[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 171 (Tuesday, September 5, 2006)]
[Pages 52364-52367]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E6-14634]



Corridors of the Future Program

AGENCY: Department of Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Notice; request for applications.


SUMMARY: The purpose of this notice is to solicit applications from 
interested parties to participate in the Corridors of the Future 
Program (CFP) selection process. The goal of the CFP is to accelerate 
the development of multi-State transportation Corridors of the Future 
for one or more transportation modes, by selecting up to 5 major 
transportation corridors in need of investment for the purpose of 
reducing congestion. The Federal government has an important role to 
play in facilitating and accelerating multi-State investments. States 
are encouraged to work together and with private sector partners to 
develop multi-State corridor proposals to advance project development 
and seek alternative financial opportunities. CFP projects may augment 
an existing transportation corridor or may develop entirely new 
    Applications will be submitted in a two-step process. In the first 
step, the Applicant will submit a Corridor Proposal (Proposal) 
containing general information about the proposed Corridor project 
(Corridor). A Proposal may be submitted by one State, multiple States, 
or a private sector entity, and at this stage does not require the 
concurrence of all affected States. After the Proposal has been 
reviewed, the Applicant may be asked to proceed to the second step in 
the process by submitting an Application with more detailed information 
about the project.

DATES: Proposals must be received on or before October 23, 2006. The 
due date for Applications will be April 2, 2007.

ADDRESSES: Interested parties should submit Proposals to Mr. James D. 
Ray, Chief Counsel, Federal Highway Administration, 400 Seventh Street, 
SW., Room 4213, Washington, DC 20590 or electronically to 
[email protected].

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Michael W. Harkins, Attorney-
Advisor, (202) 366-4928 ([email protected]), or Ms. Alla C. Shaw, 
Attorney-Advisor, (202) 366-1042 ([email protected]), Federal Highway 
Administration, Office of the Chief Counsel, 400 Seventh Street, SW., 
Room 4230, Washington, DC 20590. Office hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 5 
p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.


Electronic Access and Filing

    An electronic copy of this document may also be downloaded from the 
Office of the Federal Register's home page at: http://www.archives.gov 
and the Government Printing Office's Web page at: http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara.


    The DOT is establishing a Corridors of the Future selection process 
to accelerate the development of multi-State, and possibly multi-use, 
transportation corridors to help reduce congestion. The DOT is seeking 
applications from either public or private sector entities to identify 
and advance multi-State transportation corridor investments that can 
alleviate current or forecasted congestion. Through this selection 
process, the DOT will select up to 5 Corridors in need of investment.
    Congestion is one of the single largest threats to America's 
economic prosperity and way of life. Former Secretary of Transportation 
Norman Y. Mineta framed the problem earlier this year:

    If power blackouts drained billions of dollars from the economy 
each year, it would be considered a crisis of unacceptable 
proportion. Yet many accept the fact that Americans squander 3.7 
billion hours and 2.3 billion gallons of fuel each year sitting in 
traffic jams and waste $9.4 billion as a result

[[Page 52365]]

of airline delays. Even worse, congestion takes a major bite out of 
our day--time that could be spent with families, friends, and 

    \1\ Remarks made by Secretary Mineta to the National Retail 
Federation, May 16, 2006.

    Congestion now draws close to $200 billion per year from the U.S. 
    In an effort to combat the growing problems of congestion, 
Secretary Mineta launched the DOT's ``National Strategy to Reduce 
Congestion on America's Transportation Network'' in May 2006. The 
Strategy consists of a 6-point plan, including the Corridors of the 
Future selection process, designed both to reduce congestion in the 
short-term and to build the foundation for successful longer-term 
congestion reduction efforts.\2\

    \2\ In addition to the Corridors of the Future selection 
process, the ``National Strategy to Reduce Congestion on America's 
Transportation Network'' also includes the following five areas of 
emphasis: (1) Relieve urban congestion; (2) Unleash private sector 
investment resources; (3) Promote operational and technological 
improvements; (4) Target major freight bottlenecks and expand 
freight policy outreach; and (5) Accelerate major aviation capacity 
projects and provide a future funding framework for the aviation 


    The primary objectives of the CFP are to:
    A. Promote innovative national and regional approaches to 
congestion mitigation.
    B. Address major transportation investment needs.
    C. Illustrate the benefits of alternative financial models that 
involve private sector capital.
    D. Promote a more efficient environmental review and project 
development process.
    E. Develop corridors that will increase freight system reliability 
and enhance the quality of life for U.S. citizens.
    F. Demonstrate the viability of a transportation investment model 
based on sound economics and market principles.

Application Process

    The application process consists of two phases: The submission of a 
Corridor Proposal followed by an invitation to submit a formal 
application. Each phase is discussed below.

A. Phase 1: Corridor Proposal

    A State, multiple States or a private entity (Applicant) interested 
in the CFP should submit a Corridor Proposal to the DOT. The length of 
the Proposal should not exceed ten single-spaced pages. The Proposal 
should, in general terms, describe the Corridor, including its purpose, 
location, preliminary design features, rough estimate of capital cost, 
proposed delivery schedule, likely financing mechanism(s), traffic 
trends (on competing corridors if a new corridor is being proposed), 
and information about the status of agreement among the States to 
advance the proposed Corridor. Private entities should consult with 
relevant State transportation agencies and Governors' offices prior to 
submitting a Proposal. Corridor proposals may include new capacity 
development or upgrades/extensions of existing capacity, but the 
proposals should involve two or more States. The Applicant should also 
state whether the proposed Corridor will cross any Federal or Indian 
lands. To the extent the proposed Corridor is already in development, 
the Applicant should describe broadly the remaining activities that 
must be undertaken.
    The Applicant may be requested to submit additional information if 
more information is needed at this stage. The Applicant should estimate 
the length of time needed before it would have the necessary 
information and concurrences needed to submit a detailed Corridor 
Application, discussed below. The deadline for submitting a Proposal is 
October 23, 2006. If an Applicant submits a Proposal after the October 
23 deadline, the Proposal will be considered to the extent practicable 
but will not necessarily be eligible to advance to the next step in the 
Application process during the first phase.
    If a Proposal is accepted for the final competition, the Applicant 
will be invited to submit a Corridor Application, discussed below. The 
DOT intends to announce the first phase of Corridor Proposals for 
further consideration by the middle of November 2006.

B. Phase 2: Corridor Application

    If an Applicant is invited to submit a Corridor Application 
(Application) for the CFP, the Application must be received not later 
than April 2, 2007, unless an extension is granted in writing by the 
FHWA Chief Counsel at his discretion in response to a written request 
for an extension. All Federal, State, and Indian tribal governments 
that own property which will be directly impacted by the proposed 
Corridor should concur in the Application. The DOT intends to announce 
the initial CFP Corridors approved for further development after spring 
    The Application should address each of the following:
1. Physical Description
    The Application should include a detailed description of the 
proposed interstate transportation Corridor, including a map detailing 
the Corridor and its connection to existing transportation 
2. Congestion Reduction
    The proposed Corridor may address current or future congestion in 
any transportation mode(s). For each mode included in the Application, 
the Applicant should describe where and how the proposed Corridor would 
(i) reduce current congestion levels or (ii) address future expected 
congestion based on projected travel trends and demographic changes in 
the proposed Corridor. The Applicant should discuss the national impact 
of the Corridor on freight and/or traffic congestion. The congestion 
reduction discussion should include all relevant data related to the 
proposed congestion relief benefits of the Corridor.
3. Mobility Improvements
    The Application should describe how the Corridor would provide 
increased mobility of people and freight. Whether the proposed Corridor 
is on a new or existing alignment, the Application should explain how 
transportation technologies would be used to benefit users by reducing 
congestion and enhancing the mobility and efficiency of the proposed 
Corridor. Examples of mobility improvements include the use of 
intelligent transportation systems, traffic conditions monitoring, 
computerized traffic control systems, traveler information systems, 
electronic toll collection, and open road tolling.
4. Economic Benefits and Support of Commerce
    The Application should explain how the proposed Corridor would 
support U.S. economic growth. The Application should also provide an 
estimate of the percentage of overall Corridor traffic that is likely 
to be freight traffic.
5. Value to the Users of the Corridor
    The Application should describe the benefits of the proposed 
Corridor to its users. Potential benefits include: Reduced travel time; 
increased safety; faster and more convenient access to intermodal 
facilities, such as rail and port terminals; faster and more convenient 
access to terminals for commercial vehicles; environmental benefits; 
truck-only lanes; and increased travel speeds.

[[Page 52366]]

6. Innovations in Project Delivery and Finance
    The Application should highlight any innovative project delivery 
and financing features proposed for the Corridor. The Applicant should 
address the eligibility of the proposed project for credit assistance 
under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance Innovation Act (TIFIA) 
and Private Activity Bonds.
7. Exceptional Environmental Stewardship
    The Application should describe any proposed innovative methods for 
completing the environmental review process effectively, and/or any 
exceptional proposed measures for avoiding or mitigating air, noise, or 
water impacts, or impacts to environmental or cultural resources.
8. Finance Plan and Potential Private Sector Participation
    The Applicant should submit an initial plan that identifies 
potential sources of financing and the private sector's likely role. 
This may include proposals for private sector financial contribution to 
the proposed Corridor. Private sector participation can encompass a 
wide range of contractual arrangements by which public (Federal, State, 
or local) authorities and private entities collaborate in the 
financing, development, operation, and ownership of a transportation 
infrastructure project. Potential contractual arrangements for the 
Corridor include but are not limited to:
    a. Long-term concessions or franchise agreements;
    b. Design, Build, Operate and Maintain contracts;
    c. Design Build Finance Operate contracts;
    d. Build Own Operate contracts; and
    e. Design Build contracts.
    The Applicant should describe the efficiencies likely to result 
from private sector participation, as well as the process likely to be 
used to ensure robust competition among private financial entities
9. Proposed Project Time-Line
    The Application should include a proposed project time-line with 
estimated start and completion dates for major elements of the proposed 
Corridor such as:
    a. Development phase activities (planning, feasibility analysis, 
revenue forecasting, environmental review, preliminary engineering and 
design work, and other preconstruction activities);
    b. Construction, reconstruction, and/or rehabilitation activities; 
    c. Acquisition of real property (including land related to the 
project and improvements to land).
    The Application also should describe the results of any preliminary 
engineering or preconstruction activities done to date and relate it to 
the project time-line.

CFP Development Agreement

    After a Corridor is accepted for administration under the CFP, the 
next major action would be to work with the coalition of States, 
municipalities, Indian tribal government(s), and Federal agencies 
(collectively referred to as the Coalition) to draft a CFP Development 
Agreement for the Corridor (CFPDA). The CFPDA would address the 
commitments of all parties to the Corridor (Federal, State, municipal 
and private) with respect to the financing, planning and design, 
environmental process, construction, operations, maintenance, and other 
components of the Corridor. The CFPDA would also identify the specific 
objectives of the Corridor and performance measures that would be used 
to evaluate the success of the Corridor in achieving these objectives.

DOT Resources and Commitments To Expedite the Delivery of the Corridor

    If a Corridor is selected for participation in the CFP, the DOT 
will work with the Coalition to expedite the delivery of the Corridor. 
Potential DOT resources and commitments include:

A. Coordination of a More Efficient Environmental Review Process

    Corridors selected for the CFP may request to be added to the 
Secretary of Transportation's list of high-priority transportation 
infrastructure projects under Executive Order 13274, ``Environmental 
Stewardship and Transportation Infrastructure Project Review.'' For 
these projects, Federal agencies shall to the maximum extent 
practicable expedite their reviews for relevant permits or other 
approvals, and take related actions as necessary, consistent with 
available resources and applicable laws. Information about Executive 
Order 13274 is available on the following Web site: http://environment.fhwa.dot.gov/strmlng/index.asp.

B. Accelerated Review and Conditional Approval of Experimental Features 
Under the FHWA SEP-15 Process

    Special Experimental Project 15 (SEP-15) is designed to permit 
tests and experimentation in the project development process for title 
23, United States Code projects. Potential areas of experimentation for 
CFP projects include commercialization of rights-of-way for new 
facilities, innovative finance, tolling and contracting requirements. 
More information about the SEP-15 program is available on the following 
Web site: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ppp/index.htm. The Department is 
considering further experimental programs that may apply to the 
approved Corridors.

C. Expedited Commitment Process for TIFIA Credit Assistance

    The TIFIA program provides 3 forms of credit assistance--secured 
loans, loan guarantees, and standby lines of credit--for surface 
transportation projects of national or regional significance. Each 
Coalition seeking to incorporate TIFIA credit assistance as part of a 
Corridor finance plan can receive a preliminary TIFIA commitment under 
    The DOT would work with each Coalition to establish a preliminary 
plan of finance incorporating TIFIA assistance. This preliminary 
commitment would expedite the loan review process to be undertaken 
should the Coalition's selected concessionaire seek TIFIA assistance. 
Information about the TIFIA credit program is available on the 
following Web site: http://tifia.fhwa.dot.gov/.

D. Conditional Approval for Private Activity Bonds

    Upon application for private activity bonds (PABs) under Section 
11143 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation 
Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) (Pub. L. 109-59; Aug. 10, 
2005), projects selected for the CFP may be granted conditional 
approval for PABs. Section 11143 amended the Internal Revenue Code 
(IRC) by adding a new exempt highway category to section 142 of the 
IRC, ``Qualified Highway or Surface Transportation Facilities.'' Bonds 
issued to provide for construction of Qualified Highway or Surface 
Transportation Facilities must satisfy Internal Revenue Code 
requirements associated with exempt facilities.
    Private Activity Bonds are not subject to the general volume cap 
limitation for exempt facility bonds; however, they are subject to a 
nationwide $15 billion limitation that is allocated by the Secretary of 
Transportation. Subject to the project qualifying as an exempt highway 
or surface transportation facility project, the project's submission of 
a successful application for PAB authority, and subject to selection 
for the CFP, the Secretary will

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conditionally allocate a portion of the nationwide qualified highway or 
surface transportation limitation to a Corridor project to facilitate 
its financing and construction.

E. Priority to Tolling Programs

    Projects selected for the CFP will be granted priority under the 
limited toll programs contained in the Intermodal Surface 
Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) (Pub. L. 102-240; Dec. 
18, 1991), the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) 
(Pub. L. 105-178; June 8, 1998), or SAFETEA-LU. Additionally, the DOT 
may consider using its experimental authority under SEP-15, or any 
other experimental programs that may apply, to grant flexibility with 
respect to tolling.

F. Access to DOT Experts

    Coalitions accepted for the CFP will have access to DOT experts 
knowledgeable in the areas of planning, the environment, public-private 
partnerships, finance, construction, safety, operations, and asset 

G. Other Discretionary Funding

    The DOT will work with Applicant(s) to identify other possible 
discretionary funding sources.

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. Sec.  101.

    Issued on: August 24, 2006.
Maria Cino,
Acting Secretary.
 [FR Doc. E6-14634 Filed 9-1-06; 8:45 am]