, if a specific study (at the corridor or systems levels) evaluates the highway system in context with other modal options (e.g., system-wide benefits to higher users through improved safety, reduced highway congestion, reduced wear-and-tear on highway infrastructure, and improved intermodal connections) and is conducted within the context of the statewide or MPO planning process, such a study could be eligible for FHWA planning and research funding. Nevertheless, the specific circumstances for each proposed use of FHWA planning and research funds should be considered on a case-by-case basis. Also included for your information, reference, and use is an illustrative listing of recent/ongoing multimodal planning studies, which provides an appreciation of the types of "other mode" planning activities that would (and would not) be directly associated with statewide or metropolitan transportation planning processes (see Attachment A).

For additional information on the connection between "other mode" planning studies and the statewide and metropolitan transportation planning processes, please contact Bob Gorman (HEPP-10) at (202) 366-5001. For general information related to FHWA planning and research funds, please contact Lorrie Lau (HEPP-10) at (415) 744-2628 or Tony Solury (HEP-2) at (202) 366-5003.

Updated: 12/3/2012
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