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Notice

Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Department of Transportation's National Infrastructure Investments Under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018

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AGENCY:

Office of the Secretary of Transportation, DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of funding opportunity.

SUMMARY:

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (Pub. L. 115-141, March 23, 2018) (“FY 2018 Appropriations Act” or the “Act”) appropriated $1.5 billion to be awarded by the Department of Transportation (“DOT” or the “Department”) for National Infrastructure Investments. This appropriation stems from the program funded and implemented pursuant to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the “Recovery Act”). This program was previously known as the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or “TIGER Discretionary Grants,” program and is now known as the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development, or “BUILD Transportation Discretionary Grants,” program. Funds for the FY 2018 BUILD Transportation program are to be awarded on a competitive basis for projects that will have a significant local or regional impact. The purpose of this Final Notice is to solicit applications for BUILD Transportation Discretionary Grants.

DATES:

Applications must be submitted by 8:00 p.m. E.D.T. on July 18, 2018.

ADDRESSES:

Applications must be submitted through Grants.gov.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For further information concerning this notice, please contact the BUILD Transportation program staff via email at BUILDgrants@dot.gov, or call Howard Hill at 202-366-0301. 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 as well as information about webinars for further guidance on DOT's website at www.transportation.gov/​BUILDgrants.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Many of the selection criteria of BUILD Transportation grants overlap with previous rounds of National Infrastructure Investments discretionary grants, though the program is refocused on infrastructure investment that will make a positive impact throughout the country. The FY 2018 BUILD Transportation program will continue to give special consideration to projects located in rural areas. For this round of BUILD Transportation Discretionary Grants, the maximum grant award is $25 million, and no more than $150 million can be awarded to a single State, as specified in the FY 2018 Appropriations Act. Each section of this notice contains information and instructions relevant to the application process for these BUILD Transportation Discretionary Grants, and all 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

A. Program Description

B. Federal Award Information

C. Eligibility Information

D. Application and Submission Information

E. Application Review Information

F. Federal Award Administration Information

G. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts

H. Other Information

A. Program Description

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (Pub. L. 115-141, March 23, 2018) (“FY 2018 Appropriations Act” or the “Act”) appropriated $1.5 billion to be awarded by the Department of Transportation (“DOT” or the “Department”) for National Infrastructure Investments. Since this program was first created, $5.6 billion has been awarded for capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure over nine rounds of competitive grants. Throughout the program, these discretionary grant awards have supported projects that have a significant local or regional impact.

The Department is committed to addressing the unmet transportation infrastructure needs of rural areas. Rural America is home to many of the nation's most critical transportation infrastructure assets, including 444,000 bridges, 2.98 million miles of roadways, and 30,500 miles of Interstate highways. More than 55 percent of all public road miles are locally-owned rural roads. While only 19 percent of the nation's population lives in rural areas, 49 percent of all traffic fatalities occur on rural roads (2015). In addition, Americans living in rural areas and on Tribal lands continue to disproportionately lack access to basic broadband service. The Department believes that underinvestment in rural transportation systems has allowed a slow and steady decline in the transportation routes that connect rural Start Printed Page 18652American communities to each other and to the rest of the county. New investment is necessary to grow rural economies, facilitate freight movement, improve access to reliable and affordable transportation options and enhance health access and safety for residents. To address these rural transportation infrastructure needs, DOT intends to award a greater share of BUILD Transportation Discretionary Grant funding to projects located in rural areas that align well with the selection criteria than to such projects in urban areas.

B. Federal Award Information

1. Amount Available

The FY 2018 Appropriations Act appropriated $1.5 billion to be awarded by DOT for the BUILD Transportation program. The FY 2018 BUILD Transportation 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 local or regional impact. Additionally, the Act allows for up to $15 million (of the $1.5 billion) to be awarded as grants for the planning, preparation or design of eligible projects. DOT is referring to any such awarded projects as BUILD Transportation Planning Grants. The FY 2018 Appropriations Act also allows DOT to retain up to $25 million of the $1.5 billion for award, oversight and administration of grants and credit assistance made under the BUILD Transportation program. If this solicitation does not result in the award and obligation of all available funds, DOT may publish additional solicitations.

The FY 2018 Appropriations Act allows up to 20 percent of available funds (or $300 million) to be used by the Department to pay the subsidy and administrative costs for a project receiving credit assistance under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 1998 (“TIFIA”) program, if that use of the FY 2018 BUILD funds would further the purposes of the BUILD Transportation program.

2. Award Size

The FY 2018 Appropriations Act specifies that BUILD Transportation Discretionary Grants may not be less than $5 million and not greater than $25 million, except that for projects located in rural areas (as defined in Section C.3.ii.) the minimum BUILD Transportation Discretionary Grant size is $1 million. There is no statutory minimum grant size, regardless of location, for BUILD Transportation Planning grants.

3. Restrictions on Funding

Pursuant to the FY 2018 Appropriations Act, no more than 10 percent of the funds made available for BUILD Transportation Discretionary Grants (or $150 million) may be awarded to projects in a single State. The Act also directs that not less than 30 percent of the funds provided for BUILD Transportation Discretionary Grants (or $450 million) shall be used for projects located in rural areas. Further, 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 investment in a variety of transportation modes.

4. Availability of Funds

The FY 2018 Appropriations Act requires that FY 2018 BUILD Transportation Discretionary Grants funds are only available for obligation through September 30, 2020. Obligation occurs when a selected applicant and DOT enter into a written grant agreement after the applicant has satisfied applicable administrative requirements, including transportation planning and environmental review requirements. All FY 2018 BUILD funds must be expended (the grant obligation must be liquidated or actually paid out to the grantee) by September 30, 2025. After this date, unliquidated funds are no longer available to the project. As part of the review and selection process described in Section E.2., DOT will consider whether a project is ready to proceed with an obligation of grant funds from DOT within the statutory time provided. No waiver is possible for these deadlines.

5. Previous TIGER Awards

Recipients of TIGER Discretionary Grants may apply for funding to support additional phases of a project awarded funds in the TIGER program. However, to be competitive, the applicant should demonstrate the extent to which the previously funded project phase has been able to meet estimated project schedules and budget, as well as the ability to realize the benefits expected for the project.

C. Eligibility Information

To be selected for a BUILD Transportation Discretionary Grant, an applicant must be an Eligible Applicant and the project must be an Eligible Project.

1. Eligible Applicants

Eligible Applicants for BUILD Transportation Discretionary Grants are State, local, and tribal governments, including U.S. territories, transit agencies, port authorities, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), and other political subdivisions of State or local governments.

Multiple States or jurisdictions may submit a joint application and must identify a lead applicant as the primary point of contact, and also identify the primary recipient of the award. Each applicant in a joint application must be an Eligible Applicant. Joint applications must include a description of the roles and responsibilities of each applicant and must be signed by each applicant.

2. Cost Sharing or Matching

Per the FY 2018 Appropriations Act, BUILD Transportation Discretionary Grants may be used for up to 80 percent of a project located in an urban area [1] and the Secretary may increase the Federal share of costs above 80 percent for a project located in a rural area. Urban area and rural area are defined in Section C.3.ii of this notice.

For a project located in an urban area, the Federal share of the costs for which an expenditure is made under a BUILD Transportation grant may not exceed 80 percent. Non-Federal sources include State funds originating from programs funded by State revenue, local funds originating from State or local revenue-funded programs, or private funds. Toll credits under 23 U.S.C. 120(i) are considered a non-Federal source. Unless otherwise authorized by statute, State or local cost-share may not be counted as the non-Federal share for both the BUILD Transportation grant and another Federal grant program. The Department will not consider previously-incurred costs or previously-expended or encumbered funds towards the matching requirement for any project. Matching funds are subject to the same Federal requirements described in Section F.2. as awarded funds.

3. Other

i. Eligible Projects

Eligible projects for BUILD Transportation Discretionary Grants are capital projects that include, but are not limited to: (1) Highway, bridge, or other road projects eligible under title 23, United States Code; (2) public transportation projects eligible under chapter 53 of title 49, United States Start Printed Page 18653Code; (3) passenger and freight rail transportation projects; (4) port infrastructure investments (including inland port infrastructure and land ports of entry); and (5) intermodal projects.[2] The FY 2018 Appropriations Act allows up to $15 million for the planning, preparation or design of projects eligible for BUILD Transportation funding. Activities eligible for funding under BUILD Transportation Planning Grants are related to the planning, preparation, or design—including environmental analysis, feasibility studies, and other pre-construction activities—of surface transportation projects. Research, demonstration, or pilot projects are eligible only if they will result in long-term, permanent surface transportation infrastructure that has independent utility as defined in Section C.3.iii. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit applications only for eligible award amounts.

ii. Rural/Urban Definition

For purposes of this notice, DOT defines “rural area” as an area outside an Urbanized Area [3] (UA) as designated by the U.S. Census Bureau. In this notice, an “urban area” is defined as an area inside a UA as designated by the U.S. Census Bureau.[4]

The Department will consider a project to be in a rural area if the majority of the project (determined by geographic location(s) where the majority of the money is to be spent) is located in a rural area. Costs incurred on an Urbanized Area border, including an intersection with an Urbanized Area, will be considered urban for the purposes of the FY 2018 BUILD Transportation Program. Rural and urban definitions differ in some other DOT programs, including TIFIA and the Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects Program (FAST Act § 1105; 23 U.S.C. 117).

This definition affects three aspects of the program. The FY 2018 Appropriations Act directs that (1) not less than $450 million of the funds provided for BUILD Transportation Discretionary grants are to be used for projects in rural areas; (2) for a project in a rural area the minimum award is $1 million; and (3) the Secretary may increase the Federal share above 80 percent to pay for the costs of a project in a rural area.

iii. Project Components

An application may describe a project that contains more than one component, and may describe components that may be carried out by parties other than the applicant. DOT may award funds for a component, instead of the larger project, if that component (1) independently meets minimum award amounts described in Section B and all eligibility requirements described in Section C; (2) independently aligns well with the selection criteria specified in Section E; and (3) meets National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements with respect to independent utility. Independent utility means that the component will represent a transportation improvement that is usable and represents a reasonable expenditure of DOT funds even if no other improvements are made in the area, and will be ready for intended use upon completion of that component's construction. All project components that are presented together in a single application must demonstrate a relationship or connection between them. (See Section D.2.iv. for Required Approvals).

Applicants should be aware that, depending upon the relationship between project components and applicable Federal law, DOT funding of only some project components may make other project components subject to Federal requirements as described in Section F.2.

DOT strongly encourages applicants to identify in their applications the project components that have independent utility and separately detail costs and requested BUILD Transportation funding for those components. If the application identifies one or more independent project components, the application should clearly identify how each independent component addresses selection criteria and produces benefits on its own, in addition to describing how the full proposal of which the independent component is a part addresses selection criteria.

iv. Application Limit

Each lead applicant may submit no more than three applications. Unrelated project components should not be bundled in a single application for the purpose of adhering to the limit. If a lead applicant submits more than three applications as the lead applicant, only the first three received will be considered.

v. Program of Projects

Applicants that demonstrate the ability to generate additional non-Federal revenue for transportation infrastructure investment as described in Section E.1.i.h. of this notice may apply for multiple projects, exceeding the three application limit, that collectively constitute a “program of projects”. A program of projects consists of independent projects that address the same transportation challenge and whose combined benefits, including funding efficiency, are greater than if the projects are completed individually. For a program of projects, applicants must submit an application for each project within the program and describe how each project constitutes a program. Each project application within a program of projects must meet eligibility criteria described in Section C of this notice, demonstrate independent utility, and individually address the merit criteria within this notice. DOT will evaluate each application within a program of projects in the same manner in which it evaluates individual project applications. Each project within a program of projects is subject to the $25 million award maximum and total awards cannot exceed $150 million per State. Only applicants that generate additional non-Federal revenue as described in Section E.1.i.h. may submit applications exceeding the three application limit for consideration as a program of projects, and only one program of projects may be submitted by each eligible applicant.

D. Application and Submission Information

1. Address

Applications must be submitted to Grants.gov. Instructions for submitting applications can be found at www.transportation.gov/​BUILDgrants along with specific instructions for the forms and attachments required for submission.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

The application must include the Standard Form 424 (Application for Federal Assistance), Standard Form 424C (Budget Information for Construction Programs), cover page, and the Project Narrative. More detailed information about the Project Narrative follows. Applicants should also complete and attach to their application the “BUILD 2018 Project Information” Start Printed Page 18654form available at www.transportation.gov/​BUILDgrants.

The Department recommends that the project narrative follow the basic outline below to address the program requirements and assist evaluators in locating relevant information.

I. Project DescriptionSee D.2.i.
II. Project LocationSee D.2.ii.
III. Grant Funds, Sources and Uses of all Project FundingSee D.2.iii.
IV. Merit CriteriaSee D.2.iv.(1).
V. Project ReadinessSee D.2.iv.(2) and E.1.ii.

The project narrative should include the information necessary for the Department to determine that the project satisfies project requirements described in Sections B and C and to assess the selection criteria specified in Section E.1. To the extent practicable, applicants should provide supporting data and documentation in a form that is directly verifiable by the Department. The Department may ask any applicant to supplement data in its application, but expects applications to be complete upon submission.

In addition to a detailed statement of work, detailed project schedule, and detailed project budget, the project narrative should include a table of contents, maps and graphics, as appropriate, to make the information easier to review. The Department recommends that the project narrative be prepared with standard formatting preferences (a single-spaced document, using a standard 12-point font such as Times New Roman, with 1-inch margins). The project narrative may not exceed 30 pages in length, excluding cover pages and table of contents. The only substantive portions that may exceed the 30-page limit are documents supporting assertions or conclusions made in the 30-page project narrative. If possible, website links to supporting documentation should be provided rather than copies of these supporting materials. If supporting documents are submitted, applicants should clearly identify within the project narrative the relevant portion of the project narrative that each supporting document supports. At the applicant's discretion, relevant materials provided previously to an operating administration in support of a different DOT financial assistance program may be referenced and described as unchanged. The Department recommends using appropriately descriptive file names (e.g., “Project Narrative,” “Maps,” “Memoranda of Understanding and Letters of Support,” etc.) for all attachments. DOT recommends applications include the following sections:

i. Project Description

The first section of the application should provide a concise description of the project, the transportation challenges that it is intended to address, and how it will address those challenges. This section should discuss the project's history, including a description of any previously completed components. The applicant may use this section to place the project into a broader context of other transportation infrastructure investments being pursued by the project sponsor, and, if applicable, how it will benefit communities in rural areas.

ii. Project Location

This section of the application should describe the project location, including a detailed geographical description of the proposed project, a map of the project's location and connections to existing transportation infrastructure, and geospatial data describing the project location. If the project is located within the boundary of a Census-designated UA, the application should identify the UA.

iii. Grant Funds, Sources and Uses of Project Funds

This section of the application should describe the project's budget. This budget should not include any previously incurred expenses. At a minimum, it should include:

(A) Project costs;

(B) For all funds to be used for eligible project costs, the source and amount of those funds;

(C) For non-Federal funds to be used for eligible project costs, documentation of funding commitments should be referenced here and included as an appendix to the application;

(D) For Federal funds to be used for eligible project costs, the amount, nature, and source of any required non-Federal match for those funds;

(E) A budget showing how each source of funds will be spent. The budget should show how each funding source will share in each major construction activity, and present that data in dollars and percentages. Funding sources should be grouped into three categories: non-Federal; BUILD; and other Federal. If the project contains individual components, the budget should separate the costs of each project component. If the project will be completed in phases, the budget should separate the costs of each phase. The budget detail should sufficiently demonstrate that the project satisfies the statutory cost-sharing requirements described in Section C.2;

In addition to the information enumerated above, this section should provide complete information on how all project funds may be used. For example, if a particular source of funds is available only after a condition is satisfied, the application should identify that condition and describe the applicant's control over whether it is satisfied. Similarly, if a particular source of funds is available for expenditure only during a fixed time period, the application should describe that restriction. Complete information about project funds will ensure that the Department's expectations for award execution align with any funding restrictions unrelated to the Department, even if an award differs from the applicant's request.

iv. Criteria

This section of the application should demonstrate how the project aligns with the Criteria described in Section E.1 of this notice. The Department encourages applicants to either address each criterion or expressly state that the project does not address the criterion. Applicants are not required to follow a specific format, but the outline suggested below, which addresses each criterion separately, promotes a clear discussion that assists project evaluators. To minimize redundant information in the application, the Department encourages applicants to cross-reference from this section of their application to relevant substantive information in other sections of the application. The guidance in this section is about how the applicant should organize their application. Guidance describing how the Department will evaluate projects against the Merit Criteria is in Section E.1 of this notice. Applicants also should review that section before Start Printed Page 18655considering how to organize their application.

(1) Merit Criteria

(a) Safety

This section of the application should describe the anticipated outcomes of the project that support the Safety criterion (described in Section E.1.i.(a) of this notice). The applicant should include information on, and to the extent possible, quantify, how the project would improve safety outcomes within the project area or wider transportation network, to include how the project will reduce the number, rate, and consequences of transportation-related accidents, serious injuries, and fatalities among transportation users, or how the project will eliminate unsafe grade crossings or contribute to preventing unintended releases of hazardous materials.

(b) State of Good Repair

This section of the application should describe how the project will contribute to a state of good repair by improving the condition or resilience of existing transportation facilities and systems (described in Section E.1.i.(b) of this notice), including the project's current condition and how the proposed project will improve it, and any estimation of impacts on long-term cost structures or impacts on overall life-cycle costs. If the project will contribute to a state of good repair of transportation infrastructure that supports border security, the applicant should describe how.

(c) Economic Competitiveness

This section of the application should describe how the project will support the Economic Competitiveness criterion (described in Section E.1.i.(c) of this notice). The applicant should include information about expected impacts of the project on the movement of goods and people, including how the project increases the efficiency of movement and thereby reduces costs of doing business, improves local and regional freight connectivity to the national and global economy, reduces burdens of commuting, and improves overall well-being. The applicant should describe the extent to which the project contributes to the functioning and growth of the economy, including the extent to which the project addresses congestion or freight connectivity, bridges service gaps in rural areas, or promotes the expansion of private economic development.

(d) Environmental Protection

This section of the application should describe how the project addresses the environmental protection criterion (described in Section E.1.i.(d) of this notice). Applicants are encouraged to provide quantitative information, including baseline information that demonstrates how the project will reduce energy consumption, stormwater runoff, or achieve other benefits for the environment such as brownfield redevelopment.

(e) Quality of Life

This section should describe how the project increases transportation choices for individuals, expands access to essential services for people in communities across the United States, improves connectivity for citizens to jobs, health care, and other critical destinations, particularly for rural communities, or otherwise addresses the quality of life criterion (described in Section E.1.i.(e) of this notice). If construction of the transportation project will allow concurrent installation of fiber or other broadband deployment as an essential service, the applicant should describe those activities and how they support quality of life. Unless the concurrent activities support transportation, they will not be eligible for reimbursement.

(f) Innovation

This section of the application should describe innovative strategies used and the anticipated benefits of using those strategies, including those corresponding to three categories (described in Section E.1.i.(f) of this notice): (i) Innovative Technologies, (ii) Innovative Project Delivery, or (iii) Innovative Financing.

(i) Innovative Technologies

If an applicant is proposing to adopt innovative safety approaches or technology, the application should demonstrate the applicant's capacity to implement those innovations, the applicant's understanding of whether the innovations will require extraordinary permitting, approvals, or other procedural actions, and the effects of those innovations on the project delivery timeline.

(ii) Innovative Project Delivery

If an applicant plans to use innovative approaches to project delivery, applicants should describe those project delivery methods and how they are expected to improve the efficiency of the project development or expedite project delivery.

If an applicant is proposing to use SEP-14 or SEP-15 (as described in section E.1.i.(f) of this notice) the applicant should describe that proposal. The applicant should also provide sufficient information for evaluators to confirm that the applicant's proposal would meet the requirements of the specific experimental authority program.[5]

(iii) Innovative Financing

If an applicant plans to incorporate innovative funding or financing, the applicant should describe the funding or financing approach, including a description of all activities undertaken to pursue private funding or financing for the project and the outcomes of those activities.

(g) Partnership

This section of the application should include information to assess the partnership criterion (described in Section E.1.i.(g) of this notice) including a list of all project parties and details about the proposed grant recipient and other public and private parties who are involved in delivering the project. This section should also describe efforts to collaborate among stakeholders, including with the private sector.

(h) Non-Federal Revenue for Transportation Infrastructure Investment

If an applicant generates additional non-Federal revenue (as described in Section E.1.i.(h) of this notice), this section should provide evidence of newly secured and committed revenue for transportation infrastructure investments and identify the source of the revenue. If new revenue for transportation infrastructure investments has not already been secured, the applicant should explain necessary steps to securing revenue and provide a timeline of key milestones leading to its commitment. To ensure new revenue does not supplant existing sources, applications should provide estimates of future revenue levels absent and, separately, with the new revenue. If applicable, this section should describe any fiscal or legal constraints that affect the applicant's ability to generate non-Federal revenue.

(2) Project Readiness

This section of the application should include information that, when considered with the project budget information presented elsewhere in the application, is sufficient for the Department to evaluate whether the project is reasonably expected to begin Start Printed Page 18656construction in a timely manner. To assist the Department's project readiness assessment, the applicant should provide the information requested on technical feasibility, project schedule, project approvals, and project risks, each of which is described in greater detail in the following sections. Applicants are not required to follow the specific format described here, but this organization, which addresses each relevant aspect of project readiness, promotes a clear discussion that assists project evaluators. To minimize redundant information in the application, the Department encourages applicants to cross-reference from this section of their application to relevant substantive information in other sections of the application.

The guidance here is about what information applicants should provide and how the applicant should organize their application. Guidance describing how the Department will evaluate a project's readiness is described in Section E.1.ii of this notice. Applicants also should review that section when considering how to organize their application.

(a) Technical Feasibility

The applicant should demonstrate the technical feasibility of the project with engineering and design studies and activities; the development of design criteria and/or a basis of design; the basis for the cost estimate presented in the BUILD application, including the identification of contingency levels appropriate to its level of design; and any scope, schedule, and budget risk-mitigation measures. Applicants should include a detailed statement of work that focuses on the technical and engineering aspects of the project and describes in detail the project to be constructed.

(b) Project Schedule

The applicant should include a detailed project schedule that identifies all major project milestones. Examples of such milestones include State and local planning approvals (programming on the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program); start and completion of NEPA and other Federal environmental reviews and approvals including permitting; design completion; right of way acquisition; approval of plans, specifications and estimates; procurement; State and local approvals; project partnership and implementation agreements, including agreements with railroads; and construction. The project schedule should be sufficiently detailed to demonstrate that:

(1) All necessary activities will be complete to allow BUILD Transportation funds to be obligated sufficiently in advance of the statutory deadline (September 30, 2020 for FY 2018 funds), and that any unexpected delays will not put the funds at risk of expiring before they are obligated;

(2) the project can begin construction quickly upon obligation of BUILD Transportation funds, and that the grant funds will be spent expeditiously once construction starts, with all BUILD Transportation funds expended by September 30, 2025; and

(3) all real property and right-of-way acquisition will be completed in a timely manner in accordance with 49 CFR part 24, 23 CFR part 710, and other applicable legal requirements or a statement that no acquisition is necessary.

(c) Required Approvals

(1) Environmental Permits and Reviews. The application should demonstrate receipt (or reasonably anticipated receipt) of all environmental approvals and permits necessary for the project to proceed to construction on the timeline specified in the project schedule and necessary to meet the statutory obligation deadline, including satisfaction of all Federal, State and local requirements and completion of the NEPA process. Specifically, the application should include:

(a) Information about the NEPA status of the project. If the NEPA process is complete, an applicant should indicate the date of completion, and provide a website link or other reference to the final Categorical Exclusion, Finding of No Significant Impact, Record of Decision, and any other NEPA documents prepared. If the NEPA process is underway, but not complete, the application should detail the type of NEPA review underway, where the project is in the process, and indicate the anticipated date of completion of all milestones and of the final NEPA determination. If the last agency action with respect to NEPA documents occurred more than three years before the application date, the applicant should describe why the project has been delayed and include a proposed approach for verifying and, if necessary, updating this material in accordance with applicable NEPA requirements.

(b) Information on reviews, approvals, and permits by other agencies. An application should indicate whether the proposed project requires reviews or approval actions by other agencies,[6] indicate the status of such actions, and provide detailed information about the status of those reviews or approvals and should demonstrate compliance with any other applicable Federal, State or local requirements, and when such approvals are expected. Applicants should provide a website link or other reference to copies of any reviews, approvals, and permits prepared.

(c) Environmental studies or other documents, preferably through a website link, that describe in detail known project impacts, and possible mitigation for those impacts.

(d) A description of discussions with the appropriate DOT operating administration field or headquarters office regarding the project's compliance with NEPA and other applicable Federal environmental reviews and approvals.

(e) A description of public engagement about the project that has occurred, including details on the degree to which public comments and commitments have been integrated into project development and design.

(2) State and Local Approvals. The applicant should demonstrate receipt of State and local approvals on which the project depends, such as State and local environmental and planning approvals and Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) or (Transportation Improvement Program) TIP funding. Additional support from relevant State and local officials is not required; however, an applicant should demonstrate that the project has broad public support.

(3) Federal Transportation Requirements Affecting State and Local Planning. The planning requirements applicable to the relevant operating administration apply to all BUILD Transportation projects,[7] including Start Printed Page 18657intermodal projects located at airport facilities.[8] Applicants should demonstrate that a project that is required to be included in the relevant State, metropolitan, and local planning documents has been or will be included in such documents. If the project is not included in a relevant planning document at the time the application is submitted, the applicant should submit a statement from the appropriate planning agency that actions are underway to include the project in the relevant planning document.

To the extent possible, freight projects should be included in a State Freight Plan and supported by a State Freight Advisory Committee (49 U.S.C. 70201, 70202), if these exist. Applicants should provide links or other documentation supporting this consideration.

Because projects have different schedules, the construction start date for each BUILD Transportation grant must be specified in the project-specific agreements signed by relevant operating administration and the grant recipients, based on critical path items that applicants identify in the application and will be consistent with relevant State and local plans.

(d) Assessment of Project Risks and Mitigation Strategies

Project risks, such as procurement delays, environmental uncertainties, increases in real estate acquisition costs, uncommitted local match, or lack of legislative approval, affect the likelihood of successful project start and completion. The applicant should identify all material risks to the project and the strategies that the lead applicant and any project partners have undertaken or will undertake in order to mitigate those risks. The applicant should assess the greatest risks to the project and identify how the project parties will mitigate those risks.

To the extent it is unfamiliar with the Federal program, the applicant should contact the appropriate DOT operating administration field or headquarters offices, as found in contact information at www.transportation.gov/​BUILDgrants, for information on the pre-requisite steps to obligate Federal funds in order to ensure that their project schedule is reasonable and that there are no risks of delays in satisfying Federal requirements.

BUILD Transportation Planning Grant applicants should describe their capacity to successfully implement the proposed activities in a timely manner.

(3) Benefit Cost Analysis

This section describes the recommended approach for the completion and submission of a benefit-cost analysis (BCA) as an appendix to the Project Narrative. The results of the analysis should be summarized in the Project Narrative directly, as described in Section D.2.

Applicants should delineate each of their project's expected outcomes in the form of a complete BCA to enable the Department to evaluate the project's cost-effectiveness by estimating a benefit-cost ratio and calculating the magnitude of net benefits and costs for the project. In support of each project for which an applicant seeks funding, that applicant should submit a BCA that quantifies the expected benefits of the project against a no-build baseline, provides monetary estimates of the benefits' economic value, and compares the properly-discounted present values of these benefits to the project's estimated costs.

The primary economic benefits from projects eligible for BUILD Transportation Grants are likely to include savings in travel time costs, vehicle operating costs, and safety costs for both existing users of the improved facility and new users who may be attracted to it as a result of the project. Reduced damages from vehicle emissions and savings in maintenance costs to public agencies may also be quantified. Applicants may describe other categories of benefits in the BCA that are more difficult to quantify and value in economic terms, such as improving the reliability of travel times or improvements to the existing human and natural environments (such as increased connectivity, improved public health, storm water runoff mitigation, and noise reduction), while also providing numerical estimates of the magnitude and timing of each of these additional impacts wherever possible. Any benefits claimed for the project, both quantified and unquantified, should be clearly tied to the expected outcomes of the project.

The BCA should include the full costs of developing, constructing, operating, and maintaining the proposed project, as well as the expected timing or schedule for costs in each of these categories. The BCA may also consider the present discounted value of any remaining service life of the asset at the end of the analysis period. The costs and benefits that are compared in the BCA should also cover the same project scope.

The BCA should carefully document the assumptions and methodology used to produce the analysis, including a description of the baseline, the sources of data used to project the outcomes of the project, and the values of key input parameters. Applicants should provide all relevant files used for their BCA, including any spreadsheet files and technical memos describing the analysis (whether created in-house or by a contractor). The spreadsheets and technical memos should present the calculations in sufficient detail and transparency to allow the analysis to be reproduced by DOT evaluators. Detailed guidance for estimating some types of quantitative benefits and costs, together with recommended economic values for converting them to dollar terms and discounting to their present values, are available in the Department's guidance for conducting BCAs for projects seeking funding under the BUILD Transportation program (see www.transportation.gov/​BUILDgrants/​additional-guidance).

3. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM)

Each applicant must: (1) Be registered in SAM before submitting its application; (2) provide a valid unique entity identifier in its application; and (3) continue to maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which it has an active Federal award or an application or plan under consideration by a Federal awarding agency. The Department may not make a BUILD Transportation grant to an applicant until the applicant has complied with all applicable unique entity identifier and SAM requirements and, if an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the time the Department is ready to make a BUILD Transportation grant, the Department may determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive a BUILD Transportation grant and use that determination as a basis for making Start Printed Page 18658a BUILD Transportation grant to another applicant.

4. Submission Dates and Times

i. Deadline

Applications must be submitted by 8:00 p.m. E.D.T. on July 18, 2018. The Grants.gov “Apply” function will open by June 3, 2018.

To submit an application through Grants.gov, applicants must:

(1) Obtain a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number;

(2) Register with the System for Award Management (SAM) at www.SAM.gov;​

(3) Create a Grants.gov username and password; and

(4) The E-Business Point of Contact (POC) at the applicant's organization must respond to the registration email from Grants.gov and login at Grants.gov to authorize the applicant as the Authorized Organization Representative (AOR). Please note that there can be more than one AOR for an organization.

Please note that the Grants.gov registration process usually takes 2-4 weeks to complete and that the Department will not consider late applications that are the result of failure to register or comply with Grants.gov applicant requirements in a timely manner. For information and instruction on each of these processes, please see instructions at http://www.grants.gov/​web/​grants/​applicants/​applicant-faqs.html. If applicants experience difficulties at any point during the registration or application process, please call the Grants.gov Customer Service Support Hotline at 1(800) 518-4726, Monday-Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. EST.

ii. Consideration of Applications

Only applicants who comply with all submission deadlines described in this notice and electronically submit valid applications through Grants.gov will be eligible for award. Applicants are strongly encouraged to make submissions in advance of the deadline.

iii. Late Applications

Applicants experiencing technical issues with Grants.gov that are beyond the applicant's control must contact BUILDgrants@dot.gov prior to the application deadline with the user name of the registrant and details of the technical issue experienced. The applicant must provide:

(1) Details of the technical issue experienced;

(2) Screen capture(s) of the technical issues experienced along with corresponding Grants.gov “Grant tracking number”;

(3) The “Legal Business Name” for the applicant that was provided in the SF-424;

(4) The AOR name submitted in the SF-424;

(5) The DUNS number associated with the application; and

(6) The Grants.gov Help Desk Tracking Number.

To ensure a fair competition of limited discretionary funds, the following conditions are not valid reasons to permit late submissions: (1) Failure to complete the registration process before the deadline; (2) failure to follow Grants.gov instructions on how to register and apply as posted on its website; (3) failure to follow all instructions in this notice of funding opportunity; and (4) technical issues experienced with the applicant's computer or information technology environment. After the Department reviews all information submitted and contact the Grants.gov Help Desk to validate reported technical issues, DOT staff will contact late applicants to approve or deny a request to submit a late application through Grants.gov. If the reported technical issues cannot be validated, late applications will be rejected as untimely.

E. Application Review Information

1. Criteria

This section specifies the criteria that DOT will use to evaluate and award applications for BUILD Transportation Discretionary Grants. The criteria incorporate the statutory eligibility requirements for this program, which are specified in this notice as relevant. Projects will also be evaluated for demonstrated project readiness and benefits and costs.

i. Merit Criteria

Applications that do not demonstrate a likelihood of significant long-term benefits based on these criteria will not proceed in the evaluation process. DOT does not consider any merit criterion more important than the others. BUILD Transportation Planning Grant applications will be evaluated against the same criteria as capital grant applications. While the FY 2018 Appropriations Act allows funding solely for pre-construction activities, the Department will prioritize FY 2018 BUILD Transportation funding for projects which demonstrate the ability to move into the construction phase within the period of obligation. The selection criteria, which will receive equal consideration, are:

(a) Safety

The Department will assess the project's ability to foster a safe transportation system for the movement of goods and people. The Department will consider the projected impacts on the number, rate, and consequences of crashes, fatalities and injuries among transportation users; the project's contribution to the elimination of highway/rail grade crossings, or the project's contribution to preventing unintended releases of hazardous materials.

(b) State of Good Repair

The Department will assess whether and to what extent: (1) The project is consistent with relevant plans to maintain transportation facilities or systems in a state of good repair and address current and projected vulnerabilities; (2) if left unimproved, the poor condition of the asset will threaten future transportation network efficiency, mobility of goods or accessibility and mobility of people, or economic growth; (3) the project is appropriately capitalized up front and uses asset management approaches that optimize its long-term cost structure; (4) a sustainable source of revenue is available for operations and maintenance of the project and the project will reduce overall life-cycle costs; (5) maintain or improve transportation infrastructure that supports border security functions; and (6) the project includes a plan to maintain the transportation infrastructure in a state of good repair. The Department will prioritize projects that ensure the good condition of transportation infrastructure, including rural transportation infrastructure, that support commerce and economic growth.

(c) Economic Competitiveness

The Department will assess whether the project will (1) decrease transportation costs and improve access, especially for rural communities, through reliable and timely access to employment centers and job opportunities; (2) improve long-term efficiency, reliability or costs in the movement of workers or goods; (3) increase the economic productivity of land, capital, or labor; (4) result in long-term job creation and other economic opportunities; or (5) help the United States compete in a global economy by facilitating efficient and reliable freight movement.

Projects that address congestion in major urban areas, particularly those that do so through the use of congestion Start Printed Page 18659pricing or the deployment of advanced technology, projects that bridge gaps in service in rural areas, and projects that attract private economic development, all support local or regional economic competitiveness.

(d) Environmental Protection

The Department will consider the extent to which the project improves energy efficiency, reduces dependence on oil, reduces congestion-related emissions, improves water quality, avoids and mitigates environmental impacts and otherwise benefits the environment, including through alternative right of way uses demonstrating innovative ways to improve or streamline environmental reviews while maintaining the same outcomes. The Department will assess the project's ability to: (i) Reduce energy use and air or water pollution through congestion mitigation strategies; (ii) avoid adverse environmental impacts to air or water quality, wetlands, and endangered species; or (iii) provide environmental benefits, such as brownfield redevelopment, ground water recharge in areas of water scarcity, wetlands creation or improved habitat connectivity, and stormwater mitigation.

(e) Quality of Life

The Department will consider the extent to which the project: (i) Increases transportation choices for individuals to provide more freedom on transportation decisions; (ii) expands access to essential services for communities across the United States, particularly for rural communities; and (iii) improves connectivity for citizens to jobs, health care, and other critical destinations, particularly for rural communities. Americans living in rural areas and on Tribal lands continue to disproportionately lack access and connectivity, and the Department will consider whether and the extent to which the construction of the transportation project will allow concurrent installation of fiber or other broadband deployment as an essential service.

(f) Innovation

The Department will assess the extent to which the applicant uses innovative strategies, including: (i) Innovative technologies, (ii) innovative project delivery, or (iii) innovative financing.

(i) Innovative Technologies

DOT will assess innovative approaches to transportation safety, particularly in relation to automated vehicles and the detection, mitigation, and documentation of safety risks. When making BUILD Transportation award decisions, the Department will consider any innovative safety approaches proposed by the applicant, particularly projects which incorporate innovative design solutions, enhance the environment for automated vehicles, or use technology to improve the detection, mitigation, and documentation of safety risks. Innovative safety approaches may include, but are not limited to:

  • Conflict detection and mitigation technologies (e.g., intersection alerts and signal prioritization);
  • Dynamic signaling or pricing systems to reduce congestion;
  • Signage and design features that facilitate autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicle technologies;
  • Applications to automatically capture and report safety-related issues (e.g., identifying and documenting near-miss incidents); and
  • Cybersecurity elements to protect safety-critical systems.

For innovative safety proposals, the Department will evaluate safety benefits that those approaches could produce and the broader applicability of the potential results. DOT will also assess the extent to which the project uses innovative technology that supports surface transportation to significantly enhance the operational performance of the transportation system.

Innovative technologies include: broadband deployment and the installation of high-speed networks concurrent with the project construction; connecting Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) infrastructure; and providing direct fiber connections that support surface transportation to public and private entities, which can provide a platform and catalyst for growth of rural communities. The Department will consider whether and the extent to which the construction of the transportation project will allow concurrent broadband deployment and the installation of high-speed networks.

(ii) Innovative Project Delivery

DOT will consider the extent to which the project utilizes innovative practices in contracting, congestion management, asset management, or long-term operations and maintenance.

The Department also seeks projects that employ innovative approaches to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the environmental permitting and review to accelerate project delivery and achieve improved outcomes for communities and the environment. The Department's objective is to achieve timely and consistent environmental review and permit decisions. Participation in innovative project delivery approaches will not remove any statutory requirements affecting project delivery. While BUILD Transportation award recipients are not required to employ innovative approaches, the Department encourages BUILD Transportation applicants to describe innovative project delivery methods for proposed projects.

Additionally, DOT is interested in projects that apply innovative strategies to improve the efficiency of project development or expedite project delivery by using FHWA's Special Experimental Project No. 14 (SEP-14) and Special Experimental Project No. 15 (SEP-15). Under SEP-14 and SEP-15, FHWA may waive statutory and regulatory requirements under title 23 on a project-by-project basis to explore innovative processes that could be adopted through legislation. This experimental authority is available to test changes that would improve the efficiency of project delivery in a manner that is consistent with the purposes underlying existing requirements; it is not available to frustrate the purposes of existing requirements.

When making BUILD Transportation award decisions, the Department will consider the applicant's proposals to use SEP-14 or SEP-15, whether the proposals are consistent with the objectives and requirements of those programs, the potential benefits that experimental authorities or waivers might provide to the project, and the broader applicability of potential results. The Department is not replacing the application processes for SEP-14 or SEP-15 with this notice or the BUILD Transportation program application. Instead, it seeks detailed expressions of interest in those programs. If selected for an BUILD Transportation award, the applicant would need to satisfy the relevant programs' requirements and complete the appropriate application processes. Selection for a BUILD Transportation award does not mean a project's SEP-14 or SEP-15 proposal has been approved. The Department will make a separate determination in accordance with those programs' processes on the appropriateness of a waiver.

(iii) Innovative Financing

DOT will assess the extent to which the project incorporates innovations in transportation funding and finance through both traditional and innovative means, including by using private sector funding or financing and recycled Start Printed Page 18660revenue from the competitive sale or lease of publicly owned or operated assets.

(g) Partnership

The Department will consider the extent to which projects demonstrate strong collaboration among a broad range of stakeholders. Projects with strong partnership typically involve multiple partners in project development and funding, such as State and local governments, other public entities, and private or nonprofit entities. DOT will consider rural applicants that partner with State, local, or private entities for the completion and operation of transportation infrastructure to have strong partnership. DOT will also assess the extent to which the project application demonstrates collaboration among neighboring or regional jurisdictions, including neighboring rural areas, to achieve local or regional benefits. In the context of public-private partnerships, DOT will assess the extent to which partners are encouraged to ensure long-term asset performance, such as through pay-for-success approaches.

DOT will also consider the extent to which projects include partnerships that bring together diverse transportation agencies or are supported, financially or otherwise, by other stakeholders that are pursuing similar objectives. For example, DOT will consider the extent to which transportation projects are coordinated with economic development, housing, water and waste infrastructure, power and electric infrastructure, broadband and land use plans and policies or other public service efforts.

(h) Non-Federal Revenue for Transportation Infrastructure Investment

The Administration believes that attracting significant new, non-Federal revenue streams dedicated to transportation infrastructure investment is desirable to maximize investment in transportation infrastructure. The Department will assess the extent that applications provide evidence that the applicant will secure and commit new, non-Federal revenue to transportation infrastructure investment.

New revenue means revenue that is not included in current and projected funding levels and results from specific actions taken to increase transportation infrastructure investment. For example, an applicant may generate new revenue through asset recycling, tolling, tax-increment financing, or sales or gas tax increases. New revenue does not include the proceeds of a new bond issuance unless an applicant raises or commits to raising new revenue to repay the bonds. The Department will consider actions to create new revenue only if those actions occurred after January 1, 2015 or will occur in the future; it will not consider actions that occurred before January 1, 2015. For applications that propose to generate revenue over multiple years, the maximum time period that should be used is 10 years, beginning on January 1, 2018. Among otherwise similar applications, applicants that generate more new non-Federal revenue for future transportation infrastructure investment will be more competitive. The Department recognizes that applicants have varying abilities and resources to generate non-Federal revenue. If an applicant describes broader legal or fiscal constraints that affect its ability to generate non-Federal revenue, the Department will consider those constraints. As mandated by the FY 2018 Appropriations Act, the Department will not use the Federal share as a selection criterion in awarding projects.

ii. Demonstrated Project Readiness

During application evaluation, the Department may consider project readiness to assess the likelihood of a successful project. In that analysis, the Department will consider significant risks to successful completion of a project, including risks associated with environmental review, permitting, technical feasibility, funding, and the applicant's capacity to manage project delivery. Risks do not disqualify projects from award, but competitive applications clearly and directly describe achievable risk mitigation strategies. A project with mitigated risks or with a risk mitigation plan is more competitive than a comparable project with unaddressed risks.

iii. Project Costs and Benefits

The Department may consider the costs and benefits of projects seeking BUILD Transportation funding. To the extent possible, the Department will rely on quantitative, data-supported analysis to assess how well a project addresses this criterion, including an assessment of the project's estimated benefit-cost ratio and net quantifiable benefits based on the applicant-supplied BCA described in Section D.2.vi.

iv. Additional Considerations

The FY 2018 Appropriations Act requires the Department to consider contributions to geographic diversity among recipients, including the need for a balance between the needs of rural and urban communities when selecting BUILD Transportation projects.

2. Review and Selection Process

DOT reviews all eligible applications received by the deadline. The BUILD Transportation grants review and selection process consists of at least Technical Review and Senior Review. In the Technical Review, teams comprising staff from the Office of the Secretary (OST) and operating administrations review all eligible applications and rate projects based on how well the projects align with the selection criteria. The Senior Review Team, which includes senior leadership from OST and the operating administrations determines which projects to advance to the Secretary as Highly Rated. The FY 2018 Appropriations Act mandated BUILD Transportation grant awards by December 18, 2018. To ensure the Department meets the statutory deadline specified in the FY 2018 Appropriations Act, the Department may revise the evaluation process based on the number of applications received. The Secretary selects from the Highly Rated projects for final awards.

3. Additional Information

Prior to award, each selected applicant will be subject to a risk assessment as required by 2 CFR 200.205. The Department must review and consider any information about the applicant that is in the designated integrity and performance system accessible through SAM (currently the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS)). An applicant may review information in FAPIIS and comment on any information about itself. The Department will consider comments by the applicant, in addition to the other information in FAPIIS, in making a judgment about the applicant's integrity, business ethics, and record of performance under Federal awards when completing the review of risk posed by applicants.

F. Federal Award Administration Information

1. Federal Award Notice

Following the evaluation outlined in Section E, the Secretary will announce awarded projects by posting a list of selected projects at www.transportation.gov/​BUILDgrants. Notice of selection is not authorization to begin performance. Following that announcement, the relevant operating administration will contact the point of contact listed in the SF 424 to initiate negotiation of the grant agreement for authorization.Start Printed Page 18661

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

All awards will be administered pursuant to the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards found in 2 CFR part 200, as adopted by DOT at 2 CFR part 1201. Additionally, applicable Federal laws, rules and regulations of the relevant operating administration administering the project will apply to the projects that receive BUILD Transportation Discretionary Grants awards, including planning requirements, Service Outcome Agreements, Stakeholder Agreements, Buy America compliance, and other requirements under DOT's other highway, transit, rail, and port grant programs.

For projects administered by FHWA, applicable Federal laws, rules, and regulations set forth in Title 23 U.S.C. and Title 23 CFR apply. For an illustrative list of the applicable laws, rules, regulations, executive orders, polices, guidelines, and requirements as they relate to a BUILD Transportation project administered by the FHWA, please see https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/​Freight/​infrastructure/​tiger/​fy2016_​gr_​exhbt/​index.htm. For BUILD Transportation projects administered by the Federal Transit Administration and partially funded with Federal transit assistance, all relevant requirements under chapter 53 of title 49 U.S.C. apply. For transit projects funded exclusively with BUILD Transportation Discretionary Grants funds, some requirements of chapter 53 of title 49 U.S.C. and chapter VI of title 49 CFR apply. For projects administered by the Federal Railroad Administration, FRA requirements described in 49 U.S.C. Subtitle V, Part C apply.

Federal wage rate requirements included in subchapter IV of chapter 31 of title 40, U.S.C., apply to all projects receiving funds under this program, and apply to all parts of the project, whether funded with BUILD Transportation Discretionary Grant funds, other Federal funds, or non-Federal funds.

3. Reporting

i. Progress Reporting on Grant Activities

Each applicant selected for BUILD Transportation Discretionary Grants funding must submit quarterly progress reports and Federal Financial Reports (SF-425) to monitor project progress and ensure accountability and financial transparency in the BUILD Transportation program.

ii. System Performance Reporting

Each applicant selected for BUILD Transportation Discretionary Grant funding must collect information and report on the project's observed performance with respect to the relevant long-term outcomes that are expected to be achieved through construction of the project. Performance indicators will not include formal goals or targets, but will include observed measures under baseline (pre-project) as well as post-implementation outcomes for an agreed-upon timeline, and will be used to evaluate and compare projects and monitor the results that grant funds achieve to the intended long-term outcomes of the BUILD Transportation program are achieved. To the extent possible, performance indicators used in the reporting should align with the measures included in the application and should relate to at least one of the selection criteria defined in Section E. Performance reporting continues for several years after project construction is completed, and DOT does not provide BUILD Transportation Discretionary Grant funding specifically for performance reporting.

iii. Reporting of Matters Related to Recipient Integrity and Performance

If the total value of a selected applicant's currently active grants, cooperative agreements, and procurement contracts from all Federal awarding agencies exceeds $10,000,000 for any period of time during the period of performance of this Federal award, then the applicant during that period of time must maintain the currency of information reported to the SAM that is made available in the designated integrity and performance system (currently FAPIIS) about civil, criminal, or administrative proceedings described in paragraph 2 of this award term and condition. This is a statutory requirement under section 872 of Public Law 110-417, as amended (41 U.S.C. 2313). As required by section 3010 of Public Law 111-212, all information posted in the designated integrity and performance system on or after April 15, 2011, except past performance reviews required for Federal procurement contracts, will be publicly available.

G. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts

For further information concerning this notice please contact the BUILD Transportation program staff via email at BUILDgrants@dot.gov, or call Howard Hill at 202-366-0301. A TDD is available for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing at 202-366-3993. In addition, DOT will post answers to questions and requests for clarifications on DOT's website at www.transportation.gov/​BUILDgrants. To ensure applicants receive accurate information about eligibility or the program, the applicant is encouraged to contact DOT directly, rather than through intermediaries or third parties, with questions. DOT staff may also conduct briefings on the BUILD Transportation Discretionary Grants selection and award process upon request.

H. Other information

1. 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 can be made public and methodologies that are accepted by industry practice and standards, to the extent possible. If the application includes information 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.

Start Signature

Issued on: April 20, 2018.

Elaine L. Chao,

Secretary.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

Footnotes

1.  To meet match requirements, the minimum total project cost for a project located in an urban area must be $6.25 million.

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2.  Please note that the Department may use a BUILD Transportation 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 BUILD Transportation Discretionary Grants to pay for the surface transportation components of these projects.

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3.  Updated lists of UAs as defined by the Census Bureau are available on the Census Bureau website at http://www2.census.gov/​geo/​maps/​dc10map/​UAUC_​RefMap/​ua/​.

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6.  Projects that may impact protected resources such as wetlands, species habitat, cultural or historic resources require review and approval by Federal and State agencies with jurisdiction over those resources.

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7.  Under 23 U.S.C. 134 and § 135, all projects requiring an action by FHWA must be in the applicable plan and programming documents (e.g., metropolitan transportation plan, transportation improvement program (TIP) and statewide transportation improvement program (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. Inclusion in the STIP is required under certain circumstances. To the extent a project is required to be on a metropolitan transportation plan, TIP, and/or STIP, it will not receive a BUILD Transportation grant until it is included in such plans. Projects not currently included in these plans can be amended 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 BUILD Transportation grant. Port, freight rail, and intermodal projects are not required to be on the State Rail Plans called for in the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008, or in a State Freight Plan as described in the FAST Act. However, applicants seeking funding for freight 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. Means of demonstrating this consistency would include whether the project is in a TIP or a State Freight Plan that conforms to the requirements Section 70202 of Title 49 prior to the start of construction. Port planning guidelines are available at StrongPorts.gov.

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8.  Projects at grant obligated airports must be compatible with the FAA-approved Airport Layout Plan, as well as aeronautical surfaces associated with the landing and takeoff of aircraft at the airport. Additionally, projects at an airport: Must comply with established Sponsor Grant Assurances, including (but not limited to) requirements for non-exclusive use facilities, consultation with users, consistency with local plans including development of the area surrounding the airport, and consideration of the interest of nearby communities, among others; and must not adversely affect the continued and unhindered access of passengers to the terminal.

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[FR Doc. 2018-08906 Filed 4-26-18; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-9X-P