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Department of Transportation

Recent Developments

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Foxx Sends Four-Year Surface Transportation Bill to Congress

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has sent a transportation reauthorization bill to Congress to consider. The bill, known as the GROW AMERICA Act, is based on a plan President Obama announced in February 2014 to address the nation’s infrastructure deficit. Foxx said that GROW AMERICA will reauthorize surface-transportation programs for four years and address the looming shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund. The measure includes a number of provisions to streamline environmental reviews for transportation projects. For more information, link to Secretary Foxx Sends Transportation Bill to Congress. (4-29-14)

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ITSJPO Releases Road Weather Management Program Performance Measures Update

The Department of Transportation’s Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office has released an update on the 2012 performance measures for the Road Weather Management Program (RWMP). Prepared by FHWA, the report examines the 11 existing RWMP performance measures and discusses strengths and weaknesses, as well as their potential for continued use. In addition, the report includes new reliability measures and addresses possible changes the 11 existing RWMP performance measures. For more information, link to Road Weather Management Performance Measures – 2012 Update. (3-13-14)

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FHWA Seeks Input to Develop Connected Vehicle Draft Guidance

The Federal Highway Administration is soliciting stakeholder input for development of draft deployment guidance on connected vehicles. FHWA plans to publish the draft guidance for transportation infrastructure owner/operators in 2015. Comments are due April 4, 2014. For more information, link to Help Develop the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) 2015 Infrastructure Guidance for Connected Vehicles. (1-22-14)

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States Encouraged to Amend Federal/State Outdoor Advertising Agreements

FHWA has released a notice announcing plans to revise outdoor advertising agreements between the states and the Secretary of Transportation, which are typically known as federal/state agreements. The notice specifies that most federal/state agreements have not been updated since they were first written roughly 40 years ago. The notice encourages states to contact their FHWA Division office to initiate work on amending their outdoor advertising agreements and outlines the planned process for revising the agreements. For more information, link to Notice: Announcement to Amend the Outdoor Advertising Federal/State Agreements. (1-2-14)

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FTA Announces Funds to Enhance Resiliency of Transit Agencies Affected By Sandy

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced a program to enhance the resiliency of public transit agencies damaged by Hurricane Sandy. FTA will distribute approximately $3 billion to public transportation providers in states declared a federal disaster area after the October 2012 storm. FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff said, “Our goal is to advance the best regionally coordinated projects, so taxpayers won't have to pay to restore the same transit services a second or third time.” Proposals are due March 28, 2014. For more information, link to The Notice of Funding Availability for Resiliency Projects in Response to Hurricane Sandy or to a related press release. (12-23-13)

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FTA Announces Availability of Funding for Improved Resiliency of Transit Systems

Improved resiliency of public transportation infrastructure and equipment is one of the goals of grants announced by the Federal Transit Administration. The funding availability, totaling $29 million, is also available for improvements to operational safety and all-hazards emergency response and recovery methods. The discretionary funding is being made available as part of the research, development, demonstration, and deployment grant program administered through FTA’s Office of Research, Demonstration, and Innovation. Project proposals will be accepted from public transportation systems, state and local governments, departments and agencies of the federal government, private or nonprofit organizations, and academic institutions until Dec. 2, 2013. For more information, link to the Federal Register notice. (10-1-13)

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FTA Issues New Starts and Small Starts Final Policy Guidance

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) released final policy guidance describing the updated rating and evaluation process for the New Starts and Small Starts programs per the requirements of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act. FTA’s policy guidance offers information on the financial commitment criteria used to evaluate New Starts and Small Starts grants. In addition, the guidance establishes “breakpoints” for identifying project ratings. For more information, link to Notice of Availability of New Starts and Small Starts Policy Guidance. (8-16-13)

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FHWA Posts 2013 Environmental Excellence Award Winners

The Federal Highway Administration has announced 13 projects and programs that have been honored with the agency’s 2013 Environmental Excellence Awards. The 2013 awards include recognition in several new categories: collaboration and partnership; innovative applications of geospatial tools, technology, and analysis; and programmatic agreements that have brought quantifiable streamlining benefits. For more information and project descriptions, link to the 2013 Environmental Excellence Awards Page. (7-23-13)

 

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MAP-21 Section 1511 Guidance Updated by FHWA

Revisions to the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) Section 1511 guidance were recently posted. Section 1511 details the implementation of special permits that may be needed during periods of national emergency. The guidance describes the program’s purpose, permit requirements, and ineligible activities. In addition, the guidance features a questions and answers section. For more information, link to MAP-21, Section 1511 – Special Permits During Periods of National Emergency Implementation Guidance, Revised. (6-5-13)

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NHTSA Policy Provides Guidance, Recommendations for Automated Vehicle Standards

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a statement of policy to provide guidance for vehicle manufacturers, lawmakers, and transportation officials on the development of automated vehicle systems. The policy provides a standardized definition of various types of automation and addresses safety concerns regarding the research on, and the manufacture and testing of, such systems. In addition to safety, the policy cites the benefits of new vehicle technologies for reducing fuel consumption and air emissions. For more information, link to Preliminary Statement of Policy Concerning Automated Vehicles. (5-30-13)

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DOT Announces Fifth Round of Funding for TIGER Grant Program

The Department of Transportation has announced the fifth round of funding for its Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program. The latest round will provide $474 million, to be awarded on a competitive basis for surface transportation projects that will have a significant impact on the nation, a metropolitan area, or a region. Final applications are due June 3 and the funds must be obligated before Oct. 1, 2014. DOT received over 4,000 applications in the previous four rounds of the TIGER program, eventually awarding $3.1 billion to 218 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. For more information, link to the TIGER Grants web page. (4-22-13)

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FTA, FEMA Sign Agreement Establishing Public Transportation Emergency Relief Program

The Federal Transit Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have signed a memorandum of agreement outlining the agencies’ roles and responsibilities in providing assistance to repair and restore public transportation systems in areas for which the president has declared a major disaster or emergency, as required by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). The agreement was required to establish a new FTA Public Transportation Emergency Relief program that gives the agency primary responsibility for reimbursing emergency response and recovery costs after a major disaster or emergency affecting transit and for helping to mitigate impact from future disasters. For more information, link to the FTA-FEMA MOA. (3-5-13)

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FHWA Launches Website on Health Issues in Transportation

The Federal Highway Administration has launched a new website that provides a range of links and resources related to health issues in transportation. The website includes links to FHWA resources concerning active transportation issues, such as air quality, bicycling, context sensitive solutions, health and transportation, livability, pedestrian safety, performance-based planning, and scenario planning. In addition, the site contains information on training opportunities and links to outside resources helpful to those interested in the connections between health and transportation. For more information, link to the FHWA Health in Transportation website. (12-28-12)

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FTA Finalizes Streamlined Approach for Evaluating New Starts/Small Starts Projects

The Federal Transit Administration has issued a final rule that adopts a streamlined framework for evaluating and rating of major transit capital investments seeking funding under the New Starts/Small Starts grants program. Key changes in the final rule include expanding the range of environmental benefits used to evaluate proposed projects to include the dollar value of anticipated benefits to human health, energy use, air quality, and safety. FTA also has announced the availability of a revised proposed policy guidance for sponsors of New Starts and Small Starts projects that provides additional detail on methods for calculating the project justification and local financial commitment criteria. For more information, link to FTA’s New Starts Project Planning & Development webpage. (12-27-12)

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FHWA Issues Guidance, Questions and Answers on MAP-21 Implementation

The Federal Highway Administration has posted a first set of guidance documents related to implementation of the federal transportation authorization legislation, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), which goes into effect on Oct. 1. The guidance documents, which are being posted periodically to the agency’s MAP-21 website, address implementation of programs in the areas of Infrastructure; Environment, Planning, and Realty; Safety; Operations; Innovative Program Delivery; and Federal Lands. FHWA also has posted an expanded series of Questions & Answers related to implementation of a broad range of MAP-21 topics. Additional resources on the MAP-21 website include links to future webinars, recordings of webinars held in August and September, fact sheets, and funding tables. For more information, link to the FHWA MAP-21 website. (9-25-12)

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