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Notice of Request for the Extension of Currently Approved Information Collections

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AGENCY:

Federal Transit Administration, DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of request for comments.

SUMMARY:

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the intention of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to request the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to extend the following currently approved information collections:

(1) Nondiscrimination as it Applies to FTA Grant Programs

(2) Title VI as it Applies to FTA Grant Programs

(3) Reporting of Technical Activities by FTA Grant Recipients

(4) Bus Testing Program

DATES:

Comments must be submitted before March 31, 2000.

ADDRESSES:

All written comments must refer to the docket number that appears at the top of this document and be submitted to the United States Department of Transportation, Central Dockets Office, PL-401, 400 Seventh Street, SW, Washington, DC 20590. All comments received will be available for examination at the above address from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Those desiring notification of receipt of Start Printed Page 4630comments must include a self-addressed, stamped postcard/envelope.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Nondiscrimination as it Applies to FTA Grant Programs and Title VI as it Applies to FTA Grant Programs— Mr. Akira Sano, Office of Civil Rights, (202) 366-4018.

Reporting of Technical Activities by FTA Grant Recipients— Ms. Candace Noonan, Office of Planning, (202) 366-1648.

Bus Testing Program— Mr. Tim Johnson, Office of Research, Demonstration and Innovation, (202) 366-0212.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Interested parties are invited to send comments regarding any aspect of these information collections, including: (1) The necessity and utility of the information collection for the proper performance of the functions of the FTA; (2) the accuracy of the estimated burden; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the collected information; and (4) ways to minimize the collection burden without reducing the quality of the collected information. Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for OMB reinstatement of this information collection.

Title: Nondiscrimination as it Applies to FTA Grant Programs (OMB Number: 2132-0542).

Background: All entities receiving Federal financial assistance from FTA are prohibited from discriminating against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, creed, sex, national origin, age, or disability. To ensure that FTA's equal employment opportunity (EEO) procedures are followed, FTA requires grant recipients to submit written EEO plans to FTA for approval. FTA's assessment of this requirement shows that the formulating, submitting, and implementing of EEO programs should minimally increase costs for FTA applicants and recipients.

To determine a grantee's compliance with applicable laws and requirements, grantee submissions are evaluated and analyzed based on the following criteria. First, an EEO program must include an EEO policy statement issued by the chief executive officer covering all employment practices, including recruitment, selection, promotions, terminations, transfers, layoffs, compensation, training, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment. Second, the policy must be placed conspicuously so that employees, applicants, and the general public are aware of the agency's EEO commitment.

The data derived from written EEO and affirmative action plans will be used by the Office of Civil Rights in monitoring grantees' compliance with applicable EEO laws and regulations. This monitoring and enforcement activity will ensure that minorities and women have equitable access to employment opportunities and that recipients of Federal funds do not discriminate against any employee or applicant because of race, color, creed, sex, national origin, age, or disability.

Respondents: FTA grant recipients.

Estimated Annual Burden on Respondents: 30 hours for each the 150 EEO submissions.

Estimated Total Annual Burden: 4,500 hours.

Frequency: On occasion, every 3 years, annually.

Title: Title VI as it Applies to FTA Grant Programs (OMB Number: 2132-0542).

Background: Section 601 of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 states: “No person in the United States shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” This information collection is required by the Department of Justice (DOJ) Title VI Regulation, 28 CFR part 42, subpart F (§ 42.406), and DOT Order 1000.12. FTA policies and requirements are designed to clarify and strengthen these regulations. This requirement is applicable to all applicants, recipients, and subrecipients receiving Federal financial assistance. Experience has demonstrated that a program requirement at the application stage is necessary to assure that benefits and services are equitably distributed by grant recipients. The requirements prescribed by the Office of Civil Rights accomplish that objective while diminishing possible vestiges of discrimination among FTA grant recipients.

FTA's assessment of this requirement indicated that the formulation and implementation of the Title VI program should occur with a decrease in costs to such applicants and recipients.

All FTA grant applicants, recipients, and subrecipients are required to submit applicable Title VI information to the FTA Office of Civil Rights for review and approval. If FTA did not conduct pre-award reviews, solutions would not be generated in advance and program improvements could not be integrated into projects. FTA's experience with pre-award reviews for all projects and grants suggests this method contributes to maximum efficiency and cost effectiveness of FTA dollars and has kept post-award complaints to a minimum. Moreover, the objective of the Title VI statute can be more easily attained and beneficiaries of FTA funded programs have a greater likelihood of receiving transit services and related benefits on a nondiscriminatory basis.

Respondents: FTA grant recipients.

Estimated Annual Burden on Respondents: 23.4 hours for each of the 200 Title VI programs.

Estimated Total Annual Burden: 4,680 hours.

Frequency: Annual.

Title: Reporting of Technical Activities by FTA Grant Recipients (OMB Number: 2132-0549).

Background: 49 U.S.C. Sections 5303 and 5313(a) and (b) authorize the use of Federal funds to assist metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), states, and local public bodies in developing transportation plans and programs to serve future transportation needs of urbanized areas and nonurbanized areas throughout the nation. As part of this effort, MPOs are required to consider a wide range of goals and objectives and to analyze alternative transportation system management and investment strategies. These objectives are measured by definable activities such as planning certification reviews and other related activities.

The information collected by these forms is used to report annually to Congress, the Secretary, and to the Federal Transit Administrator on how grantees are responding to national emphasis areas and congressional direction, and allows FTA to track grantees' use of Federal planning and research funds.

Respondents: FTA grant recipients.

Estimated Annual Burden on Respondents: 3 hours for each of the 50 respondents.

Estimated Total Annual Burden: 150 hours.

Frequency: Annual.

Title: Bus Testing Program (OMB Number: 2132-0550).

Background: 49 U.S.C. 5323(c) provides that no Federal funds appropriated or made available after September 30, 1989, may be obligated or expended for the acquisition of a new bus model (including any model using alternative fuels) unless the bus has been tested at the Bus Testing Center (Center) in Altoona, Pennsylvania. 49 U.S.C. 5318(a) further specifies that each new bus model is to be tested for maintainability, reliability, safety, performance (including braking performance), structural integrity, fuel economy, emissions, and noise.Start Printed Page 4631

The operator of the Bus Testing Center, the Pennsylvania Transportation Institute (PTI), has entered into a cooperative agreement with FTA. PTI operates and maintains the Center, and establishes and collects fees for the testing of the vehicles at the facility. Upon completion of the testing of the vehicle at the Center, a test report is provided to the manufacturer of the new bus model. The bus manufacturer certifies to an FTA grantee that the bus the grantee is purchasing has been tested at the Center. Also, grantees about to purchase a bus use this report to assist them in making their purchasing decisions. PTI maintains a reference file for all the test reports which are made available to the public.

Respondents: Bus manufacturers.

Estimated Annual Burden on Respondents: 3 hours for each of the 20 bus manufacturers.

Estimated Total Annual Burden: 60 hours.

Frequency: Annual.

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Issued: January 24, 2000.

Dorrie Y. Aldrich,

Associate Administrator for Administration.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 00-2013 Filed 1-28-00; 8:45 am]

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