Announcement of Application Deadlines and Requirements for Section 313A Guarantees for Bonds and Notes Issued for Electrification or Telephone Purposes Loan Program for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017, 4838-4841 [2017-00831]

Download as PDF 4838 Notices Federal Register Vol. 82, No. 10 Tuesday, January 17, 2017 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules or proposed rules that are applicable to the public. Notices of hearings and investigations, committee meetings, agency decisions and rulings, delegations of authority, filing of petitions and applications and agency statements of organization and functions are examples of documents appearing in this section. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Utilities Service Announcement of Application Deadlines and Requirements for Section 313A Guarantees for Bonds and Notes Issued for Electrification or Telephone Purposes Loan Program for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Rural Utilities Service, USDA. Notice of Solicitation of Applications (NOSA). AGENCY: ACTION: The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), announces the application window, requirements and funding for loans that may become available for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 under the Guarantees for Bonds and Notes Issued for Electrification or Telephone Purposes Program (the 313A Program) authorized under the Rural Electrification Act of 1936, as amended, and related terms. Under the 313A Program, the Federal Financing Bank (FFB) will make loans to the selected applicant(s) and RUS will guarantee the applicant(s)’s repayment of the loans to FFB. Selected applicants may use the proceeds of loan funds made available under the 313A Program to make loans to borrowers for electrification or telecommunications purposes, or to refinance bonds or notes previously issued by applicants for such purposes. The proceeds of the guaranteed bonds and notes are not to be used by applicants to directly or indirectly fund projects for the generation of electricity. This notice is based on loan levels contemplated by the FY 17 Continuing Resolution and on information available to the agency at the time of this notice. The final amount of funding made available under this notice could be affected by subsequent Congressional action or subsidy rate calculations. Last year, the RUS obligated $750 million in sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:21 Jan 13, 2017 Jkt 241001 loan funds for this program. It is necessary to publish this notice at this time to ensure that applicants have sufficient time to prepare applications and to ensure that the agency has sufficient time and resources to evaluate applications. DATES: Completed applications must be received by RUS no later than 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on April 28, 2017. ADDRESSES: Applicants are required to submit one original and two copies of their loan applications to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service, Electric Program, ATTN: Amy McWilliams, Management Analyst, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 1568, Room 0226–S, Washington, DC 20250–1568. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information contact Amy McWilliams, Management Analyst, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 1568, Room 0226–S, Washington, DC 20250– 1568. Telephone: (202) 205–8663; or email: amy.mcwilliams@wdc.usda.gov SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Overview Federal Agency: Rural Utilities Service, USDA. Funding Opportunity Title: Guarantees for Bonds and Notes Issued for Electrification or Telephone Purposes for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017. Announcement Type: Guarantees for Bonds and Notes. Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 10.850 Due Date for Applications: Applications must be received by RUS by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on April 28, 2017. Items in Supplementary Information I. Funding Opportunity Description II. Award Information III. Eligibility Information IV. Fiscal Year 2017 Application and Submission Information V. Application Review Information VI. Issuance of the Guarantee VII. Guarantee Agreement VIII. Reporting Requirements IX. Award Administration Information X. National Environmental Policy Act Certification XI. Other Information and Requirements XII. Agency Contacts: Web site, Phone, Fax, Email, Contact Name XIII. Non-Discrimination Statement: USDA Non-Discrimination Statement, How To PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 File a Complaint, Persons With Disabilities I. Funding Opportunity Description A. Purpose of the 313A Program The purpose of the 313A Program is to make guaranteed loans to selected applicants (each referred to as ‘‘Guaranteed Lender’’ in this NOSA and in the Program Regulations) that are to be used (i) to make loans for electrification or telecommunications purposes eligible for assistance under the RE Act (defined herein) and regulations for the 313A Program located at 7 CFR part 1720 (also referred to as the ‘‘Program Regulations’’ in this NOSA), or (ii) to refinance bonds or notes previously issued by the Guaranteed Lender for such purposes. The proceeds of the guaranteed bonds and notes are not to be used by the Guaranteed Lender to directly or indirectly fund projects for the generation of electricity. B. Statutory Authority The 313A Program is authorized by Section 313A of the Rural Electrification Act of 1936, as amended (7 U.S.C. 940c– 1) (the RE Act) and is implemented by regulations located at 7 CFR part 1720. The Administrator of RUS (the Administrator) has been delegated responsibility for administering the 313A Program. C. Definition of Terms The definitions applicable to this NOSA are published at 7 CFR 1720.3. D. Application Awards RUS will review and evaluate applications received in response to this NOSA based on the regulations at 7 CFR 1720.7, and as provided in this NOSA. II. Award Information Type of Awards: Guaranteed Loans. Fiscal Year Funds: FY 2017. Award Amounts: RUS anticipates making multiple approvals under this NOSA. The number, amount and terms of awards under this NOSA will depend, in part, on the number of eligible applications and the amount of funds requested. In determining whether or not to make an award, the RUS will take overall program policy objectives into account. Application Date: See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION herein. E:\FR\FM\17JAN1.SGM 17JAN1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 10 / Tuesday, January 17, 2017 / Notices Award Date: Awards will be made on or before September 29, 2017. Preferred Schedule of Loan Repayment: Amortization Method (level debt service). III. Eligibility Information A. Eligible Applicants 1. To be eligible to participate in the 313A Program, a Guaranteed Lender must be: a. A bank or other lending institution organized as a private, not-for-profit cooperative association, or otherwise organized on a non-profit basis; and b. Able to demonstrate to the Administrator that it possesses the appropriate expertise, experience, and qualifications to make loans for electrification or telephone purposes. 2. To be eligible to receive a guarantee, a Guaranteed Lender’s bond must meet the following criteria: a. The Guaranteed Lender must furnish the Administrator with a certified list of the principal balances of eligible loans outstanding and certify that such aggregate balance is at least equal to the sum of the proposed principal amount of guaranteed bonds to be issued, including any previously issued guaranteed bonds outstanding; b. The guaranteed bonds to be issued by the Guaranteed Lender would receive an underlying investment grade rating from a Rating Agency, without regard to the guarantee; and 3. A lending institution’s status as an eligible applicant does not assure that the Administrator will issue the guarantee sought in the amount or under the terms requested, or otherwise preclude the Administrator from declining to issue a guarantee. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES B. Other Eligibility Requirements Applications will only be accepted from lenders that serve rural areas defined in 7 CFR 1710.2(a) as (i) Any area of the United States, its territories and insular possessions (including any area within the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau) other than a city, town, or unincorporated area that has a population of greater than 20,000 inhabitants; and (ii) Any area within a service area of a borrower for which a borrower has an outstanding loan as of June 18, 2008, made under titles I through V of the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 (7 U.S.C. 901–950bb). For initial loans to a borrower made after June 18, 2008, the ‘‘rural’’ character of an area is determined at the time of the initial loan to furnish or improve service in the area. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:21 Jan 13, 2017 Jkt 241001 IV. Fiscal Year 2017 Application and Submission Information A. Applications All applications must be prepared and submitted in accordance with this NOSA and 7 CFR 1720.6 (Application Process). To ensure the proper preparation of applications, applicants should carefully read this NOSA and 7 CFR part 1720 (available online at http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/textidx?SID=9295e45c9a0f6a857d800fbec 5dde2fb&mc=true&node= pt7.11.1720&rgn=div5. B. Content and Form of Submission In addition to the required application specified in 7 CFR 1720.6, all applicants must submit the following additional required documents and materials: 1. Form AD–1047, Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension and Other Responsibility Matters Primary Covered Transactions. This form contains certain certifications relating to debarment and suspension, convictions, criminal charges, and the termination of public transactions (See 2 CFR part 417, and 7 CFR 1710.123). This form is available at http://www.ocio.usda.gov/ policy-directives-records-forms/formsmanagement/approved-computergenerated-forms; 2. Restrictions on Lobbying. Applicants must comply with the requirements with respect to restrictions on lobbying activities. (See 2 CFR part 418, and 7 CFR 1710.125). This form is available at http://www.rd.usda.gov/ publications/regulations-guidelines/ electric-sample-documents; 3. Uniform Relocation Act assurance statement. Applicants must comply with 49 CFR part 24, which implements the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policy Act of 1970, as amended. (See 7 CFR 1710.124). This form is available at http://www.rd.usda.gov/publications/ regulations-guidelines/electric-sampledocuments; 4. Federal debt delinquency requirements. This report indicates whether or not the applicants are delinquent on any Federal debt (See 7 CFR 1710.126 and 7 CFR 1710.501(a)(13)). This form is available at http://www.rd.usda.gov/publications/ regulations-guidelines/electric-sampledocuments; 5. RUS Form 266, Compliance Assurance. Applicants must submit a non-discrimination assurance commitment to comply with certain regulations on non-discrimination in program services and benefits and on equal employment opportunity as set forth in 7 CFR parts 15 and 15b and 45 PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 4839 CFR part 90. This form is available at http://www.rd.usda.gov/publications/ regulations-guidelines/formspublications; 6. Articles of incorporation and bylaws: See 7 CFR 1710.501(a)(14). These are required if either document has been amended since the last loan application was submitted to RUS, or if this is the applicant’s first application for a loan under the RE Act; and 7. Form AD 3030, Representations Regarding Felony Conviction and Tax Delinquency Status for Corporation Applications. Applicants are required to complete this form if they are a corporation. This form is available at http://www.ocio.usda.gov/policydirectives-records-forms/formsmanagement/approved-computergenerated-forms. C. Supplemental Documents for Submission 1. Cash flow projections and assumptions: Each applicant must include five-year pro-forma cash flow projections or business plans and clearly state the assumptions that underlie the projections, demonstrating that there is reasonable assurance that the applicant will be able to repay the guaranteed loan in accordance with its terms (See 7 CFR 1720.6(4)). 2. Pending litigation statement: A statement from the applicant’s counsel listing any pending litigation, including levels of related insurance coverage and the potential effect on the applicant. V. Application Review Information A. Application Evaluation 1. Administrator Review. Each application will be reviewed by the Administrator to determine whether it is eligible under 7 CFR 1720.5, the information required under 7 CFR 1720.6 is complete, and the proposed guaranteed bond complies with applicable statutes and regulations. The Administrator can at any time reject an application that fails to meet these requirements. a. Applications will be subject to a substantive review, on a competitive basis, by the Administrator based upon the evaluation factors listed in 7 CFR 1720.7(b). 2. Decisions by the Administrator. The Administrator will approve or deny applications in a timely manner as such applications are received; provided, however, that in order to facilitate competitive evaluation of applications, the Administrator may from time to time defer a decision until more than one application is pending. The Administrator may limit the number of E:\FR\FM\17JAN1.SGM 17JAN1 4840 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 10 / Tuesday, January 17, 2017 / Notices guarantees made to a maximum of five per year, to ensure a sufficient examination is conducted of applicant requests. RUS will notify the applicant in writing of the Administrator’s approval or denial of an application. Approvals for guarantees will be conditioned upon compliance with 7 CFR 1720.4 and 7 CFR 1720.6. The Administrator reserves the discretion to approve an application for an amount less than that requested. B. Independent Assessment Before a guarantee decision is made by the Administrator, the Administrator shall request that FFB review the rating agency determination required by 7 CFR 1720.5(b)(2) as to whether the bond or note to be issued would be below investment grade without regard to the guarantee. VI. Issuance of the Guarantee The requirements under this section must be met by the applicant prior to the endorsement of a guarantee by the Administrator (See 7 CFR 1720.8). VII. Guarantee Agreement Each Guaranteed Lender will be required to enter into a Guarantee Agreement with RUS that contains the provisions described in 7 CFR 1720.8 (Issuance of the Guarantee), 7 CFR 1720.9 (Guarantee Agreement), and 7 CFR 1720.12 (Reporting Requirements). The Guarantee Agreement will also obligate the Guaranteed Lender to pay, on a semi-annual basis, a guarantee fee equal to 15 basis points (0.15 percent) of the outstanding principal amount of the guaranteed loan (See 7 CFR 1720.10). VIII. Reporting Requirements Guaranteed Lenders are required to comply with the financial reporting requirements and pledged collateral review and certification requirements set forth in 7 CFR 1720.12. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES IX. Award Administration Information Award Notices RUS will send a commitment letter to an applicant once the loan is approved. Applicants must accept and commit to all terms and conditions of the loan which are requested by RUS and FFB as follows: 1. Compliance conditions. In addition to the standard conditions placed on the section 313A Program or conditions requested by the Agency to ensure loan security and statutory compliance, applicants must comply with the following conditions: a. Each Guaranteed Lender selected under the 313A Program will be VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:21 Jan 13, 2017 Jkt 241001 required to post collateral for the benefit of RUS in an amount equal to the aggregate amount of loan advances made to the Guaranteed Lender under the 313A Program. b. The pledged collateral shall consist of outstanding notes or bonds payable to the Guaranteed Lender (the Eligible Securities) and shall be placed on deposit with a collateral agent for the benefit of RUS. To be deemed Eligible Securities that can be pledged as collateral, the notes or bonds to be pledged (i) cannot be classified as nonperforming, impaired, or restructured under generally accepted accounting principles, (ii) cannot be comprised of more than 30% of bonds or notes from generation and transmission borrowers or (iii) cannot have more than 5% of notes and bonds be from any one particular borrower. c. The Guaranteed Lender will be required to place a lien on the pledged collateral in favor of RUS (as secured party) at the time that the pledged collateral is deposited with the collateral agent. RUS will have the right, in its sole discretion, within 14 business days to reject and require the substitution of any Pledged Collateral that the Guaranteed Lender deposits as collateral with the collateral agent. Prior to receiving any advances under the 313A Program, the Guaranteed Lender will be required to enter into a pledge agreement, satisfactory to RUS, with a banking institution serving as collateral agent. d. The Guaranteed Lender will be required to maintain pledged collateral at a level that is sufficient to ensure that, upon the occurrence of an event of default, resources will be available to cover (i) principal, interest, fees and (ii) reasonable expenses incurred by RUS as a result of a default or incurred pursuant to RUS’s obligation to make related payments to FFB under the RUS Guarantee on all guarantees issued by RUS to FFB for the benefit of the Guaranteed Lender under Section 313A of the RE Act. The Guaranteed Lender will also be required to agree that the pledged collateral can be used for such purposes. e. The Guaranteed Lender will be required to agree to not to take any action that would have the effect of reducing the value of the Pledged Collateral below the level described above. f. Applicants must certify to the RUS, the portion of their Eligible Loan portfolio that is: (1) Refinanced RUS debt; (2) Debt of borrowers for whom both RUS and the applicants have outstanding loans; and PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 (3) Debt of borrowers for whom both RUS and the applicant have outstanding concurrent loans pursuant to Section 307 of the RE Act, and the amount of Eligible Loans. 2. Compliance with Federal Laws. Applicants must comply with all applicable Federal laws and regulations. a. This obligation is subject to the provisions contained in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, Public Law 114–113, Division A, Title VII, Sections 745 and 746, as amended and/or subsequently enacted for USDA agencies and offices regarding corporate felony convictions and corporate federal tax delinquencies. b. An authorized official within your organization must execute, date, and return the loan commitment letter and the Assurance Regarding Felony Conviction or Tax Delinquent Status for Corporate Applicants (Form AD–3031) to RUS by September 28, 2017; otherwise, the commitment will be void. This form is available at http:// www.ocio.usda.gov/policy-directivesrecords-forms/forms-management/ approved-computer-generated-forms. c. Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) Filing. The Borrower must provide RUS with evidence that the Borrower has filed the UCC financing statement required pursuant to Section 2.05(i) of the Pledge Agreement. Upon filing of the appropriate UCC financing statement, the Guaranteed Lender will provide RUS with a perfection opinion by outside counsel, satisfactory to RUS, which demonstrates that RUS’s security interest in the Pledged Collateral under the Pledge Agreement is perfected. d. Additional conditions may be instituted for future obligations. X. National Environmental Policy Act Certification For any proceeds to be used to refinance bonds and notes previously issued by the Guaranteed Lender for the RE Act purposes that are not obligated with specific projects, RUS has determined that these financial actions will not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment as defined by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and its implementing regulations at 40 CFR parts 1500–1508. However, for any new projects funded under the 313A Program, applicants must consult with RUS and comply with the Agency regulations at 7 CFR part 1970. XI. Other Information and Requirements Applications must contain all of the required elements of this NOSA and all E:\FR\FM\17JAN1.SGM 17JAN1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 10 / Tuesday, January 17, 2017 / Notices standard requirements as required by 7 CFR part 1720. Additional supporting data or documents may be required by RUS depending on the individual application or financial conditions. All applicants must comply with all Federal Laws and Regulations. XII. Agency Contacts A. Web site: http://www.rd.usda.gov/ programs-services/all-programs/electricprograms B. Phone: (202) 205–8663. C. Fax: (844) 749–0736. D. Email: amy.mcwilliams@ wdc.usda.gov. E. Main point of contact: Amy McWilliams, Management Analyst, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 1568, Room 0226–S, Washington, DC 20250– 1568. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES XIII. USDA Non-Discrimination Statement 18:21 Jan 13, 2017 Jkt 241001 Authority: 7 U.S.C. 940c–1. Dated: December 20, 2016. Joshua Cohen, Deputy Administrator, Rural Utilities Service. [FR Doc. 2017–00831 Filed 1–13–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–15–P COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/ parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA (not all bases apply to all programs). Remedies and complaint filing deadlines vary by program or incident. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible Agency or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720–2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877–8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English. To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD– 3027. This form is available at http:// www.ocio.usda.gov/policy-directivesrecords-forms/forms-management/ approved-computer-generated-forms and at any USDA office or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632–9992. VerDate Sep<11>2014 Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (1) Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250–9410; (2) Fax: (202) 690–7442; or (3) Email: program.intake@usda.gov. USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender. Agenda and Notice of Public Meeting of the Delaware Advisory Committee; Correction AGENCY: ACTION: Commission on Civil Rights. Notice; revision. The Commission on Civil Rights published a notice in the Federal Register of September 15, 2016, concerning a meeting of the Delaware Advisory Committee. The meeting time for the January 18, 2017 is changed. SUMMARY: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ivy Davis, (202) 376–7533. Revision In the Federal Register of Delaware, in FR Doc. 2016–22196, on page 63468, revise the first paragraph to read: Notice is hereby given, pursuant to the provisions of the rules and regulations of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (Commission), and the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), that the time of the January 18, 2017 planning meeting of the Delaware State Advisory Committee to the Commission is changed to 10:00 a.m. EST. Dated: January 10, 2017. David Mussatt, Supervisory Chief, Regional Programs Coordination Unit. [FR Doc. 2017–00768 Filed 1–13–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 4841 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Foreign-Trade Zones Board [B–5–2017] Foreign-Trade Zone 124—Gramercy, Louisiana, Application for Reorganization, (Expansion of Service Area) Under Alternative Site Framework An application has been submitted to the Foreign-Trade Zones (FTZ) Board by the Port of South Louisiana, grantee of Foreign-Trade Zone 124, requesting authority to reorganize the zone to expand its service area under the alternative site framework (ASF) adopted by the FTZ Board (15 CFR Sec. 400.2(c)). The ASF is an option for grantees for the establishment or reorganization of zones and can permit significantly greater flexibility in the designation of new subzones or ‘‘usagedriven’’ FTZ sites for operators/users located within a grantee’s ‘‘service area’’ in the context of the FTZ Board’s standard 2,000-acre activation limit for a zone. The application was submitted pursuant to the Foreign-Trade Zones Act, as amended (19 U.S.C. 81a–81u), and the regulations of the FTZ Board (15 CFR part 400). It was formally docketed on January 10, 2017. FTZ 124 was approved by the FTZ Board on December 20, 1985 (Board Order 319, 50 FR 53351, December 31, 1985), reorganized under the ASF on January 31, 2012 (Board Order 1814, 77 FR 6059, February 7, 2012), and its service area was expanded on July 16, 2013 (Board Order 1908, 78 FR 44094– 44095, July 23, 2013). The zone currently has a service area that includes St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, St. James, Lafourche, St. Mary and Tangipahoa Parishes, Louisiana. The applicant is now requesting authority to expand the service area of the zone to include Plaquemines and Assumption Parishes, Louisiana, as described in the application. If approved, the grantee would be able to serve sites throughout the expanded service area based on companies’ needs for FTZ designation. The application indicates that the proposed expanded service area is adjacent to the Gramercy Customs and Border Protection Port of Entry. In accordance with the FTZ Board’s regulations, Camille Evans of the FTZ Staff is designated examiner to evaluate and analyze the facts and information presented in the application and case record and to report findings and recommendations to the FTZ Board. Public comment is invited from interested parties. Submissions shall be E:\FR\FM\17JAN1.SGM 17JAN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 10 (Tuesday, January 17, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 4838-4841]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-00831]


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Notices
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules 
or proposed rules that are applicable to the public. Notices of hearings 
and investigations, committee meetings, agency decisions and rulings, 
delegations of authority, filing of petitions and applications and agency 
statements of organization and functions are examples of documents 
appearing in this section.

========================================================================


Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 10 / Tuesday, January 17, 2017 / 
Notices

[[Page 4838]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Rural Utilities Service


Announcement of Application Deadlines and Requirements for 
Section 313A Guarantees for Bonds and Notes Issued for Electrification 
or Telephone Purposes Loan Program for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017

AGENCY: Rural Utilities Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of Solicitation of Applications (NOSA).

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

SUMMARY: The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency of the United 
States Department of Agriculture (USDA), announces the application 
window, requirements and funding for loans that may become available 
for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 under the Guarantees for Bonds and Notes 
Issued for Electrification or Telephone Purposes Program (the 313A 
Program) authorized under the Rural Electrification Act of 1936, as 
amended, and related terms. Under the 313A Program, the Federal 
Financing Bank (FFB) will make loans to the selected applicant(s) and 
RUS will guarantee the applicant(s)'s repayment of the loans to FFB. 
Selected applicants may use the proceeds of loan funds made available 
under the 313A Program to make loans to borrowers for electrification 
or telecommunications purposes, or to refinance bonds or notes 
previously issued by applicants for such purposes. The proceeds of the 
guaranteed bonds and notes are not to be used by applicants to directly 
or indirectly fund projects for the generation of electricity.
    This notice is based on loan levels contemplated by the FY 17 
Continuing Resolution and on information available to the agency at the 
time of this notice. The final amount of funding made available under 
this notice could be affected by subsequent Congressional action or 
subsidy rate calculations. Last year, the RUS obligated $750 million in 
loan funds for this program. It is necessary to publish this notice at 
this time to ensure that applicants have sufficient time to prepare 
applications and to ensure that the agency has sufficient time and 
resources to evaluate applications.

DATES: Completed applications must be received by RUS no later than 
5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on April 28, 2017.

ADDRESSES: Applicants are required to submit one original and two 
copies of their loan applications to the U.S. Department of 
Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service, Electric Program, ATTN: Amy 
McWilliams, Management Analyst, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 
1568, Room 0226-S, Washington, DC 20250-1568.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information contact Amy 
McWilliams, Management Analyst, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 
1568, Room 0226-S, Washington, DC 20250-1568. Telephone: (202) 205-
8663; or email: amy.mcwilliams@wdc.usda.gov

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Overview

    Federal Agency: Rural Utilities Service, USDA.
    Funding Opportunity Title: Guarantees for Bonds and Notes Issued 
for Electrification or Telephone Purposes for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017.
    Announcement Type: Guarantees for Bonds and Notes.
    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 10.850
    Due Date for Applications: Applications must be received by RUS by 
5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on April 28, 2017.

Items in Supplementary Information

I. Funding Opportunity Description
II. Award Information
III. Eligibility Information
IV. Fiscal Year 2017 Application and Submission Information
V. Application Review Information
VI. Issuance of the Guarantee
VII. Guarantee Agreement
VIII. Reporting Requirements
IX. Award Administration Information
X. National Environmental Policy Act Certification
XI. Other Information and Requirements
XII. Agency Contacts: Web site, Phone, Fax, Email, Contact Name
XIII. Non-Discrimination Statement: USDA Non-Discrimination 
Statement, How To File a Complaint, Persons With Disabilities

I. Funding Opportunity Description

A. Purpose of the 313A Program

    The purpose of the 313A Program is to make guaranteed loans to 
selected applicants (each referred to as ``Guaranteed Lender'' in this 
NOSA and in the Program Regulations) that are to be used (i) to make 
loans for electrification or telecommunications purposes eligible for 
assistance under the RE Act (defined herein) and regulations for the 
313A Program located at 7 CFR part 1720 (also referred to as the 
``Program Regulations'' in this NOSA), or (ii) to refinance bonds or 
notes previously issued by the Guaranteed Lender for such purposes. The 
proceeds of the guaranteed bonds and notes are not to be used by the 
Guaranteed Lender to directly or indirectly fund projects for the 
generation of electricity.

B. Statutory Authority

    The 313A Program is authorized by Section 313A of the Rural 
Electrification Act of 1936, as amended (7 U.S.C. 940c-1) (the RE Act) 
and is implemented by regulations located at 7 CFR part 1720. The 
Administrator of RUS (the Administrator) has been delegated 
responsibility for administering the 313A Program.

C. Definition of Terms

    The definitions applicable to this NOSA are published at 7 CFR 
1720.3.

D. Application Awards

    RUS will review and evaluate applications received in response to 
this NOSA based on the regulations at 7 CFR 1720.7, and as provided in 
this NOSA.

II. Award Information

    Type of Awards: Guaranteed Loans.
    Fiscal Year Funds: FY 2017.
    Award Amounts: RUS anticipates making multiple approvals under this 
NOSA. The number, amount and terms of awards under this NOSA will 
depend, in part, on the number of eligible applications and the amount 
of funds requested. In determining whether or not to make an award, the 
RUS will take overall program policy objectives into account.
    Application Date: See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION herein.

[[Page 4839]]

    Award Date: Awards will be made on or before September 29, 2017.
    Preferred Schedule of Loan Repayment: Amortization Method (level 
debt service).

III. Eligibility Information

A. Eligible Applicants

    1. To be eligible to participate in the 313A Program, a Guaranteed 
Lender must be:
    a. A bank or other lending institution organized as a private, not-
for-profit cooperative association, or otherwise organized on a non-
profit basis; and
    b. Able to demonstrate to the Administrator that it possesses the 
appropriate expertise, experience, and qualifications to make loans for 
electrification or telephone purposes.
    2. To be eligible to receive a guarantee, a Guaranteed Lender's 
bond must meet the following criteria:
    a. The Guaranteed Lender must furnish the Administrator with a 
certified list of the principal balances of eligible loans outstanding 
and certify that such aggregate balance is at least equal to the sum of 
the proposed principal amount of guaranteed bonds to be issued, 
including any previously issued guaranteed bonds outstanding;
    b. The guaranteed bonds to be issued by the Guaranteed Lender would 
receive an underlying investment grade rating from a Rating Agency, 
without regard to the guarantee; and
    3. A lending institution's status as an eligible applicant does not 
assure that the Administrator will issue the guarantee sought in the 
amount or under the terms requested, or otherwise preclude the 
Administrator from declining to issue a guarantee.

B. Other Eligibility Requirements

    Applications will only be accepted from lenders that serve rural 
areas defined in 7 CFR 1710.2(a) as (i) Any area of the United States, 
its territories and insular possessions (including any area within the 
Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and the Republic 
of Palau) other than a city, town, or unincorporated area that has a 
population of greater than 20,000 inhabitants; and (ii) Any area within 
a service area of a borrower for which a borrower has an outstanding 
loan as of June 18, 2008, made under titles I through V of the Rural 
Electrification Act of 1936 (7 U.S.C. 901-950bb). For initial loans to 
a borrower made after June 18, 2008, the ``rural'' character of an area 
is determined at the time of the initial loan to furnish or improve 
service in the area.

IV. Fiscal Year 2017 Application and Submission Information

A. Applications

    All applications must be prepared and submitted in accordance with 
this NOSA and 7 CFR 1720.6 (Application Process). To ensure the proper 
preparation of applications, applicants should carefully read this NOSA 
and 7 CFR part 1720 (available online at http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=9295e45c9a0f6a857d800fbec5dde2fb&mc=true&node=pt7.11.1720&rgn=div5.

B. Content and Form of Submission

    In addition to the required application specified in 7 CFR 1720.6, 
all applicants must submit the following additional required documents 
and materials:
    1. Form AD-1047, Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension and 
Other Responsibility Matters Primary Covered Transactions. This form 
contains certain certifications relating to debarment and suspension, 
convictions, criminal charges, and the termination of public 
transactions (See 2 CFR part 417, and 7 CFR 1710.123). This form is 
available at http://www.ocio.usda.gov/policy-directives-records-forms/forms-management/approved-computer-generated-forms;
    2. Restrictions on Lobbying. Applicants must comply with the 
requirements with respect to restrictions on lobbying activities. (See 
2 CFR part 418, and 7 CFR 1710.125). This form is available at http://www.rd.usda.gov/publications/regulations-guidelines/electric-sample-documents;
    3. Uniform Relocation Act assurance statement. Applicants must 
comply with 49 CFR part 24, which implements the Uniform Relocation 
Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policy Act of 1970, as 
amended. (See 7 CFR 1710.124). This form is available at http://www.rd.usda.gov/publications/regulations-guidelines/electric-sample-documents;
    4. Federal debt delinquency requirements. This report indicates 
whether or not the applicants are delinquent on any Federal debt (See 7 
CFR 1710.126 and 7 CFR 1710.501(a)(13)). This form is available at 
http://www.rd.usda.gov/publications/regulations-guidelines/electric-sample-documents;
    5. RUS Form 266, Compliance Assurance. Applicants must submit a 
non-discrimination assurance commitment to comply with certain 
regulations on non-discrimination in program services and benefits and 
on equal employment opportunity as set forth in 7 CFR parts 15 and 15b 
and 45 CFR part 90. This form is available at http://www.rd.usda.gov/publications/regulations-guidelines/forms-publications;
    6. Articles of incorporation and bylaws: See 7 CFR 1710.501(a)(14). 
These are required if either document has been amended since the last 
loan application was submitted to RUS, or if this is the applicant's 
first application for a loan under the RE Act; and
    7. Form AD 3030, Representations Regarding Felony Conviction and 
Tax Delinquency Status for Corporation Applications. Applicants are 
required to complete this form if they are a corporation. This form is 
available at http://www.ocio.usda.gov/policy-directives-records-forms/forms-management/approved-computer-generated-forms.

C. Supplemental Documents for Submission

    1. Cash flow projections and assumptions: Each applicant must 
include five-year pro-forma cash flow projections or business plans and 
clearly state the assumptions that underlie the projections, 
demonstrating that there is reasonable assurance that the applicant 
will be able to repay the guaranteed loan in accordance with its terms 
(See 7 CFR 1720.6(4)).
    2. Pending litigation statement: A statement from the applicant's 
counsel listing any pending litigation, including levels of related 
insurance coverage and the potential effect on the applicant.

V. Application Review Information

A. Application Evaluation

    1. Administrator Review. Each application will be reviewed by the 
Administrator to determine whether it is eligible under 7 CFR 1720.5, 
the information required under 7 CFR 1720.6 is complete, and the 
proposed guaranteed bond complies with applicable statutes and 
regulations. The Administrator can at any time reject an application 
that fails to meet these requirements.
    a. Applications will be subject to a substantive review, on a 
competitive basis, by the Administrator based upon the evaluation 
factors listed in 7 CFR 1720.7(b).
    2. Decisions by the Administrator. The Administrator will approve 
or deny applications in a timely manner as such applications are 
received; provided, however, that in order to facilitate competitive 
evaluation of applications, the Administrator may from time to time 
defer a decision until more than one application is pending. The 
Administrator may limit the number of

[[Page 4840]]

guarantees made to a maximum of five per year, to ensure a sufficient 
examination is conducted of applicant requests. RUS will notify the 
applicant in writing of the Administrator's approval or denial of an 
application. Approvals for guarantees will be conditioned upon 
compliance with 7 CFR 1720.4 and 7 CFR 1720.6. The Administrator 
reserves the discretion to approve an application for an amount less 
than that requested.

B. Independent Assessment

    Before a guarantee decision is made by the Administrator, the 
Administrator shall request that FFB review the rating agency 
determination required by 7 CFR 1720.5(b)(2) as to whether the bond or 
note to be issued would be below investment grade without regard to the 
guarantee.

VI. Issuance of the Guarantee

    The requirements under this section must be met by the applicant 
prior to the endorsement of a guarantee by the Administrator (See 7 CFR 
1720.8).

VII. Guarantee Agreement

    Each Guaranteed Lender will be required to enter into a Guarantee 
Agreement with RUS that contains the provisions described in 7 CFR 
1720.8 (Issuance of the Guarantee), 7 CFR 1720.9 (Guarantee Agreement), 
and 7 CFR 1720.12 (Reporting Requirements). The Guarantee Agreement 
will also obligate the Guaranteed Lender to pay, on a semi-annual 
basis, a guarantee fee equal to 15 basis points (0.15 percent) of the 
outstanding principal amount of the guaranteed loan (See 7 CFR 
1720.10).

VIII. Reporting Requirements

    Guaranteed Lenders are required to comply with the financial 
reporting requirements and pledged collateral review and certification 
requirements set forth in 7 CFR 1720.12.

IX. Award Administration Information

Award Notices
    RUS will send a commitment letter to an applicant once the loan is 
approved. Applicants must accept and commit to all terms and conditions 
of the loan which are requested by RUS and FFB as follows:
    1. Compliance conditions. In addition to the standard conditions 
placed on the section 313A Program or conditions requested by the 
Agency to ensure loan security and statutory compliance, applicants 
must comply with the following conditions:
    a. Each Guaranteed Lender selected under the 313A Program will be 
required to post collateral for the benefit of RUS in an amount equal 
to the aggregate amount of loan advances made to the Guaranteed Lender 
under the 313A Program.
    b. The pledged collateral shall consist of outstanding notes or 
bonds payable to the Guaranteed Lender (the Eligible Securities) and 
shall be placed on deposit with a collateral agent for the benefit of 
RUS. To be deemed Eligible Securities that can be pledged as 
collateral, the notes or bonds to be pledged (i) cannot be classified 
as non-performing, impaired, or restructured under generally accepted 
accounting principles, (ii) cannot be comprised of more than 30% of 
bonds or notes from generation and transmission borrowers or (iii) 
cannot have more than 5% of notes and bonds be from any one particular 
borrower.
    c. The Guaranteed Lender will be required to place a lien on the 
pledged collateral in favor of RUS (as secured party) at the time that 
the pledged collateral is deposited with the collateral agent. RUS will 
have the right, in its sole discretion, within 14 business days to 
reject and require the substitution of any Pledged Collateral that the 
Guaranteed Lender deposits as collateral with the collateral agent. 
Prior to receiving any advances under the 313A Program, the Guaranteed 
Lender will be required to enter into a pledge agreement, satisfactory 
to RUS, with a banking institution serving as collateral agent.
    d. The Guaranteed Lender will be required to maintain pledged 
collateral at a level that is sufficient to ensure that, upon the 
occurrence of an event of default, resources will be available to cover 
(i) principal, interest, fees and (ii) reasonable expenses incurred by 
RUS as a result of a default or incurred pursuant to RUS's obligation 
to make related payments to FFB under the RUS Guarantee on all 
guarantees issued by RUS to FFB for the benefit of the Guaranteed 
Lender under Section 313A of the RE Act. The Guaranteed Lender will 
also be required to agree that the pledged collateral can be used for 
such purposes.
    e. The Guaranteed Lender will be required to agree to not to take 
any action that would have the effect of reducing the value of the 
Pledged Collateral below the level described above.
    f. Applicants must certify to the RUS, the portion of their 
Eligible Loan portfolio that is:
    (1) Refinanced RUS debt;
    (2) Debt of borrowers for whom both RUS and the applicants have 
outstanding loans; and
    (3) Debt of borrowers for whom both RUS and the applicant have 
outstanding concurrent loans pursuant to Section 307 of the RE Act, and 
the amount of Eligible Loans.
    2. Compliance with Federal Laws. Applicants must comply with all 
applicable Federal laws and regulations.
    a. This obligation is subject to the provisions contained in the 
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, Public Law 114-113, Division A, 
Title VII, Sections 745 and 746, as amended and/or subsequently enacted 
for USDA agencies and offices regarding corporate felony convictions 
and corporate federal tax delinquencies.
    b. An authorized official within your organization must execute, 
date, and return the loan commitment letter and the Assurance Regarding 
Felony Conviction or Tax Delinquent Status for Corporate Applicants 
(Form AD-3031) to RUS by September 28, 2017; otherwise, the commitment 
will be void. This form is available at http://www.ocio.usda.gov/policy-directives-records-forms/forms-management/approved-computer-generated-forms.
    c. Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) Filing. The Borrower must provide 
RUS with evidence that the Borrower has filed the UCC financing 
statement required pursuant to Section 2.05(i) of the Pledge Agreement. 
Upon filing of the appropriate UCC financing statement, the Guaranteed 
Lender will provide RUS with a perfection opinion by outside counsel, 
satisfactory to RUS, which demonstrates that RUS's security interest in 
the Pledged Collateral under the Pledge Agreement is perfected.
    d. Additional conditions may be instituted for future obligations.

X. National Environmental Policy Act Certification

    For any proceeds to be used to refinance bonds and notes previously 
issued by the Guaranteed Lender for the RE Act purposes that are not 
obligated with specific projects, RUS has determined that these 
financial actions will not individually or cumulatively have a 
significant effect on the human environment as defined by the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and its 
implementing regulations at 40 CFR parts 1500-1508. However, for any 
new projects funded under the 313A Program, applicants must consult 
with RUS and comply with the Agency regulations at 7 CFR part 1970.

XI. Other Information and Requirements

    Applications must contain all of the required elements of this NOSA 
and all

[[Page 4841]]

standard requirements as required by 7 CFR part 1720. Additional 
supporting data or documents may be required by RUS depending on the 
individual application or financial conditions. All applicants must 
comply with all Federal Laws and Regulations.

XII. Agency Contacts

    A. Web site: http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/all-programs/electric-programs
    B. Phone: (202) 205-8663.
    C. Fax: (844) 749-0736.
    D. Email: amy.mcwilliams@wdc.usda.gov.
    E. Main point of contact: Amy McWilliams, Management Analyst, 1400 
Independence Avenue SW., STOP 1568, Room 0226-S, Washington, DC 20250-
1568.

XIII. USDA Non-Discrimination Statement

    In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of 
Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its 
Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or 
administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on 
race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including 
gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital 
status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance 
program, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil 
rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA 
(not all bases apply to all programs). Remedies and complaint filing 
deadlines vary by program or incident.
    Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of 
communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, 
audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible 
Agency or USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or 
contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. 
Additionally, program information may be made available in languages 
other than English.
    To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA 
Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027. This form is available 
at http://www.ocio.usda.gov/policy-directives-records-forms/forms-management/approved-computer-generated-forms and at any USDA office or 
write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the 
information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint 
form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA 
by:
    (1) Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant 
Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, 
DC 20250-9410;
    (2) Fax: (202) 690-7442; or
    (3) Email: program.intake@usda.gov.
    USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

    Authority:  7 U.S.C. 940c-1.

    Dated: December 20, 2016.
Joshua Cohen,
Deputy Administrator, Rural Utilities Service.
[FR Doc. 2017-00831 Filed 1-13-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3410-15-P