Implementation of the Highways for LIFE Pilot Program, 77446-77450 [E5-8107]

Download as PDF 77446 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 250 / Friday, December 30, 2005 / Notices Issued in Washington, DC on December 21, 2005. Joe Hebert, Manager, Financial Analysis and Passenger Facility Charge Branch. [FR Doc. 05–24664 Filed 12–29–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–M DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Highway Administration Environmental Impact Statement; Woodbury County, IA Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT. ACTION: Revision to notice of intent. AGENCY: wwhite on PROD1PC61 with NOTICES Electronic Access An electronic copy of this document is available for free download from the Federal Bulletin Board (FBB). The FBB is a free electronic bulletin board service of the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO). The FBB may be accessed in four ways: (1) via telephone in dial-up mode or via the Internet through (2) telnet, (3) FTP, and (4) the World Wide Web. For dial-in mode a user needs a personal computer, modem, telecommunications software package and telephone line. A hard disk is recommended for file transfers. For Internet access a user needs Internet connectivity. Users can telnet or FTP to: fedbbs.access.gpo.gov. Users 18:16 Dec 29, 2005 Jkt 208001 (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Number 20.205, Highway Planning and Construction. The regulations implementing Executive Order 12372 regarding intergovernmental consultation on Federal programs and activities apply to this program.) Authority: 23 U.S.C. 315; 49 CFR 1.48. SUMMARY: The FHWA issued a notice of intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a proposed Interstate 29 corridor study in Sioux City, Iowa from Sioux Gateway Airport/ Sergeant Bluff Interchange to the South Dakota State border, published on November 18, 2004, 69 FR 67618. The FHWA is issuing this notice to advise the public of a revision to the study corridor limits. The proposed Interstate 29 study corridor for which an Environmental Impact Statement will be prepared is defined as extending from approximately 1⁄4 mile south of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad Bridge over the Missouri River to Judd Street along the existing Interstate 29 corridor in Sioux City, Iowa. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mike LaPietra, Environment and Realty Manager, FHWA Iowa Division Office, 105 Sixth Street, Ames, IA, Ph. 515– 233–7302; or James P. Rost, Director, Office of Location and Environment, Iowa Department of Transportation, 800 Lincoln Way, Ames, IA 50010, Ph. 515– 239–1225. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: VerDate Aug<31>2005 can access the FBB via the World Wide Web at http://fedbbs.access.gpo.gov. Comments or questions concerning this revision to the notice of intent issued on November 18, 2004 should be directed to the FHWA or Iowa Department of Transportation at the address provided in the caption FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Dated: December 20, 2005. Gerald Kennedy, Assistant Division Administrator, FHWA Iowa Division. [FR Doc. E5–8101 Filed 12–29–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–22–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Highway Administration [FHWA Docket No. FHWA–2005–23328 Implementation of the Highways for LIFE Pilot Program Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), USDOT. ACTION: Notice; request for comments on proposed implementation of Highways for LIFE Pilot Program. AGENCY: SUMMARY: This document contains the proposed implementation plan of Section 1502 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA–LU) for the Highways for LIFE (HfL) Pilot Program to offer the opportunity for comment into the development of the final implementation document. LIFE is an acronym for ‘‘Long-lasting, Innovative, Fast construction of Efficient and safe pavements and bridges.’’ The purpose of the HfL Pilot Program is to accelerate the rate of adoption of innovations and technologies, thereby improving safety and highway quality while reducing congestion caused by construction. This will be accomplished through technology transfer, technology partnerships, information dissemination, incentive funding of up to 20 percent, but not more than $5 million on Federal-aid highway projects (eligible for assistance under Chapter 1 of title 23, United States Code) and HfL program accountability. DATES: Comments must be received on or before February 28, 2006. PO 00000 Frm 00075 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Mail or hand deliver comments to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Dockets Management Facility, Room PL–401, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590, or submit electronically at http:// dms.dot.gov or fax comments to (202) 493–2251. Alternatively, comments may be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http:// www.regulations.gov. All comments should include the docket number that appears in the heading of this document. All comments received will be available for examination and copying at the above address from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Those desiring notification of receipt of comments must include a selfaddressed, stamped postcard or may print the acknowledgment page that appears after submitting comments electronically. Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). Persons making comments may review DOT’s complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 70, Pages 19477–78), or may visit http:// dems.dot.gov. ADDRESSES: Ms. Kathleen Bergeron, Office of Infrastructure, HIHL–1, (202) 366–5508; Mr. Michael Harkins, Office of the Chief Counsel, HCC–30, (202) 366–4928; Federal Highway Administration, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590–0001. Office hours are from 7:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Electronic Access and Filing You may submit or retrieve online through the Document Management system (DMS) at: http://dmses.dot.gov/ submit. The DMS is available 24-hours each day, 365 days each year. Electronic submission and retrieval help and guidelines are available under the help section of the Web site. An electronic copy of this document may be downloaded by using the Internet to reach the Office of the Federal Register’s Home page at http:// www.archives.gov and the Government Printing Office’s Web site at http:// www.access.gpo.gov/nara. HfL Pilot Program This notice presents the proposed implementation plan for the HfL Pilot E:\FR\FM\30DEN1.SGM 30DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 250 / Friday, December 30, 2005 / Notices wwhite on PROD1PC61 with NOTICES Program, as outlined in Sections 1101 and 1502 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA–LU) (Pub. L. 109–59, August 10, 2005), and it provides an opportunity for comment into the development of the final implementation document. Reflecting on the condition of existing highways and the traditional processes used for building new ones, the American public has expressed, through national and local surveys, public meetings, and other means, a need for an improved driving experience. Elements such as reducing congestion in construction work zones, reducing construction time, a need for improved levels of safety and quality, and more cost effective approaches have become the subject of much concern. Congress intended the HfL pilot program to incentivize the use of innovative technologies and practices with the expectation that safe, efficient highways and bridges can be built faster, and with greater durability. The legislation reflects an understanding that the best approach to improving the quality of the highway system is made by working through the individuals and organizations charged with designing, building, and operating it. HfL intends to create an atmosphere that encourages and enables the rapid adoption of innovations in the design, construction and operation of highways. The HfL program has six program elements, which are discussed in detail below. These program elements are as follows: Technology transfer, technology partnerships, information dissemination, projects, funding, and accountability. Technology Transfer The key approach for improving the quality of the highway system is the application of existing but underutilized, high payoff highway innovations, such as, equipment, techniques, processes, materials and management processes. The key to using these innovations is a knowledgeable workforce that is aware of the benefits and committed to improving the driving experience of all Americans. The purpose of the technology transfer initiative is to train, inform, motivate, enable and equip the highway community workforce to more efficiently deliver projects that meet the HfL Pilot Program performance goals using the above mentioned innovations. Components of the technology transfer program may include technology training for public and private sector personnel, a knowledge exchange Web site where practitioners can log on and VerDate Aug<31>2005 18:16 Dec 29, 2005 Jkt 208001 share ideas, technology workshops, and HfL project showcases demonstrating the actual use of the technology. The phrase, ‘‘technology transfer’’ has long been used to describe the process for taking such infrequently used innovations and making them standard approaches that a transportation agency is comfortable using on a day-to-day basis. Unfortunately, it has traditionally taken years or even decades to bring about such adoptions. This delay is not merely a factor of limited resources, workload, lack of awareness, and conservatism on the part of agency staffs, but also a lack of a standard concentrated approach for rolling out innovations. As part of the HfL program, a major effort will be undertaken to develop an improved technology transfer process to significantly speed the adoption of innovations. This improved technology transfer process will be piloted focusing on a few innovations. Specifically, FHWA is proposing an innovation in each of the areas of safety, congestion and quality. These innovations need to be national in scope and have the potential for adding significant benefits to the highway community and highway users. The FHWA has already proposed three innovations that meet the HfL criteria: Prefabricated Bridge Systems and Elements; 1 Road Safety Audits; 2 and ‘‘Making Work Zones Work Better.’’ 3 Focusing on these three innovations does not mean that they are requirements for any proposed HfLfunded project. On the contrary, as outlined later in this document, any innovation that addresses the HfL performance goals may be used in an HfL-funded project. Additional technology transfer efforts would be provided by the HfL program through an innovations workshop for each HfL-funded project. The workshop may be similar in scope and structure to the Accelerated Construction Technology Transfer 4 workshops sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and FHWA. Technology Partnerships Within the HfL Pilot Program, Technology Partnerships are intended to 1 For more information on Prefabricated Bridge Elements and systems go to: http:// www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/prefab/. 2 For more information on Road Safety Audits go to: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/index.htm. 3 For more information on ‘‘Making Work Zones Work Better’’ go to: http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/ wz/index.asp. 4 For more information on ACTT go to: http:// www.fhwa.dot.gov/construction/accelerated. PO 00000 Frm 00076 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 77447 foster the development, improvement and creation of innovative technologies and facilities, including the use of proprietary products, technologies or methodologies. Due to limited resources, the FHWA intends to focus this element of the HfL program on refining and improving existing innovations for application on highway construction. The FHWA would enter into either a grant or cooperative agreement with public or private organizations to jointly fund or otherwise participate in adapting and/or making market-ready innovations to support the HfL Pilot Program. These agreements may be with traditional partners in the highway construction business or other organizations outside of the highway industry, which have promising innovations that can be made ready for timely implementation. The HfL Technology Partnerships have a two-fold purpose: First, they are intended to foster the implementation of under-utilized innovations that will improve the safety, speed of highway construction, quality, cost effectiveness, and durability of pavements and bridges. Second, they provide an opportunity for those not involved in construction of the HfL projects aspect of the program to participate in, contribute to, and benefit from the program. The HfL Technology Partnerships would provide financial impetus needed to move some of the many proven but underutilized innovations and methods into routine practice in the highway industry. Innovations brought forward through the technology partnerships may be used in the HfL Projects and promoted through HfL technology transfer and information dissemination. To be considered for participation, the innovation must have been used successfully in highway, transportation, or in some related venue which has a clear potential for successful use in the United States highway industry. A detailed approach to technology partnerships has not yet been developed because this is an area where stakeholder and industry input is needed. Due to the desire to obtain input, as well as the lower level of funding in the first year of the HfL program, it is proposed that funding for Technology Partnerships would begin in fiscal year 2007. However some deviations may be necessary, since the HfL technology partnerships effort focuses on proven technologies, rather than research. The FHWA is interested in feedback on approaches to technology partnerships. E:\FR\FM\30DEN1.SGM 30DEN1 wwhite on PROD1PC61 with NOTICES 77448 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 250 / Friday, December 30, 2005 / Notices Information Dissemination An essential component of transferring technology is information dissemination, including the communication of the HfL goals, concepts and services. Communicating the HfL story is critical for several reasons: First, without a high level of communication, there would be no ‘‘technology transfer;’’ innovative approaches would remain with those people who initially employed them. Secondly, recounting others’ successes tends to instill within organizations a higher level of competition and peerpressure to keep up with the rest of the community. Although Information Dissemination is a major element of Technology Transfer, the importance of this communication element within the overall HfL Pilot Program is sufficient to create a separate category of activities. One key reason is that others, outside the primary audience of individuals and organizations who design, build, and operate the nation’s highways, need to be informed as well about safer, less congested and improved quality highways and bridges. The driving public, for example, needs to be a key recipient because they are the ultimate beneficiaries of the overall effort. Providing the information starts the dialog to ensure that activities undertaken within the program really are pertinent to improving the public’s driving experience. Finally, the public needs to be informed because public opinion can be a major motivator to getting individuals and organizations who are slow to adopt innovations to move faster. Telling the public about the highway community’s push for better roads and the HfL projects builds goodwill and shows an appropriate level of responsiveness to the public’s need. It demonstrates that the highway community is being a good steward of the public trust. It also has the potential to show highway builders the benefits of using HfL approaches on more of their projects. A key tool for information dissemination would be the publicizing HfL success stories, showing how innovation can improve safety, reduce construction-related congestion, and improve quality, and why it is beneficial to pursue non-traditional approaches and innovations. Communication tools such as publications, videos, special events, media relations, the Internet, and a webbased Community of Practice can be employed in getting information on the various elements of the HfL program to different audiences. Specifically, those VerDate Aug<31>2005 18:16 Dec 29, 2005 Jkt 208001 audiences may include the highway community, academia, associated industries and private sector groups, schools, elected officials, media, and the public in general. Another facet of information dissemination will be publicizing the success of each of the HfL demonstration projects. This will be accomplished at the local, regional and national levels and will be done during and after construction. The focus in publicizing the HfL project success stories will be on the innovations, the resulting benefits and the people in the State DOT, Industry and Division Office that made it happen. One technique may be the establishment of an annual awards program and celebration for the HfL projects. Another technique would be a ribbon cutting ceremony for the HfL project. Additionally, HfL can work with other organizations such as the national Partnership on Highway Quality, industry associations, American Automobile Association, American Trucking Associations, State DOT Public Affairs offices in publicizing HfL projects and the people involved in constructing the projects. Positive information dissemination coupled with recognition will be used as a means to perpetuate the behavior and outcomes achieved on the HfL projects. Projects While training such as that outlined previously in the technology transfer section is important, the challenge is to get the transportation professional to put that training to use on an actual project. Such on-the-job experience will be provided through the Projects activity of the HfL program. State transportation agencies will be asked to submit applications to the FHWA Division Offices for HfL incentives for specific projects where it intends to employ innovations that it was not used or rarely used in its State. Funding construction projects within the HfL program will allow for detailed documentation of the potential improvements in safety, constructionrelated congestion and quality that can be achieved through the application of innovations on actual projects. It may also serve as a new business model for how a State manages its highway project delivery process. The demonstration will involve showing the highway community and the public how the HfL projects are designed, built, and perform. Widespread demonstration of successes will, in turn, provide the impetus for more widespread application of the performance goals and innovations in the future. PO 00000 Frm 00077 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Performance Goals Paragraphs (a)(3) and (b)(4)(A) of Section 1502 of SAFETEA–LU makes reference to ‘‘performance standards.’’ In the HfL program, the term ‘‘performance standards’’ are also synonymous with ‘‘performance goals,’’ which define the desired end result to be achieved on the projects. The FHWA has selected performance goals to put the emphasis on the highway motorist’s needs, to foster the acceptance and adoption of innovations, and to reinforce the need to address all goals— safety, congestion, user satisfaction, and quality—in every project. The individual HfL performance goals would be set at levels representing the best the highway community has and is able to produce. In proposing performance goals for HfL projects, the FHWA considered whether a candidate goal has a highway community accepted definition, metric, measure, method, procedure, process and/or equipment. Candidate goals were evaluated with these considerations since it is expected that the State and its contractor(s) will be monitoring the goals for the design and/or construction of HfL projects. It is FHWA’s intention that the approved HfL projects would include the Performance Goals in each of the goal areas. The performance goals being considered for the first year of HfL projects include: Safety • Work Zone Safety During Construction—work zone crash rate of 20 percent less than State-wide average; • Worker Safety During Construction—worker injury rate of 20 percent less than the most recent national average; • Facility Safety After Construction— 20 percent reduction in fatalities and injuries as reflected in 3-year average crash rates, using pre-construction rates as the baseline. Construction Congestion • Faster Construction—reduce by 50 percent the duration that highway users are impacted by construction as compared to traditional methods; • Trip Time During Construction— less than 10 percent reduction in the average pre-construction speed using 100 percent sampling; or • Queue Length During Construction—the line of vehicles passing through the construction work zone should be less than 0.5 mile long for traveling speeds less than 10 mph, or less than 1.5 miles long for traveling at speeds 20 percent or less than the posted speed limit. E:\FR\FM\30DEN1.SGM 30DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 250 / Friday, December 30, 2005 / Notices Quality Eligibility Criteria • Smoothness—an inertial Profile, International Roughness Index (IRI) of less than 48 inches/mile. • Noise—a close Proximity (CPX) noise measurement of less than 96.0 decibels. Section 1502(b)(2) of SAFETEA–LU establishes the eligibility criteria for a project’s participation in the HfL pilot program. The eligibility criteria includes: • The project must construct, reconstruct, or rehabilitate a route or connection on a Federal-aid highway eligible for assistance under chapter 1 of title 23, United States Code; and • The project must use innovative technologies, manufacturing processes, financing, or contracting methods that improve safety, reduce congestion due to construction, and improve quality. User satisfaction • User satisfaction—project construction surveys will be used to determine user satisfaction in two areas: (1) How satisfied the user is with the new facility, compared with its previous condition, and (2) how satisfied the user is with the approach used to construct the new facility in terms of minimizing disruption. A five-point Likert scale 5 will be used for measurement, and the goal for each area will be 4+. 6 The FHWA is interested in feedback concerning the following specific aspects of application of the HfL performance goals: • Should the performance goals be adjusted to consider project factors such as class of road, traffic volume, cost of the project, size of the project, current project conditions as related to safety, congestion and quality? • Should the performance goals be adjusted to consider State DOT factors such as the current statewide average conditions for safety, construction congestion and quality, the current statewide average conditions for that class of road, or the current design standards and construction specifications? Solicitation wwhite on PROD1PC61 with NOTICES An annual solicitation for HfL projects is planned for the Spring of 2006. The FHWA intends to publish a notice in the Federal Register requesting submittal of project applications. It is anticipated that a project solicitation will also be done in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Additionally, the announcement would be publicized through various other means, including posting on the World Wide Web, providing facilitation by the FHWA Division Offices, and through other outreach to the States. The State DOT would submit applications electronically to their FHWA Division Office. The application, along with FHWA Division recommendation would then be forwarded to FHWA headquarters. 5 For more information on the Likert scale go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Likert_scale. 6 A typical question using a Likert scale poses a statement and ask the respondent whether he strongly agrees–agrees–is undecided–disagrees or strongly disagrees. VerDate Aug<31>2005 19:29 Dec 29, 2005 Jkt 208001 Application Requirements Section 1502(b)(1) of SAFETEA– requires States to submit an application to the Secretary in order for a project to participate in the HfL pilot program. This application must contain the following information: • An identification and description of the project, including when the project will be ready for construction; • An identification and description of the specific performance goals that are proposed for the project; • A description of the innovative technologies, manufacturing processes, financing, and contracting methods that will be used for the proposed projects; • A description of how the project will result in improved safety, reduced congestion due to construction, improved quality and user satisfaction; and • Whether the State is willing to (a) participate in subsequent technology transfer and information dissemination activities associated with the project(s). Examples of such activities include conducting an ‘‘open house’’ for highway practitioners on the project, providing information to the FHWA for success stories, and providing briefings to the FHWA and general public on the success of the technology and process used; (b) provide information needed by HfL to evaluate the project and innovations (costs incurred as a result of supplying this information to FHWA would be an eligible project expense); and (c) accept FHWA Division Office oversight if the project is approved by HfL. Project Selection and Evaluation Section 1502(b)(4) of SAFETEA–LU establishes the selection criteria for approving projects for participation in the HfL pilot program. This criteria requires the Secretary to give priority to projects that: • Address achieving the HfL performance goals for safety, PO 00000 Frm 00078 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 77449 construction congestion, quality and user satisfaction; • Deliver and deploy innovative technologies, manufacturing processes, financing, contracting practices, and performance measures that will demonstrate substantial improvements in safety, congestion, quality, and costeffectiveness; • Include innovation that will lead to change in the administration of the State’s transportation program to more quickly construct long-lasting, highquality, cost-effective projects that improve safety and reduce congestion; and • Are or will be ready for construction within one year of approval of the project application. For purposes of the HfL program, the FHWA considers a project to be ‘‘ready for construction’’ when the FHWA Division Office concurs in awarding the project. In addition, the Secretary will also give priority to projects where the State demonstrates a willingness to participate in subsequent technology transfer and information dissemination activities associated with the project(s). HfL project applications will be evaluated and recommendations for selection made to the Secretary of Transportation. The evaluation committee will be composed of FHWA staff who will evaluate project applications based on the priorities noted above. Number of Projects Section 1502 establishes a maximum of 15 projects per year that may receive HfL funding. In considering such factors as the purpose and scope of the program available funding and the various associated costs and activities needed for each HfL construction project to contribute to the desired outcome, it is proposed that the total number of HfL projects be kept at 15 per year, with the understanding that FHWA may consider adding projects to take advantage of unique opportunities. Funding SAFETEA–LU, Section 1101(a)(20) established total program funding at $75,000,000 through 2009, including $15,000,000 for fiscal year 2006, and $20,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2007 through 2009. This funding includes incentive grants of up to 20 percent, but not more than $5 million of the total cost of qualifying demonstration projects. A maximum of 15 projects may receive incentive funds in any fiscal year. Up to 100 percent Federal share is also allowed on HfL demonstration projects. There is a goal of providing funds for at least one project in each E:\FR\FM\30DEN1.SGM 30DEN1 77450 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 250 / Friday, December 30, 2005 / Notices State by 2009. A State may also use up to 10 percent of its National Highway System, Surface Transportation Program, Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement or Interstate Maintenance funds for HfL eligible projects as matching funds up to 100 percent in any fiscal year. Based on the level of incentive funding provided in SAFETEA-LU, it is anticipated that individual project funding levels will be in the $500,000 to $1,000,000 range per project. Spending Plan The majority of the 2006 HfL funding, in the order of 60 percent, will be used for projects; a significant portion of the funds, approximately 30 percent, will be used for technology transfer and the remainder of the funds would be expended on technology partnerships, information dissemination and stakeholder input and involvement. This approximate distribution of funds includes the costs for monitoring and evaluation for each element. The HfL spending plan will be evaluated yearly and adjusted accordingly. wwhite on PROD1PC61 with NOTICES Accountability As a means of ensuring appropriate stewardship of public funds, the HfL program will include several monitoring and evaluation efforts to measure the effectiveness of the program and projects, as well as stakeholder input and involvement procedures. Although the individual activities within the HfL program will require extensive effort and funding, there will need to be measurements beyond the basic levels of success or failure of those activities taken individually. The higher level of evaluation should reflect the primary objective of the program as a whole: to improve the highway system as indicated by measurement of safety, construction congestion, quality and user satisfaction on HfL projects. Monitor and Evaluation The FHWA has the lead for monitoring and evaluation of HfL projects, and would be responsible for data collection, data storage and access, analysis, and reporting. FHWA personnel and private contractors will be used for this function. The owners of HfL-funded projects would supply or provide access to data and information. Costs associated with these activities are an eligible project expense. The FHWA Division Offices would serve as points of contact and coordination between the FHWA’s contractor(s) and the State. The monitoring and evaluation effort will be used to fully describe and quantify the outputs, results, and VerDate Aug<31>2005 18:16 Dec 29, 2005 Jkt 208001 outcomes in the goal areas and to provide an assessment of the benefits derived from the overall investment. A cost effective economic analysis on HfL projects will be conducted by the FHWA HfL using economic techniques for measuring and valuing user cost; this might include but not be limited to Event-Only Analysis, Life Cycle Cost Analysis or Benefit-Cost Analysis. The resulting information would serve as a resource to highway program decision makers on the value of the innovations demonstrated in the HfL projects, help maintain the momentum needed to achieve the HfL goals, demonstrate the value of the entire pilot program, and provide the basis for projecting the benefits gained from expanding such an approach in the future. The monitoring and evaluation element would encompass the entire HfL program. For the HfL projects, information collected prior to, during, and immediately after construction would include a full array of highway condition, financing, design, contracting, construction, operations, and safety data, as well as user statistics and opinions. The costs, outcomes, impacts, and benefits of the technology partnerships would also be fully documented. To the extent possible, information collected for the technology transfer and information dissemination aspects would include objective measures of the effectiveness and impact of the individual activities that are undertaken, in addition to information on the costs of those activities. The information gathered on the HfL projects, technology transfer and technology partnerships will also be used in research and development for the next generation of technologies and innovations and future technology transfer initiatives. Stakeholder Input The HfL stakeholders include highway owners, builders, suppliers, consultants, academicians, users (commercial motor carriers, motorists, bicyclist, and pedestrians), and those impacted secondarily by highways (neighbors and adjacent landowners, receivers of goods shipped over highways). Through stakeholder input and involvement, the FHWA desires to refine the approach and implementation of the HfL program as well as to build ownership for the program. Stakeholder input and involvement will be an ongoing element of the HfL program in order to evaluate the progress of the program, consider appropriate redirection in light of progress, and assess of the overall program results. Stakeholders would have opportunities PO 00000 Frm 00079 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 to provide input on both the HfL Implementation plan, and the conduct of the program itself, including: • The HfL performance goals; • Applicable technologies and practices; • Technology partnerships approaches; and • Evaluation of HfL outcomes and benefits including demonstration projects, technology partnerships, technology transfer and information dissemination. The FHWA is considering several stakeholder input and involvement approaches for the HfL program. Providing information and soliciting feedback would happen routinely through notices published in the Federal Register, presentations at highway town hall meetings or regional forums, and the establishment of a webbased communications interchange site, or ‘‘Community of Practice’’ on the HfL Internet Web site http:// www.fhwa.dot.gov/hfl/. (Authority: Public Law 109–59 Section 1502, 23 U.S.C. 502 and 23 U.S.C. 315) Issued on December 23, 2005. J. Richard Capka, Acting Federal Highway Administrator. [FR Doc. E5–8107 Filed 12–29–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–22–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [Docket No. NHTSA–2005–23433] Notice of Receipt of Petition for Decision That Nonconforming 2000– 2005 Komet Standard, Classic and Eurolite Trailers Are Eligible for Importation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, DOT. ACTION: Notice of receipt of petition for decision that nonconforming 2000–2005 Komet Standard, Classic and Eurolite trailers are eligible for importation. AGENCY: SUMMARY: This document announces receipt by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of a petition for a decision that 2000–2005 Komet Standard, Classic and Eurolite trailers that were not originally manufactured to comply with all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS) are eligible for importation into the United States because (1) they are substantially similar to vehicles that were originally manufactured for importation into and sale in the United States and that were E:\FR\FM\30DEN1.SGM 30DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 250 (Friday, December 30, 2005)]
[Notices]
[Pages 77446-77450]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E5-8107]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Highway Administration

[FHWA Docket No. FHWA-2005-23328


Implementation of the Highways for LIFE Pilot Program

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), USDOT.

ACTION: Notice; request for comments on proposed implementation of 
Highways for LIFE Pilot Program.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This document contains the proposed implementation plan of 
Section 1502 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient 
Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) for the 
Highways for LIFE (HfL) Pilot Program to offer the opportunity for 
comment into the development of the final implementation document. LIFE 
is an acronym for ``Long-lasting, Innovative, Fast construction of 
Efficient and safe pavements and bridges.'' The purpose of the HfL 
Pilot Program is to accelerate the rate of adoption of innovations and 
technologies, thereby improving safety and highway quality while 
reducing congestion caused by construction. This will be accomplished 
through technology transfer, technology partnerships, information 
dissemination, incentive funding of up to 20 percent, but not more than 
$5 million on Federal-aid highway projects (eligible for assistance 
under Chapter 1 of title 23, United States Code) and HfL program 
accountability.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before February 28, 2006.

ADDRESSES: Mail or hand deliver comments to the U.S. Department of 
Transportation, Dockets Management Facility, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh 
Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590, or submit electronically at http://
dms.dot.gov or fax comments to (202) 493-2251. Alternatively, comments 
may be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://
www.regulations.gov. All comments should include the docket number that 
appears in the heading of this document. All comments received will be 
available for examination and copying at the above address from 9 a.m. 
to 5 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Those 
desiring notification of receipt of comments must include a self-
addressed, stamped postcard or may print the acknowledgment page that 
appears after submitting comments electronically. Anyone is able to 
search the electronic form of all comments received into any of our 
dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or 
signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, 
business, labor union, etc.). Persons making comments may review DOT's 
complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on 
April 11, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 70, Pages 19477-78), or may visit 
http://dems.dot.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Kathleen Bergeron, Office of 
Infrastructure, HIHL-1, (202) 366-5508; Mr. Michael Harkins, Office of 
the Chief Counsel, HCC-30, (202) 366-4928; Federal Highway 
Administration, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001. 
Office hours are from 7:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., e.t., Monday through 
Friday, except Federal holidays.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Electronic Access and Filing

    You may submit or retrieve online through the Document Management 
system (DMS) at: http://dmses.dot.gov/submit. The DMS is available 24-
hours each day, 365 days each year. Electronic submission and retrieval 
help and guidelines are available under the help section of the Web 
site.
    An electronic copy of this document may be downloaded by using the 
Internet to reach the Office of the Federal Register's Home page at 
http://www.archives.gov and the Government Printing Office's Web site 
at http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara.

HfL Pilot Program

    This notice presents the proposed implementation plan for the HfL 
Pilot

[[Page 77447]]

Program, as outlined in Sections 1101 and 1502 of the Safe, 
Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy 
for Users (SAFETEA-LU) (Pub. L. 109-59, August 10, 2005), and it 
provides an opportunity for comment into the development of the final 
implementation document.
    Reflecting on the condition of existing highways and the 
traditional processes used for building new ones, the American public 
has expressed, through national and local surveys, public meetings, and 
other means, a need for an improved driving experience. Elements such 
as reducing congestion in construction work zones, reducing 
construction time, a need for improved levels of safety and quality, 
and more cost effective approaches have become the subject of much 
concern.
    Congress intended the HfL pilot program to incentivize the use of 
innovative technologies and practices with the expectation that safe, 
efficient highways and bridges can be built faster, and with greater 
durability. The legislation reflects an understanding that the best 
approach to improving the quality of the highway system is made by 
working through the individuals and organizations charged with 
designing, building, and operating it. HfL intends to create an 
atmosphere that encourages and enables the rapid adoption of 
innovations in the design, construction and operation of highways.
    The HfL program has six program elements, which are discussed in 
detail below. These program elements are as follows: Technology 
transfer, technology partnerships, information dissemination, projects, 
funding, and accountability.

Technology Transfer

    The key approach for improving the quality of the highway system is 
the application of existing but under-utilized, high payoff highway 
innovations, such as, equipment, techniques, processes, materials and 
management processes. The key to using these innovations is a 
knowledgeable workforce that is aware of the benefits and committed to 
improving the driving experience of all Americans.
    The purpose of the technology transfer initiative is to train, 
inform, motivate, enable and equip the highway community workforce to 
more efficiently deliver projects that meet the HfL Pilot Program 
performance goals using the above mentioned innovations. Components of 
the technology transfer program may include technology training for 
public and private sector personnel, a knowledge exchange Web site 
where practitioners can log on and share ideas, technology workshops, 
and HfL project showcases demonstrating the actual use of the 
technology. The phrase, ``technology transfer'' has long been used to 
describe the process for taking such infrequently used innovations and 
making them standard approaches that a transportation agency is 
comfortable using on a day-to-day basis. Unfortunately, it has 
traditionally taken years or even decades to bring about such 
adoptions. This delay is not merely a factor of limited resources, 
workload, lack of awareness, and conservatism on the part of agency 
staffs, but also a lack of a standard concentrated approach for rolling 
out innovations. As part of the HfL program, a major effort will be 
undertaken to develop an improved technology transfer process to 
significantly speed the adoption of innovations. This improved 
technology transfer process will be piloted focusing on a few 
innovations.
    Specifically, FHWA is proposing an innovation in each of the areas 
of safety, congestion and quality. These innovations need to be 
national in scope and have the potential for adding significant 
benefits to the highway community and highway users. The FHWA has 
already proposed three innovations that meet the HfL criteria: 
Prefabricated Bridge Systems and Elements; \1\ Road Safety Audits; \2\ 
and ``Making Work Zones Work Better.'' \3\ Focusing on these three 
innovations does not mean that they are requirements for any proposed 
HfL-funded project. On the contrary, as outlined later in this 
document, any innovation that addresses the HfL performance goals may 
be used in an HfL-funded project.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ For more information on Prefabricated Bridge Elements and 
systems go to: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/prefab/.
    \2\ For more information on Road Safety Audits go to: http://
safety.fhwa.dot.gov/index.htm.
    \3\ For more information on ``Making Work Zones Work Better'' go 
to: http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/wz/index.asp.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Additional technology transfer efforts would be provided by the HfL 
program through an innovations workshop for each HfL-funded project. 
The workshop may be similar in scope and structure to the Accelerated 
Construction Technology Transfer \4\ workshops sponsored by the 
American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials 
(AASHTO) and FHWA.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ For more information on ACTT go to: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/
construction/accelerated.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Technology Partnerships

    Within the HfL Pilot Program, Technology Partnerships are intended 
to foster the development, improvement and creation of innovative 
technologies and facilities, including the use of proprietary products, 
technologies or methodologies. Due to limited resources, the FHWA 
intends to focus this element of the HfL program on refining and 
improving existing innovations for application on highway construction. 
The FHWA would enter into either a grant or cooperative agreement with 
public or private organizations to jointly fund or otherwise 
participate in adapting and/or making market-ready innovations to 
support the HfL Pilot Program. These agreements may be with traditional 
partners in the highway construction business or other organizations 
outside of the highway industry, which have promising innovations that 
can be made ready for timely implementation.
    The HfL Technology Partnerships have a two-fold purpose: First, 
they are intended to foster the implementation of under-utilized 
innovations that will improve the safety, speed of highway 
construction, quality, cost effectiveness, and durability of pavements 
and bridges. Second, they provide an opportunity for those not involved 
in construction of the HfL projects aspect of the program to 
participate in, contribute to, and benefit from the program.
    The HfL Technology Partnerships would provide financial impetus 
needed to move some of the many proven but underutilized innovations 
and methods into routine practice in the highway industry. Innovations 
brought forward through the technology partnerships may be used in the 
HfL Projects and promoted through HfL technology transfer and 
information dissemination.
    To be considered for participation, the innovation must have been 
used successfully in highway, transportation, or in some related venue 
which has a clear potential for successful use in the United States 
highway industry.
    A detailed approach to technology partnerships has not yet been 
developed because this is an area where stakeholder and industry input 
is needed. Due to the desire to obtain input, as well as the lower 
level of funding in the first year of the HfL program, it is proposed 
that funding for Technology Partnerships would begin in fiscal year 
2007. However some deviations may be necessary, since the HfL 
technology partnerships effort focuses on proven technologies, rather 
than research. The FHWA is interested in feedback on approaches to 
technology partnerships.

[[Page 77448]]

Information Dissemination

    An essential component of transferring technology is information 
dissemination, including the communication of the HfL goals, concepts 
and services. Communicating the HfL story is critical for several 
reasons: First, without a high level of communication, there would be 
no ``technology transfer;'' innovative approaches would remain with 
those people who initially employed them. Secondly, recounting others' 
successes tends to instill within organizations a higher level of 
competition and peer-pressure to keep up with the rest of the 
community.
    Although Information Dissemination is a major element of Technology 
Transfer, the importance of this communication element within the 
overall HfL Pilot Program is sufficient to create a separate category 
of activities. One key reason is that others, outside the primary 
audience of individuals and organizations who design, build, and 
operate the nation's highways, need to be informed as well about safer, 
less congested and improved quality highways and bridges. The driving 
public, for example, needs to be a key recipient because they are the 
ultimate beneficiaries of the overall effort. Providing the information 
starts the dialog to ensure that activities undertaken within the 
program really are pertinent to improving the public's driving 
experience. Finally, the public needs to be informed because public 
opinion can be a major motivator to getting individuals and 
organizations who are slow to adopt innovations to move faster. Telling 
the public about the highway community's push for better roads and the 
HfL projects builds goodwill and shows an appropriate level of 
responsiveness to the public's need. It demonstrates that the highway 
community is being a good steward of the public trust. It also has the 
potential to show highway builders the benefits of using HfL approaches 
on more of their projects.
    A key tool for information dissemination would be the publicizing 
HfL success stories, showing how innovation can improve safety, reduce 
construction-related congestion, and improve quality, and why it is 
beneficial to pursue non-traditional approaches and innovations.
    Communication tools such as publications, videos, special events, 
media relations, the Internet, and a web-based Community of Practice 
can be employed in getting information on the various elements of the 
HfL program to different audiences. Specifically, those audiences may 
include the highway community, academia, associated industries and 
private sector groups, schools, elected officials, media, and the 
public in general.
    Another facet of information dissemination will be publicizing the 
success of each of the HfL demonstration projects. This will be 
accomplished at the local, regional and national levels and will be 
done during and after construction. The focus in publicizing the HfL 
project success stories will be on the innovations, the resulting 
benefits and the people in the State DOT, Industry and Division Office 
that made it happen. One technique may be the establishment of an 
annual awards program and celebration for the HfL projects. Another 
technique would be a ribbon cutting ceremony for the HfL project. 
Additionally, HfL can work with other organizations such as the 
national Partnership on Highway Quality, industry associations, 
American Automobile Association, American Trucking Associations, State 
DOT Public Affairs offices in publicizing HfL projects and the people 
involved in constructing the projects. Positive information 
dissemination coupled with recognition will be used as a means to 
perpetuate the behavior and outcomes achieved on the HfL projects.

Projects

    While training such as that outlined previously in the technology 
transfer section is important, the challenge is to get the 
transportation professional to put that training to use on an actual 
project. Such on-the-job experience will be provided through the 
Projects activity of the HfL program. State transportation agencies 
will be asked to submit applications to the FHWA Division Offices for 
HfL incentives for specific projects where it intends to employ 
innovations that it was not used or rarely used in its State.
    Funding construction projects within the HfL program will allow for 
detailed documentation of the potential improvements in safety, 
construction-related congestion and quality that can be achieved 
through the application of innovations on actual projects. It may also 
serve as a new business model for how a State manages its highway 
project delivery process. The demonstration will involve showing the 
highway community and the public how the HfL projects are designed, 
built, and perform. Widespread demonstration of successes will, in 
turn, provide the impetus for more widespread application of the 
performance goals and innovations in the future.

Performance Goals

    Paragraphs (a)(3) and (b)(4)(A) of Section 1502 of SAFETEA-LU makes 
reference to ``performance standards.'' In the HfL program, the term 
``performance standards'' are also synonymous with ``performance 
goals,'' which define the desired end result to be achieved on the 
projects. The FHWA has selected performance goals to put the emphasis 
on the highway motorist's needs, to foster the acceptance and adoption 
of innovations, and to reinforce the need to address all goals--safety, 
congestion, user satisfaction, and quality--in every project. The 
individual HfL performance goals would be set at levels representing 
the best the highway community has and is able to produce.
    In proposing performance goals for HfL projects, the FHWA 
considered whether a candidate goal has a highway community accepted 
definition, metric, measure, method, procedure, process and/or 
equipment. Candidate goals were evaluated with these considerations 
since it is expected that the State and its contractor(s) will be 
monitoring the goals for the design and/or construction of HfL 
projects.
    It is FHWA's intention that the approved HfL projects would include 
the Performance Goals in each of the goal areas. The performance goals 
being considered for the first year of HfL projects include:
Safety
     Work Zone Safety During Construction--work zone crash rate 
of 20 percent less than State-wide average;
     Worker Safety During Construction--worker injury rate of 
20 percent less than the most recent national average;
     Facility Safety After Construction--20 percent reduction 
in fatalities and injuries as reflected in 3-year average crash rates, 
using pre-construction rates as the baseline.
Construction Congestion
     Faster Construction--reduce by 50 percent the duration 
that highway users are impacted by construction as compared to 
traditional methods;
     Trip Time During Construction--less than 10 percent 
reduction in the average pre-construction speed using 100 percent 
sampling; or
     Queue Length During Construction--the line of vehicles 
passing through the construction work zone should be less than 0.5 mile 
long for traveling speeds less than 10 mph, or less than 1.5 miles long 
for traveling at speeds 20 percent or less than the posted speed limit.

[[Page 77449]]

Quality
     Smoothness--an inertial Profile, International Roughness 
Index (IRI) of less than 48 inches/mile.
     Noise--a close Proximity (CPX) noise measurement of less 
than 96.0 decibels.
User satisfaction
     User satisfaction--project construction surveys will be 
used to determine user satisfaction in two areas: (1) How satisfied the 
user is with the new facility, compared with its previous condition, 
and (2) how satisfied the user is with the approach used to construct 
the new facility in terms of minimizing disruption. A five-point Likert 
scale \5\ will be used for measurement, and the goal for each area will 
be 4+. \6\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ For more information on the Likert scale go to: http://
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Likert_scale.
    \6\ A typical question using a Likert scale poses a statement 
and ask the respondent whether he strongly agrees-agrees-is 
undecided-disagrees or strongly disagrees.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The FHWA is interested in feedback concerning the following 
specific aspects of application of the HfL performance goals:
     Should the performance goals be adjusted to consider 
project factors such as class of road, traffic volume, cost of the 
project, size of the project, current project conditions as related to 
safety, congestion and quality?
     Should the performance goals be adjusted to consider State 
DOT factors such as the current statewide average conditions for 
safety, construction congestion and quality, the current statewide 
average conditions for that class of road, or the current design 
standards and construction specifications?

Solicitation

    An annual solicitation for HfL projects is planned for the Spring 
of 2006. The FHWA intends to publish a notice in the Federal Register 
requesting submittal of project applications. It is anticipated that a 
project solicitation will also be done in 2007, 2008 and 2009. 
Additionally, the announcement would be publicized through various 
other means, including posting on the World Wide Web, providing 
facilitation by the FHWA Division Offices, and through other outreach 
to the States. The State DOT would submit applications electronically 
to their FHWA Division Office. The application, along with FHWA 
Division recommendation would then be forwarded to FHWA headquarters.

Eligibility Criteria

    Section 1502(b)(2) of SAFETEA-LU establishes the eligibility 
criteria for a project's participation in the HfL pilot program. The 
eligibility criteria includes:
     The project must construct, reconstruct, or rehabilitate a 
route or connection on a Federal-aid highway eligible for assistance 
under chapter 1 of title 23, United States Code; and
     The project must use innovative technologies, 
manufacturing processes, financing, or contracting methods that improve 
safety, reduce congestion due to construction, and improve quality.

Application Requirements

    Section 1502(b)(1) of SAFETEA- requires States to submit an 
application to the Secretary in order for a project to participate in 
the HfL pilot program. This application must contain the following 
information:
     An identification and description of the project, 
including when the project will be ready for construction;
     An identification and description of the specific 
performance goals that are proposed for the project;
     A description of the innovative technologies, 
manufacturing processes, financing, and contracting methods that will 
be used for the proposed projects;
     A description of how the project will result in improved 
safety, reduced congestion due to construction, improved quality and 
user satisfaction; and
     Whether the State is willing to (a) participate in 
subsequent technology transfer and information dissemination activities 
associated with the project(s). Examples of such activities include 
conducting an ``open house'' for highway practitioners on the project, 
providing information to the FHWA for success stories, and providing 
briefings to the FHWA and general public on the success of the 
technology and process used; (b) provide information needed by HfL to 
evaluate the project and innovations (costs incurred as a result of 
supplying this information to FHWA would be an eligible project 
expense); and (c) accept FHWA Division Office oversight if the project 
is approved by HfL.

Project Selection and Evaluation

    Section 1502(b)(4) of SAFETEA-LU establishes the selection criteria 
for approving projects for participation in the HfL pilot program. This 
criteria requires the Secretary to give priority to projects that:
     Address achieving the HfL performance goals for safety, 
construction congestion, quality and user satisfaction;
     Deliver and deploy innovative technologies, manufacturing 
processes, financing, contracting practices, and performance measures 
that will demonstrate substantial improvements in safety, congestion, 
quality, and cost-effectiveness;
     Include innovation that will lead to change in the 
administration of the State's transportation program to more quickly 
construct long-lasting, high-quality, cost-effective projects that 
improve safety and reduce congestion; and
     Are or will be ready for construction within one year of 
approval of the project application. For purposes of the HfL program, 
the FHWA considers a project to be ``ready for construction'' when the 
FHWA Division Office concurs in awarding the project.
    In addition, the Secretary will also give priority to projects 
where the State demonstrates a willingness to participate in subsequent 
technology transfer and information dissemination activities associated 
with the project(s).
    HfL project applications will be evaluated and recommendations for 
selection made to the Secretary of Transportation. The evaluation 
committee will be composed of FHWA staff who will evaluate project 
applications based on the priorities noted above.

Number of Projects

    Section 1502 establishes a maximum of 15 projects per year that may 
receive HfL funding. In considering such factors as the purpose and 
scope of the program available funding and the various associated costs 
and activities needed for each HfL construction project to contribute 
to the desired outcome, it is proposed that the total number of HfL 
projects be kept at 15 per year, with the understanding that FHWA may 
consider adding projects to take advantage of unique opportunities.

Funding

    SAFETEA-LU, Section 1101(a)(20) established total program funding 
at $75,000,000 through 2009, including $15,000,000 for fiscal year 
2006, and $20,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2007 through 2009. This 
funding includes incentive grants of up to 20 percent, but not more 
than $5 million of the total cost of qualifying demonstration projects. 
A maximum of 15 projects may receive incentive funds in any fiscal 
year. Up to 100 percent Federal share is also allowed on HfL 
demonstration projects. There is a goal of providing funds for at least 
one project in each

[[Page 77450]]

State by 2009. A State may also use up to 10 percent of its National 
Highway System, Surface Transportation Program, Congestion Mitigation 
and Air Quality Improvement or Interstate Maintenance funds for HfL 
eligible projects as matching funds up to 100 percent in any fiscal 
year. Based on the level of incentive funding provided in SAFETEA-LU, 
it is anticipated that individual project funding levels will be in the 
$500,000 to $1,000,000 range per project.

Spending Plan

    The majority of the 2006 HfL funding, in the order of 60 percent, 
will be used for projects; a significant portion of the funds, 
approximately 30 percent, will be used for technology transfer and the 
remainder of the funds would be expended on technology partnerships, 
information dissemination and stakeholder input and involvement. This 
approximate distribution of funds includes the costs for monitoring and 
evaluation for each element. The HfL spending plan will be evaluated 
yearly and adjusted accordingly.

Accountability

    As a means of ensuring appropriate stewardship of public funds, the 
HfL program will include several monitoring and evaluation efforts to 
measure the effectiveness of the program and projects, as well as 
stakeholder input and involvement procedures. Although the individual 
activities within the HfL program will require extensive effort and 
funding, there will need to be measurements beyond the basic levels of 
success or failure of those activities taken individually. The higher 
level of evaluation should reflect the primary objective of the program 
as a whole: to improve the highway system as indicated by measurement 
of safety, construction congestion, quality and user satisfaction on 
HfL projects.

Monitor and Evaluation

    The FHWA has the lead for monitoring and evaluation of HfL 
projects, and would be responsible for data collection, data storage 
and access, analysis, and reporting. FHWA personnel and private 
contractors will be used for this function. The owners of HfL-funded 
projects would supply or provide access to data and information. Costs 
associated with these activities are an eligible project expense. The 
FHWA Division Offices would serve as points of contact and coordination 
between the FHWA's contractor(s) and the State.
    The monitoring and evaluation effort will be used to fully describe 
and quantify the outputs, results, and outcomes in the goal areas and 
to provide an assessment of the benefits derived from the overall 
investment. A cost effective economic analysis on HfL projects will be 
conducted by the FHWA HfL using economic techniques for measuring and 
valuing user cost; this might include but not be limited to Event-Only 
Analysis, Life Cycle Cost Analysis or Benefit-Cost Analysis. The 
resulting information would serve as a resource to highway program 
decision makers on the value of the innovations demonstrated in the HfL 
projects, help maintain the momentum needed to achieve the HfL goals, 
demonstrate the value of the entire pilot program, and provide the 
basis for projecting the benefits gained from expanding such an 
approach in the future.
    The monitoring and evaluation element would encompass the entire 
HfL program. For the HfL projects, information collected prior to, 
during, and immediately after construction would include a full array 
of highway condition, financing, design, contracting, construction, 
operations, and safety data, as well as user statistics and opinions. 
The costs, outcomes, impacts, and benefits of the technology 
partnerships would also be fully documented. To the extent possible, 
information collected for the technology transfer and information 
dissemination aspects would include objective measures of the 
effectiveness and impact of the individual activities that are 
undertaken, in addition to information on the costs of those 
activities. The information gathered on the HfL projects, technology 
transfer and technology partnerships will also be used in research and 
development for the next generation of technologies and innovations and 
future technology transfer initiatives.

Stakeholder Input

    The HfL stakeholders include highway owners, builders, suppliers, 
consultants, academicians, users (commercial motor carriers, motorists, 
bicyclist, and pedestrians), and those impacted secondarily by highways 
(neighbors and adjacent landowners, receivers of goods shipped over 
highways). Through stakeholder input and involvement, the FHWA desires 
to refine the approach and implementation of the HfL program as well as 
to build ownership for the program. Stakeholder input and involvement 
will be an ongoing element of the HfL program in order to evaluate the 
progress of the program, consider appropriate redirection in light of 
progress, and assess of the overall program results. Stakeholders would 
have opportunities to provide input on both the HfL Implementation 
plan, and the conduct of the program itself, including:
     The HfL performance goals;
     Applicable technologies and practices;
     Technology partnerships approaches; and
     Evaluation of HfL outcomes and benefits including 
demonstration projects, technology partnerships, technology transfer 
and information dissemination.
    The FHWA is considering several stakeholder input and involvement 
approaches for the HfL program. Providing information and soliciting 
feedback would happen routinely through notices published in the 
Federal Register, presentations at highway town hall meetings or 
regional forums, and the establishment of a web-based communications 
interchange site, or ``Community of Practice'' on the HfL Internet Web 
site http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/hfl/.

    (Authority: Public Law 109-59 Section 1502, 23 U.S.C. 502 and 23 
U.S.C. 315)

    Issued on December 23, 2005.
J. Richard Capka,
Acting Federal Highway Administrator.
 [FR Doc. E5-8107 Filed 12-29-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-22-P