[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 196 (Tuesday, October 13, 2009)]
[Notices]
[Pages 52527-52538]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-24479]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Transit Administration


Announcement of Project Selections of Fiscal Year 2009 Recipients 
of Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) 
Grants; Response to Comments

AGENCY: Federal Transit Administration (FTA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of project selections; response to comments.

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SUMMARY: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) 
appropriated $100 million for a new discretionary grant program for 
public transportation projects that reduce a transit system's 
greenhouse gas emissions or results in a decrease in a transit system's 
energy use.
    This notice announces the selection of the grant recipients and 
responds to the comments received in response to the request for 
comments on the program structure and requirements in FTA's Notice of 
Funding Availability.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For general program information, 
contact Walter Kulyk, Office of Mobility Innovation, (202) 366-4995, e-
mail: walter.kulyk@dot.gov. Project selectees should contact the 
appropriate FTA Regional Office in Appendix B for application-specific 
information and issues.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
    FTA published a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) on March 24, 
2009 (74 FR 12447), seeking program applications for Transit 
Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) grants and 
inviting interested parties to comment on the program elements as 
outlined in the NOFA.
    FTA received 224 applications proposing 561 projects, which totaled 
over $2 billion. Because of the intense demand for the $100 million, 
FTA was unable to fund all eligible applications, and as stated in the 
NOFA, to maximize the impact of the program, some applicants were 
provided with less than the full amount of funding requested in their 
application.
    In this notice, FTA is publishing its list of TIGGER program 
selectees and responding to comments received in response to the NOFA.

Table of Contents

I. Background and Funding Opportunity Description
II. Basis for Allocation
III. General Program and Award Information
IV. Response to Comments
Appendix A--Table of Allocations
Appendix B--Regional Contact Information

I. Background and Funding Opportunity Description

    The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) (Pub. L. 111-5) 
provided $8.4 billion to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for 
transit capital improvements and reinvestment. Of this $8.4 billion, 
$100 million was appropriated for a new program to provide funding to 
public transit agencies for capital investments to assist in reducing 
the energy consumption or greenhouse gas emissions of their public 
transportation systems. In response, FTA developed the Transit 
Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) program.
    Because of statutory provisions for this ARRA funding, the NOFA 
requested that all proposals be submitted by May 22, 2009, while at the 
same time seeking comments on the proposed program outline, structure, 
and requirements. FTA reviewed the comments received during the comment 
period and determined that no substantive changes to the program were 
required, although FTA is responding to them in this Notice.
    ARRA specified two types of eligible investments under the TIGGER 
program: first, for capital investments that will assist in reducing 
the energy consumption of a transit system; and, second, for capital 
investments that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions of a public 
transportation system. Proposals for projects were accepted under 
either or both categories. To ensure that the purposes of the ARRA are 
met, FTA established a range of funding that will be considered for 
approval. Each submitted proposal had to meet a minimum threshold of 
$2,000,000. FTA allowed consolidated proposals from transit agencies to 
reach this $2,000,000 threshold; thus, individual projects within a 
proposal may receive less than $2,000,000. Conversely, to ensure a 
variety of funded projects, FTA established a maximum grant amount of 
$25,000,000.

II. Basis for Allocation

    This notice allocates all ARRA funding for the TIGGER Program. In 
making these allocations, FTA considered both the specific direction 
provided in the legislation as well as Congress' and the 
Administration's general objectives for accountability and transparency 
in the administration of ARRA funds. These objectives include the 
prompt and fair distribution of funding, the assurance that funds are 
being used for authorized purposes, and that instances of waste, fraud, 
and abuse are avoided.
    Energy consumption reduction and greenhouse gas reduction projects 
were evaluated separately. An applicant could request evaluation under 
both criteria if it provided the necessary project measurement 
information. Two criteria were specific to energy consumption reduction 
projects and one criterion was specific to greenhouse gas reduction 
projects. The remaining criteria applied to all projects.

A. Project Evaluation Criteria for Energy Consumption Reduction 
Projects

    FTA evaluated projects on total energy consumption savings 
projected

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to result from the project, and projected energy savings of the project 
as a percentage of the total energy usage of the public transit agency.

B. Project Evaluation Criterion for Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction 
Projects FTA

    Evaluated projects based on the total amount of greenhouse gas 
reductions projected to result from the project.

C. Project Evaluation Criteria for All Projects FTA

    Evaluated all projects on the following criteria:
    (1) Return on Investment. This includes the ratio of energy savings 
or greenhouse gas reductions per dollar of Federal TIGGER funds 
invested.
    (2) Project Readiness. The Project Is Ready To Implement.
    a. Any required environmental work has been initiated for 
construction projects requiring an Environmental Finding.
    b. Implementation plans are ready, including initial design of 
facilities projects.
    c. The Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) and Statewide 
Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP) can be amended.
    d. Project funding can be obligated and implemented quickly, if 
selected.
    (3) The applicant demonstrates the capacity to carry out the 
project.
    a. The applicant is in fundable status for the FTA grant program
    b. The applicant demonstrates the technical capacity to carry out 
the project including the project approach or project management plan.
    c. The applicant has systems and internal controls in place that 
allow it to separately track and report ARRA funds even used to fund an 
existing project/activity.
    d. The applicant has the ability to collect information and 
demonstrate the results of the project for at least one year following 
project implementation. (But note that useful life criteria apply for 
FTA funded assets.)
    (4) Project Innovation
    The project identifies a unique, significant, or innovative 
approach to reducing energy consumption or greenhouse gas emissions not 
currently in widespread practice within the transit industry or an 
approach distinct from the other proposals received by FTA.
    (5) The national applicability of the project as an example of 
energy savings or greenhouse gas reductions including whether the 
project could be replicated by other transit agencies regionally or 
nationally.

D. Review and Selection Process

    After screening projects for eligibility, projects were evaluated 
based on the established technical criteria. Projects were selected to 
build a portfolio of a range of technological solutions and national 
applicability that will maximize the impact of the program. Funding 
levels, when less that the amount requested, were based on a 
determination of the amount required for a viable project.
    The allocation of TIGGER Program funding is presented in the 
Appendix A of this notice.

III. General Program and Award Information

A. Award Notices

    As set forth in the NOFA, FTA pre-screened all proposals to 
determine that all required eligibility elements were present. Because 
FTA will manage TIGGER grants through FTA's TEAM grant management 
system, selectees must work with the appropriate FTA Regional Office to 
ensure that they are part of the TEAM grants management system and are 
in compliance with the standard Federal requirements contained in 49 
U.S.C. Chapter 53 and additional requirements specified in ARRA.

B. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

    Information about the requirements for FTA grant programs funded by 
ARRA can be found in Federal Register Notice E9-4745 American Recovery 
and Reinvestment Act of 2009 Public Transportation Apportionments, 
Allocations and Grant Program Information, (74 FR 9656, March 5, 2009) 
and subsequent information posted on FTA's Recovery Act webpage at 
http://www.fta.dot.gov/recovery.
1. FTA Grant Requirements
    Selectees must comply with the usual and customary FTA grant 
requirements of 49 U.S.C. Chapter 53, including those of the current 
version of FTA Circular 5010 and the FTA Master Agreement. 
Discretionary grants greater than $1,000,000 will go through the 
Congressional notification process. Technical assistance regarding 
these requirements is available from each FTA regional office.
    All recipients and their sub-awardees are required to have a Dun 
and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number (http://www.dnb.com) and direct recipients must have a current registration in 
the Central Contractor Registration database http://www.ccr.gov.
    Recipients of ARRA funds must have systems and internal controls 
that allow them to separately track and report ARRA funds even if the 
funds are being used to fund an existing project/activity.
    The Applicant must submit current Certifications and Assurances 
prior to receiving a grant. The Applicant must assure that it will 
comply with all applicable Federal statutes, regulations, executive 
orders, FTA circulars, and other Federal administrative requirements in 
carrying out any project supported by the FTA grant. The Applicant must 
acknowledge that it is under a continuing obligation to comply with the 
terms and conditions of the grant agreement issued for its project with 
FTA. The Applicant must understand that Federal laws, regulations, 
policies, and administrative practices might be modified from time to 
time and that could affect the implementation of the project. The 
Applicant must agree that the most recent Federal requirements will 
apply to the project, unless FTA issues a written determination 
otherwise.
2. ARRA Reporting Requirements
    As a condition of award, recipients receiving ARRA funds will be 
required to report on grant activities on a routine basis. FTA 
recipients will be responsible for reporting up-to-date and accurate 
grant management information in a milestone status report and financial 
status report on a quarterly basis, as well as additional data in 
compliance with Sections 1201 and 1512 of the Act. Additionally, 
special certifications and grant conditions also will be required of 
ARRA grant recipients, such as:
    a. One-Time Funding. The Recipient acknowledges that receipt of 
ARRA funds is a ``onetime'' disbursement that does not create any 
future obligation by the FTA to advance similar funding amounts.
    b. Integrity. The Recipient agrees that all data it submits to FTA 
in compliance with ARRA requirements will be accurate, objective, and 
of the highest integrity.
    c. Violations of Law. The Recipient agrees that it and its 
subrecipients shall report any credible evidence that a principal, 
employee, agent, contractor, subrecipient, subcontractor, or other 
person has submitted a false claim under the False Claims Act or has 
committed a criminal or civil violation of law pertaining to fraud, 
conflict of interest, bribery, gratuity, or similar misconduct 
involving ARRA funds.
    d. Maintenance of Effort. A Recipient that is a State agrees to 
comply with the maintenance of effort certification it has

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made in compliance with Section 1201 of ARRA.
    e. Emblems. The Recipient agrees to identify projects supported by 
FTA by attaching the appropriate emblems as the Federal Government may 
require.
    f. Reporting Requirements. In addition to other Federal reporting 
requirements applicable to the type of project undertaken, the 
Recipient agrees to:
    (1) Comply with the periodic reporting requirements consistent with 
section 1201 of ARRA.
    (2) Comply with the quarterly reporting requirements consistent 
with section 1512 of ARRA.
    The Recipient will report on the use of the funds and on the status 
of compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act by submitting 
the Standard Form-Performance Progress Report-Recovery form not later 
than 10 days after the end of each calendar quarter to FTA. The 
Recipient agree to obtain a DUNS number (http:[sol][sol]www.dnb.com) 
for any first tier subrecipient that does not have a DUNS number, and 
agrees to maintain active and current profiles in the Central 
Contractor Registration database (http://www.ccr.gov).
3. Special TIGGER Reporting Requirements
    A recipient of TIGGER funds must report on an annual basis on all 
active TIGGER grants and must submit a final report at the time of 
grant close-out:
    (1) Actual annual energy consumed within the project scope 
attributable to the investment, for energy consumption reduction 
projects;
    (2) Actual greenhouse gas emissions within the project scope 
attributable to the investment, for greenhouse gas reduction projects;
    (3) Actual annual reductions or increases in operating costs 
attributable to the investment, for all projects.
4. Planning Requirements
    Applicants must notify the appropriate State Department of 
Transportation and Metropolitan Planning Organization in areas likely 
to be served by the project funds made available under this program. 
Incorporation of funded projects in the long range plans and 
transportation improvement programs of States and metropolitan areas is 
required of all funded projects.
5. Period of Availability
    ARRA requires that all program funds must be obligated by September 
30, 2010. However, to ensure full utilization of program funds, FTA 
requires that all TIGGER program funds allocated in this notice be 
obligated by March 31, 2010. FTA reserves the right to reallocate 
unobligated funds to other TIGGER applications. Under ARRA 
requirements, all funds must be disbursed by September 30, 2015. Any 
balances remaining after that date will revert to the U.S. Treasury.

IV. Response to Comments

    Comment: Can a county submit a grant application that includes a 
university as a 'public transit agency' thereby allowing us to address 
GHG emissions in a more comprehensive way given that we are facing non-
attainment designation in the upcoming year? We would also like to 
include them in any energy efficiency efforts through this grant, as 
well.
    FTA Response: Proposers may involve universities as project 
partners. However, only public transportation agencies are eligible 
recipients.
    Comment: Please check the accuracy of the carbon footprint 
conversion that you are referring people to in Appendix D of the NOFA. 
The carbon footprint of fuel combustion is properly determined 
stoichiometrically plus a 1% correction factor for incomplete 
combustion. For diesel, EPA's Web site at: http://www.epa.gov/OMS/climate/420f05001.htm shows this calculation in more detail and results 
in 22.22 lbs CO2/gal diesel (10.7 kg/gal) and not 9.17 kg/
gal as stated in Appendix D.
    FTA Response: Calculations based on values given under the EPA Web 
site are acceptable.
    Comment: Guidance to applicants is needed from FTA on what 
equivalent carbon footprint should be used for diesel combustion during 
idle and cold starts because the average value of 22 tons (sic) 
CO2/gal is unrealistically low.
    FTA Response: Although more CO2 may be emitted during 
cold engine starts compared to hot starts, this is because more fuel 
may be consumed during and immediately after a cold start. The 
(typical) value of 22 pounds CO2/gal is a function of the 
carbon content of the fuel itself and is not affected by the amount of 
fuel used or changes in operating conditions. Proposers are allowed to 
use data from reliable sources that can be substantiated.
    Comment: While it is good FTA is supporting green house gas 
emissions reductions and energy consumption, this division between the 
two areas is arbitrary. FTA should only have one area. This could 
negatively impact smaller or medium sized grantees. Under the ``Project 
Innovation'' area, the grantee should also provide for an evaluation 
and dissemination plan. The results of the effort should be conducted 
in a manner others can review the results. Joint projects with 
transportation research centers and universities should be encouraged. 
Under the ``Reporting Requirements'' the guidance asks for annual 
reports; however, the notice does not mention the numbers of years this 
data needs to be reported. It would be logical if the reporting 
requirement should conclude upon final expenditure of the ARRA funds or 
two years after start of the project.
    FTA Response: ARRA provides for grants for capital investments that 
will assist in reducing the energy consumption or greenhouse gas 
emissions of their public transportation systems. It is FTA's intent to 
carry out independent evaluation of select projects whose results will 
be widely disseminated. Reporting requirements remain until a project 
is officially closed.
    Comment:
    a. When `evaluating the Green house Gas Emissions reductions, are 
you requiring they be performed on a tank to wheel basis or do you want 
them performed on a wells to wheels basis?
    b. If funds other than these grant funds are used to buy down some 
of the cost of the project, will the ROI Evaluation be performed only 
assuming the costs applied from the grant funds?
    c. Can these grant funds be applied to refueling station 
infrastructure construction such as hydrogen (an enabling element of 
GHG Reduction)? If so how should they show the long term GHG reduction 
associated with the use of this fuel?
    d. Can a Transit agency apply for its normal 80% capital bus 
subsidy at the cost of a conventional bus and also apply for these 
grant funds to supplement the premium incremental cost of an advanced 
technology bus? If so will the Return on Investment (ROI) be evaluated 
only on the grant request amount?
    e. Does the proposal have to identify specifically the buses that 
will be taken out of the fleet if the grant is for new buses?
    f. Can you be more explicit about what you consider mainstream 
technologies and what you consider unique technologies you would like 
to see bid on this grant?
    FTA Response:
    a. Evaluation of project proposals was performed on a ``tank to 
wheels'' and not on a ``well to wheels'' basis.
    b. The Return on Investment (ROI) evaluation criteria only applied 
to Federal TIGGER funds invested.

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    c. Construction costs associated with refueling station 
infrastructure are an eligible program item if they are part of a 
project also involving the operation of vehicles that need to be 
refueled through the use of the station. The calculation of the GHG 
reduction associated with the use of the fuel dispensed at the station 
would be based on the consumption of the fuel by the vehicle over its 
useful life.
    d. A project proposal can include the incremental cost of an 
advanced propulsion system, and the associated ROT will be based on 
requested TIGGER funding.
    e. New buses purchased under the TIGGER program must replace those 
that have achieved their FTA useful life criteria.
    f. Mainstream technologies are generally those available from 
multiple sources and those that have significant operating experience. 
Unique technologies were not defined under the TIGGER program to avoid 
bias towards any specific technology.
    Comment: I have one comment and question. Teaming projects are 
encouraged yet it is unclear to me how entities that team transit 
agencies, such as consortia, participate in program. My question is, 
can a consortia team a number of transit agencies together for a 
proposed submission, and then distribute a selected project to the team 
of transit agencies? Such teamed projects can gain knowledge and 
experience with a new technology in a very beneficial way by a highly 
communicative teaming strategy. How do ``teamers'' charge for 
administering teamed-projects?
    FTA Response: Under the TIGGER program, grant recipients are 
limited to single public transit agencies who will be responsible for 
conducting a project. However, other transit agencies can participate 
in a project as subrecipients, and their administrative costs are 
eligible if they contribute to the project.
    Comment: We remain concerned that in describing eligible expenses 
in section 1I.0 of the NOFTA, FTA has excluded fleet expansion, 
assuming the impact on transit agency emissions and energy consumption 
would be increased. We believe FTA should instead acknowledge that a 
fleet expansion, conducted in conjunction with fleet replacement, could 
reduce overall emissions and energy consumption where, for example, 
eight inefficient buses were replaced with nine highly efficient buses. 
The nine new buses in the expanded fleet could still accomplish the 
program goals.
    FTA Response: The purpose of the TIGGER program is to encourage 
reduction of energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction to 
the best extent possible without sacrificing service. Fleet expansions 
were discouraged under the program as they would reduce the 
competitiveness of the proposed project since the incremental energy 
use and GHG emission over the life of the expanded fleet would be 
higher than a replacement fleet of the original size.
    Comment: I believe our organization's experience with advanced 
vehicle technology project-management, performance data collection 
protocols, project public relations, education, and awareness 
campaigns, and all FTA recipient requirements would be a valuable asset 
to individual or multiple transit agencies as they develop and 
implement Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction 
(TIGGER) projects. In this regard, I would like to point out a possible 
administrative weakness of the program and suggest a solution.
    Typically, transit agencies and the other eligible recipients 
listed are not set up to serve as the prime contractor for large 
projects involving other transit agencies and other states. A project 
involving multi-city deployment with multiple agencies serving as 
contractors, for example, would be unwieldy and very difficult to 
manage for both the agencies and the FTA. However, this challenge can 
be met by an organization like ours, which can serve as the prime 
contractor for all of the agencies in this scenario. By providing a 
centralized, nonprofit project management team, we can better help the 
FTA ensure that multi-agency TIGGER projects are well planned, 
executed, reported, and evaluated.
    We would like to know if the structure of the program can be 
changed to allow us to play this Prime Contractor role for potential 
multiple transit agency demonstration projects.
    FTA Response: Under ARRA requirements for TIGGER, only public 
transit agencies could receive grants directly from FTA.
    Comment:
    1. Section IV. A. Project Evaluation Criteria for Energy 
Consumption Reduction Projects: FTA will evaluate projects on total 
energy consumption savings projected to result from the project, and 
projected energy savings of the project as a percentage of the total 
energy usage of the public transit agency. Evaluating the project as a 
percentage of the total energy usage of the public--transit agency is 
inconsistent with the examples given under Section III. B.(3). ``For 
example, a project could consist of replacing 10 buses in a 100 vehicle 
bus fleet with more energy efficient buses. In this case, measurement 
would focus on the 10 vehicles, not the entire fleet''.
    2. Section IV C. (4) Project Innovation. The project identifies a 
unique, significant, or innovative approach to reducing energy: This 
criterion is more consistent with pilot or experimental grant projects 
that may not have long term benefits or sustainability. In addition, 
this criterion needs specific examples in order to clarify the intent. 
Examples given under Section III.B.(3) such as making the buses more 
energy efficient are good projects but don't appear to be consistent 
with the language provided under Section IV C.(4). We recommend that 
this section be reworded to encourage purchasing more energy efficient 
buses such as hybrid.
    FTA Response: (1) In order to keep comparisons among different 
proposals to a common norm, project evaluations were based on total 
energy consumption savings from the project and the energy savings of 
the project as a percentage of the total energy usage at the public 
transit agency. Actual projections on what would be achieved in terms 
of energy reduction were limited to what the project introduced and did 
not include non-project elements. The examples given were not 
inconsistent with this project evaluation approach.
    (2) The criterion addressing project innovation was deliberately 
worded towards non-biasing a particular project or technology.
    Comment: My organization's 15 years of experience with advanced 
vehicle technology project management, performance data collection 
protocols, project public relations, education, and awareness 
campaigns, and all FTA presentation and reporting requirements should 
continue to be a valuable asset to the FTA and its transit agency 
partners as they develop and implement Transit Investments for 
Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) projects. Organizations 
like mine are capable of assuring that TIGGER projects are well 
planned, executed, and reported. With this in mind, we respectfully 
submit two questions: (1) Is our role as a subcontractor to transit 
agencies in the development and execution of TIGGER projects an 
acceptable one? And (2) If acceptable, will the FTA endorse this role 
with interested transit agencies?
    FTA Response: (I) It is entirely up to the transit agency seeking 
TIGGER funds to form its team and decide what each member of the team 
will do. FTA did not limit or suggest how the transit agency should 
form its team or conduct

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its project. 2. FTA does not endorse any organization for a formal role 
in the TIGGER program projects.
    Comment: Under the NOFA, can applicants submit proposals that 
include plans to purchase transit buses that would fit the goals of the 
program, but have not yet gone through Altoona testing, so do not yet 
meet FMVSS? The idea is that the prospective vehicle type will have 
gone through this testing and be put into service within the funding 
period.
    FTA Response: FTA did not limit the type of vehicles that can be 
purchased. However, the purchase will have to meet the FTA Capital 
Program requirements before any Federal funding can be committed. We 
also note FTA's long-standing requirement that buses must certify 
compliance with applicable FMVSS requirements prior to starting Altoona 
testing.

    Issued on: Oct. 6, 2009.
Peter M. Rogoff,
Administrator.

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[FR Doc. E9-24479 Filed 10-9-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-57-P