[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 156 (Friday, August 12, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 50312-50313]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-20506]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Highway Administration


Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative 
Research Program (STEP)

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: Section 5207 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient 
Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) established 
the Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative 
Research Program (STEP). The FHWA anticipates that the STEP or a 
similar program to provide resources for national research on issues 
related to planning, environment, and realty will be included in future 
surface transportation legislation. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2012, the FHWA 
expects to seek partnerships that can leverage limited research funding 
in the STEP with other stakeholders and partners in order to increase 
the total amount of resources available to meet the Nation's surface 
transportation research needs. The purpose of this notice is to 
announce the STEP implementation strategy for FY 2012 and to request 
suggested lines of research for the FY 2012 STEP via the STEP Web site 
at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep/step/index.htm in anticipation of future 
surface transportation legislation.

DATES: Suggestions for lines of research should be submitted to the 
STEP Web site on or before November 10, 2011.

[[Page 50313]]


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lucy Garliauskas, Director, Office of 
Human Environment, (202) 366-2047, [email protected] or Adam 
Sleeter, Office of the Chief Counsel, (202) 366-8839; Federal Highway 
Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590. 
Office hours are from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Electronic Access

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

Background

    Section 5207 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient 
Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) (Pub. L. 
109-59, Aug. 10, 2005), established the Surface Transportation 
Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program in section 507 of 
Title 23, United States Code. The FHWA anticipates that the STEP or a 
similar program to provide resources for national research on issues 
related to planning, environment, and realty will be included in future 
surface transportation legislation. The general objective of the STEP 
is to improve understanding of the complex relationship between surface 
transportation, planning, and the environment.
    The SAFETEA-LU provided $16.875 million per year for FY 2006-2009 
to implement this cooperative research program. Due to obligation 
limitations, rescissions, and congressional designation of Title V 
Research in SAFETEA-LU, on average $14.5 million of the $16.875 million 
authorized was available each fiscal year.
    The STEP is the primary source of funds for FHWA to conduct 
research and develop tools and technologies to advance the state of the 
practice regarding national surface transportation and environmental 
decisionmaking. In FY 2012, the FHWA expects to seek partnerships that 
can leverage limited research funding in the STEP with other 
stakeholders and partners in order to increase the total amount of 
resources available to meet the nation's surface transportation 
research needs.
    The FY 2012 STEP will support the implementation of a national 
research agenda that includes:
    (1) Conducting research to develop climate change mitigation, 
adaptation and livability strategies;
    (2) Developing and/or supporting accurate models and tools for 
evaluating transportation measures and developing indicators of 
economic, social, and environmental performance of transportation 
systems to facilitate alternative analysis;
    (3) Developing and deploying research to address congestion 
reduction efforts;
    (4) Developing transportation safety planning strategies for 
surface transportation systems and improvements;
    (5) Improving planning, operation, and management of surface 
transportation systems and rights-of- way;
    (6) Enhancing knowledge of strategies to improve transportation in 
rural areas and small communities;
    (7) Strengthening and advancing State/local and tribal capabilities 
regarding surface transportation and the environment;
    (8) Improving transportation decisionmaking and coordination across 
international borders;
    (9) Improving state of the practice regarding the impact of 
transportation on the environment;
    (10) Conducting research to promote environmental streamlining/
stewardship and sustainability;
    (11) Disseminating research results and advances in state of the 
practice through peer exchanges, workshops, conferences, etc;
    (12) Meeting additional priorities as determined by the Secretary; 
and
    (13) Refining the scope and research emphases through active 
outreach and in consultation with stakeholders.
    The FHWA is issuing this notice to: (1) To announce the STEP 
Implementation Strategy for the FY 2012 STEP in anticipation of future 
surface transportation legislation, and (2) to solicit comments on 
proposed research activities to be undertaken in the FY 2012 STEP via 
the STEP Web site. The STEP Implementation Strategy can be found at 
http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep/step/about_step/strategy/. That Strategy 
updates information on the graphs and charts regarding historical 
planning and environment research funding, and adds information about 
the proposed FY 2012 STEP including proposed funding levels, goals, and 
potential research activities. We invite the public to visit this Web 
site to obtain additional information on the STEP, as well as 
information on the process for forwarding comments to the FHWA 
regarding the STEP implementation plan. The URL for the STEP Web site 
is: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep/step/.
    The FHWA will use this Web site as a major mechanism for informing 
the public regarding the status of the STEP.

    Authority: 23 U.S.C. 507.

OMB Approval for Specific Forms, Surveys, Questionnaires: Burden 
Statement

    This collection of information is voluntary and will be used to 
identify potential research for the creation of a research plan for the 
FHWA STEP Program. Public reporting burden is estimated to average 30 
minutes per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, 
searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data 
needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. No 
confidential information will be collected; therefore, no assurances of 
confidentiality will be provided. Please note that an agency may not 
conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a 
collection of information unless it displays a currently valid Office 
of Management and Budget (OMB) control number. The OMB control number 
for this collection is 2125-0627 (Expiration 6/30/14). Send comments 
regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection 
of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden to: 
Information Collection Clearance Officer, Federal Highway 
Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590.

    Authority:  5 CFR 1320.8.

    Issued on: August 8, 2011.
Victor M. Mendez,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2011-20506 Filed 8-11-11; 8:45 am]
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