[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 191 (Thursday, October 2, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 59550-59552]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-23420]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Highway Administration


Projects of National and Regional Significance Survey

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Department of 
Transportation (DOT)

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: This notice announces that the Projects of National and 
Regional Significance (PNRS) survey required under section 1120 of the 
Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) will re-open 
on October 2, 2014. The original survey period ran from May 29, 2014, 
to June 30, 2014. However, in order to develop a more comprehensive 
catalogue of Projects of National and Regional Significance to assist 
DOT in planning and investment decisionmaking, DOT will re-open the 
survey for 45 calendar days, including Federal holidays through 
November 17, 2014. This will provide interested parties with an 
additional opportunity to submit projects for consideration and 
supplement existing submissions. The DOT may not consider responses 
submitted after November 17, 2014, so as to allow DOT to deliver the 
MAP-21 mandated report to Congress within a reasonable timeframe.

DATES: The PNRS survey will re-open from October 2, 2014 to November 
17, 2014.

ADDRESSES: To respond to the survey go to: http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/Freight/infrastructure/nat_reg_sig/index.htm. This Web site contains 
the survey instrument as well as details on the survey background, how 
the survey results will be used, and who is eligible to respond. Please 
note that entering the survey link does not require you to submit any 
information.
    For those who have already responded to the original PNRS survey, 
the re-opening of the survey does not affect your previously submitted 
responses. However, DOT strongly encourages those who participated in 
the original survey to review their prior submissions to determine if 
those submissions should be augmented with additional information. You 
may choose to resubmit your survey response, add more supporting 
documentation, withdraw it, or leave it as previously submitted.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For questions about the PNRS survey, 
contact Tamiko Burnell, FHWA Office of Freight Management and 
Operations, (202) 366-1200, or via email at [email protected]. For 
legal questions, contact Alla Shaw, FHWA Office of the Chief Counsel, 
(202) 366-1042 or via email at [email protected]. Business hours for 
FHWA are from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., E.T., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Electronic Access

    You may retrieve a copy of the notice through the Federal 
eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov. The Web site is 
available 24 hours each day, every day of the year. Electronic 
submission and retrieval help and guidelines are available under the 
help section of the Web site. An electronic copy of this document may 
also be downloaded from Office of the Federal Register's Web site at: 
http://www.archives.gov/federal_register and the Government Printing 
Office's Web site at: http://www.gpoaccess.gov.

Background

    Section 1301 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient 
Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) (Pub. L. 
109-59; 119 Stat. 1144) established a program to provide grants to 
States for PNRS to improve the safe, secure, and efficient movement of 
people and goods throughout the United States and to improve the health 
and welfare of the national economy.
    Section 1120 of MAP-21 amended the PNRS program, including 
authorizing $500 million to carry out the program; however, no funds 
were appropriated for the program. Section 1120 of MAP-21 requires DOT 
to develop a report to Congress that contains a comprehensive list of 
each PNRS. The comprehensive list will enable the Secretary of 
Transportation to classify PNRS and to develop recommendations on 
financing for eligible project costs.
    On May 29, 2014, FHWA, on behalf of DOT, launched the initial PNRS 
survey that closed on June 30, 2014. The survey was emailed to 
stakeholders in the categories identified as ``eligible applicants'' in 
MAP-21 (State departments of transportation (State DOT), tribal 
governments, and transit agencies). On June 3, 2014, FHWA hosted a 
Webinar to inform stakeholders on the background and purpose of the 
PNRS survey, program eligibility, and survey content.
    Twenty-seven States and several transit authorities participated in 
the original survey, submitting a total of 143 projects. While over 
half of the 50 States participated, many regions of the country 
provided limited or no participation. Therefore, the overall results 
were less than comprehensive.

Purpose of This Notice

    The purpose of this notice is fourfold: (1) To define the PNRS 
Survey and project eligibility; (2) to re-open the PNRS Survey for a 
period of 45 calendar days (including Federal holidays); (3) to 
establish how DOT will conduct outreach with stakeholders and potential 
respondents; and (4) to provide additional guidance on responding to 
survey questions.

PNRS Survey

    Section 1120 of MAP-21 requires the DOT to develop a report to 
Congress that contains a comprehensive list of each project of national 
and regional significance that has been compiled through a survey of 
State DOTs. The comprehensive list will enable the Secretary to 
classify PNRS and to develop recommendations on financing for eligible 
project costs. For purposes of the survey, Section 1120 of MAP-21 
defines PNRS as projects that:
     Significantly improve the national or regional performance 
of the Federal-aid highway system;
     Generate national economic benefits, including increased 
access to jobs and labor;
     Reduce long-term congestion and increase the speed, 
reliability, and accessibility of the movement of people or freight;
     Improve transportation safety, including reducing 
transportation accidents, serious injuries, and fatalities; and
     Can be supported by an acceptable degree of non-Federal 
financial commitments.
    Using the PNRS project definitions above, the DOT is conducting a 
nationwide survey. Responses to the survey are voluntary and will be 
used by DOT to compile and submit the

[[Page 59551]]

required PRNS Report to Congress. The final survey will list which 
entities participated in the survey.
    Survey respondents are asked to provide a project description and 
information on how the project will: Improve national or regional 
highway system performance; generate economic benefits that include 
increased access to jobs; reduce long-term congestion including impacts 
in the State, region, and the U.S.; and improve safety including 
reducing accidents, injuries, and fatalities. The survey also requests 
project cost information, including the level of non-Federal funding 
sources used to construct, maintain, and operate the infrastructure 
facility. Respondents are strongly encouraged to provide any available 
documentation and additional information to support any prior 
responses.
    The survey questions were cleared by the Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB Control No. 2125-0642). The survey can be viewed at http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/Freight/infrastructure/nat_reg_sig/index.htm.

Eligible Applicants and Projects

    Entities defined by Section 1120 of MAP-21 as eligible applicants 
for PNRS program funding are: A State DOT or group of State DOTs; a 
transit agency; a tribal government or consortium of tribal 
governments; or a multi-State or multi-jurisdictional group of State 
DOTs, transit agencies or tribal governments.
    Entities that are not among those groups may respond directly to 
the survey or work with State DOTs, transit agencies, or tribal 
governments to submit responses to the survey. Such entities could 
include metropolitan planning organizations, seaport authorities, 
railroads, cities, counties, coalitions or joint power authorities of 
local governments, or economic development organizations which have 
responsibility for planning and/or implementing infrastructure 
projects.
    Eligible projects are any surface transportation project or set of 
integrated surface transportation projects closely related in the 
function they perform, which are eligible to receive Federal assistance 
under 23 U.S.C. (Section 1301 of SAFETEA-LU). Additionally, a project's 
total cost must be at least $500 million or 50 percent of the amount of 
Federal highway assistance funds apportioned to the State in which the 
project is located. (Section 1120 of MAP-21). A list of each State's 
apportionments can be found at http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/infrastructure/nat_reg_sig/pnrs_survey/pnrs_aprt_13.
    In addition to traditional highway and transit infrastructure 
projects, other examples of eligible PNRS projects may include public 
or private rail facilities providing benefits to highway users; surface 
transportation infrastructure modifications to facilitate intermodal 
interchange, transfer, and access into and out of ports; and other 
activities eligible under 23 U.S.C.
    In general, projects eligible for the Transportation Infrastructure 
Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program are eligible for the PNRS 
program. For more information on PNRS project eligibility respondents 
should refer to the PNRS final rule: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FHWA-2005-23393-0027. The TIFIA legislation can be 
found at 23 U.S.C. 601(a)(12): http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2012-title23/html/USCODE-2012-title23-chap6-sec601.htm.

Outreach

    The DOT will conduct extensive outreach to reach as many 
stakeholders as possible. The outreach by DOT staff is aimed at 
achieving completeness and consistency in survey responses.
    An informational Webinar is scheduled for October 6, 2014. You may 
register for the Webinar at http://www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov/resources/webconference/web_conf_learner_reg.aspx?webconfid=27944. The Webinar 
will be recorded and made available for future viewing online at http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/infrastructure/nat_reg_sig/index.htm.

Survey Guidelines

    The PNRS Survey can be accessed and downloaded from the following 
Web site: http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/Freight/infrastructure/nat_reg_sig/index.htm. Additional guidance has been included for survey 
respondents to help clarify what is being requested in survey questions 
8-11 and 16. Listed below is the clarifying language included in the 
survey instructions.
    #8. Briefly describe how the project will significantly 
improve performance of the Federal-aid highway system nationally, or 
regionally. (limited to 1500 characters) To the extent possible, please 
provide specific evidence or information about the ways this project 
(which may include non-highway projects) will positively change any 
performance-related features of the Federal-aid highway system--and the 
extent of that impact. Quantitative information is preferred. (Survey 
Question 8)
    #9. Briefly describe how the project will generate national 
economic benefits that reasonably exceed the costs of the project, 
including increased access to jobs, labor, and other critical economic 
inputs. (limited to 1500 characters) To the extent possible, please 
provide specific citations or evidence linking the completion of this 
particular project (regardless of whether it is part of a larger 
facility or non-highway project) to positive changes in the national 
economy. Quantitative information is preferred. (Survey Question 9)
    #10. Briefly describe how the project will reduce long-term 
congestion, including impacts in the State, region, and the United 
States, and increase speed, reliability, and accessibility of the 
movement of people or freight. (limited to 1500 characters) To the 
extent possible, please provide specific citations or evidence linking 
the completion of this particular project (regardless of whether it is 
part of a larger facility) to positive changes in current or expected 
congestion, such as reduced demand on the Federal-aid highway system 
due to improvement of modal alternatives including transit service and 
intercity passenger rail, or increased use of intelligent 
transportation systems, and the extent of that impact. Quantitative 
information is preferred. If congestion is not an issue this project 
will address, please indicate that, as well as any related level of 
service issues (e.g., reliability, accessibility) that may be affected 
positively by this project. (Survey Question 10)
    #11. Briefly describe how the project will improve 
transportation safety, including reducing transportation accidents, and 
serious injuries and fatalities. (limited to 1500 characters) To the 
extent possible, please provide specific citations or evidence linking 
the completion of this particular project (regardless of whether it is 
part of a larger facility) to positive changes in safety for the region 
or nation. Quantitative information is preferred. (Survey Question 11)
    #16. Please upload any information that would help to 
support your survey response. If you have multiple files please combine 
them into one zip file. All common file types (e.g., PDF, Word, Excel, 
PPT) are accepted. The maximum file size that can be uploaded is 16MB. 
If the supporting documents are not able to be loaded into survey tool, 
send directly to: [email protected]. Documents sent by email must have 
the same project title as listed in question six on the survey. Any 
project-related video offered to satisfy the questions in this survey 
must have hard copy documentation to support the video. (Survey 
Question 16)

[[Page 59552]]

Planned Schedule

    The following is the approximate schedule for re-opening of the 
PNRS Survey. Key milestones include:
    1. October 2, 2014: Re-Open Survey;
    2. October 2, 2014 to November 17, 2014, conduct outreach, 
technical assistance and follow-up;
    3. October 6, 2014, Conduct Informational Webinar;
    4. November 17, 2014: Close Survey

    Authority: Section 1120 of Public Law 112-141.

    Issued on: September 23, 2014.
Gregory G. Nadeau,
Acting Administrator, Federal Highway Administration.
[FR Doc. 2014-23420 Filed 10-1-14; 8:45 am]
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