[Federal Register Volume 66, Number 88 (Monday, May 7, 2001)]
[Pages 23073-23077]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 01-11402]



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 intent to apply 
for fiscal year (FY) 2002 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 
discretionary grant programs 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: Intentions to make grant applications should be received by FHWA 
Division Offices no later than July 6, 2001. Specific information 
required for intentions to make grant applications is provided in 
Section IV of this notice. Comments on program implementation should be 
sent as soon as appropriate. The FHWA will consider comments received 
in developing the FY 2002 and FY 2003 solicitations of grant 
applications as well as the implementation of the NCPD/CBI program. 
More information on the type of comments sought by the FHWA is provided 
in Section III of this notice.

ADDRESSES: Submit written, signed comments on program implementation 
for fiscal year FY 2003 to FHWA Docket No. FHWA-2000-7392, 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 
    Intent to make applications for FY 2002 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-10, (202) 366-5010; 
or for legal issues: Mr. Robert Black, Office of the Chief Counsel, 
HCC-30, (202) 366-1359; 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://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: 

[[Page 23074]]


    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 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 operational 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.
    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). Program 
funds are limited by the requirements of section 1102 (Obligation 
Ceiling) of the TEA-21. Further, projects selected for funding have 
been and may again be affected by legislative language, colloquially 
called `earmarks', placed in Federal law or related reports. This 
latter situation was the case in both FY 2000 and FY 2001. In these 
situations, the solicitation was made in August 1999 and June 2000 
respectively and, in both cases, Congressional direction a few months 
later established project specific language. As a matter of long 
standing general policy, the FHWA opposes project specific legislative 
language. However, subsequent to the inclusion of such language in law 
or related reports, the FHWA makes program administration decisions 
respecting the authority Congress has to develop such language.
    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. Based on the factors noted 
above (i.e., obligation limitations and legislative language), the FHWA 
anticipates that between $20 million and $130 million will be available 
for allocation for projects.
    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 2002, must therefore be obligated during FY 
2002 or have the FY 2002 obligation authority withdrawn for 
    This notice includes four sections:

Section I--Program Background and Implementation of the NCPD/CBI 
discretionary program in FY 2001
Section II--Eligibility and Selection Criteria for FY 2002 grants
Section III--Request for comments on program implementation in FY 2002, 
FY 2003
Section IV--Solicitation of applicants for FY 2002 grants

Section I--Program Background, Implementation of the NCPD/CBI 
Discretionary Program in FY 2001 and changes for FY 2002

    The FHWA implements the NCPD/CBI programs with specific goals. In 
developing the FY 2002 solicitation, the FHWA will consider the 
following: Comments received at outreach sessions; information received 
during program discussions within the DOT; and information received 
during discussions between officials. In FY 1999, the FHWA established 
program implementation goals. They 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 2000 and FY 2001, the FHWA retained these program 
implementation goals. However, overarching these program goals were 
FHWA and DOT strategic goals established in those years which resulted 
in a program emphasis on four specific areas (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 FY 2002, as noted below in Section II, Evaluation 
Considerations for both the NCPD and the CBI Program, there may be a 
goal(s) added regarding the safety of commercial vehicles in the region 
near the U.S. border with Mexico. Emphasis areas are not available for 
this solicitation of intent to submit full applications for FY 2002. 
Emphasis areas may be established for the solicitation of full 

Summary of Selection Process--FY 2001

    The FHWA received approximately 150 applications for NCPD/CBI 
funding, all of which were at least partially eligible for 
consideration (e.g., some applications included work components that 
were not eligible and also included work components that were 
eligible). The requests for funding totaled approximately $2 billion. 
Both the number of applications and requested funding were about the 
same as in FY 1999 and FY 2000. Approximately 66 percent of the total 
funds awarded and 61 percent of the projects funded for FY 2001 were 
for projects cited in Congressional language. The legislative language 
containing these citations for FY 2001 is available at URL: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep10/corbor/fy01earmark.html.
    As in FY 1999 and FY 2000, 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). This panel reviewed 
the FY 2001 applications and tabulated summaries of applications. The 
evaluation panel identified individual applications that were ``well 
qualified'' and those which were ``qualified'' based on summary 
information prepared by the FHWA program office (e.g., positive aspects 
and other aspects of each application). We expect to follow a similar 
process with

[[Page 23075]]

the FY 2002 full grant applications for funds available after 
legislative language is considered.
    On November 3, 2000, then U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. 
Slater announced that $123 million in grants would be provided to 32 
states for 50 projects and to the General Services Administration for 
four other projects as part of the NCPD/CBI programs for FY 2001. The 
FY 2001 NCPD/CBI program grant recipients, by state, project and total 
allocation, are listed at the URL: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep10/corbor/fy01awards.html. These include both projects cited in 
legislative language and projects not cited in legislative language. In 
addition, section 1311 of the TEA-21, as amended, requires a report for 
the fiscal quarter covering the FY 2001 selections, containing the 
reasons for selection of projects. At the time of this notice, the 
report is not available. When completed, it will also be available on 
FHWA's website: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/discretionary/quarterly.html.

Summary of Comments to Docket No. FHWA-2000-7392

    On June 16, 2000, at 65 FR 37819, the FHWA published a notice, 
requesting comments on how the NCPD/CBI programs implementation could 
be improved in FY 2002, 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 implementation goals established for the program.
    One comment was posted. This was a letter from Senator Jon Kyl of 
Arizona expressing his support for an application for funding for the 
Hoover Dam bypass. The FHWA considered Senator Kyl's support in the FY 
2001 award process.

Other Program Evaluation Information Received

    The FHWA has received information on program implementation through 
a number of instruments. One is by reading and analyzing the 
applications themselves. Another is through post-award feedback from 
applicants who have, through the FHWA field division offices, requested 
a debriefing from the FHWA program office regarding how their 
application was evaluated. Still another is through NCPD/CBI related 
discussions between applicants and other grant seeking interests, FHWA 
division offices and the FHWA program office at a wide variety of 
meetings that take place during the year on project, program, or policy 
matters. A substantial amount of the information was received from 
coordinators, evaluators, preparers, reviewers and/or supporters of 
specific grant applications or groups of grant applications. Many such 
persons felt time and effort had been wasted, or partially wasted, 
because projects selected which were cited in legislative language 
effectively reduced the consideration provided to the applications in 
which they were directly involved.

Changes in the FY 2002 Process from Previous Years

    Based on consideration of the above, the FHWA is proposing to 
change the solicitation process for FY 2002. A full solicitation for FY 
2002 will not occur until after Congress has passed and the President 
has signed an Appropriations Act for the Department of Transportation. 
Instead, at this time, the FHWA is soliciting only statements of intent 
to submit an application. Several factors contributed to this decision. 
First, as noted previously, a substantial number of projects were cited 
in legislative language in FY 2000 and FY 2001, restricting the 
Department's discretion in making selections and there is a substantial 
possibility that this will occur in FY 2002. Second, without a 
realistic idea of the funds available to support applications State and 
MPOs unnecessarily expend resources developing and coordinating 
detailed applications. Third, by soliciting intent at this time and 
deferring submission of the complete applications, the immediate 
paperwork burden on States and MPOs will likely be reduced while 
allowing additional time for coordination of projects for which an 
application is ultimately made. Fourth, by soliciting intent at this 
time, the FHWA will, if Congress requests information on interest in 
the program, be able to provide such information to Congress 
contemporaneously with development of Appropriations legislation and 
related reports. Finally, as noted below in Section IV, States and MPOs 
that do not send in a statement of intent may subsequently respond to 
any solicitation for full applications, assuming there is a reasonable 
basis for doing so, i.e., an explanation which sets forth the reasons 
why a statement of intent was not submitted.

Section II--Eligibility and Selection Criteria for FY 2002 Grants

    In general, the eligibility and selection criteria for FY 2002 
grants are expected to be the same as those used for FY 2001 grants 
with only minor modifications (e.g., possibly different emphasis 
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'').
    Work in the pre-feasibility stage of a project, e.g., development 
of metropolitan and State plans and programs, is not considered 
eligible for support with Federal aid under section 1118 funds. Project 
development planning and multistate planning coordination are eligible 
for such support.
    The FHWA construes the phrase ``environmental review,'' as used 
above, as being the portion of the environmental documentation 
requiring formal interagency review. Examples of such documentation are 
the environmental assessment/finding of no significant impact (EA/
FONSI) and the environmental impact statement (EIS). 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 the FHWA approval of 
the draft EIS (or equivalent) would not be eligible for such support 
until review of the corridor plan. Subsequent to review of the corridor 
plan, 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 

[[Page 23076]]

    2. Construction of highways and related safety and safety 
enforcement facilities that will facilitate vehicle and 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 TEA-21 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 TEA-21 provides criteria to be used in identifying corridors, 
in addition to those statutorily designated for eligibility. The 
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 underserved 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 TEA-21 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 agencies and organizations (e.g., business association, 
civic, county, municipal, utility) 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

    In addition to the statutory criteria for each program, there are 
some considerations that apply to both programs since both are funded 
by a single funding source. One such consideration is that during the 
evaluation process, applications for both programs are evaluated by a 
single evaluation panel comprised of officials from various offices 
within the DOT, not just the FHWA (this process is described above in 
more detail in the Summary of Selection Process). The use of non-FHWA 
personnel in evaluating applications should be understood by applicants 
as a statement by the FHWA that non-highway issues are an important 
project selection consideration. Another consideration is that, as the 
concept of equity and congressional priority were important in the 
development of the TEA-21, national geographic distribution among all 
discretionary programs and congressional direction or guidance will be 
considered 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 expects to consider the 
following in each grant application:
    1. Likelihood of expeditious completion of a useable project or 
    2. Amount of the program grant request in comparison to likely 
accomplishments (e.g., grant requests that exceed about 10 percent of 

[[Page 23077]]

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 funding).
    3. Clarity and conciseness of the grant application in submission 
of the required information, especially regarding the work to be 
accomplished and the source and amount of the non federal share of 
    4. 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).
    5. The extent to which the project may be eligible under both the 
NCPD and the CBI program.
    6. Other quantitative information that relates to the strategic 
goals of the FHWA, the other DOT modal agencies and the DOT as a whole 
at the time of the full solicitation. At the time of this notice, the 
FHWA anticipates that a goal(s) related to the safety of commercial 
vehicles in the region near the U.S. border with Mexico will be 
important at the time full applications are evaluated and selected.

Section III--Request for Comments on Program Implementation in FY 2002, 
FY 2003.

    The FHWA is specifically requesting comments NCPD/CBI 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. Commenters should 
reference the docket number noted in the beginning of this notice.

Section IV--Solicitation of Intent to submit Applications for FY 2002 

    As explained earlier, the FHWA is requesting only statements of 
intent to submit grant applications at this time. Send such statements 
of intent to submit applications for grants to the division office in 
the State where the applicant is located. If a project is located in 
more than one State, send the application to the division office in the 
lead State. The FHWA will not penalize a State or MPO that, subsequent 
to the Appropriations Act and subsequent solicitation for full 
applications, chooses not to apply for funding or submits an 
application that is close to but not the same as the submittal of 
intent or where priorities are reestablished between the submittal of 
intent and the submittal of the application. In fact, the FHWA expects 
project definitions and priorities to evolve in complex and/or 
multistate projects. Future applications will not be precluded if the 
State or MPO did not submit their intent in response to this request. 
However, those States or MPOs must demonstrate a reasonable basis for 
failing to submit their intent as requested. The FHWA anticipates that 
the actual format for full applications will be very similar to that of 
FY 2001 with a decrease in the amount of narrative requested on some 
points and some additional clarification of financial information. 
However, the suggested format for the intent to submit is as follows:

Format for Intention to Submit an 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. Work to be funded and location of work to be funded.
    3. Amount of federal funds to be requested.
    4. State priority, as of time the intent is established.

    Note 1: Please provide 2 copies of intention to submit a grant 

    Note 2: Assuming that funds are available for discretionary 
allocation, the FHWA would solicit full applications for such funds. 
Awards for the funds available for discretionary allocation should 
be expected to be announced by late spring calendar 2002.

(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: April 27, 2001.
Vincent F. Schimmoller,
Deputy Executive Director, Federal Highway Administration.
[FR Doc. 01-11402 Filed 5-4-01; 8:45 am]