[Federal Register Volume 64, Number 27 (Wednesday, February 10, 1999)]
[Notices]
[Pages 6734-6736]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 99-3206]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Highway Administration


Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century; Implementation 
Guidance for the Interstate Highway Reconstruction/Rehabilitation Pilot 
Program; Solicitation for Candidate Proposals

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: This document publishes implementation guidance for section 
1216(b) of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). 
Section 1216(b) established a pilot program under which the Secretary 
may permit a State to convert a free highway, bridge, or tunnel on the 
Interstate System to a toll facility where reconstruction or 
rehabilitation of the facility could not happen without the collection 
of tolls. This document also calls for submission of proposals for 
consideration under the pilot program and describes eligible Interstate 
facilities, application requirements, selection criteria, and the 
submission process.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For pilot program: Mr. Jim Overton, 
HNG-10, Office of Engineering, (202) 366-4653; For legal issues: Mr. 
Steven

[[Page 6735]]

Rochlis, HCC-32, Office of the Chief Counsel, (202) 366-1395, Federal 
Highway Administration, 400 Seventh Street, SW, Washington, DC 20590-
0001. Office hours are from 7:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. E.T., Monday through 
Friday, except for Federal holidays.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Electronic Access

    An electronic copy of this document may be downloaded using a modem 
and suitable communications software from the Government Printing 
Office Electronic Bulletin Board Service at (202) 512-1661. Internet 
users may reach the Federal Register's home page at http://
www.nara.gov/fedreg and the Government Printing Office's database at 
http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara.

Background

    The TEA-21 (Pub. L. 105-178, 112 Stat. 107) implementation guidance 
published in this Federal Register notice is provided for informational 
purposes. Specific questions on any of the material published in this 
notice should be directed to the contact person named in the caption 
For Further Information Contact.

    Authority: 23 U.S.C. 315; sec. 1216(b), Pub. L. 105-178, 112 
Stat. 107, 212 (1998); 49 CFR 1.48.

    Issued on: February 3, 1999.
Gloria J. Jeff,
Deputy Administrator, Federal Highway Administration.
    The text of the FHWA memorandum reads as follows:

ACTION: Interstate Highway Reconstruction/Rehabilitation Pilot Program 
Section 1216(b) of TEA-21 Solicitation for Candidate Proposals (Reply 
Due: March 31, 1999)
    December 24, 1998
Associate Administrator for Program Development
    HNG-12
Division Administrators

    Section 1216(b) of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st 
Century (TEA-21) establishes a new pilot program to allow conversion of 
a free Interstate highway to a toll facility in conjunction with needed 
reconstruction or rehabilitation of the Interstate highway that is only 
possible with the collection of tolls. The following is implementing 
guidance for this provision as well as a call for candidate proposals 
from the States for consideration under the pilot program.
    The selection process and the accompanying submittal of required 
information for candidates under this pilot program will be conducted 
in two phases. In Phase 1, we are seeking candidates from the States 
for the Interstate toll pilot program. In submitting candidates, the 
States are required to submit general information on the candidate(s), 
as described below. A State may submit more than one candidate; 
however, any one State will not have more than one candidate selected 
in that State. Candidates are due to FHWA Headquarters by March 31, 
1999. Based on the information submitted and the criteria outlined 
below, up to three pilot projects will be selected (to be called 
``provisional'' acceptance) to proceed to Phase 2.
    In Phase 2, a candidate project will be required to satisfy 
compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, 
as described below. Although no specific time limits are established 
for this phase, it is expected the States will accomplish this task in 
a timely manner. If this does not occur, a candidate's ``provisional'' 
acceptance may be withdrawn and offered to another candidate submitted 
during Phase 1.

General Pilot Program Provisions

     The purpose is to provide for the reconstruction or 
rehabilitation of Interstate highway corridors where estimated 
improvement costs exceed available funding sources, and work cannot be 
advanced without the collection of tolls.
     It is expected that candidate projects will involve 
tolling of sections of highways that, in general, have identified 
reconstruction or rehabilitation needs throughout the section proposed 
for tolling.
     The FHWA may select up to three candidate projects to 
participate in the pilot program. Each project selected must be in a 
different State.
     There is no special Federal funding specifically 
authorized for this program. Regular Federal-aid highway funds, except 
for Interstate Maintenance funds, may be used to fund improvements to a 
designated pilot project, subject to the normal eligibility 
requirements for these funds. Section 1216(b)(6) of TEA-21 specifically 
prohibits use of Interstate Maintenance funds on the Interstate 
facility covered by the pilot project during the period tolls are 
collected. In addition, an Interstate reconstruction/rehabilitation 
project may qualify for credit assistance under 23 U.S.C. 181-189.
     The State must execute an agreement with the FHWA 
specifying that toll revenues received from operation of the facility 
will be used in accordance with the requirements set forth in Section 
1216(b)(5) of TEA-21. This requires that all toll revenues be used only 
for (1) debt service, (2) reasonable return on investment of any 
private person financing the project, and (3) any costs necessary for 
the improvement of and the proper operation and maintenance of the toll 
facility, including reconstruction, resurfacing, restoration and 
rehabilitation of the toll facility. Additionally, the agreement must 
include a provision that the State will conduct regular (annual 
suggested) audits to ensure compliance with the provisions regarding 
use of toll revenues, and the results of these audits will be 
transmitted to the FHWA.
     Toll collection must occur for at least 10 years. There is 
no maximum time limit concerning the duration of toll collection; 
however, tolls that are collected can only be used for the purposes set 
forth in the previous paragraph.
     The FHWA is concerned that the initiation of toll 
collection on a facility that is being converted from free use to tolls 
should not occur until it is evident to the traveling public that tolls 
will result in improvements to the facility. Accordingly, the earliest 
that tolls may be imposed on a pilot project is the date of award of a 
contract for the physical construction to reconstruct or rehabilitate a 
significant portion of the proposed toll facility.
     A pilot project, regardless of whether Federal-aid funds 
are to be used in subsequent reconstruction or rehabilitation 
activities, must satisfy the requirements of the NEPA process before 
final approval is given to the project. The analysis of the project 
must take into account not only the impacts of the proposed 
reconstruction or rehabilitation activities but also consider impacts 
associated with converting the free facility to a toll facility.

Eligible Interstate Facilities

    Eligible Interstate routes under the pilot program are those 
included in the Interstate system as described in 23 U.S.C. 103(c). 
This is the originally designated Interstate system and includes those 
Interstate additions under former 23 U.S.C. 139(a).
    Section 1216(b)(1) of TEA-21 permits the pilot program to include 
highways, bridges and tunnels on the Interstate system. Since existing 
23 U.S.C. 129(a)(1)(C) already allows for the reconstruction or 
replacement of a free Interstate bridge or tunnel and its subsequent 
conversion to a toll bridge or tunnel, for the purposes of the 
Interstate pilot program we are only seeking candidates that involve 
reconstruction/rehabilitation of a free Interstate

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``highway'' and its subsequent conversion to a toll facility. Bridges 
and/or tunnels may be included within the ``highway'' segment.

Phase 1--Application Requirements

    An application from a State must address those items set forth in 
Section 1216(b)(3) of TEA-21, as follows:
     An identification of the facility on the Interstate system 
proposed to be a toll facility, including the age, condition, and 
intensity of use of the facility.
     In the case of a facility that affects a metropolitan 
area, an assurance that the metropolitan planning organization 
established under 23 U.S.C. 134 for the area has been consulted 
concerning the placement and amount of tolls on the facility.
     An analysis demonstrating that the facility could not be 
maintained or improved to meet current or future needs from the State's 
apportionments and allocations made available by the TEA-21, including 
amendments to the act, and from revenues for highways from any other 
source without toll revenues.
     A facility management plan that includes:
     A plan for implementing the imposition of tolls on the 
facility.
     A schedule and finance plan for the reconstruction or 
rehabilitation of the facility using toll revenues.
     A description of the public transportation agency that 
will be responsible for implementation and administration of the pilot 
project.
     A description of whether consideration will be given to 
privatizing the maintenance and operational aspects of the facility, 
while retaining legal and administrative control of the portion of the 
Interstate route.
    In addition, the application should:
     Show how the plan for implementing tolls takes into 
account the interests of local, regional and interstate travelers.
     Provide an environmental scoping analysis of the proposed 
project's impacts to the social, economic, and environmental resources 
located in the vicinity of the project. The analysis should show what 
effect the proposed construction, as well as the imposition of tolls, 
may have on such resources as:
     current or planned land uses,
     historic, cultural, natural, or recreational resources,
     economic or community resources,
     safety and livability,
     ambient light, noise, and air quality levels,
     sensitive receptors, and
     minority and low-income populations.
    This scoping analysis should form the basis for the more detailed 
environmental evaluation done in Phase 2.
    The States are also welcome to include with their application 
whatever additional information they feel would assist us in 
understanding the merits of their proposal.

Phase 1--Selection Criteria

    In selecting up to three candidate projects, the criteria set forth 
in Section 1216(b)(4) of TEA-21 will be used to evaluate candidates. 
These criteria are:
     The State is unable to reconstruct or rehabilitate the 
proposed toll facility using existing apportionments.
     The facility has a sufficient intensity of use, age, or 
condition to warrant the collection of tolls.
     The State plan for implementing tolls on the facility 
takes into account the interests of local, regional and interstate 
travelers.
     The State plan for reconstruction or rehabilitation of the 
facility using toll revenues is reasonable.
     The State has given preference to the use of a public toll 
agency with demonstrated capability to build, operate, and maintain a 
toll expressway system meeting criteria for the Interstate system.
    In addition to the above, the environmental scoping analysis 
information submitted will be used in evaluating candidate projects. A 
candidate project perceived to have lesser environmental impacts may be 
given preference.

Phase 2

    It is recognized that the NEPA impacts of a proposed pilot project 
under this program, not only involve those associated with the proposed 
reconstruction/rehabilitation activities themselves but also those 
associated with converting a free Interstate facility to a toll 
facility, such as potential changes in travel patterns, construction of 
toll collection facilities, and economic equity issues. The impacts 
associated with conversion from a free to toll facility as well as the 
impacts of the physical construction activities of the reconstruction/
rehabilitation project need to be addressed before a candidate pilot 
project is given final approval as a pilot project.
    Accordingly, in Phase 2 a State will be required to develop, for 
FHWA acceptance, appropriate NEPA documentation for the pilot project. 
Although no specific time limits are established for the NEPA process 
to be completed for a pilot project, it is expected a State will 
accomplish it in a timely manner. If this does not occur, a candidate's 
``provisional'' acceptance may be withdrawn and offered to another 
candidate submitted during Phase 1.

Submission Process

    A Phase 1 application from a State is to be submitted to the 
division office. Applications are to be received in Headquarters by 
March 31, 1999.
    The division office is to ensure the application is complete and 
fully addresses the items noted above for a Phase 1 application. 
Incomplete applications received by Headquarters will be returned to 
the division office. In addition, the division office should review the 
application based on their knowledge of the proposed candidate project 
and the State's program and provide detailed comments for Headquarters 
consideration.
    Phase 2 tasks will also be coordinated through the division office. 
We will provide additional guidance on this later.
    Questions concerning this memorandum should be directed to Jim 
Overton (202-366-4653) of the Federal-Aid and Design Division.
Signed by,
Thomas J. Ptak.
[FR Doc. 99-3206 Filed 2-9-99; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-22-P