Skip to content
Office of Innovative Program Delivery

SEP-16 /

Frequently Asked Questions

Display All

What is SEP-16?

Special Experimental Project Number 16 (SEP-16) has been established to test and evaluate the delegation of program and project level responsibilities of the Federal-aid highway program (FAHP) to States. SEP-16 is intended to allow States to propose the assumption of Title 23 program and project level responsibilities.

What is the goal of SEP-16?

SEP-16 is designed to provide FHWA with a better understanding of the implications of allowing States to assume program and project level authorities.

When was the Federal Register Notice published?

SEP-16 was originally established to allow only program-level submissions under the Federal Register Notice was published September 20, 2018 (83 FR 47674). SEP-16 was subsequently expanded to allow project-level submissions under the Federal Register Notice published June 24, 2020 (85 FR 38011).

Is there a deadline for SEP-16 applications?

No, FHWA is considering applications as they are received.

If the State has questions regarding SEP-16, who should they reach out to?
What is FHWA's authority to implement SEP-16?

The Secretary has authority under 23 U.S.C. 502(b)(2) to test, develop, or assist in testing and developing any material, invention, patented article or process.

Are any program or project level authorities excluded from being delegated under SEP-16?

Yes, there will be program areas that FHWA decides not to delegate under SEP-16. The FHWA will evaluate each SEP-16 proposal to determine whether the proposed delegation would be an appropriate use of the experimental authority. As described in the SEP-16 Federal Register notice, SEP-16 excludes decisions relating to eligibility, obligation, reimbursement, authorization, and compliance.

What are the procedural requirements under SEP-16?
  • Step 1: Letter of Interest (LOI)
    • LOI submitted by the State DOT to its respective FHWA Division Office.
    • Division Office sends formal acknowledgment receipt letter including an anticipated timeframe for the decision letter.
    • FHWA will provide a formal response to either proceed to the Concept Paper or an explanation for not advancing the proposal outlined in the LOI.
  • Step 2: Concept Paper
    • Concept Paper submitted by the State to its respective FHWA Division Office.
    • FHWA will provide a formal response to either proceed to the Detailed Proposal or an explanation for not advancing the proposal outlined in the Concept Paper.
  • Step 3: Detailed Proposal
    • The FHWA Division Office will coordinate with the State in preparing the Detailed Proposal.
    • The FHWA will provide a formal response to either proceed to the MOU or an explanation for not advancing the proposal outlined in the Detailed Proposal.
  • Final Step: Executed Memorandum of Understanding
    • Should FHWA decide to proceed with the experiment, FHWA and the State will enter into a memorandum of understanding and develop a workplan to carry out the experiment.
If my State is submitting more than one application can we submit one LOI for all activities.

No, please submit a separate LOI for each SEP-16 application.

What should be included in a Letter of Interest?
  • High-level description of the State's proposal.
  • Reasons for wanting to assume the program or project level authority, including the anticipated resulting improvements to program delivery, in terms of program administration, project time, and/or cost savings.
  • Reference the applicable Title 23 program and the specific legal authority(ies) relating to the action being requested for experimental delegation, and identify FHWA policy or guidance the State DOT believes to be applicable to the action.
  • Examples demonstrating experience with program or project level delegation in the affected program area(s).
  • Level of collaboration that has occurred already with FHWA Division or Program Offices.
What should be included in the Concept Paper?
  • Demonstrate that the State has the necessary laws, regulations, controls, and resources in place to assume the Federal role.
  • If any of the above items are missing, the State should outline a plan and timeline anticipated to put those pieces in place.
  • A detailed supporting analysis for the anticipated program or project delivery improvements, a risk assessment of the expected impact on the State's program (including impacts on resources, processes, stakeholders), and proposed measures to ensure the responsibilities are carried out in accordance with Federal requirements.
  • Summarize any preparation the State may need to make if the experiment is approved and the time necessary for that preparation.
Does the Concept Paper have formatting requirements?

Yes, the Concept Paper should not exceed five pages, single-spaced, standard 12-point font with 1-inch margins. Charts, tables, and other items submitted as attachments do not count toward the five-page limit.

What should be included in the Detailed Proposal?
  • Overall content will vary, depending on the proposal. Minimum content should include:
    • Proposed duration for conducting the experiment, including a timeline for any transition activities;
    • Identification of key personnel and contacts with proposed roles and responsibilities; and
    • Recommended Evaluation Plan with reporting mechanisms including: performance measures, goals, frequency of reviews, and other evaluation criteria.
Back to top of page