[Federal Register Volume 69, Number 114 (Tuesday, June 15, 2004)]
[Pages 33456-33458]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 04-13391]



Federal Highway Administration

AMBER Plan Implementation Assistance Program; Request for 

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice; request for applications.


SUMMARY: This document requests applications for assistance from public 
agencies to implement State and local departments of transportation 
aspects of AMBER Plan Programs in each State. The FHWA AMBER Plan 
Implementation Assistance Program will provide grants to States 
(including Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia) to implement plans 
and programs that have been developed to include State and local 
transportation agencies and their resources into AMBER Plan Programs. 
The intent is to provide funds to States for the purpose of 
implementing systems and procedures that have been identified as 
necessary to incorporate various traveler information systems such as 
changeable message signs (CMS) in the issuance of child abduction or 
AMBER Alerts.

DATES: Applications for AMBER Plan Implementation Assistance must be 
received prior to July 16, 2004, to receive funding in fiscal year 
2004. Applications for AMBER Plan Implementation Assistance must be 
received prior to July 15, 2005, to receive funding in fiscal year 
2005. Decisions regarding the acceptance of specific applications for 
funding will be made within 30 business days of receipt.

ADDRESSES: Applications for AMBER Plan Implementation Assistance should 
be submitted electronically via e-mail to [email protected], or 
mailed directly to the Federal Highway Administration, Office of 
Transportation Management--AMBER Plan Implementation (HOTM-1), 400 
Seventh St., SW., Room 3401, Washington, DC 20590-0001.

Transportation Management (HOTM-1), (202) 366-2194; or Ms. Gloria 
Hardiman-Tobin, Office of Chief Counsel (HCC-40), (202) 366-0780; 
Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, 400 
Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001. Office hours are from 8 
a.m. to 4:30 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal 


Electronic Access

    An electronic copy of this document may be downloaded using a 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.archives.gov/federal_register and the Government Printing 
Office's Web page at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/nara.
    The document may also be viewed at the FHWA's Operations home page 
at http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov.


    The AMBER Plan Program is a voluntary program where law enforcement 
agencies partner with broadcasters to issue an urgent bulletin in the 
most serious child abduction cases. These bulletins notify the public

[[Page 33457]]

about abductions of children. The FHWA recognizes the value of the 
AMBER Plan Program and fully supports the State and local governments' 
choice to implement this program.
    Alerts of serious child abductions may be communicated through 
various means including radio and television stations, highway advisory 
radio, changeable message signs (CMS), and other media. Under certain 
circumstances, using CMS to display child abduction messages as part of 
an AMBER Plan Program has been determined to be consistent with FHWA 
policy governing the use of CMS and the type of messages that are 
displayed. The FHWA issued a policy memorandum in August 2002 that 
supports the use of CMS for AMBER Alerts. This memorandum may be viewed 
at the following url: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/legsregs/directives/policy/AMBERmemo.htm.
    On February 12, 2003, the FHWA published a notice in the Federal 
Register at 68 FR 7164, requesting applications from States for AMBER 
Plan Program Assistance. These grants of up to $125,000 were to 
facilitate the inclusion of State and local transportation agencies 
into existing or proposed AMBER Plan Programs. Of specific interest to 
the FHWA were the development of policies and procedures to provide 
specific guidance on displaying AMBER Alert or child abduction messages 
on CMS and the improvement of communication systems and protocols 
between public safety and transportation agencies. The notice expressly 
prohibited the procurement of roadside or in-vehicle devices with AMBER 
Plan Program Assistance funding. As of June 1, 2004, 37 States and the 
District of Columbia have received funding for AMBER Plan Program 
Assistance. The remaining 13 States and Puerto Rico have until July 16, 
2004 to apply for AMBER Plan Program Assistance grants.
    The Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to End the Exploitation 
of Children Today (PROTECT) Act of 2003 (Pub. L. 108-21, 117 Stat. 650) 
incorporated the AMBER Plan Program Assistance into section 303(b). 
Section 303(c) of the PROTECT Act of 2003 provides for implementation 
grants and is the basis for this AMBER Plan Implementation Assistance 

Objectives of the AMBER Plan Implementation Assistance Program

    The FHWA AMBER Plan Implementation Assistance Program will provide 
up to $20 million in total grants to States (including Puerto Rico and 
the District of Columbia) to implement enhancements of notification or 
communications systems along highways for alerts and other information 
for the recovery of abducted children. The intent is to improve the 
overall capability of communicating child abduction, AMBER Alerts and 
other important information to motorists using CMS or other traveler 
information systems.
    Each State (including Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia) may 
apply for a grant of up to $400,000 to be used in implementing its plan 
or program developed for the use of CMS or other motorist information 
systems to notify motorists about abductions of children. A State shall 
be eligible for an AMBER Plan Implementation Assistance Program grant 
if the Secretary of Transportation, or his delegated official, 
determines that the State has developed a State program in accordance 
with section 303(b) of the PROTECT Act of 2003.


    The instrument to provide funding, on a cost reimbursable basis, 
will be a Federal-aid project agreement. Federal funding authority is 
derived from section 303(h) of the PROTECT Act of 2003. Actual award of 
funds will be subject to funding availability.
    Federal funding for AMBER Plan Implementation Assistance may be 
used as necessary to implement local plans and programs developed in 
accordance with section 303(b) of the PROTECT Act of 2003. Eligible 
activities may include, but are not limited to: acquisition and 
installation of CMS and other roadside motorist information equipment; 
communications and power for roadside devices; systems necessary to 
provide for wide area alerts to motorists; enhanced communications 
between public safety, law enforcement and transportation agencies to 
improve notifications of child abductions or provide for 24-hour 
operation of motorist alert systems; and other services or systems to 
support the timely notification to motorists about abductions of 

Matching Share/Cost Sharing

    Section 303(d) of the PROTECT Act of 2003 mandates that the Federal 
share of the cost of activities supported by an AMBER Plan Assistance 
Program grant may not exceed 80 percent. The remaining minimum twenty 
percent matching share must be from non-federally derived funding 
sources, and must consist of either cash, substantial equipment 
contributions that are wholly utilized as an integral part of the 
project, or personnel services dedicated full-time to the project for a 
substantial period, as long as such personnel are not otherwise 
supported with Federal funds.\1\ The non-federally derived funding may 
come from State, local government, or private sector partners. However, 
funding identified to support continued operations, maintenance, and 
management of the system will not be considered as part of the 
partnership's cost-share contribution.

    \1\ See Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2004, Pub. L. 108-99, 
118 Stat. 3, 289.

    Grantees shall maintain financial records that detail the 
activities provided by Federal funding, indicating appropriate total 
matching requirements, as described under the heading, Matching Share/
Cost Sharing. The FHWA and the Comptroller General of the United States 
have the right to access all documents pertaining to the use of Federal 
funds and non-Federal contributions. Grantees and sub-grantees are 
responsible for obtaining audits in accordance with the Single Audit 
Act Amendments of 1996 (31 U.S.C. 7501-7507) and revised Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-133, Audits of States, Local 
Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations, dated June 30, 1997, as 
revised, that is available at the following url: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars/a133/a133.html. The audits shall be 
conducted by an independent auditor in accordance with generally 
accepted government auditing standards covering financial audits found 
at 49 CFR 18.26.

Instructions to Applicants

    An application for AMBER Plan Implementation Assistance Program 
shall consist of two parts: (1) a proposed technical approach; and (2) 
a financial plan. Together these two elements must describe the 
proposed activities to be conducted with this funding. The complete 
application, excluding appendices, shall not exceed 15 pages in length, 
including the Technical Approach, the Financial Plan, the title page, 
index, tables and any appendices. A page is defined as one side of an 
8\1/2\ by 11-inch paper, with a type font no smaller than 12 point.
    Applications shall be submitted in an electronic format compatible 
with Microsoft Office 2000. The cover sheet or title page of the 
application shall include the name, address, phone number, and e-mail 
address of an individual to whom correspondence and questions about the 
application may be directed. Any portion of the application or its 
contents that may

[[Page 33458]]

contain proprietary information shall be clearly indicated; otherwise, 
the application and its contents shall be non-proprietary.

Application Content

    Applicants must submit an acceptable Technical Approach and 
Financial Plan that together provide sound evidence that the objectives 
of this program can successfully be completed in a timely fashion.
    Applications should be organized into the following two sections:

1. Technical Approach

    The application should briefly summarize the plan that was 
developed for the use of CMS or other motorist information systems to 
notify motorists about abductions of children, and identify the 
activities that are to be funded with this grant. The plan should be 
included as an appendix to the application. The following paragraphs 
illustrate the general information that applicants should include in 
this section of the application.
    (A) The application should identify the specific activities to be 
funded by the grant and their relation to the plan that was developed 
for the use of CMS or other motorist information systems to notify 
motorists about abductions of children, in accordance with section 
303(b) of the PROTECT Act of 2003.
    (B) The application should include a schedule or timeline for 
completion of the proposed activities for which the grant will be used. 
The schedule should include milestone events or targeted activities, 
especially indicating any activities that require FHWA actions or 
actions by organizations typically not influenced by the applying 

2. Financial Plan

    The Financial Plan should demonstrate that sufficient funding is 
available to successfully complete all aspects of the proposed 
implementation as identified in the plan described in section 1. 
Additionally, the Financial Plan shall provide the financial 
information described under the heading, Matching Share/Cost Sharing.
    An acceptable Financial Plan should:
    (A) Provide a clear identification of the proposed funding to 
implement the plan that was developed for the use of changeable message 
signs or other motorist information systems to notify motorists about 
abductions of children. The Financial Plan shall include a commitment 
that no more than 80 percent of the total cost will be supported by 
Federal funds. Financial commitments from other public agencies and 
from private firms should be documented appropriately, for example, 
through memorandums of understanding.
    (B) Describe how the proposed activities to be funded will be 
conducted to ensure their timely implementation and the continued long-
term operation.
    (C) As appropriate, include corresponding public and/or private 
investments that minimize the relative percentage and amount of Federal 
funds. Also include evidence of continuing fiscal capacity and 
commitment from anticipated public and private sources.

    Authority: Sec. 303, Pub. L. 108-21, 117 Stat. 650, 662-663, 42 
U.S.C. 5791b; 23 U.S.C. 315.

    Issued on: June 7, 2004.
J. Richard Capka,
Deputy Administrator, Federal Highway Administration.
[FR Doc. 04-13391 Filed 6-14-04; 8:45 am]