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Notice

Agency Information Collection Activity Under OMB Review

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Federal Transit Administration, DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of request for comments.

SUMMARY:

The Federal Transit Administration invites public comment about our intention to request the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) approval to renew the following information collections:

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

(2) Nondiscrimination as it Applies to FTA Grant Programs

(3) Charter Service Operations

The information collected is necessary to determine eligibility of applicants and ensure the proper and timely expenditure of federal funds within the scope of each program. The Federal Register notice with a 60-day comment period soliciting comments was published on February 6, 2014 (Citation 79 FR 25). One comment was received on February 18, 2014. This comment is currently under FTA's review.

DATES:

Comments must be submitted before April 7, 2014. A comment to OMB is most effective if OMB receives it within 30 days of publication.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Tia Swain, Office of Administration, Office of Management Planning, (202) 366-0354.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Title: Title VI as it Applies to FTA Grant (OMB Number: 2132-0540).

Abstract: Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000d) states:

“No person in the United States shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

To achieve this purpose, each Federal department and agency which provides financial assistance for any program or activity is authorized and directed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to effectuate provisions of Title VI for each program or activity by issuing generally applicable regulations or requirements. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has issued its regulation implementing this DOJ mandate.

In this regard, the responsibility of the FTA is to ensure that Federally-supported transit services and benefits are distributed by applicants, recipients, and subrecipients of FTA assistance in a manner consistent with Title VI. The employment practices of a grant applicant, recipient, or subrecipient are also covered under Title VI if the primary purpose of the FTA-supported program is to provide employment or if those employment practices would result in discrimination against beneficiaries of FTA-assisted services and benefits.

FTA policies and requirements are designed to clarify and strengthen Title VI (service equity) procedures for FTA grant recipients by requiring submission of written plans and approval of such plans by the agency. All project sponsors receiving financial assistance pursuant to an FTA-funded project shall not discriminate in the provision of services because of race, color, or national origin. Experience has demonstrated that a program requirement at the application stage is necessary to assure that benefits and services are equitably distributed by grant recipients. The requirements prescribed by the Office of Civil Rights are designed to accomplish this objective and diminish possible vestiges of discrimination among FTA grant recipients. FTA's assessment of the requirements indicated that the formulation and implementation of the Title VI Program should occur with a decrease in costs to such applicants and recipients.

Estimated Total Annual Burden: 5,332 hours.

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

Abstract: 49 Code of Federal Regulations, part 21.5 states: “Where a primary objective of the Federal financial assistance to a program to which this part applies is to provide employment, a recipient or other party subject to this part shall not, directly or through contractual or other arrangements, subject a person to discrimination on the ground of race, color, or national origin in its employment practices under such program (including recruitment or recruitment advertising, hiring, firing, upgrading, promotion, demotion, transfer, layoff, termination, rates of pay or other forms of compensation or benefits, selection for training or apprenticeship, use of facilities, and treatment of employees).”

All entities receiving Federal financial assistance from FTA are prohibited from discriminating against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, creed, sex, national origin, age, or disability. To ensure that FTA's EEO procedures are followed, FTA requires grant recipients to submit written EEO plans to FTA for approval. FTA's assessment of this requirement shows that formulating, submitting, and implementing EEO programs should minimally increase costs for FTA applicants and recipients. To determine a grantee's compliance with applicable laws and requirements, grantee submissions are evaluated and analyzed based on the following criteria. First, an EEO program must include an EEO policy statement issued by the chief executive officer covering all employment practices, including recruitment, selection, promotions, terminations, transfers, layoffs, compensation, training, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment. Second, the policy must be placed conspicuously so that employees, applicants, and the general public are aware of the agency's EEO commitment. The data derived from written EEO and affirmative action plans will be used by the Office of Civil Rights in monitoring grantees' compliance with applicable EEO laws and regulations. This monitoring and enforcement activity will ensure that minorities and women have equitable access to employment opportunities and that recipients of federal funds do not discriminate against any employee or applicant because of race, color, creed, sex, national origin, age, or disability.

Estimated Total Annual Burden: 2,425 hours.

Title: Charter Service Operations (OMB Number: 2132-0543).

Abstract: FTA recipients may only provide charter bus service with FTA-funded facilities and equipment if the charter service is incidental to the provision of transit service (49 U.S.C. 5323(d). This restriction protects charter service providers from unauthorized competition by FTA recipients.

The requirements of 49 U.S.C. 5323(d) are implemented in FTA's charter regulation (Charter Service Rule) at 49 CFR part 604. Amended in 2008, the Charter Service Rule now contains five (5) provisions that impose information collection requirements on FTA recipients of financial assistance from FTA under Federal Transit Law.

First, 49 CFR Section 604.4 requires all applicants for Federal financial assistance under Federal Transit Law, unless otherwise exempted under 49 CFR Section 604.2, to enter into a “Charter Service Agreement,” contained in the Certifications and Assurances for FTA Assistance Programs. The Certifications and Assurances become a part of the Grant Agreement or Start Printed Page 13089Cooperative Agreement for Federal financial assistance upon receipt of Federal funds. The rule requires each applicant to submit one Charter Service Agreement for each year that the applicant intends to apply for the Federal financial assistance specified above.

Second, 49 CFR Section 604.14(3) requires a recipient of Federal funds under Federal Transit Law, unless otherwise exempt, to provide email notification to all registered charter providers in the recipient's geographic service area each time the recipient receives a request for charter service that the recipient is interested in providing.

Third, 49 CFR Section 604.12(c) requires a recipient, unless otherwise exempt under 49 CFR part 604.2, to submit on a quarterly basis records of all instances that the recipient provided charter service.

Fourth, 49 CFR Section 604.13 requires a private charter provider to register on FTA's Charter Registration Web site at http://ftawebprod.fta.dot.gov/​CharterRegistration/​in order to qualify as a registered charter service provider and receive email notifications by recipients that are interested in providing a requested charter service. The rule requires that a registered charter service provider must update its information on the Charter Registration Web site at least once every two years. Currently, there are a total of 192 registered private charter service providers. Registration has consistently decreased over the years.

Lastly, 49 CFR Section 604.7 permits recipients to provide charter service to Qualified Human Service Organizations (QHSO) under limited circumstances. QHSOs that do not receive Federal funding under programs listed in Appendix A to part 604 and seek to receive free or reduced rate services from recipients must register on FTA's Charter Registration Web site (49 CFR Section 604.15(a)).

Estimated Total Annual Burden: 369.7 hours.

ADDRESSES:

All written comments must refer to the docket number that appears at the top of this document and be submitted to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, 725—17th Street NW. Washington, DC 20503, Attention: FTA Desk Officer.

Comments are Invited On: Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Department, including whether the information will have practical utility; the accuracy of the Department's estimate of the burden of the proposed information collection; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

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Matthew M. Crouch,

Associate Administrator for Administration.

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[FR Doc. 2014-04758 Filed 3-6-14; 8:45 am]

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