[Federal Register Volume 64, Number 79 (Monday, April 26, 1999)]
[Pages 20350-20353]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 99-10379]



Federal Highway Administration
[FHWA Docket No. FHWA-1999-5381]

Fiscal Year (FY) 2000 Implementation Guidance for Ferry Boat 
Discretionary Program Funds

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice; FHWA solicitation memorandum for FY 2000 funds; request 
for comments on selection criteria for FY 2001 and beyond.


SUMMARY: This document provides implementation guidance on the Ferry 
Boat Discretionary (FBD) program for FY 2000 and beyond. A memorandum 
on this topic was issued to division offices soliciting candidate 
projects from State transportation agencies for FY 2000 Ferry Boat 
Discretionary (FBD) funding. The memorandum also contains information 
on the selection criteria used by the FHWA in evaluating candidate 
projects. This document seeks comments from all interested parties on 
the selection criteria and their continued use by the FHWA for FY 2001 
and beyond.

DATES: Comments on the selection criteria for FBD funding for FY 2001 
and beyond must be received on or before June 25, 1999.

ADDRESSES: Your signed, written comments on project selection criteria 
for FBD funding for FY 2001 and beyond must refer to the docket number 
appearing at the top of this document and you must submit the comments 
to the Docket Clerk, U.S. DOT Dockets, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh Street, 
SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001. All comments received will be available 
for examination at the above address between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., e.t., 
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Those desiring 
notification of receipt of comments should include a self-addressed, 
stamped envelope or postcard.
    Applications for candidate projects for FY 2000 funding should be 
submitted to the FHWA Division Office in the State of the applicant in 
accordance with the guidance provided in the solicitation memorandum.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jack Wasley, Office of Program 
Administration, (202) 366-4658; or Wilbert Baccus, Office of the Chief 
Counsel, (202) 366-1396; Federal Highway Administration, 400 Seventh 
Street SW., Washington D.C. 20590. Office hours are from 7:45 a.m. to 
4:15 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday except Federal holidays.


Electronic Access

    Internet users can access all comments received by the U.S. DOT 
Dockets, Room PL-401, by using the universal resource locator (URL): 
http://www.dms.dot.gov. It is available 24 hours each day, 365 days 
each year. Please follow the instructions online for more information 
and help.
    An electronic copy of this document may be downloaded using a modem 
and suitable communications software from the Government Printing 
Office Electronic Bulletin Board Service at (202) 512-1661. Internet 
users may reach the Federal Register's home page at: http://
www.nara.gov/fedreg and the Government Printing Office's database at: 
    The solicitation memorandum is available on the FHWA web site at 


    On March 4, 1999, the FHWA issued a memorandum to its division 
offices, located in each State, the District of Columbia and Puerto 
Rico, soliciting from the State transportation agencies candidate 
projects for FY 2000 FBD funding. This memorandum is published for 
informational purposes. The memorandum contains information on the FBD 
program, eligible activities, the application process, and the 
selection criteria used by the FHWA in evaluating candidate projects.
    Also, the purpose of this document is to invite comments on the 
selection criteria used by the FHWA for evaluating candidate projects 
for FY 2001 and beyond. The attachment to the March 4, 1999, memorandum 
presents the selection criteria that the FHWA will be using for FY 
2000. These criteria reflect areas which are given preference when 
evaluating candidate projects; however, any project submitted by a 
State transportation agency which meets the eligibility requirements 
for this discretionary program can potentially be selected for funding. 
These are the same general selection criteria that the FHWA has used 
for several years to evaluate candidates for this discretionary 
program. Occasionally, a selection criterion may be added for an 
individual year that reflects a special emphasis area, but for the most 
part the selection criteria have remained unchanged.
    The FHWA plans to continue to use these same basic selection 
criteria for FY 2001 and beyond for this discretionary program. 
However, before doing so, the FHWA is interested in the views of the 
States or others on these selection criteria. Accordingly, comments are 
invited to this docket on the selection criteria that the FHWA will use 
for the FBD program for funding available during FY 2001 and beyond.
    Publication of the implementation guidance for the ferry boat 
discretionary program satisfies the requirement of section 9004(a) of 
the TEA-21 Restoration Act, Pub. L. 105-206, 112 Stat. 685, 842 (1998).

    Authority: 23 U.S.C. 129(c) and 315; 49 CFR 1.48.

    Issued on: April 16, 1999.
Gloria J. Jeff,
Federal Highway Deputy Administrator.

    The text of the FHWA solicitation and implementation guidance 
memorandum follows:

Action: Ferry Boat Discretionary (FBD) Program, Request for Projects 
for FY 2000 Funding, March 4, 1999 (Reply Due: July 1, 1999)
Henry H. Rentz for Vincent F. Schimmoller, Program Manager, 
Infrastructure, HIPA, Division Administrators

    Section 1207 of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century 
(TEA-21) reauthorizes the funding category for the construction of 
ferry boats and ferry terminal facilities created by section 1064 of 
the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991. With this 
memorandum, we are requesting submission of eligible candidate projects 
for FY 2000 FBD funding.
    The TEA-21 authorizes $38 million for the FBD program for FY 2000. 
The TEA-21 requires that $20 million be set-aside for marine highway 
systems that

[[Page 20351]]

are part of the National Highway System for use by the States of 
Alaska, New Jersey, and Washington. As a result, only $18 million is 
authorized for open competition among all States. Estimating the 
deduction for section 1102(f) of TEA-21 and the increase due to the 
revenue aligned budget authority (RABA) under section 1105 of TEA-21, 
approximately $14 million of FBD funds will be available for open 
competition among all States in FY 2000.
    Attached to this memorandum are the program guidelines that contain 
information on eligibility, selection criteria, and submission 
requirements. Please provide this information to your State and work 
with them to identify viable, quality candidate projects for this 
    We ask that you pay particular attention to the submission 
requirements listed in the attached guidelines. Many of the candidates 
submitted last year did not provide all of the necessary information. 
With the elimination of the region offices, we are relying on you to 
ensure that all of the applications from your State are completed in 
accordance with the appropriate submission requirements. This is 
important to ensure that all candidates receive a fair evaluation. Due 
to the shortened time frame last year because of the late passage of 
TEA-21, we were not able to return incomplete applications, and our 
evaluation was based on insufficient information in some cases. This 
year we will return incomplete applications, which could jeopardize 
consideration of the candidate projects if the applications are not 
resubmitted in time.
    We are requesting that candidate project submissions be received in 
Headquarters no later than July 1, 1999. Projects received after this 
date may not receive full consideration.
    Because the available funding is always far less than the demand, 
we ask that submissions include only candidate projects that, if 
funded, can be obligated in FY 2000. Any allocations in FY 2000 will be 
made on the assumption that the proposed projects are viable and the 
implementation schedules are realistic. Any unobligated balances 
remaining on September 15, 2000, will be withdrawn and used for funding 
future fiscal year requests.
    If there are any questions, please contact Mr. Jack Wasley (202-
366-4658) of our Office of Program Administration.


Ferry Boat Discretionary Program: Program Guidelines


    The Ferry Boat Discretionary (FBD) Program, which provides a 
special funding category for the construction of ferry boats and ferry 
terminal facilities, was created by Section 1064 of the Intermodal 
Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (1991 ISTEA, Public Law 
102-240). Section 1207 of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st 
Century (TEA-21, Public Law 105-178) reauthorized the FBD funding 
category through FY 2003.

Statutory References

    23 U.S.C. 129(c); sec 1064, Pub. L. 102-240, 105 Stat. 1914 (1991) 
(ISTEA); sec. 1207, Pub. L. 105-178, 112 Stat. 107 (1998) (TEA-21).

                                                  [In millions]
Fiscal Year.......................         1998         1999         2000         2001         2002         2003
Competitive.......................          $30          $18          $18          $18          $18          $18
NHS Set-aside.....................  ...........           20           20           20           20           20

    TEA-21 provides $30 million in fiscal year 1998 and $38 million in 
each of fiscal years 1999 through 2003 for the construction of ferry 
boats and ferry terminals in accordance with 23 U.S.C. 129(c). The TEA-
21 requires that $20 million from each of fiscal years 1999 through 
2003 be set-aside for marine highway systems that are part of the 
National Highway System for use by the States of Alaska ($10 million), 
New Jersey ($5 million), and Washington ($5 million). As a result, for 
each of fiscal years 1999 through 2003, the amount of FBD funding 
available for open competition among all States is $18 million with a 
non-competitive amount of $20 million set-aside for Alaska, New Jersey, 
and Washington.
    The $18 million available for open competition is also impacted by 
any obligation limitation imposed on the Federal-aid highway program 
under the provisions of TEA-21 Section 1102(f), Redistribution of 
Certain Authorized Funds. Under this provision, any funds authorized 
for the program for the fiscal year, which are not available for 
obligation due to the imposition of an obligation limitation, are not 
allocated for the FBD program, but are redistributed to the States by 
formula as STP funds.
    After these reductions, it is expected that approximately $14 
million will be available for candidate projects each of fiscal years 
2000 through 2003. This available funding may also increase or decrease 
each year depending on the obligation limitation calculation and on the 
estimated receipts to the Highway Trust Fund.

Federal Share

    In accordance with section 1064(b) of the 1991 ISTEA, the Federal 
share of the costs for any project eligible under this program is 80 

Obligation Limitation

    The FBD discretionary funds are subject to obligation limitation; 
however, 100 percent obligation authority is normally provided with the 
allocation of funds for the selected projects. The obligation 
limitation reduces the available funding for the program under the 
provisions of TEA-21 section 1102(f) discussed above. For FY 1999, 
obligation of the FBD funds is controlled by a special requirement 
included in the FY 1999 Omnibus Appropriations Act (Public Law 105-
277). The Act limits obligation of FBD funds during FY 1999 to $38 
million. Consequently, there is not enough obligation authority to 
cover both fiscal years 1998 and 1999 funding allocated to the States. 
Therefore, distribution of the FY 1999 obligation authority is on an 
``as needed'' basis.


    As specified in section 1064(b) of the 1991 ISTEA, this program is 
for the construction of ferry boats and ferry terminal facilities in 
accordance with 23 U.S.C. 129. Proposals should meet the basic 
eligibility criteria in 23 U.S.C. 129(c).
    Competitive FBD funds are available for improvements to ferry boats 
or ferry boat terminals where:
     The ferry facility is providing a link on a public road 
(other than Interstate) or the ferry facility is providing passenger 
only ferry service.
     The ferry and/or ferry terminal to be constructed or 
improved is either publicly owned, publicly operated, or a public 
authority has majority ownership interest where it is demonstrated that 
the ferry operation provides substantial public benefits.

[[Page 20352]]

     The ferry does not operate in international water except 
for Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Alaska and for ferries between a State and 
    The set-aside discretionary funds for marine highway systems for 
use by the States of Alaska, New Jersey and Alaska are available for 
the construction or refurbishing of ferry boats and ferry terminals and 
their approaches that are part of the NHS. In general, a proposed 
project must meet the eligibility criteria set forth in 23 U.S.C. 
129(b) and (c), with the following requirements specifically applying 
to location of the projects and the type of activity eligible for 
     For a ferry facility that provides a direct link on the 
NHS, both the ferry boat (must transport four wheel vehicles) and the 
ferry terminals, including approaches, are eligible for funding.
     For a ferry facility that lies at the end of an approved 
connector to the NHS, only the ferry terminal (can serve either vehicle 
or passengers) and approach is eligible for funding. The ferry boats 
serving the ferry terminal are not eligible for funding.

Selection Criteria

    Several criteria are used to evaluate the submitted candidates for 
selection for the competitive portion of the FBD program. Although 
there are no statutory criteria and FHWA has not established regulatory 
criteria for selection of FBD projects, the following criteria are 
considered in the evaluation of candidates for this program:
     Expeditious completion of project--Consideration is given 
to requests that will expedite the completion of a viable project. This 
is a project's ability to expeditiously complete usable facilities 
within the limited funding amounts available.
     Leveraging of private or other public funding--Because the 
annual requests for funding far exceed the available FBD funds, 
commitment of other funding sources to complement the requested FBD 
funding is an important factor.
     Amount of FBD funding--The requested amount of funding is 
a consideration. Realizing the historically high demand of funding 
under this program, modest sized requests for funding (generally less 
than $2 million) to allow more States to receive funding under this 
program are given added consideration.
     State priorities--For States submitting more than one 
project, consideration is given to the individual States priorities, if 
     National geographic distribution of funding within the FBD 
program--Consideration is given to selecting projects over time among 
all the States competing for funding.
    Because the concept of equity was important in the development of 
TEA-21, project selection will also consider national geographic 
distribution among all of the discretionary programs as well as 
congressional direction or guidance provided on specific projects or 

Solicitation Procedure

    Each year, usually around March, a memorandum is sent from the FHWA 
Headquarters Office of Program Administration to the FHWA division 
offices requesting the submission of candidate projects for the 
following fiscal year's funding. This solicitation is also published in 
the Federal Register. The FHWA division offices provide this 
solicitation request to the State transportation departments, who are 
the only agencies that can submit candidates. The State transportation 
departments coordinate with local agencies within their respective 
States in order to develop viable candidate projects. The State 
transportation departments submit the candidate applications to the 
FHWA division offices, who send them in to the Office of Program 
Administration. Candidate projects are due in FHWA Headquarters usually 
around the first of July.
    The specific timetable for the solicitation process for any 
particular fiscal year is provided in the solicitation memorandum. The 
most recent solicitation is provided in these Guidelines for reference.
    The candidate project applications are reviewed and evaluated by 
the Office of Program Administration and an allocation plan is prepared 
for presentation of the candidate projects to the Office of the Federal 
Highway Administrator, where the final selection of projects for 
funding is made. The announcement of the selected projects and the 
allocation of funds is usually accomplished by the middle of November.
    Set-aside FBD funds are allocated directly to the three named 
States with no solicitation.

Submission Requirements

    Only State transportation departments may submit applications for 
funding under this program. Although there is not a prescribed format 
for a project submission, the following information must be included to 
properly evaluate the candidate projects. With the exception of the 
project area map, all of the following must be included to consider the 
application complete. Those applications that do not include these 
items are considered incomplete and returned.
    1. State(s) in which the project is located.
    2. County(ies) in which the project is located.
    3. U.S. Congressional District No.(s) in which the project is 
    4. U.S. Congressional Member's Name(s) for each District.
    5. Facility or Project Name commonly used to describe the facility 
or project.
    6. Service Termini and Ports.--Describe the ferry boat operation 
including the name of water crossing. A statement must be included for 
ferry boat operations carrying motorized vehicles, describing the link 
in the roadway system. Clearly identify any ``passenger only'' ferry 
service, and explain how the ferry service is linked to public 
transportation or is part of a transit system. Also, for each project 
indicate if the project is part of an existing link or service or if it 
is new service. Also identify if the ferry operates in domestic, 
foreign or international waters.
    7. Ownership/Operation--Specify which of the following apply:
     The boat or terminal is publicly owned. The term 
``publicly owned'' means that the title for the boat or terminal must 
be vested in a Federal, State, county, town, or township, Indian tribe, 
municipal or other local government or instrumentality.
     The boat or terminal is publicly operated. The term 
``publicly operated'' means that a public entity operates the boat or 
     The boat or terminal is ``majority publicly owned'' (as 
opposed to public owned). This means that more than 50 percent of the 
ownership is vested in a public entity. If so, does it provide 
substantial public benefits? Documentation of substantial public 
benefits, concurred in by the division office, is required for ferry 
facilities that are in majority public ownership.
    8. Current and Future Traffic--Provide the functional 
classification of the route that the project is located on along with a 
general description of the type and nature of traffic, both current and 
design year average daily traffic or average daily passenger volumes, 
on the route if available. The general description could include 
information on year round or seasonal service; commuter, recreational 
or visitor ridership; traffic generators and attractions.
    9. Proposed Work--Describe the project work to be completed under 

[[Page 20353]]

particular request, and whether this is a complete project or part of a 
larger project.
    10. Amount of Federal FBD Discretionary Funds Requested--The total 
cost for the proposed work should be shown along with the requested 
amount of FBD funding (this should reflect that the maximum Federal 
share for this program is 80 percent). A State's willingness to accept 
partial funding should be indicated.
    11. Commitment of Other Funds--Indicate the amounts and sources of 
any private or other public funding being provided as part of this 
project. Only indicate those amounts of funding that are firm and 
documented commitments. The submission must include written 
confirmation of these commitments from the entity controlling the 
    12. Previous FBD Discretionary Funding--Indicate the amount and 
fiscal year of any previous FBD discretionary funds received for this 
project, terminals or ferry boats operating on this route or transit 
    13. Future Funding Needs--Indicate the estimated future funding 
needs for the project or facility, if known. Also, provide estimated 
time schedules for implementing future projects. This information will 
be used to identify funding commitments beyond the presently proposed 
project and in outlying years.
    14. Talking Points Briefing--Each State's request for ferry boat 
discretionary funds must be accompanied by a talking points paper for 
use by the Office of the Secretary for the congressional notification 
process should a project be selected for funding. A sample paper is 
included in these Guidelines.
    15. Project Area Map--A readable location/vicinity map showing the 
ferry route and terminal connections is helpful if available.

State Transportation Agency Responsibilities

    1. Coordinate with State and local agencies within the State to 
develop viable candidate projects.
    2. Ensure that the applications for candidate projects meet the 
submission requirements outlined above.
    3. Establish priorities for their candidate projects if desired.
    4. Submit the applications to the local FHWA division office on 
time so that the submission deadline can be met.

FHWA Division Office Responsibilities

    1. Provide the solicitation memorandum and this program information 
to the State transportation agency.
    2. Request candidate projects be submitted by the State to the FHWA 
division office to meet the submission deadline established in the 
    3. Review all candidate applications submitted by the State prior 
to sending them to FHWA Headquarters to ensure that they are eligible, 
complete and meet the submission requirements.
    4. Submit the candidate applications to FHWA Headquarters by the 
established submission deadline.

FHWA Headquarters Program Office Responsibilities

    1. Solicit candidates from the States through annual solicitation 
    2. Review candidate project submissions and compile program and 
project information for preparation of allocation plan.
    3. Submit allocation plan to the Office of the Federal Highway 
Administrator for use in making final project selections.
    4. Allocate funds for the selected projects.

FHWA Headquarters Program Offoce Contact

Jack Wasley, Highway Engineer, Office of Program Administration, Phone: 
(202) 366-4658, Fax: (202) 366-3988, E-mail: [email protected]

Sample Talking Points Briefing for Secretary

    Note: These talking points will be used by the Office of the 
Secretary in making congressional notification contacts. Since some 
of the recipients of the calls may not be closely familiar with the 
highway program, layman's language should be used to the extent 
possible. Information contained in the talking points may be used by 
a member of Congress in issuing a press release announcing the 
discretionary allocation.

Ferry Boat (FBD) Discretionary Funds

    Grantee: State Transportation Agency .
    Project: Nouthport to Fort Bischer Ferry--purchase of a ferry boat, 
construction of necessary docking facilities, and approach work. .
    FHWA Funds: $1,500,000. .

     This project is needed to replace the MV Good Times which 
is currently running at the Nouthport Operation. This operation 
provides service across the Little Pike River  and is a link between SR 21 and U.S. 52. .
     This project is part of Nouthport's $12 million waterfront 
development project. .
     The project will be advertised for construction in June/
2001 and is scheduled for completion in February/2002 
     This high speed ferry boat will incorporate the latest 
technology to eliminate backwash and beach erosion. .
     The project is part of the State's ferry boat program. 
Annually the State spends $19 million to operate seven ferry routes, 
and receives an average of $1.5 million annually in tolls from three of 
these routes.

[FR Doc. 99-10379 Filed 4-23-99; 8:45 am]