[Federal Register Volume 65, Number 117 (Friday, June 16, 2000)]
[Pages 37819-37826]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 00-15320]



Federal Highway Administration

[FHWA Docket No. FHWA-2000-7392]

Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century; Implementation 
Guidance for the National Corridor Planning and Development Program and 
the Coordinated Border Infrastructure Program

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice; request for comments; solicitation of applications for 
fiscal year (FY) 2001 grants.


SUMMARY: This document provides implementation guidance on sections 
1118 and 1119 of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century 
(TEA-21). These sections established the National Corridor Planning and 
Development Program (NCPD program) and the Coordinated Border 
Infrastructure Program (CBI program). The NCPD and the CBI programs are 
funded by a single funding source. These programs provide funding for 
planning, project development, construction and operation of projects 
that serve border regions near Mexico and Canada and high priority 
corridors throughout the United States. States and metropolitan 
planning organizations (MPOs) are, under the NCPD program, eligible for 
discretionary grants for: Corridor feasibility; corridor planning; 
multistate coordination; environmental review; and construction. Border 
States and MPOs are, under the CBI program, eligible for discretionary 
grants for: Transportation and safety infrastructure improvements, 
operation and regulatory improvements, and coordination and safety 
inspection improvements in a border region.

DATES: Grant applications should be received by FHWA Division Offices 
on August 15, 2000. Specific information required in grant applications 
is provided in Section IV of this notice. Comments on program 
implementation should be sent as soon as reasonably possible. However, 
in recognition of the fact that legislative language may materially 
change the program implementation at any time, the FHWA will leave the 
docket open indefinitely. The FHWA will consider comments received in 
developing the FY 2002 solicitation of grant applications. More 
information on the type of comments sought by the FHWA is provided in 
Section III of this notice.

ADDRESSES: Your signed, written comments on program implementation

[[Page 37820]]

for FY 2002 and beyond should refer to the docket number appearing at 
the top of this document and you must submit the comments to the Docket 
Clerk, U.S. 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 
    Applications for FY 2001 grants under the NCPD and CBI programs 
should be submitted to the FHWA Division Office in the State where the 
applicant is located.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For program issues: Mr. Martin Weiss, 
Office of Intermodal and Statewide Programs, HEPS, (202) 366-5010; or 
for legal issues: Mrs. Diane Mobley (for the NCPD program), Office of 
the Chief Counsel, HCC-31, (202) 366-1366; or Ms. Grace Reidy (for the 
CBI program), Office of the Chief Counsel, HCC-31, (202) 366-6226; 
Federal Highway Administration, 400 Seventh Street SW., Washington, DC 


Electronic Access

    Internet users may access all comments received by the U.S. DOT 
Dockets, Room PL-401, by using the universal resource locator (URL): 
http://dms.dot.gov. It is available 24 hours each day, 365 days each 
year. Please follow the instructions online for more information and 
    An electronic copy of this document may be downloaded using a 
computer, modem and suitable communications software from the 
Government Printing Office's Electronic Bulletin Board Service at (202) 
512-1661. Internet users may reach the Office of the Federal Register's 
home page at: http://www.nara.gov/fedreg and the Government Printing 
Office's web page at: http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara.
    In addition, a number of documents and links concerning the NCPD 
and the CBI programs are available through the home page of the 
Corridor/Border Programs: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep10/corbor/corbor.html.


    Sections 1118 and 1119 of the TEA-21, Public Law 105-178, 112 Stat. 
107, at 161, established the NCPD and CBI programs, respectively. These 
programs respond to substantial interest dating from, as early as, 
1991. In that year, the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency 
Act (ISTEA), Public Law 102-240, 105 Stat. 1914, designated a number of 
high priority corridors. Subsequent legislation modified the corridor 
descriptions and designated additional corridors. Citizen and civic 
groups promoted many of these corridors as, for example, a means to 
accommodate international trade. Similarly, since 1991, a number of 
studies identified infrastructure and operation deficiencies near the 
U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada. Also various groups, some 
international and/or intergovernmental, studied opportunities to 
improve infrastructure and operations.
    In 1997, the DOT's Strategic Plan for 1997-2002 was established. 
The strategic goals in this plan are: Safety, mobility, economic growth 
and trade, human and natural environment and national security. In 
1998, the FHWA's National Strategic Plan was established. The strategic 
goals in this plan are mobility, safety, productivity, human and 
natural environment and national security. Both sets of goals are 
consistent with the language of TEA-21, including sections 1118 and 
1119, and the FHWA emphasized these goals in selection of applications 
for allocations.
    The NCPD and CBI programs are funded by a single funding source. 
The combined authorized funding for these two programs is $140 million 
in each year from FY 1999 to FY 2003 (a total of $700 million). The 
President's FY 2001 budget includes a proposal to increase funding for 
the NCPD and CBI programs to $280 million and to eliminate application 
of the obligation limitation from the programs. Until the congressional 
action on this proposal is completed, we will assume $140 million is 
available for obligation in FY 2001 and that these will be limited by 
the requirements of section 1102 (Obligation Ceiling) of the TEA-21. 
Furthermore, projects selected for funding may be affected by earmark 
language placed in Federal law. This was the case in FY 2000, as 
explained more completely in the subsection below entitled, ``Summary 
of Selection Process.''
    Under the NCPD program, funds are available to States and MPOs for 
coordinated planning, design, and construction of corridors of national 
significance, economic growth, and international or interregional 
trade. Under the CBI program, funds are available to border States and 
MPOs for projects to improve the safe movement of people and goods at, 
or across, the border between the United States and Canada, and the 
border between the United States and Mexico. In addition, the Secretary 
may transfer up to a total of $10 million of combined program funds, 
through FY 2001, to the Administrator of General Services for the 
construction of transportation infrastructure necessary for law 
enforcement in border States. Such transfer(s) will be made, based on 
funding requested and supporting information furnished by the 
Administrator of General Services. Finally, the Secretary of 
Transportation (the Secretary) will implement any provisions in 
legislation that directs that FY 2001 NCPD/CBI funds be used for 
specific projects. Based on the factors noted above (i.e., obligation 
limitations, transfer of funds to GSA and legislation), the FHWA 
anticipates that between $30 million and $130 million will be available 
for allocation for projects submitted in response to this notice. 
Should the current request in the President's FY 2001 budget be 
approved by the Congress, the amount available will approximately 
    The Federal share for these funds is set by 23 U.S.C. 120 
(generally 80 percent plus the sliding scale adjustment in States with 
substantial public lands). The period of availability for obligation is 
the fiscal year for which the funds are authorized and the three years 
following. States which receive an allocation of funds under these 
programs will, at the same time, receive an increase in obligation 
authority equal to the allocation. Under section 1102 of TEA-21, 
obligation authority for discretionary programs that is provided during 
a fiscal year is extinguished at the end of the fiscal year. Funds 
allocated to projects which, under the NCPD/CBI programs, receive an 
obligation authority for FY 2001, must therefore be obligated during FY 
2001 or be withdrawn for redistribution.
    This notice includes four sections:
    Section I--Program Background and Implementation of the NCPD/CBI 
discretionary program in FY 2000
    Section II--Eligibility and Selection Criteria for FY 2001 grants
    Section III--Request for comments on program implementation in FY 
2002 and beyond
    Section IV--Solicitation of applicants for FY 2001 grants

Section I--Program Background and Implementation of the NCPD/CBI 
Discretionary Program in FY 2000

    The FHWA has been implementing the NCPD/CBI programs with specific 
goals. In developing the FY 1999 solicitation, the FHWA considered the 
following: Comments received at outreach sessions; information received 
during program discussions within the

[[Page 37821]]

DOT; and information received during discussions between officials. The 
FY 1999 implementation goals were:
    1. Respect both the letter and the intent of existing statutes.
    2. Minimize administrative additions to statutory requirements.
    3. Minimize grant application paperwork.
    4. Maximize administrative control of grants by FHWA field 
personnel rather than FHWA Headquarters personnel.
    5. Encourage substantive coordination of grant applications and 
grant administration by State and local officials.
    6. Encourage appropriate private/public, State/local, intermodal, 
interregional, multistate and multinational coordination.
    7. Encourage grant applications that have realistic objectives and 
time horizons.
    In FY 2001, no additional goals are being added; however, as stated 
in the subsection below entitled, ``Selection Criteria Common to Both 
Programs,'' the Administrator is encouraging submission of certain 
types of proposals.

Summary of Selection Process--FY 2000

    In July 1999, a two-year action plan to target the DOT's efforts 
for 1999 and 2000 was developed. This action plan includes a list of 
key activities for each Strategic Goal and Corporate Management 
Strategy for the DOT, which is drawn from the Department's Strategic 
Plan, Performance Plans, and other existing planning documents. These 
key activities are called ``Flagship Initiatives.'' The corridor and 
border programs were designated as a flagship initiative in the spring 
of 1999. The members of the flagship team are listed at the URL: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep10/corbor/flagteam.html. The strategic plan of the 
flagship is stated at the URL: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep10/corbor/flagplan.html. This team has been put together to coordinate and focus 
the U.S. DOT's efforts, identify current issues, and to develop a work 
plan. One of the Flagship's efforts was to sponsor a series of 
workshops to publicize the Corridors and Borders program and highlight 
this year's application process. The FHWA held a series of workshops in 
the autumn of 1999 in Baltimore, Maryland; Chicago, Illinois; Atlanta, 
Georgia; Seattle, Washington; and Phoenix, Arizona. The workshops were 
announced in the Federal Register on September 29, 1999. Invitees 
included Federal, State, and local government employees; MPO staff; and 
representatives from a number of trade and citizen groups. In 
announcing the workshops, Secretary Slater said, ``The corridors and 
borders program is a key part in President Clinton's goal to support 
the North American Free Trade Agreement by providing safe highways for 
moving people and goods between Canada, Mexico, and the United States. 
These workshops were designed to benefit States and communities that 
want to take advantage of the program.''
    There were two subjects on which comment was pervasive during these 
workshops. The first subject was opposition to earmarks (most attendees 
were working on applications that did not have earmarks). The second 
was a desire to have the awards announced earlier in the fiscal year to 
allow more time for obligation within that fiscal year. Both of these 
comments were made to the docket and FHWA's response will be given 
    There were no other comments that were pervasive. The following is 
a sampling of comments from each of the workshops:
    Baltimore: Unless there is some closure from these meetings, 
participants are right back where they started. Protecting the 
environment should also be made a key strategic goal for the program. 
Delays at borders cause a lot of air pollution.
    Chicago: In the list of important project criteria, connectivity of 
system was not listed. Not many projects are being funded that are 
intermodal in nature. The FHWA should put together a session with some 
of the workshop attendees and congressional staff. More sites close to 
borders should be selected for project funding.
    Atlanta: Several participants noted the STIP/TIP conundrum: They 
need to get projects listed on the STIP or TIP to receive the Corridors 
and Borders grants, but it is difficult to get projects listed ahead of 
    Seattle: The Corridors and Borders program is like manna from 
heaven in that attention is being paid to freight mobility. These 
programs allow us to walk before we run.
    Phoenix: States should be able to sign on to multistate projects 
without displacing their own prioritized projects.
    The workshops were also designed to solicit input from participants 
on evaluation measures for the program, as well as the program's future 
direction. Again, many suggestions were made, but no pervasive theme 
emerged. Additionally, at each workshop representatives of projects 
receiving FY 1999 funding made presentations. Finally, at each 
workshop, a number of opportunities were provided to ask specific 
questions about the application process. Answers were provided 
consistent with those on the website at URL: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep10/corbor/qa2k.html.
    Of the $122 million available for the program in FY 2000, 
approximately $60 million had been designated by the Congress to 
specific projects by the time of the workshops. The legislative 
language containing the projects earmarked for FY 2000 is available at 
URL: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep10/corbor/earmark.html and URL: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep10/corbor/cb99y.html. Both pieces of legislative 
language were developed during the FY 2000 appropriations process. As 
has been discussed, there was much opposition to this decision, along 
with a concern that the process of earmarking projects under a program 
like the NCPD/CBI ultimately defeats the purpose of the TEA-21. In 
spite of the earmarks, the FHWA received over 150 applications for 
NCPD/CBI funding, all of which were at least partially eligible (e.g., 
some applications included work components that were not eligible and 
also included work components that were eligible) for consideration. 
The requests for funding totaled approximately $2 billion.
    The FHWA established an evaluation panel comprised of officials 
from various agencies within the DOT (e.g., the Federal Railroad 
Administration, the Maritime Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier 
Safety Administration, the Office of the Secretary of Transportation, 
as well as the FHWA) which reviewed the applications and tabulated 
summaries of applications. The evaluation panel identified applications 
that were ``well qualified'' and those which were ``qualified'' based 
on summary information prepared by the FHWA program office (e.g., 
coordination status, positive aspects and other aspects of each 
application). We expect to follow a similar process with the FY 2001 
grant applications.
    On June 9, 2000, U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater 
announced that $121.8 million in grants will be provided to 29 states 
for 65 projects as part of the NCPD/CBI programs for FY 2000. The FY 
2000 NCPD/CBI program grant recipients, by state, project and total 
allocation, are listed at the URL: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep10/corbor/recip00.html. In addition, a report, for the fiscal quarter 
covering the FY 2000 selections, containing the reasons for selection 
of projects, is required by section 1311 of the TEA-21, as amended. At 
the time of this notice, the report is not available. When completed, 
it will also be available on FHWA's

[[Page 37822]]

website: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/discretionary/quarterly.html.

Summary of Comments to Docket No. FHWA-98-4622

    The August 30, 1999, Federal Register notice (64 FR 47222) 
requested comments on how the NCPD/CBI programs implementation could be 
improved in FY 2001, as well as other aspects of the program. 
Commenters were asked specifically for improvements that could be made 
at the discretion of the FHWA that would more effectively meet the 
seven goals established for the program.
    The following organizations submitted letters to the docket (FHWA-

North America's Superhighway Coalition, Inc. (NASCO)
CAN/AM Border Trade Alliance
Eastern Border Transportation Coalition
Puget Sound Regional Council
Border Trade Alliance
The Honorable Henry Bonilla, 23rd District, Texas
Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission
Freeport Business Centre
Members of Congress: The Honorable Henry Bonilla, Charles A. Gonzalez, 
Ciro D.
Rodriguez and Lamar S. Smith
Wisconsin Department of Transportation
New York Department of Transportation

    Although no specific comment was raised by more than one or two of 
the letters, there were a number of comments that addressed similar 
issues or discussed similar problems. There was general concern and 
disappointment in the earmarking of corridors and borders funds. The 
Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (the Commission) stated that the 
efforts of the FHWA to provide information at the corridors and borders 
workshops and through widespread notice of the solicitation was 
misleading due to the earmarks. It is the Commission's opinion that 
based on the number and size of fiscal year 1999 requests and fiscal 
year 2000 earmarks, the corridors and borders programs should be 
separated and given increased funding. The New York State DOT suggested 
that if, for FY 2001, the Congress earmarks corridor and border 
projects, consideration should be given to balancing the distribution 
of program funding to ensure that both corridor and border needs are 
    With respect to earmarks, the FHWA acknowledges the fact that those 
applicants who feel their application has a reduced funding potential 
because of the earmarks will be unhappy about this situation. The 
FHWA's longstanding agency position is to oppose earmarks. However, 
notwithstanding the above, the FHWA has, in the past, faithfully 
administered earmark legislation and congressional direction, and will 
do so in the future.
    With respect to separation of the funding into ``corridor only'' 
and ``border only'' components, the FHWA notes that the report 
``Listening to America,'' which summarized the outreach sessions 
preceding the FY 1999 solicitation, stated that ``there was widespread 
agreement that funding for the two programs should be kept together, 
rather than identifying separate amounts for each.'' Although some 
commenters felt otherwise then, and feel otherwise now, the FHWA does 
not believe that the prior noted consensus has changed substantially.
    The use of electronic submittals in FY 2001 for the narrative 
portion of the application received mixed responses. Many commenters 
noted the difficulty that the FHWA may encounter when transferring 
information such as graphics and visual aids. The Wisconsin DOT stated 
that, although the preparation of a grant proposal is a significant 
part of any grant process, the graphics and visual aids that generally 
accompany a proposal are also an important component. Furthermore, it 
was suggested that if the FHWA intends to include this requirement in 
future processes, the processes to ensure that the grant proposals will 
be reviewed in their entirety must first be put in place.
    To provide substantial flexibility to applicants, the FHWA will 
allow electronic submittals for FY 2001 as an option as well as 
allowing hard copy submittals. Based on the reviewed result of this 
process, the FHWA will make a decision on electronic submittals on 
future solicitations.
    With regard to the timetable for the NCPD/CBI grant process, most 
of the commenters requested that the timetable be advanced. To allow 
States adequate time to obligate funds, the FHWA should adhere to the 
time frames in the announcements and award projects no later than the 
month of March. This will allow the States adequate time to obligate 
funds before the end of the fiscal year.
    The FHWA is making every effort to adhere to advanced timeframes.
    North America's Superhighway Coalition (NASCO) requested that 
Federal transportation officials allow incorporated, certified trade 
corridor coalitions to apply for funding through the corridors and 
borders programs. Currently, only States and metropolitan planning 
organizations can submit applications. The NASCO believes that the 
current application rule works well if project applications are 
contained geographically. However, it does not work well for project 
applications that are multistate or even multinational in nature. 
Funding should not be appropriated based on an individual project's 
meeting of requirements in both the borders and corridor criteria.
    The FHWA appreciates the comments provided by the NASCO. However, 
the changes requested by NASCO cannot be made except by the Congress 
through a change in the statutory language.
    The CAN/AM Border Trade Alliance (the Alliance) stated that the 
competition between the two programs for the same funds and between 
individual project proposals brings about excessive funding of corridor 
projects at the expense of border projects. The policy of providing 
additional funds in successive years for completing projects selected 
in previous years should be determined and clearly articulated. It is 
strongly suggested that a procedure be formalized by the U.S. DOT to 
assist all projects that were deemed viable and needed, although not 
selected for funding, so that alternative approaches for making them a 
reality can be formally determined.
    Technical assistance is available through the FHWA Division 
offices. Due to the fact that conditions (physical, financial, 
environmental, etc.) change each year, a new application must be 
submitted each year. The FHWA will not re-review an old application and 
does not guarantee that a recipient in any year will continue to 
receive funding in future years.
    The Eastern Border Transportation Coalition (EBTC) stated that 
while section 1119 is TEA-21's only border program, corridor projects 
have access to four programs and 120 times as much money each year from 
other TEA-21 programs. For this reason, the EBTC urged the allocation 
of the largest proportion of its corridor and border grants be awarded 
to the border program.
    Legislation provides no means for the FHWA to administratively 
determine a ``more border, fewer corridor projects'' rulemaking 
provision. In addition, the statement that ``section 1119 is TEA-21's 
only border program'' is somewhat misleading. The FHWA's review of 
project applications showed substantial use of State, Federal formula 
and other Federal discretionary funds on border projects, where State 
DOT's have determined to focus their own efforts.
    The Border Trade Alliance (BTA) suggested that the $140 million 
each year be spent in a way that is

[[Page 37823]]

compatible and complimentary with the regular annual allocations to the 
States. Also, a scoring system should be developed that would assign 
higher priority for border transportation projects that provide 
connectivity to the identified national trade corridors. The BTA 
believes that the best and most productive way to allocate corridor and 
border funds is to place the primary emphasis on design and development 
of border connectivity and national corridor projects. Bricks and 
mortar funding should be focused on very high impact border 
connectivity projects, including those that serve multiple ports, and 
to resolving select physical bottlenecks at the border. In the 
development and application of a scoring or formula system, State 
projects that connect various parts of existing identified national 
trade corridors should be rated higher than those that serve only 
regional interests. Emphasis must be attached to all border ports-of-
entry (and egress) and their complimentary trade corridors that 
demonstrate significant increases in traffic.
    The FHWA believes that the intent of this comment is already 
addressed by the sixth evaluation consideration: ``To adequately 
evaluate the extent to which selection criteria noted above are met by 
individual projects, the FHWA will consider the following in each 
application: The extent to which the project may be eligible under both 
the NCPD and the CBI program.''
    Congressman Henry Bonilla of Texas expressed his support for the 
proposal for a revision of ramps providing safe and efficient access to 
the Freeport Business Center off Loop 410 South near I-35. This 
proposal will help alleviate overcrowding of existing highway 
    The FHWA appreciates the comments made by Congressman Bonilla and 
will give his comments and the proposal proper consideration.
    The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission endorses the introduction of 
the FHWA/DOT strategic goals into the project evaluation process. The 
Commission urged the continued acceptance of hard copy applications 
citing the difficulty the FHWA may encounter if information is 
transferred electronically.
    The Freeport Business Centre (the Centre) provided comments 
regarding its application to the NCPD program for new access ramps off 
Loop 410 South, located in Bexar County, Texas. The Centre stated that 
this project ties in with future development of vehicular 
infrastructure planned by the Texas DOT to safely and efficiently 
provide for the more than three fold increase in traffic to and from 
the Mexico border.
    The FHWA appreciates the comments and proposal submitted by the 
Centre and will give appropriate consideration to this project and its 
    The Honorable Henry Bonilla, Charles A. Gonzalez, Ciro D. Rodriguez 
and Lamar S. Smith, members of the U.S. Congress representing San 
Antonio, Texas, expressed their support for a proposal to move existing 
entrance and exit ramps to the previously mentioned Freeport Business 
Centre. The congressmen stated that this project will reduce congestion 
in a heavily traveled international trade corridor and will remove the 
dependence on border infrastructure to facilitate the growth and 
expansion currently experienced by increased trade with Mexico.
    The FHWA appreciates the comments by the congressmen and will give 
appropriate consideration to this project and its application.
    The Wisconsin DOT strongly encourages the FHWA to consider 
expanding the field office's role to include a review of the 
applications, with an opportunity to identify and propose 
recommendations for the U.S. DOT evaluation panel's review and possible 
approval. It is also suggested that grant recipients be allowed to 
carry over funds into the next fiscal year. If electronic processing 
will be a future requirement for submitting grant proposals, it was 
suggested that a process be put in place to ensure grant proposals are 
reviewed in their entirety.
    The FHWA field offices are already involved in the process of 
reviewing applications. The FHWA will consider an expansion of this 
    The New York State DOT stated that the benefits of the corridors 
and borders programs should be maximized; FHWA guidance and criteria 
should be clear that projects awarded funds must use the funding to 
complete a funding package rather than a substitute for other funds 
currently in place.
    The FHWA believes the intent of the comment is effectively covered 
by the ``leveraging'' criterion (#5 for NCPD, #4 for CBI) combined with 
the ``likelihood of completion of a useable project or project'' 
evaluation consideration.

Section II--Eligibility and Selection Criteria for FY 2001 Grants

    In general, the eligibility and selection criteria for FY 2001 
grants are the same as those used for FY 2000 grants.

Eligibility--NCPD Program

    Projects eligible for funding include the following:
    1. Feasibility studies.
    2. Comprehensive corridor planning and design activities.
    3. Location and routing studies.
    4. Multistate and intrastate coordination for corridors.
    5. Environmental review or construction after review by the 
Secretary of a development and management plan for the corridor or 
useable section of the corridor (hence called ``corridor plan'').
    The FHWA considers work in the pre-feasibility stage of a project, 
e.g., development of metropolitan and State plans and programs, as not 
eligible for support with Federal aid under section 1118 funds 
(although funds authorized by other portions of the TEA-21 are eligible 
for such support), but project development planning is eligible for 
support and multistate freight planning is specifically encouraged 
    The FHWA construes the phrase ``environmental review,'' as used 
above, as being the portion of the environmental documentation, e.g., 
environmental assessment/finding of non-significant impact (EA/FONSI), 
environmental impact statement (EIS) process requiring formal 
interagency review and comment. Thus, even without review of the 
corridor plan, work needed to produce the pre-draft EIS and to revise 
the draft would be eligible for support with Federal aid under section 
1118. However, work subsequent to FHWA signature of the draft EIS (or 
equivalent) would not be eligible for such support until review of the 
corridor plan. Subsequent to such a review, work on a final EIS and any 
other necessary environmental work would be eligible for funding under 
this section.
    Eligibility for funds from the NCPD program is limited to high 
priority corridors identified in section 1105(c) of the ISTEA, as 
amended, and any other significant regional or multistate highway 
corridors selected by the Secretary after consideration of the criteria 
listed for selecting projects for NCPD funding. Fund allocation to a 
corridor does not constitute designation of the corridor as a high 
priority corridor. The FHWA has no statutory authority to make such a 

Eligibility--CBI Program

    Projects eligible for funding include the following:
    1. Improvements to existing transportation and supporting 
infrastructure that facilitate cross border vehicle and cargo 
    2. Construction of highways and related safety and safety 
enforcement facilities that will facilitate vehicle and

[[Page 37824]]

cargo movements related to international trade.
    3. Operational improvements, including improvements relating to 
electronic data interchange and use of telecommunications, to expedite 
cross border vehicle and cargo movement.
    4. Modifications to regulatory procedures to expedite cross border 
vehicle and cargo movements.
    5. International coordination of planning, programming, and border 
operation with Canada and Mexico relating to expediting cross border 
vehicle and cargo movements.
    6. Activities of Federal inspection agencies.
    The statute requires projects to be in a border region. The FHWA 
considers projects within 100 km (62 miles) of the U.S./Canada or U.S./
Mexico border to be in a border region.

Selection Criteria for the NCPD Program Funding

    The statute provides criteria to be used in identifying corridors, 
in addition to those statutorily designated for eligibility. These 
following criteria will be used for selecting projects for funding:
    1. The extent to which the annual volume of commercial vehicle 
traffic at the border stations or ports of entry of each State has 
increased since the date of enactment of the North American Free Trade 
Agreement (NAFTA), and is projected to increase in the future.
    2. The extent to which commercial vehicle traffic in each State has 
increased since the date of enactment of the NAFTA, and is projected to 
increase in the future.
    3. The extent to which international truck-borne commodities move 
through each State.
    4. The reduction in commercial and other travel time through a 
major international gateway or affected port of entry expected as a 
result of the proposed project, including the level of traffic delays 
at major highway/rail grade crossings in trade corridors.
    5. The extent of leveraging of Federal funds, including use of 
innovative financing; combination with funding provided under other 
sections of the TEA-21 and title 23, U.S.C.; and combination with other 
sources of Federal, State, local, or private funding including State, 
local and private matching funds.
    6. The value of the cargo carried by commercial vehicle traffic, to 
the extent that the value of the cargo and congestion impose economic 
costs on the Nation's economy.
    7. Encourage or facilitate major multistate or regional mobility 
and economic growth and development in areas undeserved by existing 
highway infrastructure.
    Specific aspects of the NCPD program require the FHWA to interpret 
these criteria. Based on the goals noted above in Section I, the FHWA 
intends to use a flexible interpretation. For example, while the date 
of the enactment of NAFTA was December 8, 1993, traffic data which 
provides an average for the calendar year 1993 could be used for the 
pre-NAFTA information. For another example, since businesses use both 
imported and domestically produced materials in a constantly changing 
component mix to produce higher valued products and, because 
interregional trade is noted as part of the purpose of the section, 
either interstate traffic or interregional traffic could be used as a 
surrogate for ``international truck-borne commodities.'' Similarly, 
where determining the value of cargo carried by commercial vehicle 
traffic would be impossible without using proprietary information, a 
reasonable surrogate could be based on the vehicle traffic multiplied 
by an imputed value for various classes of cargo.

Selection Criteria for the CBI Program Funding

    The selection criteria in the statute are as follows:
    1. Expected reduction in commercial and other motor vehicle travel 
time through an international border crossing as a result of the 
    2. Improvements in vehicle and highway safety and cargo security 
related to motor vehicles crossing a border with Canada or Mexico.
    3. Strategies to increase the use of existing, underutilized border 
crossing facilities and approaches.
    4. Leveraging of Federal funds, including use of innovative 
financing, combination of such funds with funding provided under other 
sections of the TEA-21 and combination with other sources of Federal, 
State, local or private funding.
    5. Degree of multinational involvement in the project and 
demonstrated coordination with other Federal agencies responsible for 
the inspection of vehicles, cargo, and persons crossing international 
borders and their counterpart agencies in Canada and Mexico.
    6. Improvements in vehicle and highway safety and cargo security in 
and through the gateway or affected port of entry concerned.
    7. The extent to which the innovative and problem solving 
techniques of the proposed project would be applicable to other border 
stations or ports of entry.
    8. Demonstrated local commitment to implement and sustain 
continuing comprehensive border or affected port of entry planning 
processes and improvements programs.
    As in the NCPD program criteria, the FHWA intends to use a flexible 
interpretation of the CBI program selection criteria. For example, 
because local (e.g., business association, civic, county, municipal, 
utility) agencies and organizations sometimes have very small capital 
improvement budgets, that local commitment for continuing planning and 
improvement will be considered in the context of local program 
cooperation with State projects in the border regions, as well as in 
the context of local financial support for such projects.

Selection Criteria Common to Both Programs

    Although all Federal-aid programs relate to the achievement of the 
FHWA's strategic goals--safety, mobility, productivity, environment, 
and national security--these discretionary programs apply most directly 
to fulfillment of the safety, mobility, and productivity goals. In 
addition, Departmental policy, related Federal directives and the 
Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, Public Law 103-62, 107 
Stat. 285, emphasize the use of coordinated agency strategies and 
advanced technology applications to achieve goals in a cost-effective 
and environmentally sound manner. As noted in the Administrator's 
message accompanying the 1998 FHWA National Strategic Plan, the 
strategic goals and policies, ``guide FHWA decisions on a day-to-day 
basis, and will help our partners to frame their own agendas within a 
context that contributes to achieving these broad national goals.'' In 
accordance with this guidance, in making selections, the Administrator 
will emphasize proposals related to motor carrier safety enforcement 
facilities, integrated trade transportation processing systems to 
improve border crossings, multistate freight planning efforts, and 
applications of operational strategies, including ITS applications.
    In addition, the Administrator encourages comprehensive proposals 
to develop, implement, and evaluate model border crossings. Such 
proposals may, for example, combine operational, institutional, and 
infrastructure elements to improve efficiency and safety and integrate 
with operations strategies along major trade corridors, and may include 
shared facilities or other mechanisms to harmonize international border 

[[Page 37825]]

    Finally, the concept of equity was important in the development of 
the TEA-21. National geographic distribution among all discretionary 
programs and congressional direction or guidance will be considered by 
the Administrator in the selection of projects for discretionary funds.

Evaluation Considerations for Both the NCPD and the CBI Program

    To adequately evaluate the extent to which selection criteria noted 
above are met by individual projects, the FHWA will consider the 
following in each grant application:
    1. The extent to which the project will help meet the FHWA and the 
DOT strategic goals as noted above, including where possible a 
description of the anticipated benefits of the project, and where 
appropriate estimated levels of such benefits.
    2. Likelihood of expeditious completion of a useable project or 
    3. Size, in dollars, of the program grant request in comparison to 
likely accomplishments (e.g., grant requests that exceed about 10 
percent of the available NCPD and CBI program funding in a given year 
would be expected to be subject to extra scrutiny to determine whether 
the likely consequences would be commensurate with that level of 
    4. Clarity and conciseness of the grant application in submission 
of the required information.
    5. State priorities and endorsement of, or opposition to, projects 
by other States, MPOs and other public and private agencies or 
organizations, as well as the status of the project on the State 
transportation improvement program (STIP) and the metropolitan 
transportation improvement program (TIP).
    6. The extent to which the project may be eligible under both the 
NCPD and the CBI program.

Section III--Request for Comments on Program Implementation in FY 
2002 and Beyond

    As noted, the FHWA is allowing, as an option, the use of electronic 
submittals for FY 2002 for the narrative portion of the application 
(not maps). Consequently, the FHWA is specifically requesting comments 
on this aspect of program implementation. In addition, agencies that 
wish to reconsider their previous comment(s) or make additional 
comments on other aspects of program implementation are invited to do 
so. The docket number noted in the beginning of this notice should be 

Section IV--Solicitation of Applications for FY 2001 Grants

    As in previous years, applications for FY 2001 grants are to be 
sent to the division office in the State where the applicant is located 
or to the division office in the lead State, where a project is in more 
than one State.

    Note: Please provide 3 copies of grant applications.

    When sending in applications, the States and MPOs must understand 
that a qualified project may or may not be selected. It may be 
necessary to supplement NCPD and CBI program funds with other Federal-
aid and/or other funds to complete a useable project or product. 
Allocations of FY 2001 funds will be made considering the degree to 
which proposed projects are viable and implementation schedules are 
    While there is no prescribed format for project submission, the 
FHWA has provided a sample application format. If used, this format 
provides all the information needed to fairly evaluate candidate 
projects. The summary section is a particularly important piece of the 
submittal package, since the information in the summary is to be used 
for congressional notification in case the project is selected for 
allocation. The FHWA expects that, except for especially complex or 
geographically extensive projects, applications (excluding the corridor 
plan which is to be a separate document) would not exceed 12 pages in 
length and the summary would be one page in length. Applications that 
do not include all the described information may be considered 
incomplete. The sample application format and summary format are:

Format for Application for NCPD or CBI Discretionary Funds

    1. State (if a multistate or multi MPO project, list the lead 
State/MPO and participating States/MPO);
    2. Congressional high priority corridor number(s), if applicable;
    3. County(ies) or Parish(es);
    4. U.S. Congressional District(s) and name of U.S. 
Representative(s) in the District(s);
    5. Project Location, including a map or maps (no more than two, 
except for extraordinarily complex projects) with U.S., State, local 
numbered routes and other important facilities clearly identified;
    6. Project objectives and benefits;
    7. Proposed work, identifying which specific element(s) of work 
corresponds to each of the list of eligible NCPD and/or CBI work types 
and disaggregating the work into phases, if applicable;
    8. Planning, programming, coordinating and scheduling status: 
Identifying whether the project is included, or expected to be 
included, in State and MPO plans and programs (e.g., STIPs and TIPs); 
noting consistency with plans and programs as developed by empowerment 
zone and enterprise community organizations; noting consistency with 
air quality plans; noting coordination with inspection agencies and 
with Canada and Mexico; and, stating the expected project initiation, 
milestone and/or project component completion and overall project 
completion dates;
    9. Current and projected traffic (auto, heavy truck, and, if 
applicable, light truck, pedestrian, bicycle, transit vehicle, railcar, 
etc.) and motor carrier and highway safety information for significant 
facilities integral to the project;
    10. Financial information and projections, including: Total 
estimated cost of improvement to the overall corridor or border 
facility; a listing by year and source of previous funding (if part of 
a larger project, this should include previous funding for the overall 
project) from all sources; and a listing, by year, amount and source, 
of other funds committed to the project or useable portions of the 
    11. Infrastructure condition information, applicable to 
infrastructure improvement projects where, at the time of the 
application, the facilities to be improved are reasonably known;
    12. Information regarding ownership, applicable to infrastructure 
improvement projects where, at the time of the application, the 
facilities to be improved are reasonably known;
    13. Maintenance responsibility applicable to infrastructure 
improvement projects where, at the time of application, the facilities 
to be improved are reasonably known;
    14a. Other information needed to specifically address the seven 
selection criteria for NCPD program funding (e.g., increase in 
commercial traffic); and/or
    14b. Other information needed to specifically address the eight 
selection criteria for CBI program funding (e.g., reduction in travel 
    15. Amount of NCPD program and/or CBI program funds requested, as 
well as written confirmation of the source and amount of non-Federal 
funds that make up the non-Federal share of the project;
    16. Willingness to accept partial funding including, if applicable, 
the minimum amount of discretionary funding that will result in a 
useable product or project (If not unambiguously indicated, the FHWA

[[Page 37826]]

will construe that partial funding is acceptable);
    17a. The priority within the State (or lead State) assigned to the 
application, relative to other applications submitted by that State, 
that is a clearly defined e.g., priority one or priority two, (not a 
qualified priority such as priority one for CBI or priority one for 
planning); or
    17b. If applicable, the reason(s) why a priority was not assigned 
or why an ambiguous priority was assigned;
    18. Public endorsements of, expectations for or opposition to the 
project by public and private organizations who expect to use the work 
to be funded by the grant as well as those who expect to benefit or be 
adversely affected, directly or indirectly, from such work (a summary 
of such endorsements, delineating the oral from the written, and if 
appropriate, the extent of the support, is needed; however, copies of 
endorsements are not needed and should not be included in the 
    19a. A summary of the corridor plan, for those applications for the 
NCPD program where the work to be funded includes environmental review 
or construction and where the project is not on a corridor identified 
by section 1105(c) of the ISTEA, as amended (for other NCPD 
applications this item is optional);
    19b. Corridor plan, separate from the rest of the application, for 
those applications for the NCPD program where the work to be funded 
includes environmental review or construction;
    20. Performance measures in support of the FHWA Strategic Plan; and
    21. Summary sheet covering basic project information to be used for 
congressional notification if the project is selected for funding (see 

    Format for SUMMARY SHEET.
    Application for NCPD or CBI Discretionary Funds.
    Grantee: List full name of agency.
    U.S. Representative/Senator(s): List full names.
    Governor/Mayor(s): List full names.
    Project: Short name and brief description of project (e.g., This 
project provides for widening by one lane in each direction of * * * 
extending from * * * in the vicinity of * * * to * * * in the 
vicinity of * * * a distance of * * * This improvement will serve * 
* * and * * * will result in major safety/time savings * * * to * * 
    FHWA Funds Requested: Exclude non-Federal share.
    Other Funds Committed: Specify source and amounts.
    Other Support: List agencies providing substantive assistance.
    Other Important Information: (e.g., improved access to Indian 
Reservation, expected improvement to local economy, specify phase of 
project or corridor development, specify on going projects that will 
be coordinated with this one, identify environmental features, 
construction scheduling--all if appropriate).

(Authority: 23 U.S.C. 315; secs. 1118 and 1119, Pub. L. 105-178, 112 
Stat. 107, at 161 (1998); and 49 CFR 1.48)

    Issued on: June 13, 2000.
Cynthia J. Burbank,
Program Manager, Environment and Planning.
[FR Doc. 00-15320 Filed 6-15-00; 8:45 am]