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Frequently Asked Questions about the Joint NOFA on DOT's TIGER II Planning Grants and HUD's Community Challenge Planning Grants

Updated August 6, 2010

1. What activities are ineligible for funding?

Activities not eligible for assistance include those under OMB Circular A-102, A-110, A-87, and A-122. These grants cannot be used to substitute funding already pledged to support land use, community development, housing, transportation planning, and other planning activities. Detailed engineering or architectural specification drawings for specific housing, capital facilities and transportation projects are eligible for funding.

2. Can pre-existing planning funds be counted towards leveraged match?

Yes, as long as the funds are used to directly leverage and in coordination with for the purpose of the Community Challenge planning grant program. For those seeking HUD Community Challenge Planning Grants, applicants must provide 20 percent of the requested funding amount in leveraged resources in the form of cash and/or verified in-kind contributions or a combination of those sources, including governmental entities, public and private entities, and the community. The applicant must provide evidence of a firm commitment for each source of the leveraged resources. The leveraged resources committed to the program will need to be spent for the purpose of the program and during the period of performance stated in the grant agreement.

In-kind contributions can include physical items such as office supplies, computer equipment and supplies, materials for projects, and flyers and other marketing materials. They can also be in the form of office and meeting space, including allowed use of computers, phones, fax and copy machine, or the use of a vehicle, construction equipment and other project related items. In-kind contributions can also be contributions of professional time. When an individual donates his/her time in a professional capacity to supervise members, train or engage in member development, provide technical assistance on a project, evaluate a project, oversee project quality, or provide pro bono work as a member of the non-profit organization on a permanent or temporary basis, the time involved is an in-kind contribution. The dollar equivalent of all assistance provided to meet this requirement must be based upon accepted salary or regional dollar values.

For those seeking TIGER II planning grants, applicants must provide 20 percent of the requested funding amount in non-Federal cash resources. DOT will not consider funds already expended as local match. Applicants will receive credit for leveraging or matching resources greater than 20 percent of the requested amount as described in Rating Factor 4.

3. Why are HUD and DOT combining the two planning grant programs?

DOT and HUD issued a joint Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for two new discretionary grant programs included in the FY10 Consolidated Appropriations Act which are DOT's TIGER II Planning Grant and HUD's

Community Challenge Planning Grant (CCPG) Programs to better align transportation, housing, economic development, and land use planning. The TIGER II Planning Grant Program will fund the planning, preparation or design of surface transportation projects that would be eligible for funding under the TIGER II Discretionary Grant program. HUD's funding is designed to target housing, economic development, and land use planning strategies that will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of a related transportation project being planned. Accordingly, this joint effort has the potential to encourage and reward more holistic planning efforts that result in better projects being built with Federal dollars. The effort is also consistent with the Obama Administration's priority on removing artificial barriers between Federal programs and barriers to State and local innovation.

4. Who exactly is eligible for the Community Challenge Planning Grants, and are they also eligible for the TIGER II Planning Grants?

Under both the TIGER II Planning Grants and the Community Challenge Planning Grants NOFA, State and local governments, transit agencies, port authorities, MPOs, other political subdivisions of State or local governments, and multi-State or multijurisdictional groupings are all eligible applicants. HUD anticipates that Community Challenge Planning Grants will be awarded primarily, but not exclusively, to units of general local government who responsibility over zoning and building codes.

5. Does an applicant need to state in its application whether it is applying for funding under DOT's TIGER II Planning Grant Program or HUD's Community Challenge Planning Grant Program?

No. However, the applicant should discuss the types of activities for which funding is sought. HUD and DOT will determine which funding source is most appropriate for each activity. The project will be subject to the rules of whichever agency provides dollars to fund the activity. These rules and requirements are listed in the NOFA and should be referred to in developing pre-application and application materials. HUD and DOT anticipate that a variety of projects may include eligible activities for both grant programs. The joint NOFA serves as a single point of entry to Federal resources to support related components of a single project, and joint grants may be awarded where appropriate.

6. How does HUD's Sustainable Community Planning Grants NOFA relate to the HUD's Challenge Grant Program?

The 40 million dollar Community Challenge Planning Grant Program differs from HUD's Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program, a 100 million dollar program also created in the FY2010 Appropriations Act.

While the latter program is designed to support regional planning efforts that integrate housing, land use, economic and workforce development, transportation and infrastructure investments, the Community Challenge Planning Grant Program focuses on individual jurisdictions and more localized planning efforts. HUD's Community Challenge Planning Grant Program is aimed at fostering reform and reducing barriers to achieve affordable, economically vital, and sustainable communities.

7. Will there be a minimum or maximum grant amount?

The maximum grant amount per project is 3 million dollars, whether receiving a grant from one agency or jointly.

There is no minimum grant amount. All awards will be made in the form of Cooperative Agreements.

8. What are the principle outcomes DOT and HUD are looking for from successful applications?

The joint NOFA builds on the work of the Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities in DOT, EPA, and HUD participate. The Partnership has established a set of six Livability Principles to govern its work and incorporate into the policies and funding programs of each agency where possible. Applicants should review the program goals and the four rating factors listed in the NOFA for guidance, which includes the list of Livability Principles and factors to determine whether the planned project is likely to be implemented.

9. What is the HUD General Section and how does it apply to this grant program?

The General Section is the guiding document that sets the rules of compliance for all funding programs managed by HUD. Individual program NOFAs detail additional requirements of applicants to request money for specific activities and includes helpful instructions that can make the application process more streamlined. In the case of this joint

NOFA, applicants should thoroughly review the elements of the General Section that are referenced in the notice in case their project is determined to be eligible for HUD resources. That includes subjects such as meeting the standards required by the Fair Housing Act and HUD's commitment to affirmatively furthering fair housing. The FY10 HUD General Section can be viewed at

10. What accommodations are being made for rural communities?

The 20 percent matching requirement for TIGER II Planning Grants is not necessary but still encouraged for projects in rural areas. Further, DOT is required to reserve a little over 20 percent of the overall TIGER II grants, which include TIGER II Planning Grants, for rural areas.

11. What constitutes establishing and maintaining acquisition funds and/or land banks for development, redevelopment, and revitalization that reserve property for the development of affordable housing within the context of sustainable development?

For the purposes of this NOFA:

A "land bank is a governmental or nongovernmental nonprofit entity established, at least in part, to acquire, assemble, or temporarily manage land for the purpose of developing affordable housing. A land bank will operate in a specific, defined geographic area. It will purchase properties for the purpose of developing affordable housing. Funds may also be used to maintain such property until affordable housing is developed.

Acquisition funds" means funds used by the recipient under this program to acquire property, either directly or through a nongovernmental nonprofit entity or land bank, by purchase, long-term lease, donation, or otherwise, of real property (including air rights, water rights, rights-of-way, easements, and other interests therein) for the purpose of developing affordable housing.

"Maintaining acquisition funds" means holding funds for the purpose of acquiring land to develop affordable housing for a period no longer than the three year grant period.

12. What is included in the 15 page limit for the application? Do you allow an appendix or optional attachments?

The 15 page limit includes the narrative portion and geospatial data. No appendix is allowed, however optional attachments may be added to the application. Applicants may include up to 10 additional pages of supporting materials; such as proof of partnerships, commitment letters, match and leveraged resources support documentation, etc.

13. How should we mention our partnerships in our application? Do we need a formal letter or can it be mentioned in the application?

There is not a single way to mention partnerships. However, we have given applicants the opportunity to include up to 10 additional pages of supporting materials; such as proof of partnerships, commitment letters, match and leveraged resources support documentation, etc.

14. What are the required forms we must complete? Do we need to fill out the Factor 2 Form?

The only required form is the SF-424. Factor 2 Forms are for the Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant.

15. Are there instructions on how to fill out the SF-424 form?

Yes, DOT has posted a link that gives you instructions on how to fill out the SF-424 form.

16. Specifically, I am having trouble with answering questions 4, 5a, 5b. What does each mean?

Question 4, the applicant identifier, and 5a, the Federal Entity Identifier, only apply to those who have previously submitted federal grants. 5b is the application ID that you received after you completed the pre-application.

For information on how to apply, please review the notice of funding availability (NOFA) on HUD's website or on DOT's website

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