Office of the Secretary of Transportation, DOT.
Interim notice of funding availability, request for comments.
This interim notice announces the availability of funding and requests proposals for the Department of Transportation's National Infrastructure Investments, or “TIGER Discretionary Grants.” In addition, this interim notice announces selection criteria and pre-application and application requirements for these grants.
On April 15, 2011, the President signed the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations, 2011 (Div. B of the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011 (Pub. L. 112-010, Apr. 15, 2011)) (“FY 2011 Continuing Appropriations Act”). The FY 2011 Continuing Appropriations Act appropriated $526.944 million to be awarded by the Department of Transportation (“DOT”) for National Infrastructure Investments. This appropriation is similar, but not identical to the appropriation for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or “TIGER Discretionary Grant”, program authorized and implemented pursuant to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the “Recovery Act”), and the National Infrastructure Investments or “TIGER II Discretionary Grant” program under the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for 2010 (“FY 2010 Appropriations Act”). Because of the similarity in program structure, DOT has referred to the grants for National Infrastructure Investments under the FY 2010 Appropriations Act as “TIGER II Discretionary Grants”. Given that funds have now been appropriated for these similar programs in three separate statutes, DOT is referring to the grants for National Infrastructure Investments under the FY 2011 Continuing Appropriations Act simply as “TIGER Discretionary Grants.” As with the TIGER and TIGER II programs, funds for the FY2011 TIGER program are to be awarded on a competitive basis for projects that will have a significant impact on the Nation, a metropolitan area or a region. Through this interim notice, DOT is soliciting applications for TIGER Discretionary Grants.
This interim notice requests comments on the proposed selection criteria and guidance for awarding funds. DOT will take all comments into consideration and may publish a supplemental notice revising some elements of this notice. If substantive changes to this notice are necessary, DOT will publish a supplemental Federal Register notice. In the event that this solicitation does not result in the award and obligation of all available funds, DOT may decide to publish an additional solicitation(s).
Comments must be received by July 18, 2011, at 5 p.m. EDT. Late-filed comments will be considered to the extent practicable. Pre-applications should be submitted by October 3, 2011, at 5 p.m. EDT (the “Pre-Application Deadline”). Final applications must be submitted through Grants.gov by October 31, 2011, at 5 p.m. EDT (the “Application Deadline”). The DOT pre-application system will open on or before August 23, 2011 to allow prospective applicants to submit pre-applications. Subsequently, the Grants.gov “Apply” function will open on October 5, 2011, allowing applicants to submit applications. While applicants are encouraged to submit pre-applications in advance of the Pre-Application Deadline, pre-applications will not be reviewed until after the pre-application deadline. Similarly, while applicants are encouraged to submit applications in advance of the Application Deadline, applications will not be evaluated, and awards will not be made, until after the Application Deadline.
For Comments: You must include the agency name (Office of the Secretary of Transportation) and the docket number DOT-OST-2011-0107 with your comments. To ensure that your comments are not entered into the docket more than once, please submit comments, identified by the docket number DOT-OST-2011-0107, by only one of the following methods:
Web site: The U.S. Government electronic docket site is http://www.regulations.gov. Go to this Web site and follow the instructions for submitting comments into docket number DOT-OST-2011-0107;
Fax: Telefax comments to 202-493-2251;
Mail: Mail your comments to U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Docket Operations, M-30, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590; or
Hand Delivery: Bring your comments to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
Instructions for submitting comments: You must include the agency name (Office of the Secretary of Transportation) and Docket number DOT-OST-2011-0107 for this notice at the beginning of your comments. You should submit two copies of your comments if you submit them by mail or courier. For confirmation that the Start Printed Page 38720Office of the Secretary of Transportation has received your comments, you must include a self-addressed stamped postcard. Note that all comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, and will be available to Internet users. You may review DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published April 11, 2000, (65 FR 19477), or you may visit http://www.regulations.gov .
For Pre-Applications and Applications: Pre-applications must be submitted electronically to DOT and applications must be submitted electronically through Grants.gov. Only pre-applications received by DOT and applications received through Grants.gov will be deemed properly filed. Instructions for submitting pre-applications to DOT and applications through Grants.gov are included in Section VII (Pre-Application and Application Cycle).Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
For further information concerning this notice please contact the TIGER Discretionary Grant program manager via e-mail at TIGERGrants@dot.gov, or call Robert Mariner at 202-366-8914. A TDD is available for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing at 202-366-3993. In addition, DOT will regularly post answers to questions and requests for clarifications on DOT's Web site at http://www.dot.gov/TIGER.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
This notice is substantially similar to the Final notice published for the TIGER II Discretionary Grant program in the Federal Register on June 1, 2010. However, there are a few significant differences that applicants should be aware of. These differences are as follows:
1. Unlike the FY 2010 Appropriations Act, the FY 2011 Continuing Appropriations Act does not provide any funding for projects solely for the planning, preparation, or design of capital projects (“TIGER Planning Grants”); however these activities may be eligible to the extent that they are part of an overall construction project that receives TIGER Discretionary Grants funding
2. As specified in section VI of this notice, any applicant that is applying for a TIGER TIFIA Payment must also submit a TIFIA letter of interest along with their application.
3. As specified in section VII (A) of this notice, eligible applicants may submit, as a lead applicant, no more than three applications for consideration. However, multistate applications, will not count towards the lead applicant's three application limit. Additionally, applicants may be identified as a partnering agency on the application of another lead applicant and such an application will not count towards a partnering applicant's three application limit as a lead applicant.
Other than these differences, and minor edits made to conform the notice to the factual circumstances of this round of TIGER funding, there have been no material changes made to the notice. Each section of this notice contains information and instructions relevant to the application process for these TIGER Discretionary Grants and prospective applicants should read this notice in its entirety so that they have the information they need to submit eligible and competitive applications.
Table of Contents
TIGER Discretionary Grants
II. Selection Criteria and Guidance on Application of Selection Criteria
III. Evaluation and Selection Process
IV. Grant Administration
V. Projects in Rural Areas
VI. TIGER TIFIA Payments
VII. Pre-Application and Application Cycle
VIII. Project Benefits
IX. Questions and Clarifications
Appendix A: Additional Information on Cost Benefit Analysis
Appendix B: Additional Information on Applying Through Grants.gov
Appendix C: Additional Information on Guidelines for Project Readiness
Recovery Act TIGER and Fiscal Year 2010 TIGER II Discretionary Grants
On February 17, 2009, the President of the United States signed the Recovery Act, which appropriated $1.5 billion of discretionary grant funds to be awarded by DOT for capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure. DOT has referred to these grants as Grants for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery or “TIGER Discretionary Grants”. DOT solicited applications for TIGER Discretionary Grants through a notice of funding availability published in the Federal Register on June 17, 2009 (an interim notice was published on May 18, 2009). Applications for TIGER Discretionary Grants were due on September 15, 2009 and DOT received over 1400 applications with funding requests totaling almost $60 billion. Funding for 51 projects totaling nearly $1.5 billion was announced on February 17, 2010.
On December 16, 2009, the President signed the FY 2010 Appropriations Act that appropriated $600 million to DOT for National Infrastructure Investments using language that was similar, but not identical, to the language in the Recovery Act authorizing the TIGER Discretionary Grants. DOT has referred to those grants for National Infrastructure Investments as TIGER II Discretionary Grants.
The FY 2010 Appropriations Act permitted DOT to use an amount not to exceed $35 million of the available TIGER II funds for projects that involved solely the planning, preparation, or design of Eligible Projects, and not their construction (“TIGER II Planning Grants”). The Recovery Act did not explicitly provide funding for similar activities under the TIGER Discretionary Grant program.
DOT solicited applications for TIGER II Discretionary Grants through a notice of funding availability published in the Federal Register on June 1, 2010 (an interim notice was published on April 26, 2010). Applications for TIGER II Discretionary Grants were due on August 23, 2010 and nearly 1700 applications were received with funding requests totaling about $21 billion. Funding awards for 42 capital projects totaling nearly $557 million were announced on October 20, 2010. Grant announcements ranged from $1.01 million to $47.6 million for individual capital projects, with an average award size of approximately $13.25 million; the median award amount was $10.5 million. Additionally, funding for 33 planning projects totaling nearly $28 million was announced on October 20, 2010. TIGER II Planning Grant announcements ranged from $85 thousand to $2.8 million for individual projects, with an average award size of approximately $835 thousand; the median award size was $720 thousand. Fourteen TIGER II Planning Grant recipients received HUD Sustainable Community Challenge Grants that were also announced on October 20, 2010. Projects were selected for funding based on their alignment with the selection criteria specified in the June 1, 2010, Federal Register notice for the TIGER II Discretionary Grant program.
On April 15, 2011, the President signed the FY 2011 Continuing Appropriations Act. This Act appropriated $526.944 million to DOT for National Infrastructure Investments using language that is similar, but not identical to the language in the FY 2010 Appropriations Act authorizing the TIGER II Discretionary Grants. DOT is referring to these grants for National Infrastructure Investments as TIGER Discretionary Grants.Start Printed Page 38721
The most significant difference between the 2010 and 2011 appropriations is that there is no funding available for TIGER Planning Grants in the 2011 Act.
Section 1101 of the FY 2011 Continuing Appropriations Act, Title I—General Provisions, states that the appropriations are for such amounts as may be necessary, at the level specified and under the authority and conditions provided in applicable appropriations Act for fiscal year 2010, for projects or activities for which appropriations, funds, or other authority were made available under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010 (Pub. L. 111-117). Because of this general provision in the FY 2011 Continuing Appropriations Act, DOT is applying the authority and conditions outlined in the following section.
FY 2011 TIGER Discretionary Grants
Like the TIGER and TIGER II Discretionary Grants, this year's TIGER Discretionary Grants are for capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure and are to be awarded on a competitive basis for projects that will have a significant impact on the Nation, a metropolitan area, or a region. Key requirements of the TIGER Discretionary Grant program are summarized below, and material differences from the previous TIGER Discretionary Grant programs are highlighted.
“Eligible Applicants” for TIGER Discretionary Grants are State, local, and tribal governments, including U.S. territories, tribal governments, transit agencies, port authorities, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), other political subdivisions of State or local governments, and multi-State or multi-jurisdictional groups applying through a single lead applicant (for multi-jurisdictional groups, each member of the group, including the lead applicant, must be an otherwise eligible applicant as defined in this paragraph).
Projects that are eligible for TIGER Discretionary Grants under the FY 2011 Continuing Appropriations Act (“Eligible Projects”) include, but are not limited to: (1) highway or bridge projects eligible under title 23, United States Code; (2) public transportation projects eligible under chapter 53 of title 49, United States Code; (3) passenger and freight rail transportation projects; and (4) port infrastructure investments. Federal wage rate requirements included in subchapter IV of chapter 31 of title 40, United States Code, apply to all projects receiving funds. This description of Eligible Projects is identical to the description of eligible projects under the TIGER II Discretionary Grant program.
However, while in the past applicants could submit as many applications as they wished, for the Fiscal Year 2011 TIGER Discretionary Grant Program, to help ensure that applicants submit only those applications that are most likely to align well with DOT's selection criteria, each applicant may submit no more than three applications for consideration. While applications may include requests to fund more than one project, applicants should not bundle together unrelated projects in the same application for purposes of avoiding the three application limit that applies to each applicant. Please note that the three application limit applies only to applications where the applicant is the lead applicant, and there is no limit on applications for which an applicant can be listed as a partnering agency. Also, DOT will not count any application for a multistate project against the three application limit to the extent multiple states are partnering to submit the application.
The FY 2011 Continuing Appropriations Act requires a new solicitation of applications and, therefore, any unsuccessful applicant for a TIGER or TIGER II Discretionary Grant that wishes to be considered for a TIGER Discretionary Grant this year must reapply according to the procedures in this notice. Additionally, TIGER II planning grant recipients must reapply to be considered for a TIGER Discretionary Grant for capital funding, if they meet the eligibility criteria and schedule requirements for TIGER and are ready to proceed to the construction phase of the project.
The FY 2011 Continuing Appropriations Act specifies that TIGER Discretionary Grants may be not less than $10 million (except in rural areas) and not greater than $200 million. Based on DOT's experience with the TIGER and TIGER II Discretionary Grant programs, it is unlikely that the $200 million maximum grant size for this year's TIGER Discretionary Grant program will be reached for any project. The FY 2011 Continuing Appropriations Act, like the FY 2010 Appropriations Act, does not provide authority to waive the minimum $10 million grant size for TIGER Discretionary Grants. For projects located in rural areas (as defined in section V (Projects in Rural Areas)), the minimum TIGER Discretionary Grant size is $1 million, as it was in the FY 2010 Appropriations Act. The term “grant” in the provision of the FY 2011 Continuing Appropriations Act specifying a minimum grant size does not include TIGER TIFIA Payments, as defined below.
Pursuant to the FY 2011 Continuing Appropriations Act, no more than 25 percent of the funds made available for TIGER Discretionary Grants (or $131.736 million) may be awarded to projects in a single State. This maximum State share is consistent with the maximum State share under the TIGER II Discretionary Grants program. The comparable figure for TIGER II Discretionary Grants was also 25 percent (or $150 million).
The FY 2011 Continuing Appropriations Act directs that not less than $140 million of the funds provided for TIGER Discretionary Grants is to be used for projects located in rural areas. The comparable amount set aside for rural areas under the FY 2010 Appropriations Act was also $140 million. In awarding TIGER Discretionary Grants pursuant to the FY 2011 Continuing Appropriations Act, DOT must take measures to ensure an equitable geographic distribution of grant funds, an appropriate balance in addressing the needs of urban and rural areas and the investment in a variety of transportation modes. The FY 2010 Appropriations Act included the same provisions for the TIGER II Discretionary Grant program.
TIGER Discretionary Grants may be used for up to 80 percent of the costs of a project, but priority must be given to projects for which Federal funding is required to complete an overall financing package and projects can increase their competitiveness by demonstrating significant non-Federal contributions. The FY 2010 Start Printed Page 38722Appropriations Act included the same priority for TIGER II Discretionary Grants. Once again for this year's TIGER Discretionary Grants, DOT may increase the Federal share above 80 percent only for projects located in rural areas, in which case DOT may fund up to 100 percent of the costs of a project. Therefore, for projects not located in rural areas, based on the statutory requirements of at least 20 percent non-Federal cost share and a minimum grant size of $10 million, the minimum total project size for an eligible project is $12.5 million (where the minimum $10 million TIGER Discretionary Grant request represents 80 percent of the total project cost). The minimum total project size for an eligible project in a rural area is 1 million (where the entire project cost is funded with a TIGER Discretionary Grant). However, the statutory requirement to give priority to projects that use Federal funds to complete an overall financing package applies to projects located in rural areas as well, and projects located in rural areas can increase their competitiveness for purposes of the TIGER program by demonstrating significant non-Federal financial contributions.
The Recovery Act required DOT to give priority to projects that were expected to be completed by February 17, 2012. Like the FY 2010 Appropriations Act, the FY 2011 Continuing Appropriations Act does not include any similar requirements for the TIGER Discretionary Grants, although this year's TIGER funds are only available for obligation through September 30, 2013. The limited amount of time for which the funds will be made available means that DOT will consider the extent to which a project is ready to proceed with obligation of grant funds when evaluating applications.
The Recovery Act emphasized the generation of near-term economic effects from expenditures on project costs, such as construction job creation. However, the FY 2010 and FY 2011 Continuing Appropriations Acts do not include explicit emphasis on job creation and instead focus more broadly on the impact of projects on the Nation, a metropolitan area, or a region including the medium and long-term benefits that would accrue post-project completion. Therefore, in all cases, TIGER Discretionary Grant applications will need to be competitive on the merits of the medium to long-term impacts of the projects themselves, as demonstrated by a project's alignment with the Long-Term Outcomes selection criterion described in Section II(A) (Selection Criteria) below. However, because communities nationwide continue to face difficult economic circumstances, including high unemployment, DOT will also continue to incorporate near-term impacts like job creation in its evaluation of TIGER applications, as demonstrated by a project's alignment with the Job Creation & Near-Term Economic Activity selection criterion described in Section II(A) below. Consideration of near-term benefits will apply particularly in the case of projects that will employ people in Economically Distressed Areas as discussed in more detail in Section II(A) below.
The FY 2011 Continuing Appropriations Act allows for an amount not to exceed $150 million of the $526.944 million to be used to pay the subsidy and administrative costs of the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 1998 (“TIFIA”) program, a Federal credit assistance program, if it would further the purposes of the TIGER Discretionary Grant program. DOT is referring to these payments as “TIGER TIFIA Payments.” The FY 2010 Appropriations Act also authorized DOT to use up to $150 million of the amount available for TIGER II Discretionary Grants for similar purposes.
Based on the subsidy amounts required for projects in the TIFIA program's existing portfolio, DOT estimates that $150 million of TIGER TIFIA Payments could support approximately $1.5 billion in TIFIA credit assistance. The amount of budget authority required to support TIFIA credit assistance is calculated on a project-by-project basis. Applicants for TIGER TIFIA Payments should submit an application pursuant to this notice and a separate TIFIA letter of interest, as described below in Section VI (TIGER TIFIA Payments). Unless otherwise noted, or the context requires otherwise, references in this notice to TIGER Discretionary Grants include TIGER TIFIA Payments.
DOT reserves the right to offer a TIGER TIFIA Payment to an applicant that applied for a TIGER Discretionary Grant even if DOT does not choose to fund the requested TIGER Discretionary Grant and the applicant did not specifically request a TIGER TIFIA Payment. Therefore, as described below in Section VI (TIGER TIFIA Payments), applicants for TIGER Discretionary Grants, particularly applicants that require a substantial amount of funds to complete a financing package, should indicate whether or not they have considered applying for a TIGER TIFIA Payment. To the extent an applicant thinks that TIFIA may be a viable option for the project, applicants should provide a brief description of a project finance plan that includes TIFIA credit assistance and identifies a source of revenue which may be available to support the TIFIA credit assistance.
The FY 2011 Continuing Appropriations Act provides that the Secretary of Transportation may retain up to $25 million of the $526.944 million to fund the award and oversight of TIGER Discretionary Grants. Portions of the $25 million may be transferred for these purposes to the Administrators of the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Transit Administration, the Federal Railroad Administration, and the Federal Maritime Administration.
The purpose of this notice is to solicit applications for TIGER Discretionary Grants.
TIGER Discretionary Grants
II. Selection Criteria and Guidance on Application of Selection Criteria
This section specifies the criteria that DOT will use to evaluate applications for TIGER Discretionary Grants. The criteria incorporate the statutory eligibility requirements for this program, which are specified in this notice as relevant. This section is divided into two parts. Part A (Selection Criteria) specifies the criteria that DOT will use to rate projects. Additional guidance about how DOT will apply these criteria, including illustrative metrics and examples, is provided in Part B (Additional Guidance on Selection Criteria).
A. Selection Criteria
TIGER Discretionary Grants will be awarded based on the selection criteria as outlined below. There are two categories of selection criteria, “Primary Selection Criteria” and “Secondary Selection Criteria.”
The Primary Selection Criteria include (1) Long-Term Outcomes and (2) Job Creation & Near-Term Economic Activity. The Secondary Selection Criteria include (1) Innovation and (2) Partnership. The Primary Selection Criteria are intended to capture the primary objective of the TIGER provisions of the FY 2011 Continuing Appropriations Act, which is to invest in infrastructure projects that will have a significant impact on the Nation, a metropolitan area, or a region. The Secondary Selection Criteria are intended to capture the benefits of new and/or innovative approaches to achieving this programmatic objective.Start Printed Page 38723
1. Primary Selection Criteria:
(a) Long-Term Outcomes
DOT will give priority to projects that have a significant impact on desirable long-term outcomes for the Nation, a metropolitan area, or a region. Applications that do not demonstrate a likelihood of significant long-term benefits in this criterion will not proceed in the evaluation process. The following types of long-term outcomes will be given priority:
(i) State of Good Repair: Improving the condition of existing transportation facilities and systems, with particular emphasis on projects that minimize life-cycle costs.
(ii) Economic Competitiveness: Contributing to the economic competitiveness of the United States over the medium- to long-term.
(iii) Livability: Fostering livable communities through place-based policies and investments that increase transportation choices and access to transportation services for people in communities across the United States.
(iv) Environmental Sustainability: Improving energy efficiency, reducing dependence on oil, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and benefitting the environment.
(v) Safety: Improving the safety of U.S. transportation facilities and systems.
(b) Job Creation & Near-Term Economic Activity
While the TIGER Discretionary Grant program is not a Recovery Act program, job creation and near-term economic activity remain a top priority of this Administration; therefore, DOT will give priority (as it did for the TIGER and TIGER II Discretionary Grant programs) to projects that are expected to quickly create and preserve jobs and promote rapid increases in economic activity, particularly jobs and activity that benefit economically distressed areas as defined by section 301 of the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965, as amended (42 U.S.C. 3161) (“Economically Distressed Areas”).
2. Secondary Selection Criteria
DOT will give priority to projects that use innovative strategies to pursue the long-term outcomes outlined above.
DOT will give priority to projects that demonstrate strong collaboration among a broad range of participants and/or integration of transportation with other public service efforts.
B. Additional Guidance on Selection Criteria
The following additional guidance explains how DOT will evaluate each of the selection criteria identified above in Section II(A) (Selection Criteria). Applicants are encouraged to demonstrate the responsiveness of a project to any and all of the selection criteria with the most relevant information that applicants can provide, regardless of whether such information has been specifically requested, or identified, in this notice. Any such information shall be considered part of the application, not supplemental, for purposes of the application size limits specified below in Section VII(D) (Length of Application).
1. Primary Selection Criteria:
(a) Long-Term Outcomes
In order to measure a project's alignment with this criterion, DOT will assess the public benefits generated by the project, as measured by the extent to which a project produces one or more of the following outcomes.
(i) State of Good Repair: In order to determine whether the project will improve the condition of existing transportation facilities or systems, including whether life-cycle costs will be minimized, DOT will assess (i) whether the project is part of, or consistent with, relevant State, local or regional efforts and plans to maintain transportation facilities or systems in a state of good repair, (ii) whether an important aim of the project is to rehabilitate, reconstruct or upgrade surface transportation assets that, if left unimproved, threaten future transportation network efficiency, mobility of goods or people, or economic growth due to their poor condition, (iii) whether the project is appropriately capitalized up front and uses asset management approaches that optimize its long-term cost structure, and (iv) the extent to which a sustainable source of revenue is available for long-term operations and maintenance of the project. The application should include any quantifiable metrics of the facility or system's current condition and performance and, to the extent possible, projected condition and performance, with an explanation of how the project will improve the facility or system's condition, performance and/or long-term cost structure, including calculations of avoided operations and maintenance costs and associated delays.
(ii) Economic Competitiveness: In order to determine whether a project promotes the economic competitiveness of the United States, DOT will assess whether the project will measurably contribute over the long term to growth in the productivity of the American economy. For purposes of aligning a project with this outcome, applicants should provide evidence of how improvements in transportation outcomes (such as time savings and operating cost savings) translate into long-term economic productivity benefits. These long-term economic benefits that are provided by the completed project are different from the near-term economic benefits of construction that are captured in the Job Creation & Near-Term Economic Activity criterion. In weighing long-term economic competitiveness benefits, applicants should describe how the project supports increased long-term efficiency and productivity.
Priority consideration will be given to projects that: (i) Improve long-term efficiency, reliability or cost-competitiveness in the movement of workers or goods (including, but not limited to, projects that have a significant effect on reducing the costs of transporting export cargoes), or (ii) make improvements that increase the economic productivity of land, capital or labor at specific locations, particularly Economically Distressed Areas. Applicants may propose other methods of demonstrating a project's contribution to the economic competitiveness of the country and such methods will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
Economic competitiveness may be demonstrated by the project's ability to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the transportation system through integration or better use of all existing transportation infrastructure (which may be evidenced by the project's involvement with or benefits to more than one mode and/or its compatibility with and preferably augmentation of the capacities of connecting modes and facilities), but only to the extent that these enhancements lead to the economic benefits that are identified in the opening paragraph of this section.Start Printed Page 38724
For purposes of demonstrating economic benefits, applicants should estimate National-level or region-wide economic benefits on productivity and production (e.g., reduced shipping costs or travel times for U.S. exports originating both inside and outside of the region), and should net out those benefits most likely to result in transfers of economic activity from one localized area to another. Therefore, in estimating local and regional benefits, applicants should consider net increases in economic productivity and benefits, and should take care not to include economic benefits that are being shifted from one location in the United States to another location. Highly localized benefits will receive the most consideration under circumstances where such benefits are most likely to improve an Economically Distressed Area (as defined herein) or otherwise improve access to more productive employment opportunities for under-employed and disadvantaged populations.
Finally, the TIGER program strives to promote long-term economic growth in a manner that will be sustainable for generations to come. Therefore, for projects designed to enhance economic competitiveness, applicants should also provide evidence that the project will achieve the goals of this outcome in an environmentally sustainable manner. To satisfy this condition, applicants should reference the fourth criterion in this Section II(B) “Environmental Sustainability” for more information on what features promote sustainable growth and be sure to address the extent to which sustainability features are incorporated into the proposed project's economic impact.
(iii) Livability: Livability investments are projects that not only deliver transportation benefits, but are also designed and planned in such a way that they have a positive impact on qualitative measures of community life. This element of long-term outcomes delivers benefits that are inherently difficult to measure. However, it is implicit to livability that its benefits are shared and therefore magnified by the number of potential users in the affected community. Therefore, descriptions of how projects enhance livability should include a description of the affected community and the scale of the project's impact as measured in person-miles traveled or number of trips affected. In order to determine whether a project improves the quality of the living and working environment of a community, DOT will consider whether the project furthers the six livability principles developed by DOT with HUD and EPA as part of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, which are listed fully at http://www.dot.gov/affairs/2009/dot8009.htm. For this criterion, the Department will give particular consideration to the first principle, which prioritizes the creation of affordable and convenient transportation choices. Specifically, DOT will qualitatively assess whether the project:
(1) Will significantly enhance or reduce the average cost of user mobility through the creation of more convenient transportation options for travelers;
(2) will improve existing transportation choices by enhancing points of modal connectivity, increasing the number of modes accommodated on existing assets, or reducing congestion on existing modal assets;
(3) will improve accessibility and transport services for economically disadvantaged populations, non-drivers, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities, or will make goods, commodities, and services more readily available to these groups; and/or
(4) is the result of a planning process which coordinated transportation and land-use planning decisions and encouraged community participation in the process.
Livability improvements may include projects for new or improved biking and walking infrastructure. Particular attention will be paid to the degree to which such projects contribute significantly to broader traveler mobility through intermodal connections, enhanced job commuting options, or improved connections between residential and commercial areas. Projects that appear designed primarily as isolated recreational facilities and do not enhance traveler mobility as described above will not be funded.
(iv) Environmental Sustainability: In order to determine whether a project promotes a more environmentally sustainable transportation system, DOT will assess the project's ability to:
(1) improve energy efficiency, reduce dependence on oil and/or reduce greenhouse gas emissions, (applicants are encouraged to provide quantitative information regarding expected reductions in emissions of CO2 or fuel consumption as a result of the project, or expected use of clean or alternative sources of energy; projects that demonstrate a projected decrease in the movement of people or goods by less energy-efficient vehicles or systems will be given priority under this factor); and
(2) maintain, protect or enhance the environment, as evidenced by its avoidance of adverse environmental impacts (for example, adverse impacts related to air or water quality, wetlands, and endangered species) and/or by its environmental benefits (for example, improved air quality, wetlands creation or improved habitat connectivity).
Applicants are encouraged to provide quantitative information that validates the existence of substantial transportation-related costs related to energy consumption and adverse environmental effects and evidence of the extent to which the project will reduce or mitigate those costs.
(v) Safety: In order to determine whether the project improves safety, DOT will assess the project's ability to reduce the number, rate and consequences of surface transportation-related crashes, injuries, and fatalities among drivers and/or non-drivers in the United States or in the affected metropolitan area or region, and/or the project's contribution to the elimination of highway/rail grade crossings, the protection of pipelines, or the prevention of unintended release of hazardous materials.
Evaluation of Expected Project Costs and Benefits: DOT believes that benefit-cost analysis (“BCA”), including the monetization and discounting of costs and benefits in a common unit of measurement in present-day dollars, is an important discipline. For BCA to yield useful results, full consideration of costs and benefits is necessary. These include traditionally quantified fuel and travel time savings as well as reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, water quality impacts, public health effects, and other costs and benefits that are more indirectly related to vehicle-miles or that are harder to measure. In addition, BCA should attempt to measure the indirect effects of transportation investments on land use and on the portions of household budgets spent on transportation. The systematic process of comparing expected benefits and costs helps decision-makers organize information about, and evaluate trade-offs between, alternative transportation investments. DOT has a responsibility under Executive Order 12893, Principles for Federal Infrastructure Investments, 59 FR 4233, to base infrastructure investments on systematic analysis of expected benefits and costs, including both quantitative and qualitative measures.Start Printed Page 38725
Therefore, applicants for TIGER Discretionary Grants are generally required to identify, quantify, and compare expected benefits and costs, subject to the following qualifications:
All applicants will be expected to prepare an analysis of benefits and costs; however, DOT understands that the level of expense that can be expected in these analyses for surveys, travel demand forecasts, market forecasts, statistical analyses, and so on will be less for smaller projects than for larger projects. The level of resources devoted to preparing the benefit-cost analysis should be reasonably related to the size of the overall project and the amount of grant funds requested in the application. Any subjective estimates of benefits and costs should still be quantified, and applicants are expected to provide whatever evidence they have available to lend credence to their subjective estimates. Estimates of benefits should be presented in monetary terms whenever possible; if a monetary estimate is not possible, then at least a quantitative estimate (in physical, non-monetary terms, such as ridership estimates, emissions levels, etc.) should be provided.
The lack of a useful analysis of expected project benefits and costs may be the basis for denying an award of a TIGER Discretionary Grant to an applicant. If it is clear to DOT that the total benefits of a project are not reasonably likely to outweigh the project's costs, DOT will not award a TIGER Discretionary Grant to the project. Consistent with the broader goals of DOT and the FY 2011 Continuing Appropriations Act, DOT can consider some factors that do not readily lend themselves to quantification or monetization, including equitable geographic distribution of grant funds and an appropriate balance in addressing the needs of urban and rural areas and investment in a variety of transportation modes.
Detailed guidance for the preparation of benefit-cost analyses is provided in Appendix A. Benefits should be presented, whenever possible, in a tabular form showing benefits and costs in each year for the useful life of the project. Benefits and costs should both be discounted to the year 2011, and present discounted values of both the stream of benefits and the stream of costs should be calculated. If the project has multiple parts, each of which has independent utility, the benefits and costs of each part should be estimated and presented separately. A project component has independent utility if the component itself could qualify as an Eligible Project and would provide benefits that satisfy the selection criteria specified in this notice, as described further in Section III(B) (Evaluation of Eligibility) below. The results of the benefit-cost analysis should be summarized in the Project Narrative section of the application itself, but the details may be presented in an attachment to the application.
DOT recognizes that some categories of costs and benefits are more difficult to quantify or monetize than others. In presenting benefit-cost analyses, applicants should include qualitative discussion of the categories of benefits and costs that they were not able to quantify, noting that these benefits and costs are in addition to other benefits and costs that were quantified. However, in the event of an unreasonable absence of data and analysis, or poor applicant effort to put forth a robust quantification of benefits and costs, the application is unlikely to receive further consideration. In general, the lack of a useful analysis comparing benefits and costs for any such project is ground for denying the award of a TIGER Discretionary Grant.
Evaluation of Project Performance: Each applicant selected for TIGER Discretionary Grant funding will be required to work with DOT on the development and implementation of a plan to collect information and report on the project's performance with respect to the relevant long-term outcomes that are expected to be achieved through construction of the project.
(b) Job Creation & Near-Term Economic Activity
In order to measure a project's alignment with this criterion, DOT will assess whether the project promotes the short- or long-term creation or preservation of jobs and whether the project rapidly promotes new or expanded business opportunities during construction of the project or thereafter. Demonstration of a project's rapid economic impact is critical to a project's alignment with this criterion. Applicants are encouraged to provide information to assist DOT in making these assessments, including the total amount of funds that will be expended on construction and construction-related activities by all of the entities participating in the project and, to the extent measurable, the number and type of jobs to be created and/or preserved by the project by calendar quarters during construction and annually thereafter. Applicants should also identify any business enterprises to be created or benefited by the project during its construction and once it becomes operational.
Consistent with the Recovery Act, the Updated Implementing Guidance for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 issued by the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) on April 3, 2009 (the “OMB Guidance”), which were applied both to TIGER I and TIGER II, and which DOT will continue to apply to the TIGER Discretionary Grants program as a matter of policy, and consistent with applicable Federal laws, applicants are encouraged to provide information to assist DOT in assessing (1) whether the project will promote the creation of job opportunities for low-income workers through the use of best practice hiring programs and apprenticeship (including pre-apprenticeship) programs; (2) whether the project will provide maximum practicable opportunities for small businesses and disadvantaged business enterprises, including veteran-owned small businesses and service disabled veteran-owned small businesses; (3) whether the project will make effective use of community-based organizations in connecting disadvantaged workers with economic opportunities; (4) whether the project will support entities that have a sound track record on labor practices and compliance with Federal laws ensuring that American workers are safe and treated fairly; and (5) whether the project implements best practices, consistent with our Nation's civil rights and equal opportunity laws, for Start Printed Page 38726ensuring that all individuals—regardless of race, gender, age, disability, and national origin—benefit from TIGER grant funding.
To the extent possible, applicants should indicate whether the populations most likely to benefit from the creation or preservation of jobs or new or expanded business opportunities are from Economically Distressed Areas. In addition, to the extent possible, applicants should indicate whether the project's procurement plan is likely to create follow-on jobs and near-term economic activity for manufacturers and suppliers that support the construction industry. A key consideration in assessing projects under this criterion will be how quickly jobs are created.
In evaluating a project's alignment with this criterion, DOT will assess whether a project is ready to proceed rapidly upon receipt of a TIGER Discretionary Grant, as evidenced by:
(i) Project Schedule: A feasible and sufficiently detailed project schedule demonstrating that the project can begin construction quickly upon receipt of a TIGER Discretionary Grant, and that the grant funds will be spent steadily and expeditiously once construction starts; the schedule should show how many direct, on-project jobs are expected to be created or sustained during each calendar quarter after the project is underway;
(ii) Environmental Approvals: Receipt (or reasonably anticipated receipt) of all environmental approvals necessary for the project to proceed to construction on the timeline specified in the project schedule, including satisfaction of all Federal, State and local requirements and completion of the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) process;
To demonstrate satisfaction of this requirement, applicants should provide assurances with their pre-applications and evidence with their applications that NEPA review is complete or substantially complete and submit relevant draft or final NEPA documentation—preferably by way of a Web site link—for DOT review. DOT is unlikely to select a project for TIGER Discretionary Grant funding if it involves, or potentially involves, significant environmental impacts and has not begun or has not substantially completed required environmental and regulatory reviews. For such projects that have not begun, or have not substantially completed these reviews, it may be difficult to complete environmental and regulatory review as well as all activities needed to be complete prior to construction and meet the obligation deadline of September 30, 2013.
DOT will consider exceptions to the requirement that NEPA be substantially complete upon application in accordance with this paragraph. If an applicant has not substantially completed the NEPA process the applicant should provide information on the project's current status in the NEPA process and an estimate of the latest date that the NEPA process is reasonably expected to be completed. If an applicant has not initiated the NEPA process the applicant must provide a reasonable justification for why the NEPA process has not yet been initiated as of the date of this notice, and an assurance that the necessary environmental reviews can be completed with enough time for any post-NEPA, pre-obligation activities to be completed by June 30, 2013, in order to give DOT comfort that all of the TIGER Discretionary Grant funds are likely to be obligated in advance of the September 30, 2013 statutory deadline, and that any unexpected delays will not put TIGER Discretionary Grant funds at risk of expiring before they can be obligated (see Appendix C for additional guidance). An example of a reasonable justification for why an applicant has not initiated NEPA review would be if, prior to the availability of TIGER Discretionary Grant funds, there were no reasonable expectations of receiving Federal funding for the project. A project selected for award that has not completed the NEPA process may not be permitted to use grant funds for construction and related activities until NEPA is complete and all other necessary environmental approvals have been received.
An applicant seeking to justify an exception to this requirement should submit the information listed below with its application:
a. The information required under Sections VII(C)(2)(V) and VII(F)-(G) (Contents of Applications) of this notice;
b. Environmental studies or other documents—preferably by way of a Web site link—that describe in detail known potential project impacts, and possible mitigation for those impacts;
c. A description of completed, or planned and anticipated coordination with Federal and State regulatory agencies for permits and approvals;
d. An estimate of the time required for completion of NEPA and all other required Federal, State or local environmental approvals; and
e. An identification of the proposed NEPA class of action (i.e., Categorical Exclusion, Environmental Assessment, or Environmental Impact Statement).
(iii) Legislative Approvals: Receipt of all necessary legislative approvals (for example, legislative authority to charge user fees or set toll rates), and evidence of support from State and local elected officials; evidence of support from all relevant State and local officials is not required, however, the evidence should demonstrate that the project is broadly supported;
(iv) State and Local Planning: The planning requirements of the operating administration administering the TIGER project will apply. Where required by an operating administration, a project should demonstrate that a project is included in the relevant State, metropolitan, and local planning documents, or will be included. To demonstrate satisfaction of this requirement, applicants should provide evidence that the project is included in the relevant planning documents. One way applicants may do this is by providing a link to a Web site showing the planning documents. If the project is not included in the relevant planning documents at the time the application is submitted, applicants should submit a certification from the appropriate planning agency that actions are underway at the time of the application to include the project in the relevant planning document. The applicant should provide a schedule demonstrating when the project will be added to the relevant planning Start Printed Page 38727documents; any applicant that is applying for a TIGER Discretionary Grant and does not own all of the property or right-of-way required to complete the project should provide evidence that the property and/or right-of-way owner whose permission is required to complete the project supports the application and will cooperate in carrying out the activities to be supported by the TIGER Discretionary Grant;
(v) Technical Feasibility: The technical feasibility of the project, including completion of substantial preliminary engineering work; and
(vi) Financial Feasibility: The viability and completeness of the project's financing package (assuming the availability of the requested TIGER Discretionary Grant funds), including evidence of stable and reliable financial commitments and contingency reserves, as appropriate, and evidence of the grant recipient's ability to manage grants.
DOT reserves the right to revoke any award of TIGER Discretionary Grant funds and to award such funds to another project to the extent that such funds are not timely expended and/or construction does not begin in accordance with the project schedule. Because projects have different schedules DOT will consider on a case-by-case basis how much time after selection for award of a TIGER Discretionary Grant each project has before funds must be obligated (consistent with law) and construction started. This deadline will be specified for each TIGER Discretionary Grant in the project-specific grant agreements signed by the grant recipients and will be based on critical path items identified by applicants in response to items (i) through (vi) above, but all deadlines will reflect DOT's preference that pre-conditions be complete and TIGER Discretionary Grants funds obligated on or before June 30, 2013 in order to give DOT comfort that all TIGER Discretionary Grant funds will be obligated before the statutory deadline of September 30, 2013. For example, if an applicant reasonably anticipates that NEPA requirements will be completed and a final decision made within 30 to 60 days of announcement of the award of a TIGER Discretionary Grant, this timeframe will be taken into account in evaluating the application, but also in establishing a deadline for obligation of funds and commencement of construction. By statute, DOT's ability to obligate funds for TIGER Discretionary Grants expires on September 30, 2013 and DOT has no authority to extend the deadline.
2. Secondary Selection Criteria
In order to measure a project's alignment with this criterion, DOT will assess the extent to which the project uses innovative technology (including, for example, intelligent transportation systems, dynamic pricing, rail wayside or on-board energy recovery, smart cards, real-time dispatching, active traffic management, radio frequency identification (RFID), or others) to pursue one or more of the long-term outcomes outlined above and/or to significantly enhance the operational performance of the transportation system. DOT will also assess the extent to which the project incorporates innovations that demonstrate the value of new approaches to, among other things, transportation funding and finance, contracting, project delivery, congestion management, safety management, asset management, or long-term operations and maintenance. The applicant should clearly demonstrate that the innovation is designed to pursue one or more of the long-term outcomes outlined above and/or significantly enhance the transportation system.
Innovative, multi-modal projects are often difficult to fund under traditional transportation programs. DOT will consider the extent to which innovative projects might be difficult to fund under other programs and will give priority to projects that align well with the Primary Selection Criteria but are unlikely to receive funding under traditional programs.
(i) Jurisdictional & Stakeholder Collaboration: In order to measure a project's alignment with this criterion, DOT will assess the project's involvement of non-Federal entities and the use of non-Federal funds, including the scope of involvement and share of total funding. DOT will give priority to projects that receive financial commitments from, or otherwise involve, State and local governments, other public entities, or private or nonprofit entities, including projects that engage parties that are not traditionally involved in transportation projects, such as nonprofit community groups. Pursuant to the OMB Guidance, DOT will give priority to projects that make effective use of community-based organizations in connecting disadvantaged people with economic opportunities. Letters of commitment and other supporting documentation showing existing or confirmed collaboration, partnerships, etc., should be provided (preferably through a Web site link) to demonstrate alignment with this criterion
In compliance with the FY 2011 Continuing Appropriations Act, DOT will give priority to projects for which a TIGER Discretionary Grant will help to complete an overall financing package. An applicant should clearly demonstrate in the application the extent to which the project cannot be readily and efficiently completed without Federal assistance, and the extent to which other sources of Federal assistance are or are not readily available for the project. DOT will assess the amount of private debt and equity to be invested in the project or the amount of co-investment from State, local or other non-profit sources.
DOT will also assess the extent to which the project application demonstrates collaboration among neighboring or regional jurisdictions to achieve National, regional or metropolitan benefits. Multiple States or jurisdictions may submit a joint application and should identify a lead State or jurisdiction as the primary point of contact. Where multiple States or jurisdictions are submitting a joint application, the application should demonstrate how the project costs are apportioned between the States or jurisdictions to assist DOT in making the distributional determinations described below in Section III(C) (Distribution of Funds).
(ii) Disciplinary Integration: In order to demonstrate the value of partnerships across government agencies that serve various public service missions and to promote collaboration on the objectives outlined in this notice, DOT will give priority to projects that are supported, financially or otherwise, by non-transportation public agencies that are pursuing similar objectives. For example, DOT will give priority to transportation projects that create more livable communities and are supported by relevant public housing agencies or are consistent with State or local efforts or plans to promote economic development, revitalize communities, or protect historic or cultural assets; similarly, DOT will give priority to transportation projects that encourage energy efficiency or improve the environment and are supported by relevant public agencies with energy or environmental missions.
III. Evaluation and Selection Process
A. Evaluation Process
TIGER Discretionary Grant applications will be evaluated in accordance with the below discussed Start Printed Page 38728evaluation process. DOT will establish a pre-application evaluation team to review each pre-application that is received by DOT on or prior to the Pre-Application Deadline. This evaluation team will be organized and led by the Office of the Secretary and will include members from the relevant modal administrations in DOT with the most experience and/or expertise in the relevant project areas (the “Cognizant Modal Administrations”). These representatives will include technical and professional staff with relevant experience and/or expertise. This evaluation team will be responsible for analyzing whether the pre-application satisfies the following key threshold requirements:
1. The project is an Eligible Project;
2. NEPA is complete or underway, as described above in Section II(B)(2)(b)(ii) (Environmental Approvals);
3. The project is included in the relevant State, metropolitan, and local planning documents, or will be included, if applicable;
4. The project expects to be ready to obligate all of the TIGER Discretionary Grant funds no later than June 30, 2013;  and
5. Local matching funds to support 20 percent or more of the costs for the project are identified and committed. DOT will consider any non-Federal funds as a local match for purposes of this program, whether such funds are contributed by the public sector (State or local) or the private sector. However, DOT cannot consider funds already expended as a local match. Furthermore, the 20 percent matching requirement for projects that are not in rural areas is an eligibility requirement. All projects, whether in an urban or rural area, can increase their competitiveness by demonstrating significant non-Federal contributions in excess of the required local match, and DOT will give priority, based on the FY 2011 Continuing Appropriations Act, to projects for which Federal funding is required to complete an overall financing package.
To the extent the pre-application evaluation team determines that a pre-application does not satisfy these key threshold requirements, DOT will inform the project sponsor that an application for the project will not be reviewed unless the application submitted on or prior to the Application Deadline can demonstrate that the requirement has been addressed.
DOT will establish application evaluation teams to review each application that is received by DOT prior to the Application Deadline. These evaluation teams will be organized and led by the Office of the Secretary and will include members from each of the Cognizant Modal Administrations. These representatives will include technical and professional staff with relevant experience and/or expertise. The evaluation teams will be responsible for evaluating and rating all of the projects and making funding recommendations to the Secretary. The evaluation process will require team members to evaluate and rate applications individually before convening with other members to discuss ratings. The composition of the evaluation teams will be finalized after the Pre-Application Deadline, based on the number and nature of pre-applications received.
DOT will not assign specific numerical scores to projects based on the selection criteria outlined above in Section II(A) (Selection Criteria). Rather, ratings of “highly recommended,” “recommended,” “not recommended”, or “negative” will be assigned to projects for each of the selection criteria. DOT will award TIGER Discretionary Grants to projects that are well-aligned with one or more of the selection criteria, with projects that are well-aligned with multiple selection criteria being more likely to receive TIGER Discretionary Grants. In addition, DOT will consider whether a project has a negative effect on any of the selection criteria, and any such negative effect may reduce the likelihood that the project will receive a TIGER Discretionary Grant. To the extent the initial evaluation process does not sufficiently differentiate among highly rated projects, DOT will use a similar rating process to re-assess the projects that were highly rated and identify those that should be most highly rated.
DOT will give more weight to the two Primary Selection Criteria (Long-Term Outcomes and Job Creation & Near-Term Economic Activity), which will be weighted equally, than to the two Secondary Selection Criteria (Innovation and Partnership) which will also be weighted equally. Projects that are unable to demonstrate a likelihood of significant long-term benefits in any of the five long-term outcomes identified in Section II(A)(1)(a) (Long-Term Outcomes) will not proceed in the evaluation process. A project need not be well aligned with each of the long-term outcomes in order to be successful in the long-term outcomes criterion overall. However, projects that are strongly aligned with multiple long-term outcomes will be the most successful in this criterion. Furthermore, a project that has a negative effect on safety or environmental sustainability will need to demonstrate significant merits in other long-term outcomes in order to be selected for funding.
For the Job Creation & Near-Term Economic Activity criterion, projects need not receive a rating of “highly recommended” in order to be recommended for funding, although a project that is not ready to proceed quickly, as evidenced by the items requested in Section II(B)(1)(b)(i)-(vi) (Project Schedule, Environmental Approvals, Legislative Approvals, State and Local Planning, Technical Feasibility, and Financial Feasibility), is less likely to be successful under this criterion.
The following table summarizes the weighting of the selection criteria, as described in the preceding paragraphs:
|Primary Selection Criteria|
|Long-Term Outcomes||DOT will give more weight to this criterion than to either of the Secondary Selection Criteria. In addition, this criterion has a minimum threshold requirement. Projects that are unable to demonstrate a likelihood of significant long-term benefits in any of the five long-term outcomes identified in this criterion will not proceed in the evaluation process.|
|Job Creation & Near-Term Economic Activity||DOT will give more weight to this criterion than to either of the Secondary Selection Criteria. This criterion will be considered after it is determined that a project demonstrates a likelihood of significant long-term benefits in at least one of the five long-term outcomes identified in the long-term outcomes criterion.|
|Start Printed Page 38729|
|Secondary Selection Criteria|
|Innovation & Partnership||DOT will give less weight to these criteria than to the Primary Selection Criteria. These criteria will be weighted equally.|
As noted below in Section III(C) (Distribution of Funds), upon completion of this competitive rating process DOT will analyze the preliminary list and determine whether the purely competitive ratings are consistent with the distributional requirements of the FY 2011 Continuing Appropriations Act. If necessary, DOT will adjust the list of recommended projects to satisfy the statutory distributional requirements while remaining as consistent as possible with the competitive ratings.
B. Evaluation of Eligibility
To be selected for a TIGER Discretionary Grant, a project must be an Eligible Project and the applicant must be an Eligible Applicant. DOT may consider one or more components of a large project to be an Eligible Project, but only to the extent that the components have independent utility, meaning the components themselves, not the project of which they are a part, are Eligible Projects and satisfy the selection criteria identified above in Section II(A) (Selection Criteria). For these projects, the benefits described in an application must be related to the components of the project for which funding is requested, not the full project of which they are a part. DOT will not fund individual phases of a project if the benefits of completing only these phases would not align well with the selection criteria specified in the Notice because the overall project would still be incomplete.
To the extent that an application requests a substantial amount of grant funds for a larger project or a group of related projects, DOT reserves the right to award funds for a part of the project, not the full project, if a part of the project has independent utility and aligns well with the selection criteria specified in this notice. To the extent applicants expect that DOT may wish to consider funding one or more parts of a project and not the full project that is the subject of the application, then applicants should clearly identify in their applications the separate parts of the project and the benefits that each part of the project provides, and how these benefits align with the selection criteria. Similarly, if a project is not viable unless DOT funds the full project, this should be stated in the application.
C. Distribution of Funds
As noted above in Section I (Background), the FY 2011 Continuing Appropriations Act prohibits the award of more than 25 percent of the funds made available under the TIGER program to projects in any one State. The FY 2011 Continuing Appropriations Act also requires that DOT take measures to ensure an equitable geographic distribution of funds, an appropriate balance in addressing the needs of urban and rural areas, and the investment in a variety of transportation modes. DOT will apply an initial unconstrained competitive rating process based on the selection criteria identified above in Section II(A) (Selection Criteria) to determine a preliminary list of projects recommended for TIGER Discretionary Grants. DOT will then analyze the preliminary list and determine whether the purely competitive ratings are consistent with the distributional requirements of the FY 2011 Continuing Appropriations Act. If necessary, DOT will adjust the list of recommended projects to satisfy the statutory distributional requirements while remaining as consistent as possible with the competitive ratings.
As noted above in Section II(B)(2)(b)(i) (Jurisdictional & Stakeholder Collaboration), applications submitted jointly by multiple Eligible Applicants must include an allocation of project costs to assist DOT in making these determinations. In addition, DOT will use the TIFIA subsidy and administrative cost estimate, not the principal amount of credit assistance, to determine any TIGER TIFIA Payment's effect on these distributional requirements.
D. Transparency of Process
In the interest of transparency, DOT will disclose as much of the information related to its evaluation process as is practical and consistent with law. DOT expects that the TIGER Discretionary Grant program may be reviewed and/or audited by Congress, the U.S. Government Accountability Office, DOT's Inspector General, or others, and has taken, and will continue to take steps to document its decisionmaking process.
IV. Grant Administration
DOT expects that each TIGER Discretionary Grant will be administered by one of the Cognizant Modal Administration, pursuant to a grant agreement between the TIGER Discretionary Grant recipient and the Cognizant Modal Administration. In accordance with the FY 2011 Continuing Appropriations Act, the Secretary has the discretion to delegate such responsibilities to the appropriate operating administration.
Applicable Federal laws, rules and regulations of the Cognizant Modal Administration administering the project will apply to projects that receive TIGER Discretionary Grants.
As noted above in Section II(B)(1)(b) (Job Creation & Near-Term Economic Activity), how soon after selection for award a project is expected to obligate grant funds and start construction will be considered on a case-by-case basis and will be specified in the project-specific grant agreements. DOT reserves the right to revoke any award of TIGER Discretionary Grant funds and to award such funds to another project to the extent that such funds are not timely expended and/or construction does not begin in accordance with the project schedule. DOT's ability to obligate funds for TIGER Discretionary Grants expires on September 30, 2013.
V. Projects in Rural Areas
The FY 2011 Continuing Appropriations Act directs that not less than $140 million of the funds provided for TIGER Discretionary Grants are to be used for projects in rural areas. For purposes of this notice, DOT is generally defining “rural area” as any area not in an Urbanized Area, as such term is defined by the Census Bureau, and will consider a project to be in a rural area if all or the majority of a project is located in a rural area. To the extent more than a de minimis portion of a project is located in an Urbanized Area, applicants should identify the estimated percentage of project costs that will be spent in Urbanized Areas and the estimated percentage that will be spent in rural areas.
For projects located in rural areas the FY 2011 Appropriation Act does not require matching funds (although the Start Printed Page 38730statute does direct DOT to give priority to projects, including projects located in rural areas, for which Federal funding is required to complete an overall financing package that includes non-Federal sources of funds) and the minimum grant size is $1 million. Applicants for TIGER Discretionary Grants of between $1 million and $10 million for projects located in rural areas are encouraged to apply and should address the same criteria as applicants for TIGER Discretionary Grants in excess of $10 million.
VI. TIGER TIFIA Payments
Up to $150 million of the $526.944 million available for TIGER Discretionary Grants may be used for TIGER TIFIA Payments. Based on the average subsidy cost of the existing TIFIA portfolio, $150 million in TIGER TIFIA Payments could support approximately $1.5 billion in Federal credit assistance.
Applicants seeking TIGER TIFIA Payments should apply in accordance with all of the criteria and guidance specified in this notice for TIGER Discretionary Grant applications and will be evaluated concurrently with all other applicants. Any applicant seeking a TIGER TIFIA Payment is also required to submit a TIFIA letter of interest concurrent with the TIGER TIFIA Payment application. If selected for a TIGER TIFIA Payment, the applicant must comply with all of the TIFIA program's standard application and approval requirements including submission of a complete TIFIA application and $50,000 application fee (the TIFIA program guide can be downloaded from http://tifia.fhwa.dot.gov/).
Applicants should demonstrate that the TIFIA loan will be ready to close on or before September 30, 2013, in accordance with the guidance specified above in Section II(B)(1)(b) (Job Creation & Near-Term Economic Activity). DOT's TIFIA Joint Program Office will assist DOT in determining a project's readiness to proceed rapidly upon receipt of a TIGER TIFIA Payment.
Applicants seeking TIGER TIFIA Payments may also apply for a TIGER Discretionary Grant for the same project and must indicate the type(s) of funding for which they are applying clearly on the face of their applications. An applicant for a TIGER TIFIA Payment must submit an application pursuant to this notice for a TIGER TIFIA Payment even if it does not wish to apply for a TIGER Discretionary Grant.
DOT reserves the right to offer a TIGER TIFIA Payment to an applicant that applied for a TIGER Discretionary Grant even if DOT does not choose to fund the requested TIGER Discretionary Grant request and the applicant did not request a TIGER TIFIA Payment. Therefore, applicants for TIGER Discretionary Grants, particularly applicants that require a substantial amount of funds to complete a financing package, should indicate whether or not they have considered applying for a TIGER TIFIA Payment. To the extent an applicant thinks that TIFIA may be a viable option for the project, applicants should provide a brief description of a project finance plan that includes TIFIA credit assistance and identifies a source of revenue which may be available to support the TIFIA credit assistance.
Unless otherwise expressly noted herein, any and all requirements that apply to TIGER Discretionary Grants pursuant to the FY 2011 Continuing Appropriations Act, this notice, or otherwise, apply to TIGER TIFIA Payments.
Pre-Application and Application Cycle
VII. Pre-Application and Application Cycle
A. Two Stages of Application Cycle
The application cycle for TIGER Discretionary Grants has two stages:
1. Pre-Application: In Stage 1, applicants must submit a pre-application form to the DOT. This step qualifies applicants to submit an application in Stage 2. No application submitted during Stage 2 that does not correlate with a properly completed Stage 1 pre-application will be considered.
2. Application: In Stage 2, applicants must submit a complete application package through Grants.gov. If an applicant is seeking a TIGER TIFIA payment, applicants must submit electronically a TIFIA letter of interest to the TIFIA office at TIFIACredit@dot.gov. TIFIA letters of interest must comply with all of the program's standard requirements (the TIFIA program guide can be downloaded from http://tifia.fhwa.dot.gov/).
Pre-applications should be submitted to DOT by the Pre-Application Deadline, which is October 3, 2011, at 5 p.m. EST. Final applications must be submitted through Grants.gov by the Application Deadline, which is October 31, 2011, at 5 p.m. EST. The Grants.gov “Apply” function will open on October 5, 2011, allowing applicants to submit applications. While applicants are encouraged to submit pre-applications in advance of the Pre-Application Deadline, pre-applications will not be reviewed until after the Pre-Application Deadline. Similarly, while applicants are encouraged to submit applications in advance of the Application Deadline, applications will not be evaluated, and selections for awards will not be made, until after the Application Deadline.
Pre-applications (stage 1) must be submitted to the DOT. The pre-application form will be available on the DOT Web site at http://www.dot.gov/TIGER on August 23, 2011, together with instructions for submitting the pre-application form electronically to DOT.
Applications (Stage 2) must be submitted through Grants.gov. To apply for funding through Grants.gov, applicants must be properly registered. Complete instructions on how to register and submit applications can be found at http://www.grants.gov. Please be aware that the registration process usually takes 2-4 weeks and must be completed before an application can be submitted. If interested parties experience difficulties at any point during the registration or application process, please call the Grants.gov Customer Support Hotline at 1-800-518-4726, Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST. Additional information on applying through Grants.gov is available in Appendix B, attached hereto.
To help ensure that applicants submit only those applications that are most likely to align well with the department's selection criteria, each applicant may submit no more than three applications for consideration under the TIGER Discretionary Grant Program. While applications may include requests to fund more than one project, applicants should not bundle together unrelated projects in the same application for purposes of avoiding the three application limit that applies to each applicant. Please note that the three application limit applies only to applications where the applicant is the lead applicant, and there is no limit on applications for which an applicant can be listed as a partnering agency. Also, DOT will not count any application for a multistate project against the three application limit to the extent multiple states are partnering to submit the application.
B. Contents of Pre-Applications
An applicant for a TIGER Discretionary Grant should provide all of the information requested below in its pre-application form. DOT reserves the right to ask any applicant to supplement the data in its pre-application, but expects pre-applications to be complete upon submission. Applicants must complete the pre-application form and send it to Start Printed Page 38731DOT electronically on or prior to the Pre-Application Deadline, in accordance with the instructions specified at http://www.dot.gov/TIGER. The pre-application form must include the following information:
i. Name of applicant (if the application is to be submitted by more than one entity, a lead applicant must be identified);
ii. Applicant's DUNS (Data Universal Numbering System) number;
iii. Type of applicant (State government, local government, U.S. territory, Tribal government, transit agency, port authority, metropolitan planning organization, or other unit of government);
iv. State(s) where the project is located;
v. County(s) where the project is located;
vi. City(s) where the project is located;
vii. Information about the geographic location of the project for mapping purposes using one of the following methods:
1. A geographic information system (GIS) file that indicates the location of the project;
2. For locating point specific projects, latitude and longitude in decimal degrees to an accuracy of 5 decimal places (e.g. 0.12345) using the WGS 84 datum (the default datum used by Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment); or
3. For linear projects on existing roads, route number (Interstate, U.S. Route, or State Route) or road name and the latitude and longitude in decimal degrees to an accuracy of 5 decimal places (e.g. 0.12345) of the beginning and ending points of the project;
viii. Project title (descriptive);
ix. Project type: highway, transit, rail, port, multimodal, or bicycle and pedestrian activity (if the project is a multimodal project, the pre-application form will require that applicants provide additional information identifying the affected modes);
x. Whether the project is requesting a TIGER TIFIA Payment;
xi. Project description (describe the project in plain English terms that would be generally understood by the public, using no more than 50 words (e.g. “the project will replace the existing bridge over the W river on interstate-X between the cities of Y and Z”; please do not describe the project's benefits, background, or alignment with the selection criteria in this description);
xii. Total cost of the project;
xiii. Total amount of TIGER Discretionary Grant funds requested;
xiv. Contact name, phone number, e-mail address, and physical address for applicant;
xv. Congressional districts affected by the project;
xvi. Type of jurisdiction where the project is located (urban or rural, as defined above in Section V (Projects in Rural Areas));
xvii. Whether or not the project is in an Economically Distressed Area, as defined in Section II(A) (Selection Criteria);
xviii. An assurance that the NEPA and/or environmental review process is complete, substantially complete, or in progress (and the expected outcome of the process), unless an exception is justified pursuant to Section II(B)(1)(b)(ii) (Environmental Approvals). Absent an acceptable justification, DOT will not evaluate applications for projects that have not made substantial progress in the environmental review process, including all Federal, State, and local environmental requirements, by the Pre-Application Deadline;
xix. The schedule for completing right-of-way acquisition and final design; approval of plans, specifications, and estimates;
xx. The date that the project is expected to be ready for obligation of grant funds, which should be no later than June 30, 2013 in order to give DOT comfort that the funds will be obligated before they expire on September 30, 2013; and
xxi. An assurance that local matching funds to support 20 percent or more of the costs of the project are identified and committed (as noted in Section I (Background), this requirement does not apply to projects located in rural areas (as defined above in Section V (Projects in Rural Areas)), and these projects do not need to provide this assurance); however, DOT will give priority to projects that also will be funded with non-Federal sources of funds.
To the extent the pre-application does not provide adequate assurances for items xvii through xxii, DOT will inform the project sponsor that an application for the project will not be reviewed unless the application submitted on or prior to the Application Deadline can demonstrate that each requirement has been addressed.
C. Contents of Applications
An applicant for a TIGER Discretionary Grant must include all of the information requested below in its application. DOT reserves the right to ask any applicant to supplement the data in its application, but expects applications to be complete upon submission. To the extent practical, DOT encourages applicants to provide data and evidence of project merits in a form that is publicly available or verifiable. For TIGER TIFIA Payments, these requirements apply only to the applications required under this notice; the standard TIFIA letter of interest and loan application requirements, including the standard $50,000.00 application fee, are separately described in the Program Guide and Application Form found at http://tifia.fhwa.dot.gov/.
1. Standard Form 424, Application for Federal Assistance
Please see http://www07.grants.gov/assets/SF424Instructions.pdf for instructions on how to complete the SF 424, which is part of the standard Grants.gov submission. Additional clarifying guidance and FAQs to assist applicants in completing the SF-424 will be available at http://www.dot.gov/TIGER by September 16, 2011, when the “Apply” function within Grants.gov opens to accept applications under this notice.
2. Project Narrative (Attachment to SF 424)
The project narrative must respond to the application requirements outlined below. DOT recommends that the project narrative be prepared with standard formatting preferences (e.g. a single-spaced document, using a standard 12-point font, such as Times New Roman, with 1-inch margins).
A TIGER Discretionary Grant application must include information required for DOT to assess each of the criteria specified in Section II(A) (Selection Criteria), as such criteria are explained in Section II(B) (Additional Guidance on Selection Criteria). Applicants must demonstrate the responsiveness of a project to any and all of the selection criteria with the most relevant information that applicants can provide, regardless of whether such information has been specifically requested, or identified, in this notice. Applicants should provide concrete evidence of project milestones, financial capacity and commitment in order to support project readiness. Any such information shall be considered part of the application, not supplemental, for purposes of the application size limits identified below in Part D (Length of Applications). Information provided pursuant to this paragraph must be quantified, to the extent possible, to describe the project's benefits to the Nation, a metropolitan area, or a region. Information provided pursuant to this paragraph should include projections for both the build and no-build Start Printed Page 38732scenarios for the project for a point in time at least 20 years beyond the project's completion date or the lifespan of the project, whichever is closest to the present.
All applications should include a detailed description of the proposed project and geospatial data for the project, including a map of the project's location and its connections to existing transportation infrastructure. An application should also include a description of how the project addresses the needs of an urban and/or rural area. An application should clearly describe the transportation challenges that the project aims to address, and how the project will address these challenges. The description should include relevant data such as, for example, passenger or freight volumes, congestion levels, infrastructure condition, or safety experience.
DOT recommends that the project narrative generally adhere to the following basic outline, and include a table of contents, maps and graphics that make the information easier to review:
I. Project Description (including a description of the transportation challenges that the project aims to address, and how the project will address these challenges);
II. Project Parties (information about the grant recipient and other project parties);
III. Grant Funds and Sources/Uses of Project Funds (information about the amount of grant funding requested, availability/commitment of funds sources and uses of all project funds, total project costs, percentage of project costs that would be paid for with TIGER Discretionary Grant funds, and the identity and percentage shares of all parties providing funds for the project (including Federal funds provided under other programs));
IV. Selection Criteria (information about how the project aligns with each of the primary and secondary selection criteria and a description of the results of the benefit-cost analysis):
a. Long-Term Outcomes
i. State of Good Repair
ii. Economic Competitiveness
b. Job Creation & Near-Term Economic Activity
e. Results of Benefit-Cost Analysis
V. Project Readiness and NEPA (information about how ready the project is to move forward quickly, including information about the project schedule, environmental approvals, legislative approvals, state and local planning, technical feasibility, and financial feasibility);
VI. Federal Wage Rate Certification (an application must include a certification, signed by the applicant, stating that it will comply with the requirements of subchapter IV of chapter 31 of title 40, United States Code (Federal wage rate requirements), as required by the FY 2011 Continuing Appropriations Act); and
VII. To the extent relevant, the final page of the application should describe (in one page or less) any material changes that need to be made to the pre-application form, including changes to the assurances provided in items xvii through xxii regarding initiation of NEPA, planning, and required cost sharing.
The purpose of this recommended format is to ensure that applications are provided in a format that clearly addresses the application requirements and makes critical information readily apparent and easy to locate.
D. Length of Applications
The project narrative may not exceed 25 pages in length. Documentation supporting the assertions made in the narrative portion may also be provided, but should be limited to relevant information. If possible, Web site links to supporting documentation (including a more detailed discussion of the benefit-cost analysis) should be provided rather than copies of these materials. At the applicant's discretion, relevant materials provided previously to a Cognizant Modal Administration in support of a different DOT discretionary program (for example, New Starts or TIFIA) may be referenced and described as unchanged. To the extent referenced, this information need not be resubmitted for the TIGER Discretionary Grant application (although provision of a Web site link would facilitate DOT's consideration of the information). DOT recommends use of appropriately descriptive file names (e.g., “Project Narrative,” “Maps,” “Memoranda of Understanding and Letters of Support,” etc.) for all attachments. Cover pages and tables of contents do not count towards the 25-page limit for the narrative portion of the application, and the Federal wage rate certification and one-page update of the pre-application form (if necessary) may also be outside of the 25-page narrative. Otherwise, the only substantive portions of the application that should exceed the 25-page limit are any supporting documents (including a more detailed discussion of the benefit-cost analysis) provided to support assertions or conclusions made in the 25-page narrative section.
E. Contact Information
Contact information is requested as part of the SF-424. DOT will use this information to inform parties of DOT's decision regarding selection of projects, as well as to contact parties in the event that DOT needs additional information about an application.
F. National Environmental Policy Act Requirement
An application for a TIGER Discretionary Grant must detail whether the project will significantly impact the natural, social and/or economic environment. If the NEPA process is completed, an applicant must indicate the date of, and provide a Web site link or other reference to, the final Categorical Exclusion, Finding of No Significant Impact or Record of Decision. If the NEPA process is underway but not complete, the application must detail where the project is in the process, indicate the anticipated date of completion and provide a Web site link or other reference to copies of any NEPA documents prepared.
G. Environmentally Related Federal, State and Local Actions
An application for a TIGER Discretionary Grant must indicate whether the proposed project requires actions by other agencies (e.g., permits), indicate the status of such actions and provide a Web site link or other reference to materials submitted to the other agencies, and/or demonstrate compliance with other Federal, State and local regulations as applicable, including, but not limited to, Section 4(f) Parklands, Recreation Areas, Refuges, & Historic Properties; Section 106 Historic and Culturally Significant Properties; Clean Water Act Wetlands and Water; Executive Orders Wetlands, Floodplains, Environmental Justice; Clean Air Act Air Quality (specifically note if the project is located in a nonattainment area); Endangered Species Act Threatened and Endangered Biological Resources; Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Essential Fish Habitat; The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act; and/or any State and local requirements.
H. Protection of Confidential Business Information
All information submitted as part of or in support of any application shall use publicly available data or data that Start Printed Page 38733can be made public and methodologies that are accepted by industry practice and standards, to the extent possible. If the application includes information that the applicant considers to be a trade secret or confidential commercial or financial information, the applicant should do the following: (1) Note on the front cover that the submission “Contains Confidential Business Information (CBI);” (2) mark each affected page “CBI;” and (3) highlight or otherwise denote the CBI portions. DOT protects such information from disclosure to the extent allowed under applicable law. In the event DOT receives a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the information, DOT will follow the procedures described in its FOIA regulations at 49 CFR § 7.17. Only information that is ultimately determined to be confidential under that procedure will be exempt from disclosure under FOIA.
VIII. Project Benefits
DOT expects to identify and report on the benefits of the projects that it funds with TIGER Discretionary Grants. To this end, DOT will request that recipients of TIGER Discretionary Grants cooperate in Departmental efforts to collect and report on information related to the benefits produced by the projects that receive TIGER Discretionary Grants.
The benefits that DOT reports on may include the following: (1) Improved condition of existing transportation facilities and systems; (2) improved economic competitiveness in the form of reduced travel time, less traffic congestion, improved trip reliability, fewer vehicle miles traveled, or lower vehicle operating costs; (3) long-term growth in employment, production or other high-value economic activity; (4) improved livability of communities across the United States through expansion of transportation options, efficiency, and reliability; (5) improved energy efficiency, reduced dependence on oil and reduced greenhouse gas emissions; (6) reduced adverse impacts of transportation on the natural environment; (7) reduced number, rate and consequences of surface transportation-related crashes, injuries and fatalities; (8) greater use of technology and innovative approaches to transportation funding and project delivery; (9) greater collaboration with state and local governments, other public entities, private entities, nonprofit entities, or other non-traditional partners; (10) greater integration of transportation decision making with decision making by other public agencies with similar public service objectives; or (11) any other benefits claimed in the project's benefit-cost analysis.
Because of the limited nature of this program, these benefits are likely to be reported on a project-by-project basis and trends across projects that were selected for TIGER Discretionary Grants may not be readily available. In addition, because many of these benefits are long-term outcomes, it may be years before the value of the investments can be quantified and fully reported. DOT is considering the most appropriate way to collect and report information about these potential project benefits.
IX. Questions and Clarifications
For further information concerning this notice please contact the TIGER Discretionary Grant program manager via e-mail at TIGERGrants@dot.gov, or call Robert Mariner at 202-366-8914. A TDD is available for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing at 202-366-3993. DOT will regularly post answers to these questions and other important clarifications on DOT's Web site at http://www.dot.gov/TIGER.
Appendix A: Additional Information on Benefit-Cost Analysis
As previously discussed in the Notice, the lack of a useful analysis of expected project benefits and costs may be a basis for denying an award of a TIGER Discretionary Grant to any applicant. Additionally, if it is clear that the total benefits of a project are not reasonably likely to outweigh the project's costs, the Department will not award a TIGER Discretionary Grant to the project. Consequently, it is incumbent upon the applicant to prepare a thorough benefit-cost analysis that demonstrates clearly the derivation of both the costs and the benefits of the project. However, DOT understands that the level of expense that can be expected in these analyses for surveys, travel demand forecasts, market forecasts, statistical analyses, and so on will be less for smaller projects than for larger projects. The level of resources devoted to preparing the benefit-cost analysis should be reasonably related to the size of the overall project and the amount of grant funds requested in the application. Any subjective estimates of benefits and costs should still be quantified, and applicants are expected to provide whatever evidence they have available to lend credence to their subjective estimates. Estimates of benefits should be presented in monetary terms whenever possible; if a monetary estimate is not possible, then at least a quantitative estimate (in physical, non-monetary terms, such as ridership estimates, emissions levels, etc.) should be provided.
This appendix provides general information and guidance on conducting an analysis. In addition to this guidance, applicants should also refer to OMB Circulars A-4 and A-94 in preparing their analysis (http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars/). Circular A-4 also cites textbooks on cost-benefit analysis (e.g., Mishan and Quah  ) if an applicant wants to review additional background material. The Department will rate all analyses as indicated below.
|Very useful||The economic analysis (i) is comprehensive (quantifying and monetizing the full range of costs and benefits, including the likely timing of such costs and benefits, for which such measures are reasonably available), (ii) attempts to describe the indirect effects of transportation investments on land use (when applicable), (iii) helps the Department organize information about, and evaluate trade-offs between, alternative transportation investments, (iv) provides a high degree of confidence as to the extent to which the benefits of the project will exceed the project's costs on a net present value basis, and (v) provides sensitivity analysis to show how changes in key assumptions affect the outcome of the analysis.|
|Useful||The economic analysis (i) identifies, quantifies, monetizes, and compares the project's expected benefits and costs, but has minor gaps in coverage of benefits and costs or the precise timing of benefits and costs, or fails in some cases to quantify or monetize benefits and costs for which such measures are reasonably available, and (ii) provides a sufficient degree of confidence that the benefits of the project will exceed the project's costs on a net present value basis.|
|Marginally Useful||The economic analysis (i) identifies, quantifies, monetizes, and compares the project's expected benefits and costs, but has significant gaps in coverage, quantification, monetization, or timing of benefits and costs, or significant errors in its measurement of benefits or costs, and (ii) the Department is uncertain whether the benefits of the project will exceed the project's costs on a net present value basis.|
|Start Printed Page 38734|
|Not Useful||The economic analysis (i) does not adequately identify, quantify, monetize, and compare the project's expected benefits and costs or timing of benefits and costs, (ii) provides little basis for concluding that the benefits of the project will exceed the project's costs on a net present value basis, and (iii) demonstrates an unreasonable absence of data and analysis or poor applicant effort to put forth a robust quantification of net benefits.|
A benefit-cost analysis attempts to measure the dollar value of the benefits and the costs to all the members of society (in this context, “society” means all residents of the United States) on a net present value basis. The benefits represent a dollar measure of the extent to which people are made better off by the project—that is, the benefits represent the amount that all the people in the society would jointly be willing to pay to carry out the project, and feel as if they had generated enough benefits to justify the project's costs, after accounting for the relative timing of those benefits and costs. In some cases, benefits may be difficult to measure in dollar terms. Applicants must at least describe the nature of each of the major types of benefits described in this guidance. To the extent possible, applicants must also quantify each of those types of benefits (e.g., in terms of the number of users making use of a transportation facility). Finally, applicants must attempt to measure those benefits in dollar terms (i.e., “monetize” them). These benefits must then be compared with a dollar measure of the costs of the project. Both benefits and costs must be estimated for each year after work on the project is begun and for a period of time at least 20 years in the future (or the project's useful life, whichever is shorter), and these streams of annual benefits and costs must be discounted to the present using an appropriate discount rate, so that a present value of the stream of benefits and a present value of the stream of costs is calculated.
As a starting point for any analysis, applicants should provide a Project Summary describing the project and what it changes. The Project Summary should provide:
- A description of the current infrastructure baseline (e.g., an existing two-lane road);
- A description of what the proposed project is and how it would change the current infrastructure baseline (e.g., extension of a trolley line);
- A general justification for the project and how it affects the long-term outcomes relative to the current baseline;
- A description of who would be the users of the project or what groups of people would benefit from it; and
- A description of what types of economic effects the project is expected to have.
If an application contains multiple separate projects (but that are linked together in a common objective), each of which has independent utility, the applicant should provide a separate summary (and analysis) for each project.
The summary should also identify the types of societal benefits the project might generate. The applicant should list the types of benefits here and then clearly demonstrate in the analysis how it estimated benefits for each category. The summary should also include the full cost of a project, including Federal, State, local, and private funding, as well as expected operations and maintenance costs, and not simply the requested grant amount or the local amount.
Each application must include in its analysis estimates of the project's expected benefits with respect to each of the five long-term outcomes specified in Section II(A) (Selection Criteria). We recognize that it may in some cases be unclear in which of these categories of outcomes a benefit should be listed. In these cases, it is less important in which category a benefit is listed than to make sure that the benefit is listed and measured (but only once). Applicants must demonstrate that the proposed project has independent utility as defined in this Notice. It cannot be a component of a larger project such that, if the larger project were not built, this project would have little or no transportation value (or, if it is part of a larger project, the application must demonstrate that funding for the larger project is committed). If the applicant provides a benefit-cost analysis for a larger project, then it must estimate what portion of the benefits and costs of the larger project apply to the smaller project for which funding is being sought. The following sections describe baselines, affected population, discounting, forecasting, costs, and benefit categories in more detail. The Department expects a thorough discussion of these items in the body of the analysis.
Benefit-Cost Analysis vs. Economic Impact Analysis
First, it is important to recognize that a benefit-cost analysis is not an economic impact analysis. Applicants are required to provide a benefit-cost analysis in support of their proposed projects. An economic impact analysis is not a substitute for a benefit-cost analysis.
A benefit-cost analysis attempts to measure the dollar value of the benefits and the costs to all the members of society (in this context, “society” means all residents of the United States). The benefits represent a dollar measure of the extent to which people are made better off by the project—that is, the benefits represent the amount that all the people in the society would jointly be willing to pay to carry out the project, and feel as if they had generated enough benefits to justify the project's costs.
An economic impact analysis, on the other hand, typically focuses on local and regional impacts rather than national impacts. Some of the impacts that are counted in an economic impact analysis, such as diversion of economic activity from one region of the country to another, represent gains to one part of the country but losses to another part, so they are not gains from the standpoint of the nation as a whole.
Moreover, economic impact analyses estimate “impacts” rather than “benefits,” and the “impacts” are normally quite different from the “benefits.” For example, the total payroll of workers on a project is usually considered one of the “impacts” in an economic impact analysis. The total payroll is not a measure of the “benefits” of the project, however, for two reasons. First, a payroll is a cost to whoever pays the employees, at the same time that it is a benefit to the employees, so it is not a net benefit. Second, even for the employees, the employees have to work for their wages, so the amount they are paid is not a net benefit to them—it is a benefit only to the extent that they value their wages more than the cost to them of having to be at work every day.
Economic impact analyses also often treat real estate investments induced by a project as one of the economic “impacts.” The full value of such an investment is not a “benefit,” however, because the benefit of those investments to the community in which they are made is balanced by the cost of the investment to the investor. Because these investments are a cost as well as a benefit, they are not a net benefit for purposes of a benefit-cost analysis.
There is often an element of benefit in these “impacts.” A worker who gets a higher-paying job as a result of a transportation investment project benefits if he or she works just as hard as he or she did at his or her previous job but is paid more. Such projects produce benefits by increasing the productivity of labor. A transportation investment project that increases the value and productivity of land and thus induces real estate investment can also provide a benefit, but the benefit must be measured net of the cost of making the real estate investment. Measuring these labor and land productivity effects requires a careful analysis of the local labor market and how that market is changed by the transportation investment. Similarly, measuring the effects of transportation projects on the productivity of land requires a careful netting out of increases in land values that are compensated by costs of real estate investment and increases in land values that in effect capitalize other types of benefits that have already been counted, such as time savings.
In summary, applicants must be careful to measure only the net benefits of a project, and should avoid using software packages that are designed primarily to produce economic impact analyses. An application containing only an economic impact analysis does not meet the program's requirements and may be denied an award for that reason.Start Printed Page 38735
Baselines and Alternatives
Applicants should measure costs and benefits of a proposed project against a baseline (also called a “base case” or a “no build” case). The baseline should be an assessment of the way the world would look if the project did not receive the requested TIGER Discretionary Grant funding. Usually, it is reasonable to forecast that that baseline world resembles the present state. However, it is important to factor in any projected changes (e.g., baseline economic growth, increased traffic volumes, or completion of already planned and funded projects) that would occur even if the proposed project were not funded. In some cases the proposed project already has a financing plan that would allow it to be built, but that involves a slower construction schedule than would occur if it received TIGER Discretionary Grant funding. Or it may be likely that, in the absence of TIGER Discretionary Grant funding, the project would be built later using ordinary funding sources. In these cases, the TIGER Discretionary Grant funding may accelerate completion of the project, but it does not allow a project to be built that would never otherwise have been built. The benefits and costs in this case should thus be limited to the marginal benefits (and marginal costs) of having the project completed in a shorter period of time and including the cost of expending resources on the project sooner than otherwise planned.
Many projects have multiple parts or multiple phases, only one or two of which would actually receive funding from a TIGER Discretionary Grant. It is important in these cases that both the costs and the benefits pertain to the same portion of the project. If the part or phase of the project funded by a TIGER Discretionary Grant has independent utility, then the analysis should compare the costs and the benefits of just that part or phase. If the part or phase of the project funded by a TIGER Discretionary Grant does not have independent utility, then the applicant must first demonstrate that funding is committed for the entire project (or for an entire portion of the project, including the TIGER Discretionary Grant-funded portion, that has independent utility). In this case, the applicant should compare the benefits and costs of the entire project (or the entire portion of the project that has independent utility). The applicant must make clear exactly what portions of the project form the basis of the estimates of benefits and costs. It is incorrect to claim benefits for the entire project but only count as costs the costs of the portion of the project funded by the TIGER Discretionary Grant. Thus, it would be incorrect to attribute all the benefits from a new port facility to a TIGER Discretionary Grant when the costs that are counted only cover a portion of the project funded by the TIGER Discretionary Grant, for example, paving a loading area. In some cases, the applicant may choose to allocate the benefits of the project proportionately to the costs of the project that would be funded by the TIGER Discretionary Grant, but this should generally be done only if (1) the TIGER Discretionary Grant funds are commingled with non-TIGER Discretionary Grant funds for a single, non-divisible structure that has independent utility) and (2) the project has sufficient funding in place to be completed as a whole unit. If a project is being funded by multiple Federal, State, and local sources, it would be inappropriate to attribute the full benefit of the project to only one source of funding (such as the local share or the TIGER Discretionary Grant itself).
All costs and benefits of the project should be evaluated, including benefits and costs that fall outside of the jurisdiction sponsoring the project. It is also important that the applicant assume the continuation of reasonable and sound management practices in establishing a baseline. Assuming a baseline scenario in which the owner of the facility does no maintenance on the facility and ignores traffic problems and maintenance is not realistic and will lead to the overstatement of project benefits.
In addition to the baseline, the applicant should present and consider reasonable alternatives in the analysis. Smaller-scale and more focused projects should be evaluated for comparison purposes. For example, if an applicant is requesting funds to replace a pier, it should also analyze the alternative of rehabilitating the current pier. Similarly, if an applicant seeks funds to establish a relatively large streetcar project, it should also evaluate a more focused project serving only the more densely populated corridors or an area.
Applicants should clearly identify the population that the project will affect and measure the number of passengers (for a passenger project) and the amount of freight (for a freight project) affected by the project. If possible, passenger and freight traffic should be measured in passenger-miles and freight ton-miles (and possibly value of freight). If, as is often the case (e.g., projected growth in highway traffic), the forecasted traffic volume is not the same for all years, then the applicant needs to break out the forecasted traffic annually. In some cases, the characteristics of the passenger population or of the freight cargo may be important (e.g., whether the passengers are members of a disadvantaged group, or are spread across a multi-state region, or whether the cargo being shipped is predominantly export traffic). Measures of freight traffic might include growing levels of port calls. In some cases, the relevant population is the volume of traffic that is diverted from one mode to another. Applicants must clearly identify which population will be affected by any particular benefit. For example, the affected population that will enjoy travel time savings may be different from the affected population benefiting from reduced shipping costs. Further, the applicant should be realistic as to how the project affects these populations. For example, improving rail access to a wholesale distribution center near an urban area may take some trucks off the road that had been carrying freight from a truck/rail intermodal yard to the wholesale distribution center. However, it is unrealistic to claim benefits from reduced truck traffic all the way from the shipping origin point hundreds or thousands of miles away to the truck/rail intermodal yard, if that traffic would be likely to be moving much of this distance by rail already.
Applicants should discount future benefits and costs to present values using a real discount rate (i.e., a discount rate that reflects the opportunity cost of money net of the rate of inflation) of 7 percent, following guidance provided by OMB in Circulars A-4 and A-94 (http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars_default/). Applicants may also provide an alternative analysis using a real discount rate of 3 percent. The latter approach should be used when the alternative use of funds currently dedicated to the project would be other public expenditures, rather than private investment.
As a first step, applicants should present the year-by-year stream of benefits and costs from the project. Applicants should clearly identify when they expect costs and benefits to occur. The beginning point for the year-by-year stream of benefits should be the first year in which the project will start generating costs or benefits. The ending point should be far enough in the future to encompass most or all of the significant costs and benefits resulting from the project (at least 20 years in the future) but not to exceed the usable life of the asset without capital improvement. In presenting these year-by-year streams, applicants should measure them in constant (or “real”) dollars prior to discounting. Applicants should not add in the effects of inflation to the estimates of future benefits and costs prior to discounting. Once an applicant has generated the stream of costs and benefits in constant dollars, it should then discount these estimates to arrive at a present value of costs and benefits using the real discount rate specified above. The standard formula for the discount factor in any given year is 1/(1 + r)[t] , where “r” is the discount rate and “t” measures the number of years in the future that the costs or benefits will occur. Infrequently, benefits or costs will be the same in constant dollars for all years. In these limited cases, an applicant can calculate the formula for the present value of Start Printed Page 38736an ordinary annuity instead of showing a year-by-year calculation.
Benefit-cost analyses of transportation projects almost always depend on forecasts of projected levels of usage (road traffic, port calls, etc.). When an applicant is using such forecasts to generate benefit estimates, it must assess the reliability of these forecasts. If the applicant is using outside forecasts, it must provide a citation and an appropriate page number for the forecasts. An applicant should carefully review any outside forecasts for reliability before using them in its analyses. In cases where an applicant is using its own estimates, it should clearly demonstrate in the analysis the methodology it used to forecast affected population (e.g., how it generated traffic volumes for cars and trucks on a highway section). The number of individuals who enjoy the benefits of a project will partly determine the net benefits of the project. Consequently, accurate forecasts are essential to conducting a quality benefit-cost analysis. Applicants should also take great care to match forecasts of affected population to the corresponding year. For example, using projected traffic levels for 2030 to generate benefits for all the earlier years is incorrect. For more information on forecasting, applicants can refer to the forecasting section of FHWA's Economic Analysis Primer (http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/asstmgmt/primer06.cfm). While produced for analysis of highway projects, the primer is a good source of information on issues related to all transportation forecasting.
As noted above, the estimate of costs must pertain to the same project as the estimate of benefits. If the TIGER Discretionary Grant is to pay for only part of the project, but the project is indivisible (i.e., no one part of the project would have independent utility), then the benefits of the whole project should be compared to the costs of the whole project, including costs paid for by State, local, and private partners other than the Federal government. Applicants may not claim that the TIGER Discretionary Grant “leverages” the financial contributions of other parties, and therefore that all the benefits of the project are attributable to the TIGER Discretionary Grant, even though the TIGER Discretionary Grant only pays for part of the project.
The analysis of costs should be equally as rigorous as the analysis of benefits. The lack of a useful analysis of expected project costs may be a basis for denying the award of a TIGER Discretionary Grant to an applicant. In general, applicants should use a life-cycle cost analysis approach in estimating the costs of the project. The Department expects applicants to include operating, maintenance, and other life-cycle costs of the project, along with capital costs. In addition to construction costs, other direct costs may include design and land acquisition. If the time period considered in the analysis is long enough to require the rehabilitation of the facility during the period of analysis, then the costs of that rehabilitation should be included. External costs, such as noise, increased congestion, and environmental pollutants resulting from the use of the facility or related changes in usage on other facilities in the same network, should be considered as costs in the analysis. Additionally, applicants should include, to the extent possible, costs to users during construction, such as delays and increased vehicle operating costs associated with work zones or detours. The applicant should correctly discount annual costs to arrive at a present value of the project's cost.
Types of Benefits-Livability
There are several potential benefits that a project could generate that affect livability. The most important aspect of livability is accessibility to non-single-occupancy vehicle modes of transportation, such as transit, bicycle paths, and sidewalks. Measuring the benefits of increased accessibility should start with a quantitative measure of the increase in accessibility—how many people will have access to these alternative modes who did not have access before? The analysis should go on to estimate how many people are actually likely to use these newly available transportation modes and how much of their existing single-occupancy vehicle travel are those people likely to divert to these alternative modes. Finally, the analysis should attempt to estimate the monetary value that people place on access to these newly available transportation modes. In some cases, monetary values may be estimated based on existing market transactions—e.g., bicycle rentals. In others, differentials in the market values of land or rents between residences and businesses that are already easily accessible (e.g. < 0.5 miles) to these modes and those that are in the same areas but not easily accessible (e.g. > 0.5 miles) can be used as a proxy estimate of the value of this access. In other cases, no objective market values are available, and the applicant should make the best subjective estimate it can of the average value that this accessibility has to those who now have access to these alternative modes.
One useful source of guidance on measuring benefits of bicycle facilities is Transportation Research Board, National Cooperative Highway Research Program Report 552, Guidelines for Analysis of Investments in Bicycle Facilities (Washington: TRB, 2006) (available at http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/nchrp_rpt_552.pdf.)
Transit and bicycle paths may provide greater accessibility to alternative transportation modes, but they will not actually enhance livability unless people actually want to use them, and the desire to use them will depend in part on where these modes go and on the amenities provided with them. An important part of accessibility is making sure not only that people's residences are accessible to these modes, but that the modes connect to workplaces, schools, shopping, and other desired destinations. Assessments of enhanced accessibility should describe where these alternative modes go as well as where they start.
Land use changes are also an important aspect of livability. When people live closer to their workplaces, their schools, and shopping, they will be more likely to use these alternative transportation modes. Transportation changes that encourage more mixed-use land development (where residences are intermixed with workplaces and shopping) will shorten the length of travel and encourage more use of non-highway modes. The analysis should evaluate the extent to which the proposed transportation project will encourage these changes in land use and be coordinated with zoning changes and other public and private investments.
Changes in land use that result in shorter travel distances can result in long-term travel time savings, and the quantitative extent of these time savings can be estimated. Values of time can then be used to estimate the monetary value of these time savings. The applicant should propose a subjective estimate of the monetary value of land use changes. Land use changes can also reduce the total cost of transportation for the affected population, so applicants should attempt to measure the effects of the project and associated land use changes on average household transportation expenditures.
In using differentials in property values or rents to measure the value of changes in accessibility, applicants must identify other factors that might have caused property values and/or rents to change and isolate the portion of the change that is attributable to the change in accessibility. Applicants must also be careful to avoid double-counting. If the applicant has already counted reductions in travel time as a benefit, the value of those reductions in travel time may get capitalized in changes in property values or rents, and the applicant must be careful not to count those benefits again as part of the change in property values.
Finally, an important aspect of livability is the availability of transportation to disadvantaged communities, such as low-income people, non-drivers, people with disabilities, and senior citizens. Applicants should assess the extent to which their projects will improve transportation opportunities and quality of life for members of these disadvantaged communities. While there may not be well-defined methodologies for assigning monetary values to these enhancements to accessibility, applicants should attempt to measure the size of the disadvantaged community affected and make subjective judgments of the monetary values that should be assigned to these improvements.
Types of Benefits-Economic Competitiveness
Economic competitiveness benefits might include reduced operating costs due to infrastructure improvements. In some cases, Start Printed Page 38737a project produces economic competitiveness benefits because the existing users of the facility will have lower operating costs after the improvement is completed. In other cases, the economic competitiveness benefits result from modal diversion—users shifting from a higher-cost transportation mode to a lower-cost transportation mode when the quality of service on the lower-cost mode becomes more competitive. In this case, the applicant should demonstrate clearly what the basis is of any estimated modal diversion. In estimating operating cost savings, it is important to avoid double-counting. For example, applicants must not count both the reductions in fuel costs and the overall reductions in operating costs, because fuel costs are part of operating costs. For freight projects, economic competitiveness benefits may be particularly significant if the project reduces the costs of transporting freight that will be exported.
One particular form of reduced operating costs is travel time savings. Road improvements or other projects whose purpose is to relieve congestion frequently generate travel time savings for travelers and shippers that contribute to economic competitiveness and quality of life to non-business travelers. Where this is the case, applicants should clearly demonstrate how the travel time savings are calculated and should account for induced travel demand to the extent practical or applicable. If travel time savings vary over time, the applicant must clearly show savings by year. Once the applicant generates its estimate of hours saved, it should apply the Department's guidance on the value of time to those estimates (http://ostpxweb.dot.gov/policy/reports.htm) to monetize them for both business and non-business travelers. The value of time saving is often among the largest benefit components of transportation capacity enhancement projects. Transportation projects may also enhance economic competitiveness by improving the reliability of travel times (i.e., reducing the variation in travel times), in addition to the benefits from a reduction in the average travel time.
Freight-related projects that improve roads, rails, and ports frequently generate savings to shippers (e.g., fuel savings and other operating cost savings) that they may pass on in whole or in part to shippers by way of lower freight rates. Shippers may, in turn, pass on, in whole or in part, these savings to consumers. If applicants are projecting these savings as benefits, they need to carefully demonstrate how the proposed project would generate such benefits. However, applicants must be careful to count the value of the fuel and other operating cost savings (however allocated among carriers, shippers, and consumers) only once in the benefit-cost analysis; it cannot be re-counted in full each time it transfers from one group to the other as this would entail double-counting of the same benefit.
Applicants should also guard against analysis that double-counts other kinds of benefits. Analysis should distinguish between real benefits and transfer payments. Benefits reflect real resource usage and overall benefits to society, while transfers represent payments by one group to another and do not represent a net increase in societal benefits. Employment or output multipliers that purport to measure secondary effects should not be included as societal benefits because these secondary effects are generally the same (per dollar spent) regardless of what kind of project is funded.
As noted earlier in this Appendix (see Benefit-Cost Analysis vs. Economic Impact Analysis), applicants must be extremely cautious about including job creation and economic development impacts as societal benefits in the benefit-cost analysis. In the case of job creation, for example, every job represents both a cost to the employer (paying a wage) and a benefit to the employee (receiving a wage), so it is a transfer payment, rather than a net benefit. However, if a project increases the productivity of labor, then the applicant can count the increased productivity as a benefit. For example, if the project allows workers working at low-productivity jobs to switch to high-productivity jobs, then the increase in their productivity can be counted as a benefit. But the applicant needs to demonstrate rigorously how such productivity benefits are estimated and the exact time period over which the productivity benefits occur. Simply asserting these gains is inadequate.
With respect to economic development, estimates of capital investments or property tax revenues are not legitimate benefits in a benefit-cost analysis. A property tax is a benefit to the tax assessor, but it is a cost to the taxpayer. An applicant can potentially claim an increase in the value of land as a benefit if the transportation project increases the value and productivity of the land. However, the applicant needs to count the increase in the value of the land carefully to avoid double counting and transfer payments. For example, if the property value goes up by the exact same value as the developer's investment, then this is not a benefit. Property value increases over and above the developer's investment may potentially be a benefit from the project. However, if this property value increase is due to improved travel times that the applicant has already included as a benefit then there is no additional benefit here. The analysis should also consider to what extent an increase in land values induced by the project in one area causes a reduction in land values in some other area. Only the net increase in land value can be counted as a benefit. Applicants must carefully net out any embedded time savings in the property value increase before claiming any benefits. Simply asserting that there is a property tax increase net of time savings is inadequate. The Department expects any applicant claiming these types of benefits to provide a rigorous justification of the benefit that shows how it is derived from the project (rather than from some other non-project investment) and that shows how increases in property values attributable to other benefits (such as travel time savings) have been deducted. Applicants should note that any claimed societal benefit from a property value increase is only a one-time stock benefit. Applicants can not treat it as a stream of benefits accruing annually.
Types of Benefits-Safety
Road projects can also improve the safety of transportation. A well-designed project can reduce fatalities and injuries as well as reduce other crash costs, such as hazardous materials releases. The applicant should clearly demonstrate how the project will improve safety. For example, to claim a reduction in fatalities, an applicant must clearly demonstrate how the existence of the project would have prevented the types of fatalities that commonly occur in that area. Applicants should use crash causation factors or similar analyses of causes of crashes to show the extent to which the type of improvements proposed would actually reduce the likelihood of the kinds of crashes that actually had occurred. Alternatively, when only a few cases are involved, the applicant should provide a description of the incidents and demonstrate the linkage between the proposed project and crash reduction. In some cases, safety benefits may occur because of modal diversion from a less safe mode to a more safe mode. When this type of benefit is claimed, the applicant should provide a clear analysis of why the forecasted modal diversion will take place. Once the applicant has established a reasonable count of the incidents that are likely to be prevented by the project, it should apply the Department's guidance on value of life and injuries (http://ostpxweb.dot.gov/policy/reports.htm) to monetize them. Sources of information on the social benefits of reducing crash costs are discussed in Chapter VIII of the Final Regulatory Impact Analysis of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's rulemaking on Corporate Average Fuel Economy for MY 2011 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks (http://www.nhtsa.gov/DOT/NHTSA/Rulemaking/Rules/Associated%20Files/CAFE_Final_Rule_MY2011_FRIA.pdf). The economic values of various benefits are summarized in Table VIII-5 on page VIII-60.
Types of Benefits-State of Good Repair
Many infrastructure projects that improve the state of good repair of transportation infrastructure can reduce long-term maintenance and repair costs. These benefits are in addition to the benefits of reductions in travel time, shipping costs, and crashes which the applicant should account for separately. Applicants should include these maintenance and repair savings as benefits. Improving state of good repair may also reduce operating costs and congestion by reducing the amount of time that the Start Printed Page 38738infrastructure is out of service due to maintenance and repairs, or may prevent a facility (such as a bridge) from being removed from service entirely (i.e. low-volume facilities that would cost too much to replace). In the latter case, the analysis should include a reasonable assessment of the cost that closing the facility would have on system users who would be required to take longer and more circuitous routes, as well as the probability (and likely time in the future) when the bridge would need to be closed even if sound maintenance practices had been pursued. Improving state of good repair may also reduce user costs if, for example, the roughness of a road reduces travel speeds or increases damage to vehicles. Improving state of good repair can also have safety benefits. The application should also consider differences in maintenance and repair costs when comparing different project alternatives. For example, an applicant can compare the maintenance costs that would be required after rehabilitating an existing pier with those that would be required after building a new one. As part of the data that go into estimating the benefits of improving the state of good repair, applicants should provide accepted metrics for assessing an asset's current condition. For example, applicants can use Present Serviceability Ratings (PSR) to discuss pavement condition and bridge sufficiency ratings to discuss the condition of a bridge. As discussed in the section on costs, the Department expects applicants to consider the life-cycle costs of the project when making these comparisons.
Types of Benefits-Sustainability
Transportation can generate environmental costs in the form of emissions of “criteria pollutants” (e.g., SOX, NOX, and particulates) and from the emission of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2). Increased traffic congestion results in increased levels of these emissions. Transportation projects that reduce congestion can reduce these emissions and produce societal benefits given reduced idling and otherwise constant vehicle miles travelled. Also, transportation projects that encourage transportation users to shift from more-polluting modes to less-polluting modes can similarly reduce emissions. Applicants claiming these types of benefits must clearly demonstrate and quantify how the project will reduce emissions. Once an applicant has adequately quantified levels of emission reductions, it should estimate the dollar value of these benefits. Sources of information on the social benefits of reducing criteria pollutant emissions are discussed in Chapter VIII of the Final Regulatory Impact Analysis of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's rulemaking on Corporate Average Fuel Economy for MY 2011 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks (http://www.nhtsa.gov/DOT/NHTSA/Rulemaking/Rules/Associated%20Files/CAFE_Final_Rule_MY2011_FRIA.pdf).
The Interagency Working Group on Social Cost of Carbon has recently issued its guidance on “Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis Under Executive Order 12866” (http://www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/appliance_standards/commercial/pdfs/sem_finalrule_appendix15a.pdf). This guidance lays out a range of values to use for monetizing the social cost of carbon at various years in the future and at various discount rates. Applicants should clearly indicate how and to what degree calculations of benefits in their analyses are based on these assumed values of CO2 emissions reduction.
Transparency and Reproducibility of Calculations
Applicants should make every effort to make the results of their analyses as transparent and reproducible as possible. Applicants should clearly set out basic assumptions, methods, and data underlying the analysis and discuss any uncertainties associated with the estimates.
A Department reviewer reading the analysis should be able to understand the basic elements of the analysis and the way in which the applicant derived the estimates. If the application refers the reader to more detailed documentation to explain how the calculations were done, that documentation must go beyond merely providing spreadsheets. It must include a thorough verbal description of how the calculation was done, including references to tabs and cells in the spreadsheet. This verbal description should include specific sources for all the numbers in the spreadsheet that are not calculated from the spreadsheet itself.
If an applicant uses a “pre-packaged” economic model to calculate net benefits, the applicant should provide annual benefits and costs by benefit and cost type for the entire analysis period. In any case, applicants must provide a detailed explanation of the assumptions used to run the model (e.g., peak traffic hours and traffic volume during peak hours, mix of traffic by cars, buses, and trucks, etc.). The applicant must provide enough information so that a Department reviewer can follow the general logic of the estimates (and, in the case of spreadsheet models, reproduce them).
Ideally, the applicant should be able to summarize the results of all pertinent data and cost and benefit calculations in a single spreadsheet tab (or table in Word). A Department reviewer should be able to understand the calculations in spreadsheet models both from directions in the spreadsheet and any accompanying text. The following provides a simplified example for expository purposes of discounted costs and benefits from a road project providing travel time savings only to local travelers over the course of five years following a one-year period of construction.
Most applicant analyses will be more complicated than this example and will likely include several benefit categories. However, the summary cost and benefit data should be as transparent and as easy to follow and replicate as the example above.
Appendix B: Additional Information on Applying Through Grants.gov
Applications (Stage 2) for TIGER Discretionary Grants must be submitted through Grants.gov. To apply for funding through Grants.gov, applicants must be properly registered. Complete instructions on how to register and apply can be found at http://www.grants.gov. If interested parties experience difficulties at any point during registration or application process, please call the Grants.gov Customer Support Hotline at 1-800-518-4726, Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST.Start Printed Page 38739
Registering with Grants.gov is a one-time process; however, processing delays may occur and it can take up to several weeks for first-time registrants to receive confirmation and a user password. It is highly recommended that applicants start the registration process as early as possible to prevent delays that may preclude submitting an application by the deadlines specified. Applications will not be accepted after the relevant due date; delayed registration is not an acceptable reason for extensions. In order to apply for TIGER Discretionary Grant funding under this announcement and to apply for funding through Grants.gov, all applicants are required to complete the following:
1. Acquire a DUNS Number. A DUNS number is required for Grants.gov registration. The Office of Management and Budget requires that all businesses and nonprofit applicants for Federal funds include a DUNS (Data Universal Numbering System) number in their applications for a new award or renewal of an existing award. A DUNS number is a unique nine-digit sequence recognized as the universal standard for identifying and keeping track of entities receiving Federal funds. The identifier is used for tracking purposes and to validate address and point of contact information for Federal assistance applicants, recipients, and sub-recipients. The DUNS number will be used throughout the grant life cycle. Obtaining a DUNS number is a free, one-time activity. Obtain a DUNS number by calling 1-866-705-5711 or by applying online at http://www.dunandbradstreet.com.
2. Acquire or Renew Registration with the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) Database. All applicants for Federal financial assistance maintain current registrations in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database. An applicant must be registered in the CCR to successfully register in Grants.gov. The CCR database is the repository for standard information about Federal financial assistance applicants, recipients, and sub-recipients. Organizations that have previously submitted applications via Grants.gov are already registered with CCR, as it is a requirement for Grants.gov registration. Please note, however, that applicants must update or renew their CCR registration at least once per year to maintain an active status, so it is critical to check registration status well in advance of relevant application deadlines. Information about CCR registration procedures can be accessed at http://www.ccr.gov.
3. Acquire an Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) and a Grants.gov Username and Password. Complete your AOR profile on Grants.gov and create your username and password. You will need to use your organization's DUNS Number to complete this step. For more information about the registration process, go to http://www.grants.gov/applicants/get_registered.jsp.
4. Acquire Authorization for your AOR from the E-Business Point of Contact (E-Biz POC). The E-Biz POC at your organization must log in to Grants.gov to confirm you as an AOR. Please note that there can be more than one AOR for your organization.
5. Search for the Funding Opportunity on Grants.gov. Please use the following identifying information when searching for the TIGER funding opportunity on Grants.gov. The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number for this solicitation is 20.933, titled Surface Transportation Infrastructure Discretionary Grants for Capital Investments II.
6. Submit an Application Addressing All of the Requirements Outlined in this Funding Availability Announcement. Within 24-48 hours after submitting your electronic application, you should receive an e-mail validation message from Grants.gov. The validation message will tell you whether the application has been received and validated or rejected, with an explanation. You are urged to submit your application at least 72 hours prior to the due date of the application to allow time to receive the validation message and to correct any problems that may have caused a rejection notification.
Note: When uploading attachments please use generally accepted formats such as .pdf, .doc, and .xls. While you may imbed picture files such as .jpg, .gif, .bmp, in your files, please do not save and submit the attachment in these formats. Additionally, the following formats will not be accepted: .com, .bat, .exe, .vbs, .cfg, .dat, .db, .dbf, .dll, .ini, .log, .ora, .sys, and .zip.
Experiencing Unforeseen Grants.gov Technical Issues
If you experience unforeseen Grants.gov technical issues beyond your control that prevent you from submitting your application by the deadline of October 31, 2011 at 5 p.m. EDT, you must contact Robert Mariner at 202-366-8914 or Robert.Mariner@dot.gov within 24 hours after the deadline and request approval to submit your application. At that time, DOT staff will require you to e-mail the complete grant application, your DUNS number, and provide a Grants.gov Help Desk tracking number(s). After DOT staff review all of the information submitted as well as contacts the Grants.gov Help Desk to validate the technical issues you reported, DOT staff will contact you to either approve or deny your request to submit a late application. If the technical issues you reported cannot be validated, your application will be rejected as untimely.
To ensure a fair competition for limited discretionary funds, the following conditions are not valid reasons to permit late submissions: (1) Failure to complete the registration process before the deadline date; (2) failure to follow Grants.gov instructions on how to register and apply as posted on its Web site; (3) failure to follow all of the instructions in the funding availability notice; and (4) technical issues experienced with the applicant's computer or information technology (IT) environment.
Appendix C: Additional Information on Project Readiness Guidelines
As applicants develop their applications, there are some guidelines on project readiness that they should consider. The TIGER Discretionary Grant funds are available for a limited period of time (DOT's ability to obligate the funds expires after September 30, 2013), and DOT may be limited as to when they may obligate the TIGER Discretionary Grant funds to a project if it is not far enough along in the project development process. The application package should provide concrete evidence of project milestones, financial capacity and commitment in order to support project readiness. Each operating administration with the responsibility for obligating the TIGER Discretionary Grant funds has its own regulations, policies, and procedures that they may apply for projects that have been selected for TIGER Discretionary Grant funds. In some cases, an operating administration may obligate a portion of the overall amount of funds that an applicant has been selected to receive so that such an applicant may use that portion of the TIGER Discretionary Grant funds for eligible pre-construction activities, delaying the balance of the obligation of funds until all pre-construction requirements have been completed.
The guidelines below provide additional details about some of these pre-obligation steps (including, but not limited to, planning requirements, environmental approvals, right-of-way acquisitions, and design completion) and suggest milestones each project should aim to achieve in order be able to obligate the full amount of awarded TIGER Discretionary Grant funds in advance of the obligation deadline of September 30, 2013.
Applicants should demonstrate that they can reasonably expect to complete all of these pre-obligation requirements no later than June 30, 2013, in order to give DOT comfort that the TIGER Discretionary Grant funds are likely to be obligated in advance of the September 30, 2013 statutory deadline, and that any unexpected delays will not put TIGER Discretionary Grant funds at risk of expiring before they can be obligated. Applicants that are unfamiliar with, or have questions about, the requirements that a proposed project or projects may need to complete in order for the operating administration to obligate TIGER Discretionary Grant funds may contact TIGERGrants@dot.gov with questions. The below information is not an exhaustive list of the requirements that a project may need to comply with in order for TIGER Discretionary Grant funds to be obligated by the operating administration that is administering the TIGER Discretionary Grant.
State and Local Planning: Project activities that are focused on refining scope and completing Federal environmental reviews are eligible capital expenses under the TIGER Discretionary Grants Program and are an essential part of project development. A project that receives TIGER Discretionary Grant funds may be required to be approved by the Metropolitan Planning Organization or State in the Long Range Plans and Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)/Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). Applicants should take steps to ensure that the project will be included in the relevant plan, if the project is required to be included in such planning documents before an operating administration may obligate funds to the project.
If the project is not included in the relevant planning documents at the time the Start Printed Page 38740application is submitted, applicants should submit a certification from the appropriate planning agency that actions are underway at the time of application to include the project in the relevant planning document on or before June 30, 2013. If the obligation of TIGER Discretionary Grant funds for construction or other activities is contingent on the project being included in the relevant planning documents, applicants should demonstrate they can reasonably expect to have the project included in such planning documents by March 30, 2013, in order to give DOT comfort that the TIGER Discretionary Grant funds are likely to be obligated in advance of the September 30, 2013 statutory deadline, and that any unexpected delays will not put TIGER Discretionary Grant funds at risk of expiring before they can be obligated. The applicant should provide a schedule demonstrating when the project will be added to the relevant planning documents.
Environmental Approvals: Projects should have received all environmental approvals, including satisfaction of all Federal, State and local requirements and completion of the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) process at the time the application is submitted or should demonstrate that receipt of all approvals can occur by June 30, 2013, in order to give DOT comfort that the TIGER Discretionary Grant funds are likely to be obligated in advance of the September 30, 2013 statutory deadline, and that any unexpected delays will not put TIGER Discretionary Grant funds at risk of expiring before they can be obligated.
If the obligation of TIGER Discretionary Grant funds for construction or other activities is contingent on completion of other approvals that can only take place after the environmental approvals process, the applicant should demonstrate that they can reasonably expect to have all environmental approvals by March 30, 2013, or other date sufficiently in advance of June 30, 2013, in order to give DOT comfort that the TIGER Discretionary Grant funds are likely to be obligated in advance of the September 30, 2013 statutory deadline, and that any unexpected delays will not put TIGER Discretionary Grant funds at risk of expiring before they can be obligated, because it may be difficult to complete environmental and regulatory review as well as any other necessary pre-obligation activities prior to the statutory obligation deadline of September 30, 2013.
To demonstrate that this suggested milestone is achievable, applicants should provide information about the anticipated class of action, the budget for completing NEPA, including hiring a consultant if necessary, and a schedule that demonstrates when NEPA will be complete. The schedule should show how the suggested milestones described in this section will be complied with, and include any anticipated coordination with Federal and State regulatory agencies for permits and approvals. The budget should demonstrate how costs to complete NEPA factor into the overall cost to complete construction of the project. The budget and schedule for completing NEPA should be reasonable and be comparable to a budget and schedule of a typical project of the same type. The applicant should provide evidence of support based on input during the NEPA process from State and local elected officials as well as the public. Additionally, the applicant should provide environmental studies or other documents (preferably by way of a Web site link) that describe in detail known potential project impacts and possible mitigation for these impacts. The applicant should supply sufficient documentation for DOT to adequately review the project's NEPA status.
Right-of-Way and Design: If the obligation of TIGER Discretionary Grant funds by an operating administration may be contingent on completion of right-of-way acquisition and final design approval, applicants should demonstrate that they reasonably expect to have right-of-way and design completed, and completion of any other needed pre-final-obligation approvals by June 30, 2013, in order to give DOT comfort that the TIGER Discretionary Grant funds are likely to be obligated in advance of the September 30, 2013 statutory deadline, and that any unexpected delays will not put TIGER Discretionary Grant funds at risk of expiring before they can be obligated. If the obligation of TIGER Discretionary Grant funds for construction or other activities is contingent on the project completing right-of-way acquisition and design, and additional approvals contingent on completion of right of way acquisition and design, applicants should demonstrate they can reasonably expect to have right-of-way acquisition and design completed by June 1, 2013, in order to give DOT comfort that the TIGER Discretionary Grant funds are likely to be obligated in advance of the September 30, 2013 statutory deadline, and that any unexpected delays will not put TIGER Discretionary Grant funds at risk of expiring before they can be obligated Applicants should submit a reasonable schedule of when right-of-way (if applicable), design, and any other required approvals are expected to be obtained. Applicants may expect that DOT may obligate TIGER funds for right-of-way and design completion only after planning and environmental approvals are obtained.
Completion of Obligation: Applicants should plan to have all TIGER Discretionary Grant funds obligated by June 30, 2013, in order to give DOT comfort that the TIGER Discretionary Grant funds are likely to be obligated in advance of the September 30, 2013 statutory deadline, and that any unexpected delays will not put TIGER Discretionary Grant funds at risk of expiring before they can be obligated. In some instances, DOT may not obligate for construction until all planning and environmental approvals are obtained and right-of-way and final design are complete. If a project is selected for a TIGER Discretionary Grant and the TIGER Discretionary Grant funding will be used to complete all of these activities, DOT may obligate the funding in phases, in accordance with the laws, regulations, and policies of the operating administration that is administering the grant.Start Signature
Issued On: June 27, 2011.
1. Consistent with the FY 2011 Continuing Appropriations Act, DOT will apply the following principles in determining whether a project is eligible as a capital investment in surface transportation: (1) Surface transportation facilities generally include roads, highways and bridges, ports, freight and passenger railroads, transit systems, and projects that connect transportation facilities to other modes of transportation; and (2) surface transportation facilities also include any highway or bridge project eligible under title 23, U.S.C., or public transportation project eligible under chapter 53 of title 49, U.S.C. Please note that the Department may use a TIGER Discretionary Grant to pay for the surface transportation components of a broader project that has non-surface transportation components, and applicants are encouraged to apply for TIGER Discretionary Grants to pay for the surface transportation components of these projects.Back to Citation
2. DOT will consider any non-Federal funds for purposes of meeting the 20 percent match requirement, whether such funds are contributed by the public sector (State or local) or the private sector; however, DOT will not consider funds already expended at the time of the award for purposes of meeting the 20 percent match requirement.Back to Citation
3. While Economically Distressed Areas are typically identified under the Public Works and Economic Development Act at the county level, for the purposes of this program DOT will consider regions, municipalities, smaller areas within larger communities, or other geographic areas to be Economically Distressed Areas if an applicant can demonstrate that any such area otherwise meets the requirements of an Economically Distressed Area as defined in section 301 of the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965.Back to Citation
4. In full, this principle reads: “Provide more transportation choices. Develop safe, reliable and economical transportation choices to decrease household transportation costs, reduce our nations' dependence on foreign oil, improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote public health.”Back to Citation
5. The Executive Office of the President, Council of Economic Advisers, issued a memorandum in May 2009 on “Estimates of Job Creation from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.” The memorandum is available at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/cea/Estimate-of-Job-Creation/. Table 5 of this memorandum provides a simple rule for estimating job-years created by government spending, which is that $92,000 of government spending creates one job-year. Of this, 64% of the job-year estimate represents direct and indirect effects and 36% of the job-year estimate represents induced effects. Applicants can use this estimate as an appropriate indicator of direct, indirect and induced job-years created by TIGER Discretionary Grant spending, but are encouraged to supplement or modify this estimate to the extent they can demonstrate that such modifications are justified. However, since the May 2009 memorandum makes job creation purely a function of the level of expenditure, applicants should also demonstrate how quickly jobs will be created under the proposed project. Projects that generate a given number of jobs more quickly will have a more favorable impact on economic recovery. A quarter-by-quarter projection of the number of direct job-hours expected to be created by the project is useful in assessing the impacts of a project on economic recovery. Furthermore, applicants should be aware that certain types of expenditures are less likely to align well with the Job Creation & Near-Term Economic Activity criterion. These types of expenditures include, among other things, engineering or design work and purchasing existing facilities or right-of-way.Back to Citation
6. Applicants should demonstrate that their project can obligate grant funds no later than June 30, 2013 in order give DOT comfort that the TIGER Discretionary Grant funds are likely to be obligated in advance of the September 30, 2013 statutory deadline, and that any unexpected delays will not put TIGER Discretionary Grant funds at risk of expiring before they are used.Back to Citation
7. All regionally significant projects requiring an action by the FHWA or the FTA must be in the metropolitan transportation plan, TIP and STIP. Further, in air quality non-attainment and maintenance areas, all regionally significant projects, regardless of the funding source, must be included in the conforming metropolitan transportation plan and TIP. To the extent a project is required to be on a metropolitan transportation plan, TIP and/or STIP it will not receive a TIGER Discretionary Grant until it is included in such plans. Projects not currently included in these plans can be amended in by the State and MPO. Projects that are not required to be in long range transportation plans, STIPs and TIPs will not need to be included in such plans in order to receive a TIGER Discretionary Grant. Freight and passenger rail projects are not required to be on the State Rail Plans called for in the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008. This is consistent with the exemption for high speed and intercity passenger rail projects under the Recovery Act. However, applicants seeking funding for freight and passenger rail projects are encouraged to demonstrate that they have done sufficient planning to ensure that projects fit into a prioritized list of capital needs and are consistent with long-range goals.Back to Citation
8. See footnote 7, above.Back to Citation
9. For FHWA and FTA committed funds are defined as: “Funds that have been dedicated or obligated for transportation purposes” as described in 23 CFR 450.104.Back to Citation
10. For Census 2000, the Census Bureau defined an Urbanized Area (UA) as an area that consists of densely settled territory that contains 50,000 or more people. Updated lists of UAs are available on the Census Bureau Web site. Urban Clusters (UCs) will be considered rural areas for purposes of the TIGER Discretionary Grant program.Back to Citation
11. E.J. Mishan and Euston Quah, Cost-Benefit Analysis, 5th edition (New York: Routledge, 2007).Back to Citation
12. In some cases the application may use a fixed term of years to analyze benefits and costs (e.g., 20 years), even though the applicant knows that the project will last longer than that and continue to have benefits and costs in later years. In these cases, the project will retain a “residual value” at the end of the analysis period. For instance, a new bridge may be expected to have a 100-year life but the analysis period for the benefit-cost analysis might cover only 40 years. In such cases, a residual value can be claimed as a benefit (or cost offset) for the asset at the end of the analysis period. One method to estimate the residual value is to calculate the percentage of the project that will not be depreciated or used up at the end of the analysis period and to multiply this percentage by the original cost of the project. Different components of the project may have different depreciation rates—land typically does not depreciate. The estimated residual value is assigned to the end of the analysis period and should then be discounted to its present value as would any other cost or benefit occurring at that time. Note that a residual value of a project can only be claimed if the project will be kept in operation beyond the end of the analysis period. If the project will be retired at that time, a salvage value (reflecting revenues raised from the decommissioning of the project) can be claimed.Back to Citation
13. See http://www.brighthub.com/money/personal-finance/articles/17948.aspx. For example, 10.594 is the discount factor that would be multiplied by an annual benefit to get the present value of a constant benefit stream over 20 years at a discount rate of seven percent. If the constant annual benefit is $500,000, then the present value of the benefits is $5.297 million. In these limited cases, the applicant must show the calculation of the discount factor of the ordinary annuity formula.Back to Citation
14. There is a growing body of academic research that attempts to value the improved reliability of travel time in addition to travel time savings. Improved travel time reliability resulting from a project can influence business inventory costs and travel time allotted for unexpected delays. Applicants attempting to quantify the value of improved reliability of a transportation project as part of a benefit-cost analysis should carefully define how they have measured and valued it for the project, with particular attention to its relationship to estimates and valuations of travel time saving.Back to Citation
[FR Doc. 2011-16514 Filed 6-30-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-9X-P