Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT.
Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM); request for comments.
The FHWA is proposing to revise the regulation for advance construction of Federal-aid projects by: Removing the restriction that a State must obligate all of its allocated or apportioned funds, or demonstrate that it will use all obligation authority allocated to it for Federal-aid highways and highway safety construction, prior to the approval of advance construction projects; and clarifying that advance construction procedures may be used for all categories of Federal-aid highway funds, and that any available Federal-aid funds for which a project is eligible may be used when a project is converted Start Printed Page 12039to a Federal-aid project. These revisions will make the regulation consistent with the advance construction statute, which was amended by a provision enacted in the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU).
Comments must be received on or before May 5, 2008. Late-filed comments will be considered to the extent practicable.
Mail or hand deliver comments to Docket Management Facility: U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590. You may also submit comments electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, or fax comments to (202) 493-2251. All comments should include the docket number that appears in the heading of this document. All comments received will be available for examination and copying at the above address from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Those desiring notification of receipt of comments must include a self-addressed, stamped postcard or you may print the acknowledgment page that appears after submitting comments electronically. Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments in any one of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, or labor union). You may review the DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 70, Pages 19477-78) or you may visit http://DocketsInfo.dot.gov.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Mr. Dale Gray, Federal-aid Financial Management Division, (202) 366-0978, or Mr. Steven Rochlis, Office of the Chief Counsel, (202) 366-1395, Federal Highway Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590. Office hours are from 7:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
Electronic Access and Filing
You may submit or retrieve comments online through the Federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov. It is available 24 hours each day, 365 days each 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 by accessing the Office of the Federal Register's home page at: http://www.archives.gov or the Government Printing Office's Web page at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/nara.
Section 115 of title 23, United States Code, permits the Secretary to authorize States to advance the construction of Federal-aid highway projects without requiring that Federal funds be obligated at the time the FHWA approves a project. The State may proceed with an advance construction project using State funds as no present or future Federal funds are actually committed to the project. At any time the State may request that the project be converted to a Federal-aid project provided that sufficient Federal-aid funds and obligation authority are available. A State also may request a partial conversion where only a portion of the Federal share of project costs is obligated and reimbursed; and the remainder may be converted at a later time provided that funds are available. Only the amount converted becomes an obligation of the Federal Government.
Section 1501 of SAFETEA-LU (Pub. L. 109-59, 119 Stat. 1144) amended 23 U.S.C. 115 to remove a restriction that a State must obligate all of its allocated or apportioned funds, or demonstrate that it will use all obligation authority allocated to it for Federal-aid highways and highway safety construction, prior to the approval of advance construction projects. Section 1501 also amended the statute to clarify that advance construction procedures can be used for all categories of Federal-aid highway funds and that when a project is converted to a regular Federal-aid project, any available Federal-aid funds may be used to convert a project which is eligible. The FHWA regulations concerning advance construction, which reflect the advance construction requirements prior to the enactment of SAFETEA-LU, are therefore no longer consistent with the statute.
Discussion of Proposed Change
Section 630.703 Eligibility
In this NPRM the FHWA proposes to revise the regulations for advance construction, contained in 23 CFR 630.703, so they are consistent with the advance construction statute as amended by section 1501 of SAFETEA-LU. These proposed revisions would make two changes. First, they would remove the restriction that a State must obligate all of its allocated or apportioned funds, or demonstrate that it will use all obligation authority allocated to it for Federal-aid highways and highway safety construction prior to the approval of advance construction projects. Second, the revisions will clarify that advance construction procedures may be used for all categories of Federal-aid highway funds, and that any available Federal-aid funds may be used when a project is converted to a Federal-aid project. These revisions will make 23 CFR part 630 consistent with the advance construction statute at 23 U.S.C. 115, as amended by section 1501 of SAFETEA-LU.
Rulemaking Analyses and Notices
All comments received before the close of business on the comment closing date indicated above will be considered and will be available for examination in the docket at the above address. Comments received after the comment closing date will be filed in the docket and will be considered to the extent practicable. In addition to late comments, the FHWA will also continue to file relevant information in the docket as it becomes available after the comment period closing date, and interested persons should continue to examine the docket for new material. A final rule may be published at any time after close of the comment period.
Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review) and DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures
The FHWA has determined preliminarily that this action is not a significant regulatory action within the meaning of Executive Order 12866 and would not be significant within the meaning of the U.S. Department of Transportation's regulatory policies and procedures. This proposed rule will not adversely affect, in a material way, any sector of the economy. This proposed action would revise the regulation for advance construction of Federal-aid projects by removing the restriction that a State must obligate all of its allocated or apportioned funds, or demonstrate that it will use all obligation authority allocated to it for Federal-aid highways and highway safety construction, prior to the approval of advance construction projects. This proposal also clarifies that advance construction procedures may be used for all categories of Federal-aid highway funds, and that any available Federal-aid funds for which the project is eligible may be used when a project is converted to a Federal-aid project. There will not be any additional costs incurred by any affected group as a result of this rule. In addition, these proposed changes will not interfere with any action taken or planned by another agency and will not materially alter the budgetary impact of any entitlements, grants, user fees or loan programs. Start Printed Page 12040Consequently, a regulatory evaluation is not required.
Regulatory Flexibility Act
In compliance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (Pub. L. 96-354, 5 U.S.C. 601-612), we have evaluated the effects of this proposed action on small entities and have determined that the proposed action would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The FHWA certifies that this action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.
Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)
This proposed action has been analyzed in accordance with the principles and criteria contained in Executive Order 13132, and the FHWA has preliminarily determined that this proposed action would not warrant the preparation of a Federalism assessment. The FHWA has determined that this proposed action would not affect the States' ability to discharge traditional State government functions.
Executive Order 12372 (Intergovernmental Review)
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Number 20.205, Highway Planning and Construction. The regulations implementing Executive Order 12372 regarding intergovernmental consultation on Federal programs and activities apply to this program. Accordingly, the FHWA solicits comments on this issue.
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995
Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501), Federal agencies must obtain approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for each collection of information they conduct, sponsor, or require through regulations. The FHWA has determined that this proposal does not contain collection of information requirements for the purposes of the PRA.
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995
This proposed rule would not impose unfunded mandates as defined by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4, 109 Stat. 48). This proposed rule will not result in the expenditure by State, local and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $128.1 million or more in any one year. (2 U.S.C. 1532) Further, in compliance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, the FHWA will evaluate any regulatory action that might be proposed in subsequent stages of the proceeding to assess the effects on State, local, and tribal governments and the private sector.
Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform)
This proposed action meets applicable standards in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize litigation, eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden.
Executive Order 13045 (Protection of Children)
The FHWA has analyzed this proposed action under Executive Order 13045, Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks. The FHWA certifies that this proposed action would not cause any environmental risk to health or safety that may disproportionately affect children.
Executive Order 12630 (Taking of Private Property)
The FHWA has analyzed this proposed rule under Executive Order 12630, Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Property Rights. The FHWA does not anticipate that this proposed action would affect a taking of private property or otherwise have taking implications under Executive Order 12630.
National Environmental Policy Act
The FHWA has analyzed this proposed action for the purposes of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321-4347) and has determined that this proposed action will not have any effect on the quality of the environment.
Executive Order 13175 (Tribal Consultation)
The FHWA has analyzed this action under Executive Order 13175, dated November 6, 2000, and believes that the proposed action would not have substantial direct effects on one or more Indian tribes; would not impose substantial compliance costs on Indian tribal governments; and will not preempt tribal law. Therefore, a tribal summary impact statement is not required.
Executive Order 13211 (Energy Effects)
We have analyzed this proposed rule under Executive Order 13211, Actions Concerning Regulations that Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use. We have determined that it is not a significant energy action under that order because it is not a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866 and is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution or use of energy. Therefore, a Statement of Energy Effects is not required.
Regulation Identification Number
A regulation identification number (RIN) is assigned to each regulatory section listed in the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations. The Regulatory Information Service Center publishes the Unified Agenda in April and October of each year. The RIN contained in the heading of this document can be used to cross-reference this section with the Unified Agenda.Start List of Subjects
List of Subjects in 23 CFR Part 630End List of Subjects Start Signature
Issued on: February 28, 2008.
James D. Ray,
Acting Federal Highway Administrator.
In consideration of the foregoing, the FHWA proposes to amend Chapter I of title 23, Code of Federal Regulations as set forth below.Start Part
PART 630—PRECONSTRUCTION PROCEDURES
1. The authority citation for part 630 is revised to read as follows:
Subpart G—Advance Construction of Federal-Aid Projects
2. Revise § 630.703 to read as follows:
(a) The State Department of Transportation (DOT) may proceed with a project authorized in accordance with title 23, United States Code:
(1) Without the use of Federal funds; and
(2) In accordance with all procedures and requirements applicable to the project other than those procedures and requirements that limit the State to implementation of a project—
(i) With the aid of Federal funds previously apportioned or allocated to the State; or
(ii) With obligation authority previously allocated to the State.
(b) The FHWA, on the request of a State and execution of a project agreement, may obligate all or a portion of the Federal share of a project Start Printed Page 12041authorized to proceed under this section from any category of funds for which the project is eligible.
3. Amend § 630.709 by removing the term “SHA” in each place it appears, and add in its place the term “State Department of Transportation.”
[FR Doc. E8-4338 Filed 3-5-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-22-P