[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 248 (Thursday, December 26, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 78493-78502]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-30820]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Transit Administration


National Rural Transportation Assistance Program: Solicitation 
for Proposals

Agency: Federal Transit Administration (FTA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice; request for proposals.

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SUMMARY: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is soliciting 
proposals under FTA's Formula Grants for Rural Areas Program (49 U.S.C. 
5311), to fund a National Rural Transportation Assistance Program 
(National RTAP). The National RTAP provides a source of funding to 
assist in the design and implementation of training and technical 
assistance projects and other support services tailored to meet the 
specific needs of transit operators in rural areas. The National RTAP 
provides for the development of information and materials for use by 
local operators and State administering agencies, and supports research 
and technical assistance projects of national interest. The total 
duration of this cooperative agreement, including the exercising of any 
options under this text, shall not exceed 5 years. FTA intends to fund 
the National RTAP at $1,794,903 for the first year, as authorized by 
the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), Public 
Law 112-141 (2012). Funding beyond the first year will depend upon (1) 
future appropriations and authorizations, and (2) annual performance 
reviews.
    This solicitation describes the priorities established for the 
National RTAP, the proposal submission process, and criteria upon which 
proposals will be evaluated. This announcement is available on FTA's 
Web site at: http://www.fta.dot.gov/grants/13077.html. FTA will 
announce the final selection on the FTA Web site and in the Federal 
Register. A synopsis of this announcement will be posted in the FIND 
module of the government-wide electronic grants Web site at http://www.grants.gov. Proposals must be submitted to FTA, electronically 
through the GRANTS.GOV ``APPLY'' function.

DATES: Complete proposals must be submitted electronically by 11:59 
p.m., Eastern Time, on February 10, 2014. All proposals must be 
submitted electronically through the ``GRANTS.GOV'' APPLY function. 
Interested organizations that have not already done so should initiate 
the process of registering on the

[[Page 78494]]

GRANTS.GOV site immediately to ensure completion of registration before 
the deadline for submission.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For general program information, as 
well as proposal-specific questions, please contact Lorna Wilson at 
lorna.wilson@dot.gov or (202) 366-0893. A TDD is available at 1-800-
877-8339 (TDD/FIRS).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Contents

A. Overview
B. Background
C. Scope of Work
    1. Task 1: Project Planning and Coordination
    2. Task 2: Development and Promotion of Training Materials
    3. Task 3: Support for State Administration of RTAP
    4. Task 4: Outreach and Coordination with Other Organizations 
Involved with Rural Transit
    5. Task 5: RTAP Rural Resource Center
    6. Task 6: Peer-to-Peer Networking
    7. Task 7: Research and Technical Support
    8. Task 8: Mechanism for User Input and Feedback
    9. Task 9: Project Management and Administration
D. Award Information
E. Eligibility Information
F. Proposal Submission Process
    1. Submission Method
    2. Proposal Content
G. Proposal Review, Selection, and Notification
    1. Technical Approach
    2. Qualifications and Experience of the Organization and Its 
Personnel
    3. Past Performance and Technical, Legal, and Financial Capacity
    4. Evaluation Scores and Weights
H. Award Administration
    1. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
    2. Reporting
    3. Legal Capacity
    4. Transition Period/Phase-In Plan
I. Agency Contacts
Appendix A: Scope of Work
Appendix B: Sample Format for Progress Report

A. Overview

    The Formula Grants for Rural Areas Program (49 U.S.C. 5311(b)(3)), 
as amended by MAP-21, authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to 
carry out a Rural Transportation Assistance Program (RTAP) in rural 
areas.
    FTA is authorized to use two percent of its Formula Grants for 
Rural Areas Program appropriation for RTAP. In fiscal year 2013, 
$11,966,020 was made available for administration of RTAP to make 
grants and contracts for transportation research, technical assistance, 
training, and related support services in rural areas. Of this amount, 
$1,794,903 was reserved to carry out competitively selected National 
RTAP projects, and the balance was apportioned to the States to carry 
out State RTAP activities.

B. Background

    FTA's National RTAP is funded under the Formula Grants for Rural 
Areas Program to enhance the delivery of public transportation services 
provided by State DOTs and operators of rural public transportation. 
Since 1979, FTA has provided grants to States under the Formula Grants 
for Rural Areas Program and its predecessor programs to establish and 
maintain transit systems in communities with populations of fewer than 
50,000 individuals. Rural community transit drivers, dispatchers, 
maintenance workers, managers, and board members need special skills 
and knowledge to provide quality service to their diverse customers 
across large service areas. So, in 1987, the National RTAP was created. 
Since its inception, the National RTAP has developed and distributed 
training materials, provided technical assistance, generated reports, 
published best practices, produced scholarship, conducted research, and 
offered Peer Assistance with the goal of improved mobility for the 
millions of Americans living in rural communities. For more information 
on the various programs and services provided by the National RTAP, 
visit the National RTAP Web site at http://www.nationalrtap.org/AboutUs.aspx.
    FTA also supports local RTAP activities through funding 
apportionments to the States. The State RTAPs develop and implement 
training and technical assistance in conjunction with the State's 
administration of the Formula Grants for Rural Areas Formula program. 
The National RTAP provides for the development of information and 
materials for use by local operators and State administering agencies 
and supports research and technical assistance projects of national 
interest. The State RTAPs and National RTAP complement each other and 
both are funded under the Formula Grants for Rural Areas assistance 
program.
    The objectives of the National RTAP are:
    Objective 1--To promote the delivery of safe and effective and 
efficient public transportation in rural areas.
    Objective 2--To support State and local governments in addressing 
the training and technical assistance needs of the rural transportation 
community.
    Objective 3--To conduct research, including analysis of data 
reported to FTA's National Transit Database, and to maintain current 
profiles of the characteristics of rural transit and the inventory of 
providers of rural and specialized transportation providers.

C. Scope of Work

    The recipient will have the lead responsibility for overall 
management of the National RTAP, which includes: planning and preparing 
the annual work program; supporting and assisting the entities 
administering the State RTAP activities; developing and promoting 
training materials; conducting outreach and coordination with other 
organizations involved in rural public transportation; attending 
national and regional meetings focused on rural technical assistance 
and training; and monitoring the success of the RTAP programs through 
user input and feedback.
    The recipient will also have the lead responsibility for operation 
of the National RTAP Rural Resource Center, which shall include: 
Providing toll-free telephone assistance; disseminating information 
electronically; distributing resource materials; collecting and 
maintaining available information resources; regularly updating a 
catalog of relevant training materials; developing timely information 
briefs; leveraging and adopting the current technology developed and 
used by National RTAP in the Cloud; performing research as required; 
and maintaining information about the characteristics and status of 
rural transit and inventory of specialized transportation providers.
    FTA will actively participate in directing project activities by 
approving the annual Work Plan; participating in review board meetings; 
reviewing all aspects of technical products; and maintaining frequent 
contact with project managers.

1. Task 1: Project Planning and Coordination

    The recipient will assume primary responsibility for administration 
and management of the National RTAP. Subtasks include developing:
     A Work Plan, which specifies how the stated objectives of 
project will be met and ensures integration of all project tasks.
     A Management Plan, which sets forth how the project will 
be managed and who will be the key personnel involved.
     A Budget Plan, which specifies what will be the costs 
associated with the project.
     A progress report after each project quarter and a final 
project report at the end of the project year.
     A communications strategy for promoting the National RTAP.

[[Page 78495]]

2. Task 2: Development and Promotion of Training Materials

    The recipient will develop and disseminate training materials 
designed for use by rural transit providers. Subtasks include:
     Developing, field testing, and disseminating to the State 
RTAPs training packages or courses designed for use by rural transit 
providers. Selection of topics shall be guided by and consistent with 
the identified training needs of rural transit providers and the State 
RTAP activities. Prior to beginning developmental work on any training 
package, the recipient shall submit to FTA for approval a plan for the 
development of the package. The plan shall include an overview for each 
of the component parts to be produced as part of the training package, 
a time line for development and final production, and a budget. This 
task may include development of courses for delivery by the National 
Transit Institute (NTI) or other organizations (e.g., the Tribal 
Technical Assistance Program (TTAP)).
    Identifying and reviewing training materials developed outside of 
the National RTAP, especially by States under the State RTAP and by 
private vendors. Maintain information on new and currently available 
materials in a regularly updated catalogue of existing training 
materials, made available to state DOTs and others through appropriate 
means, including electronic dissemination.

3. Task 3: Support for State Administration of RTAP

    The recipient will establish a liaison relationship with State RTAP 
managers to ensure that the products developed and activities 
undertaken through the National RTAP are useful to and supportive of 
the State programs, promote information exchange at all levels, and 
encourage coordination of State efforts. Subtasks include:
     Providing a forum for networking with State RTAP managers 
while establishing communication for information dissemination (e.g., a 
newsletter or bulletin). The recipient will report on national and 
State program accomplishments and activities.
     Promoting and participating in three or four regional RTAP 
meetings annually, to share information about National RTAP products 
and other relevant FTA initiatives.
     Providing individualized technical assistance to State 
RTAP managers as requested by the State or by FTA.

4. Task 4: Outreach and Coordination with Other Organizations Involved 
with Rural Transit

    The recipient will coordinate with other organizations and 
technical assistance centers that are involved with rural public 
transportation and related interests, such as FTA's National Center on 
Mobility Management and non-FTA centers that support these activities, 
to avoid duplication of efforts and to draw on these organizations' 
networks for the promotion of National RTAP products and services. The 
recipient will coordinate activities with the Federal Highway 
Administration Local Area Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) and TTAP. 
Subtasks include:
     Coordinating activities with LTAP, TTAP, and other FTA-
funded technical assistance centers, and participating in the National 
Consortium on Human Service.
     Participating in conferences, workshops, and meetings of 
other national and regional organizations, both to learn about their 
activities and to promote the National RTAP.
     Remaining informed about other national rural 
transportation assistance activities within and outside of FTA.
     Hosting a National Rural Technical Assistance Conference, 
the focus of which must be approved by FTA, during the five-year period 
of the cooperative agreement.
     Participating in the Transportation Research Board (TRB) 
biennial National Conference on Rural Public and Intercity Bus 
Transportation.

5. Task 5: RTAP Rural Resource Center

    The recipient will maintain a national clearinghouse for rural 
public transportation technology sharing and information dissemination, 
a central collection of products and services that are useful to rural 
transit professionals. The recipient will promote and monitor usage of 
the National RTAP Rural Resource Center. Subtasks include:
     Collecting and maintaining relevant information resources, 
training and technical assistance materials, contacts and referrals, 
and developing expertise about issues of concern to the rural transit 
community.
     Operating a telephone hotline information service that 
provides timely responses to questions and requests for information.
     Developing and providing electronic access to information 
resources maintained at the National RTAP Rural Resource Center.
     Disseminating information on new rural public 
transportation technical assistance and training materials and updated 
databases.
     Collecting and disseminating materials created by State 
RTAPs.
     Promoting and monitoring the effectiveness of the National 
RTAP Rural Resource Center's products and services through: regular 
reports of the Center's use statistics; promotion in publications 
widely read by the target audience; participation in national, 
regional, and State meetings; dissemination of materials about the 
Center; and telephone surveys of operators or other feedback 
mechanisms, such as postage-paid comment cards included with Center 
mailings.
     The recipient must have expertise to maintain and update 
the National RTAP's software tools and platforms and ensure that any 
modification or additional software applications that are developed for 
use by rural and tribal transit providers are compatible with the 
National RTAP environment.
     The recipient will provide a Web site, a National RTAP in 
the Cloud portal, and a number of hosted software applications that are 
available for rural and tribal transit providers. The Web site 
currently operates on Microsoft Windows Server 2008 using an Internet 
Information Service (IIS) 6.0 or higher. The software tools and 
platforms currently include: Dotnet Framework 2.0, Microsoft sqlserver 
2008 R2, Ajax Control Toolkit, Itextsharp, Telerik Controls, and Ionic 
Zip/SharpZipLib. In addition, the following tools are used to 
interconnect with other applications: Podio.API, Twitterized, Free 
TextBox, and Facebook Api. National RTAP in the Cloud also utilizes 
DotNetNuke Community Edition (DNN) version 05.06.02 (144).

6. Task 6: Peer-to-Peer Networking

    The recipient will develop and implement a national self-help 
technical assistance network that facilitates the exchange of 
technologies and techniques among rural transit operators on a peer-to-
peer basis. Specific subtasks include:
     Identifying expert peers in areas of current interest on a 
continuing basis.
     Setting up technical assistance workshops for the 
efficient utilization of a peer-to-peer network, in coordination with 
regularly scheduled meetings of national, State, and regional groups.
     Matching peers with those needing assistance on a one-to-
one basis.
     Encouraging and facilitating peer-to-peer exchange and 
provide support services to promote peer assistance.

[[Page 78496]]

7. Task 7: Research and Technical Support

    The recipient will provide research and technical support capacity 
to FTA to address issues of immediate concern to the rural transit 
programs. Examples of specific subtasks to be performed at the request 
of the FTA project manager could include, but are not limited to:
     Assisting with new MAP-21 directives for rural areas, 
including new safety and asset management provisions.
     Preparing issue papers or reports in response to FTA 
requests.
     Convening focus groups or small meetings on specific 
topics as necessary.

8. Task 8: Mechanism for User Input and Feedback

    The recipient will maintain a mechanism for user input and 
feedback, such as the existing National RTAP Review Board. 
Historically, the National RTAP Review Board has functioned as the 
mechanism for providing the National RTAP with guidance on priority 
needs in the areas of training materials development, information 
dissemination, and technical assistance. If project funding is 
insufficient to support the National RTAP Review Board, an alternative 
mechanism will be developed. Specific subtasks related to the National 
RTAP Review Board include:
     Convening no more than two official meetings of the 
National RTAP Review Board each year of the project. One official 
meeting must be held in Washington, DC The second meeting may be held 
at the TRB Biennial National Conference on Rural Public and Intercity 
Bus Transportation or another appropriate national meeting. All 
official National RTAP Review Board meetings shall be approved by the 
FTA project manager.
     The National RTAP Review Board will function to:
    [cir] Provide the National RTAP with guidance on priority needs in 
the areas of training material development, information dissemination, 
and technical assistance.
    [cir] Oversee the quality of National RTAP products and services.
    [cir] Promote the National RTAP to States and operators.
     The following principles have been developed to guide the 
National RTAP Review Board:
    [cir] The National RTAP Review Board will be limited to 15 or fewer 
members, roughly half of which are representatives of transit providers 
and half representatives of State DOTs. In the event that a National 
RTAP Review Board member is no longer employed by a rural transit 
provider or State transit agency (including tribal rural operators), 
there shall be an automatic vacancy for that member's position on the 
National RTAP Review Board.
    [cir] National RTAP Review Board membership shall be of limited 
duration and regular rotations shall be timed so that continuity is 
maintained.
    [cir] The recipient shall conduct an appropriate orientation for 
new National RTAP Review Board members, including an introduction to 
the National RTAP's history, goals, and objectives, and current status. 
The orientation shall provide new members with relevant materials, 
including summaries of past National RTAP Review Board meetings, 
information on National RTAP Review Board member roles and 
responsibilities, and other relevant information.

9. Task 9: Project Management and Administration

    The recipient will meet with the FTA Project Manager within ten 
(10) working days after issuance of the task order to discuss the 
objectives of the cooperative agreement and any related projects. The 
recipient's principal in charge of the National RTAP will submit 
quarterly progress reports and financial status reports to the FTA 
project manager. The reports shall include the items listed in the 
Sample Format for Progress Reports in Appendix B and provide 
information relevant to the particular reporting period.

D. Award Information

    FTA expects to award the National RTAP as a cooperative agreement. 
FTA will fund the cooperative agreement over a period of 5 years, with 
$1,794,903 available for the first year of activities. Funding beyond 
the first year will depend upon (1) future appropriations and 
authorizations, and (2) annual performance reviews.

E. Eligibility Information

    Eligible proposers are non-profit organizations with rural and 
tribal transportation experience that have the capacity to provide 
public transportation-related technical assistance and the ability to 
deliver a national technical assistance and training program.

F. Proposal Submission Process

1. Submission Method

    Complete proposals for the National RTAP must be submitted 
electronically through the GRANTS.GOV Web site no later than 11:59 
p.m., Eastern Time on February 10, 2014. The proposer is encouraged to 
begin the process of registration on the GRANTS.GOV site well in 
advance of the submission deadline. Mail and fax submissions will not 
be accepted.
    A complete proposal submission will consist of at least two files: 
(1) The SF-424 Mandatory form (available from GRANTS.GOV) and (2) a 
narrative application document in Microsoft Word (DOC), Adobe portable 
document format (PDF), or a compatible file format. At GRANTS.GOV, the 
proposer will be able to download a copy of the application packet, 
complete it off-line, and then upload and submit the application via 
the GRANTS.GOV Web site. The narrative application should be in the 
format outlined below. Once completed, the narrative application must 
be placed in the attachments section of the SF-424 Mandatory form. The 
proposers must attach the narrative application file to its submission 
in GRANTS.GOV to successfully complete the proposal process. A proposal 
submission may contain additional supporting documentation as 
attachments.
    Within 48 hours after submitting an electronic proposal, the 
proposer should receive two email messages from GRANTS.GOV: (1) 
Confirmation of successful transmission to GRANTS.GOV and (2) 
confirmation of successful validation by GRANTS.GOV. If confirmations 
of successful transmission and validation are not received and a notice 
of failed validation or incomplete materials is received, the proposer 
must address the reason for the failed validation as described in the 
notice, and resubmit before the submission deadline. If making a 
resubmission for any reason, the proposer must include all original 
attachments, regardless of which attachments were updated.
    For assistance with GRANTS.GOV, please contact support@grants.gov 
or 1-800-518-4726 between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., Eastern Time.
    Important: FTA urges the proposer to submit its proposal at least 
72 hours prior to the due date to allow time to receive the validation 
message and to correct any problems that may have caused a rejection 
notification. Submissions after the stated submission deadline will not 
be accepted. GRANTS.GOV scheduled maintenance and outage times are 
announced on the GRANTS.GOV Web site. Deadlines will not be extended 
due to scheduled maintenance or outages.

2. Proposal Content

    The Mandatory SF424 Form must be downloaded from GRANTS.GOV and 
incorporated into the proposal

[[Page 78497]]

submission package. Proposals shall be submitted in a Microsoft Word 
(DOC), Adobe portable document format (PDF), or a compatible file 
format, double-spaced using Times New Roman, 12-point font. The 
proposal must contain the following components and adhere to the 
specified maximum lengths:
    i. Cover sheet (not to exceed 1 page): Includes entity submitting 
proposal, principal investigator, title, and contact information (e.g., 
address, phone, fax, and email). Name and contact information for the 
entity, key point of contact for all cooperative activities (if 
different from principle investigator).
    ii. Abstract (not to exceed 2 pages): Includes background, purpose, 
methodology, intended outcomes, and plan for evaluation.
    iii. Detailed budget proposal and budget narrative. Includes all 
elements of cost with supporting detail for estimated direct labor 
hours, direct and indirect rates, materials and subcontracts, and any 
other elements.
    iv. Project narrative (not to exceed 75 pages): Includes the 
following information regarding the proposer's technical approach to 
implementing the program:
    a. Staff qualifications and experience in providing technical 
assistance and ability to implement the other tasks outlined in the 
solicitation. The proposal shall also include the proposed staff 
members' knowledge of issues related to rural public transportation and 
specialized transportation services. One-page biographical sketches for 
staff members shall be included in the appendices section of the 
proposal.
    b. Existing and future capacity of the organization to address the 
issues outlined in the proposal and ability to implement tasks I 
through IX in Appendix A, Scope of Work.
    c. Methodology for addressing tasks I through IX in Appendix A, 
Scope of Work. The proposal shall also include objectives, activities, 
deliverables, milestones, timelines, and intended outcomes for 
achieving the goals of the Scope of Work for the first year.
    d. Plan to work with stakeholders and build partnerships at the 
national, State, and local levels.
    e. Description of the organization's worksite. The organization may 
perform services at an offsite facility and maintain a presence within 
the Washington, DC region.
    v. Project Management Plan: Includes well defined objectives, 
tasks, activities, timelines, deliverables, indicators, and outcomes.
    vi. Evaluation Plan: Includes evaluation process for National RTAP 
activities and data collection.
    vii. Supplemental materials and letters of support: May be included 
in an appendices section that is beyond the 75-page limit.
    In addition to the full proposal, entities have the option to 
submit supplemental material, such as brochures, publications, 
products, etc. These materials shall be delivered to Lorna Wilson, 
Federal Transit Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room E43-
465, Washington, DC 20590.

G. Proposal Review, Selection, and Notification

    Proposals will be evaluated by an interagency review team based on 
each applicant's ability to address the National RTAP Scope of Work 
(see Appendix A) and response to the following criteria: (1) Technical 
approach; (2) qualifications and experience of the organization and its 
personnel; (3) past performance reviews (if applicable); (4) completed 
proposal package. The criteria are explained below:

1. Technical Approach

    The overall technical approach to the requirements of the Scope of 
Work will be evaluated. The proposer should also address how the 
organization manages strategic and operational risk, including quality 
assurance and internal controls. The proposer should demonstrate 
understanding of the objectives of the National RTAP and how those 
objectives will be met by its proposal. The proposal should respond to 
the specific requirements of the Scope of Work and clearly explain how 
those requirements will be accomplished.

2. Qualifications and Experience of the Organization and Its Personnel

    The proposer nonprofit organization must demonstrate that it has a 
broad-based constituency and a purpose relevant to rural public 
transportation interests. The individual qualifications and work 
experience of proposed project personnel will be carefully examined. 
The organization must demonstrate that it has the management 
capabilities to oversee the project. The organization must show that it 
will be able to assign employees with a variety of skills and 
knowledge, including familiarity with rural operational issues facing 
both public and private transportation operators; experience in dealing 
with innovative solutions to rural transportation needs; knowledge of 
current Federal policy initiatives; demonstrated ability to develop and 
implement a broad program of rural technical assistance; knowledge of 
information dissemination techniques and training and technical 
assistance methodology; and organizational skills to coordinate the 
diverse individuals and organizations involved in such a program.

3. Past Performance and Technical, Legal, and Financial Capacity

    The proposal should indicate a strong capability for managing an 
active and varied rural technical assistance program. Experience in 
working with rural transportation professionals from local, city, 
county, State, and Federal governments, public and private operators, 
and volunteer organizations is an important requirement. The 
organization should also demonstrate coalition building and 
organizational development skills. In addition, the proposal should 
indicate experience in managing and monitoring subrecipients and 
contractors, if any are included in the proposal. The recipient 
selected must be an eligible recipient for a cooperative agreement with 
FTA and able to sign the required certifications and assurances and 
cooperative agreement. An effective proposer in this regard will have 
the following characteristics:
     Non-profit organization with an entrepreneurial approach 
to risk based performance.
     Ability to inspire creative and innovative approaches to 
technical assistance for current and future trends.
     Demonstrated track record for managing large scale 
projects.
     Exhibition of strong analytical skills.

4. Evaluation Scores and Weights

    The weights (points) associated with each Evaluation Factors are as 
follows:

    Note:  All sub-components of each evaluation criteria and 
responses to the Scope of Work will be evaluated.


------------------------------------------------------------------------
                     Evaluation Factors                         Points
------------------------------------------------------------------------
V.1. Technical Approach....................................           45
V.2. Qualifications and Experience of the Organization and            35
 Personnel.................................................
V.3. Past Performance and Technical, Legal, Financial                 20
 Capacity..................................................
                                                            ------------
    Total..................................................          100
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    FTA may elect to meet with the most qualified proposers in person. 
Such a meeting will be held at the U.S. Department of Transportation 
headquarters in Washington, DC The proposers will be notified of a date 
and time during which they will be asked to present their proposal to 
the FTA

[[Page 78498]]

review panel. If an entity proposes to perform an individual task or 
tasks less than the full project, the proposal will be evaluated 
accordingly on its merits. If selected, the proposer may be asked to 
form a consortium with the applicant chosen to manage the larger 
project.
    Final award decisions will be made by the Administrator of the 
Federal Transit Administration. In making these decisions, the 
Administrator will take into consideration: recommendations of the 
review panel; reviews for programmatic and grants management 
compliance; the reasonableness of the estimated cost to the government 
considering the available funding and anticipated results; and the 
likelihood that the proposed project will result in the benefits 
expected.
    Proposers may propose to provide some or all of the services listed 
in the tasks described in the Appendix A, Scope of Work. FTA reserves 
the right to award one or more cooperative agreements.

H. Award Administration

    FTA will notify the successful organization in writing and FTA may 
announce the selection on its Web site, www.fta.dot.gov, and in the 
Federal Register. Following notification, the successful entity (or 
entities) will be required to submit its application through FTA's 
Electronic Grants Management system. FTA may require the successful 
proposer to modify its Statement of Work to address FTA priorities. FTA 
will award and manage a cooperative agreement through the Electronic 
Grants Management System. There is no cost sharing or pre-award 
authority for this project.

1. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

    i. Electronic Application. The successful proposer will apply for a 
cooperative agreement through FTA's Electronic Grants Management 
System. A discretionary project number will be assigned for tracking 
purposes and must be used in the Electronic Grants Management System. 
The successful proposer will work with the FTA program manager to 
finalize the grant application in FTA's Electronic Grants Management 
System. Assistance regarding these requirements is available from FTA.
    ii. Congressional Notification. Discretionary grants and research 
earmarks greater than $500,000 will go through the congressional 
notification and release process.
    iii. Standard Assurances. The proposer assures 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 proposer will 
adhere to the grant requirements of 49 U.S.C. 5311, including those of 
FTA Circular 9040.1F, Formula Grants for Rural Areas. The proposer 
acknowledges that it will be under a continuing obligation to comply 
with the terms and conditions of the cooperative agreement issued for 
its project with FTA. The proposer understands that Federal laws, 
regulations, policies, and administrative practices might be modified 
from time to time and that modifications may affect the implementation 
of the project. The proposer agrees that the most recent Federal 
requirements will apply to the project, unless FTA issues a written 
determination otherwise. The proposer must submit the Certifications 
and Assurances before receiving a cooperative agreement if it does not 
have current certifications on file.

2. Reporting

    Post-award reporting requirements include submission of Federal 
Financial Reports and Milestone Reports in FTA's Electronic Grants 
Management System on a monthly or quarterly basis, as determined by the 
FTA project manager, for all projects. Documentation is required for 
payment. Please see Appendix B for the reporting format.
    The Federal Financial Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA) 
requires data entry at the FFATA Subaward Reporting System, http://www.FSRS.gov, for all sub-awards and sub-contracts issued for $25,000 
or more, as well as for executive compensation for recipient and 
subrecipient organizations.

3. Legal Capacity

    Proposers must indicate that there are no legal issues which would 
impact their eligibility and authority to apply for and accept FTA 
funds.

4. Transition Period/Phase-In Plan

    As part of its proposal, the successful proposer will have provided 
the FTA with a Phase-In Plan. After award of the follow-on cooperative 
agreement has been announced, the FTA project manager will schedule a 
meeting with the successful proposer to receive a briefing on the 
Phase-In Plan's details, schedules, and procedures.

I. Agency Contacts

    For general program information, as well as proposal-specific 
questions, please contact Lorna Wilson at lorna.wilson@dot.gov or (202) 
366-0893. A TDD is available at 1-800-877-8339 (TDD/FIRS).

    Issued in Washington, DC, this 19th day of December, 2013.
Peter Rogoff,
Administrator.

Appendix A--National Rural Transportation Assistance Program (RTAP) 
Scope of Work

Scope Statement

    The recipient will provide technical assistance that will be useful 
to beneficiaries of the FTA National RTAP under this Scope of Work.

Deliverables

    i. The recipient will have the lead responsibility for overall 
management of the National RTAP, which includes: Planning and preparing 
the annual work program; supporting and assisting the entities 
administering the State RTAP activities; developing and promoting 
training materials; conducting outreach and coordination with other 
organizations involved in rural public transportation; convening 
national and regional meetings on rural topics; and monitoring the 
success of the RTAP programs through user input and feedback.
    ii. The recipient will also have the lead responsibility for 
operation of the RTAP Rural Resource Center, which shall include: 
Providing toll-free telephone assistance; disseminating information 
electronically; distributing resource materials; collecting and 
maintaining available information resources; regularly updating a 
catalog of relevant training materials; developing timely information 
briefs; leveraging and adopting the current technology developed and 
used by National RTAP in the Cloud; performing research as required; 
and maintaining information about the characteristics and status of 
rural transit and inventory of specialized transportation.
    iii. FTA will actively participate in the project activities by 
attending National RTAP Review Board meetings, commenting on all 
aspects of technical reports, products, and web services, and 
maintaining frequent contact with the recipient's project manager. FTA 
will participate in any redirection of activities as needed.

Exclusions

    None.

[[Page 78499]]



                               Milestones
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                   Description
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                 Task I
------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Project Planning and Coordination..  The recipient will assume
                                          primary responsibility for
                                          administration and management
                                          of the National RTAP.
Subtasks:
    a..................................  A Work Plan, which specifies
                                          how the stated objectives of
                                          the project will be met and
                                          ensures integration of all
                                          project tasks.
    b..................................  A Management Plan, which sets
                                          forth how the project will be
                                          managed and who will be the
                                          key personnel involved.
    c..................................  A Budget Plan, which specifies
                                          what will be the costs
                                          associated with the project.
    d..................................  A progress report after each
                                          project quarter and a final
                                          project report at the end of
                                          the project year.
    f..................................  A communications Strategy for
                                          the promotion of the National
                                          RTAP.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
                                 Task II
------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Development and Promotion of         The recipient will develop and
     Training Materials.                  disseminate training materials
                                          designed for use by rural
                                          transit providers.
Subtasks:
    a..................................  Develop, field test, and
                                          disseminate to the State RTAPs
                                          training packages or courses
                                          designed for use by rural
                                          transit providers. Selection
                                          of topics shall be guided by
                                          and consistent with the
                                          identified training needs of
                                          rural transit providers and
                                          the State RTAP activities.
                                          Prior to beginning
                                          developmental work on any
                                          training package, the
                                          recipient shall submit to FTA
                                          for its approval a plan for
                                          the development of the
                                          package. The plan shall
                                          include an overview for each
                                          of the component parts to be
                                          produced as part of the
                                          training package, a time line
                                          for development and final
                                          production, and a budget. This
                                          task may include development
                                          of courses for delivery by the
                                          National Transit Institute
                                          (NTI) or other organizations
                                          (e.g., the Tribal Technical
                                          Assistance Program (TTAP)).
    b..................................  Identify and review training
                                          materials that are being
                                          developed outside of the
                                          National RTAP, especially by
                                          States under the RTAP State
                                          program and by private
                                          vendors. Maintain information
                                          on new and currently available
                                          materials in a regularly
                                          updated catalogue of existing
                                          training materials, made
                                          available to state DOTs and
                                          others through appropriate
                                          means, including electronic
                                          dissemination.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                Task III
------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Support for State Administration of  The recipient will establish a
     RTAP.                                liaison relationship with the
                                          State RTAP managers to ensure
                                          that the products developed
                                          and activities undertaken
                                          through the National RTAP are
                                          useful to and supportive of
                                          the State programs, promote
                                          information exchange at all
                                          levels, and encourage
                                          coordination of state efforts.
Subtasks:
    a..................................  Provide a forum for networking
                                          with State RTAP managers while
                                          establishing communication for
                                          information dissemination
                                          (e.g., newsletter or
                                          bulletin). The recipient will
                                          report on national and State
                                          program accomplishments and
                                          activities.
    b..................................  Promote and participate in
                                          three or four RTAP regional
                                          meetings annually, to share
                                          information about National
                                          RTAP products and other
                                          relevant FTA initiatives.
    d..................................  Provide individualized
                                          technical assistance to State
                                          RTAP managers as requested by
                                          the state or by FTA.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                 Task IV
------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Outreach and Coordination with       The recipient will coordinate
     other Organizations Involved with    with other organizations and
     Rural Transit.                       technical assistance centers
                                          that are involved with rural
                                          public transportation and
                                          related interests, such as
                                          FTA's National Center on
                                          Mobility Management and non-
                                          FTA centers that support these
                                          activities, to avoid
                                          duplication of efforts and to
                                          draw on these organizations'
                                          networks to promote National
                                          RTAP products and services.
Subtasks:
    a..................................  Coordinate activities with the
                                          FHWA Local Area Technical
                                          Assistance Program (LTAP) and
                                          Tribal Technical Assistance
                                          Program (TTAP).
                                         Participate in conferences,
                                          workshops, and meetings of
                                          other national and regional
                                          organizations both to learn
                                          about their activities and to
                                          promote FTA's National RTAP.

[[Page 78500]]

 
    b..................................  Remain informed about other
                                          national rural transportation
                                          assistance activities within
                                          and outside of FTA.
    c..................................  Host a National Rural Technical
                                          Assistance Conference, the
                                          focus of which shall be
                                          approved by FTA's program
                                          manager, during the five-year
                                          period of the cooperative
                                          agreement.
    d..................................  Participate in the
                                          Transportation Research Board
                                          (TRB) biennial National
                                          Conference on Rural Public and
                                          Intercity Bus Transportation.
    f..................................  Coordinate with other FTA-
                                          funded technical assistance
                                          centers, and participating in
                                          the National Consortium on
                                          Human Service.
    g..................................  Consult with the FTA project
                                          manager as to the appropriate
                                          form of support for each of
                                          these activities.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                 Task V
------------------------------------------------------------------------
    RTAP Rural Resource Center.........  Maintain a national
                                          clearinghouse for rural public
                                          transportation technology
                                          sharing and information
                                          dissemination, a central
                                          collection of products and
                                          services that are useful to
                                          rural transit professionals.
                                          The recipient will promote and
                                          monitor usage of the National
                                          RTAP Rural Resource Center.
Subtasks I:
    a..................................  Collect and maintain relevant
                                          information resources,
                                          training and technical
                                          assistance materials, and
                                          contacts and referrals, and
                                          developing expertise about
                                          issues of concern to the rural
                                          transit community.
    b..................................  Operate a telephone hotline
                                          information service that
                                          provides timely responses to
                                          questions and requests for
                                          information.
    c..................................  Develop and provide electronic
                                          access to information
                                          resources maintained at the
                                          National RTAP Rural Resource
                                          Center.
    d..................................  Disseminate information on new
                                          rural public transportation
                                          technical assistance and
                                          training materials and updated
                                          databases.
    e..................................  Collect and disseminate
                                          materials created by the State
                                          RTAPs.
    h..................................  Promote and monitor the
                                          effectiveness of the National
                                          RTAP Rural Resource Center's
                                          products and services through:
                                          Regular reports of Center use
                                          statistics; promotion in
                                          publications widely read by
                                          the target audience;
                                          participation in national,
                                          regional and State meetings;
                                          dissemination of materials
                                          about the Center; telephone
                                          surveys of operators or other
                                          feedback mechanisms, such as
                                          postage-paid comment cards
                                          included with Center mailings.
    Subtask II.........................  The successful vendor must have
                                          expertise in order to maintain
                                          and update the software tools
                                          and platforms, and ensure that
                                          any current modification or
                                          additional software
                                          applications that are
                                          developed for use by rural and
                                          tribal transit providers are
                                          compatible with the following
                                          environment.
    Web capabilities/Specifications....  The recipient will provide a
                                          Web site, a National RTAP in
                                          the Cloud portal, and a number
                                          of hosted software
                                          applications that are
                                          available for rural and tribal
                                          transit providers. The Web
                                          site operates on Microsoft
                                          Windows Server 2008 using an
                                          Internet Information Service
                                          (IIS) 6.0 or higher. The
                                          software tools and platforms
                                          include: Dotnet Framework 2.0,
                                          Microsoft sqlserver 2008 R2,
                                          Ajax Control Toolkit,
                                          Itextsharp, Telerik Controls
                                          and Ionic Zip/SharpZipLib. In
                                          addition, the following tools
                                          are used to interconnect with
                                          other applications: Podio.API,
                                          Twitterized, Free TextBox and
                                          Facebook Api. National RTAP in
                                          the Cloud also utilizes
                                          DotNetNuke Community Edition
                                          (DNN) version 05.06.02 (144).
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                 Task VI
------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Peer-to-Peer Networking............  The recipient will develop and
                                          implement a national self-help
                                          technical assistance network
                                          that facilitates the exchange
                                          of technologies and techniques
                                          among rural transit operators
                                          on a peer-to-peer basis.
Subtask(s):
    a..................................  Identify expert peers in areas
                                          of current interest on a
                                          continuing basis.
    b..................................  Set up technical assistance
                                          workshops to utilize a peer-to-
                                          peer network efficiently, in
                                          coordination with regularly
                                          scheduled meetings of
                                          national, State, and regional
                                          groups.
    c..................................  Match peers with those needing
                                          assistance on a one-to-one
                                          basis.
    d..................................  Encourage and facilitating peer-
                                          to-peer exchange and providing
                                          support services to promote
                                          peer assistance.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 78501]]

 
                                Task VII
------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Research and Technical Support.....  The recipient will provide a
                                          research and technical support
                                          capacity to FTA to address
                                          issues of immediate concern to
                                          the rural transit programs.
                                          Examples of specific subtasks
                                          to be performed at the request
                                          of the FTA project manager
                                          could include, but are not
                                          limited to, the following:
Subtasks:
    a..................................  Assist with new MAP-21
                                          directives for rural areas
                                          including new safety and asset
                                          management provisions
    b..................................  Prepare issue papers or reports
                                          in response to FTA requests.
    d..................................  Convene focus groups or small
                                          meetings on specific topics.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                Task VIII
------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Maintain Mechanism for User Input    The recipient will maintain a
     and Feedback.                        mechanism for user input and
                                          feedback such as the National
                                          RTAP Review Board.
                                          Historically, the National
                                          RTAP Review Board has
                                          functioned as the mechanism
                                          for providing the National
                                          RTAP with guidance on priority
                                          needs in the areas of training
                                          materials development,
                                          information dissemination, and
                                          technical assistance. If
                                          project funding is
                                          insufficient to support the
                                          National RTAP Review Board, an
                                          alternative mechanism should
                                          be developed.
Subtasks:
    a..................................  Convene no more than two (2)
                                          official meetings of the
                                          National RTAP Review Board
                                          each year of the project. One
                                          official meeting must be held
                                          in Washington, D.C. The second
                                          meeting may be held at the TRB
                                          Biennial National Conference
                                          on Rural Public and Intercity
                                          Bus Transportation or another
                                          national meeting. All official
                                          review board meetings will be
                                          approved by the FTA project
                                          manager.
                                         The National RTAP Review Board,
                                          or alternative mechanism, will
                                          function to:
                                         Provide the National RTAP with
                                          guidance on priority needs in
                                          the areas of training material
                                          development, information
                                          dissemination, and technical
                                          assistance.
                                         Oversee the quality of the
                                          National RTAP products and
                                          services.
                                         Promote the National RTAP to
                                          States and operators.
    b..................................  The following principles have
                                          been developed to guide the
                                          National RTAP Review Board:
                                         The National RTAP Review Board
                                          will be limited to 15 or fewer
                                          members--roughly half of which
                                          from transit providers and
                                          half as State DOT
                                          representatives. In the event
                                          that a Board member is no
                                          longer employed by a rural
                                          transit provider or state
                                          transit agency (including
                                          tribal rural operators), there
                                          shall be an automatic vacancy
                                          for that individual's position
                                          on the National RTAP Review
                                          Board.
                                         National RTAP Review Board
                                          membership shall be of limited
                                          duration, and regular
                                          rotations shall occur so that
                                          continuity is maintained.
                                         The recipient shall conduct an
                                          appropriate orientation for
                                          new Board members, including
                                          an introduction to the
                                          National RTAP's history, goals
                                          and objectives and current
                                          status, and provide relevant
                                          materials including summaries
                                          of past board meetings,
                                          information on Board member
                                          roles and responsibilities,
                                          and other relevant
                                          information.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                 Task IX
------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Project Management and               The recipient shall meet with
     Administration.                      the FTA Program Manager and
                                          task order monitor within ten
                                          (10) working days after
                                          issuance of the task order to
                                          discuss the objectives of the
                                          cooperative agreement and any
                                          related projects.
                                         The recipient's principal in
                                          charge of the National RTAP
                                          shall submit quarterly
                                          progress reports, and
                                          financial status reports to
                                          the FTA project manager. The
                                          reports shall include the
                                          items as listed in the Sample
                                          Format for Progress Reports
                                          and provide information
                                          relevant for the particular
                                          period (see appendix B).
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Appendix B--Sample Format for Progress Report

    Goal:
    Objective:
    [ssquf] Objective's Total Budget
    [ssquf] Expenditures this quarter, this objective
    [ssquf] Total expenditures, this objective (The expenditures 
reported on the

[[Page 78502]]

account shall match the progress of the project.)
    Status as of ---- : (end date of reporting period):
    Activity Planned (Relative to Project Task Elements, Indicators, 
and Milestone Activities):
    Actual Activity (Relative to Project Task Elements, Indicators, and 
Milestone Activities):
    Difficulties Encountered (As applicable, should include information 
on specific reasons why goals and objectives or milestones were not 
met, and analysis and explanations of cost overruns):
    [ssquf] Goal/Objective or Milestone Not Met:
    [ssquf] Problem(s):
    [ssquf] Resolution/corrective action plan and schedule:
    Activity anticipated for next reporting period:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                       Budget    Expended Q1  Expended Q2  Expended Q3  Expended Q4    Balance
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Task 1............................
Task 2............................
Task 3............................
Task 4............................
Task 5............................
Task 6............................
Staff Travel......................
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[FR Doc. 2013-30820 Filed 12-24-13; 8:45 am]
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