Fiscal Year 2020 Competitive Funding Opportunity; Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program, 5538-5544 [2020-01614]

Download as PDF 5538 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 20 / Thursday, January 30, 2020 / Notices should notify FRA, in writing, before the end of the comment period and specify the basis for their request. All communications concerning these proceedings should identify the appropriate docket number and may be submitted by any of the following methods: • Website: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. • Fax: 202–493–2251. • Mail: Docket Operations Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, W12–140, Washington, DC 20590. • Hand Delivery: 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, Room W12–140, Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays. Communications received by March 16, 2020 will be considered by FRA before final action is taken. Comments received after that date will be considered if practicable. Anyone can search the electronic form of any written communications and comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the document, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). Under 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits comments from the public to better inform its processes. DOT posts these comments, without edit, including any personal information the commenter provides, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the system of records notice (DOT/ALL–14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at www.dot.gov/privacy. See also https://www.regulations.gov/ privacyNotice for the privacy notice of regulations.gov. $454.6 million in fiscal year (FY) 2020 funds under the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program (CFDA#20.526). As required by federal public transportation law and subject to funding availability, funds will be awarded competitively to assist in the financing of capital projects to replace, rehabilitate, purchase or lease buses and related equipment, and to rehabilitate, purchase, construct or lease bus-related facilities. Projects may include costs incidental to the acquisition of buses or to the construction of facilities, such as the costs of related workforce development and training activities, and project administration expenses. FTA may award additional funds if they are made available to the program prior to the announcement of project selections. DATES: Complete proposals must be submitted electronically through the GRANTS.GOV ‘‘APPLY’’ function by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on March 30, 2020. Prospective applicants should initiate the process by promptly registering on the GRANTS.GOV website to ensure completion of the application process before the submission deadline. Instructions for applying can be found on FTA’s website at http://transit.dot.gov/howtoapply and in the ‘‘FIND’’ module of GRANTS.GOV. The GRANTS.GOV funding opportunity ID is FTA–2020–006–BUS. Mail and fax submissions will not be accepted. Issued in Washington, DC. John Karl Alexy, Associate Administrator for Railroad Safety Chief Safety Officer. Table of Contents [FR Doc. 2020–01672 Filed 1–29–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–06–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Transit Administration khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES Fiscal Year 2020 Competitive Funding Opportunity; Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program Federal Transit Administration (FTA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of funding opportunity (NOFO). AGENCY: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announces the opportunity to apply for approximately SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:56 Jan 29, 2020 Jkt 250001 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark Bathrick, FTA Office of Program Management, 202–366–9955, or mark.bathrick@dot.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: A. Program Description B. Federal Award Information C. Eligibility Information D. Application and Submission Information E. Application Review Information F. Review and Selection Process Information G. Federal Award Administration Information H. Technical Assistance and Other Program Information I. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts A. Program Description Federal public transportation law (49 U.S.C 5339(b)) authorizes FTA to award funds for the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program through a competitive process, as described in this notice, for capital projects to replace, rehabilitate, purchase or lease buses and related equipment and to rehabilitate, purchase, construct or lease bus-related facilities. PO 00000 Frm 00172 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 The purpose of the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program is to assist in the financing of capital projects for buses and bus facilities, including replacing, rehabilitating, purchasing, or leasing buses or related equipment, and rehabilitating, purchasing, constructing, or leasing bus-related facilities. The Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program provides funds to eligible applicants including designated recipients that allocate funds to fixed route bus operators, states or local governmental entities that operate fixed route bus service, and Indian tribes. FTA also may award grants to eligible recipients for projects to be undertaken by subrecipients. Eligible subrecipients include all otherwise eligible applicants and also private nonprofit organizations engaged in public transportation. In accordance with Federal public transportation law (49 U.S.C. 5339(b)(2)), FTA will ‘‘consider the age and condition of buses, bus fleets, related equipment, and bus-related facilities’’ in selecting projects for funding. FTA may prioritize projects that demonstrate how they will address significant repair and maintenance needs, improve the safety of transit systems and deploy connective projects that include advanced technologies to connect bus systems with other networks. In FY 2020, FTA is encouraging applicants to propose projects that introduce innovative technologies or practices in support of FTA’s Accelerating Innovative Mobility (AIM) initiative. FTA is focused on the introduction of new technology not commonly found within U.S. transit systems such as integrated fare payment systems permitting complete trips or advancements to propulsion systems. Innovation can also include practices such as new public transportation operational models, financial or procurement arrangements, or value capture. B. Federal Award Information Federal public transportation law (49 U.S.C. 5338(a)(2)(M)) authorizes $289,044,179 in FY 2020 funds for the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program. The Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 appropriated an additional $170,000,000 for the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program. After the mandatory oversight takedown of $4,417,831 FTA is announcing the availability of $454,626,348 for the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program through this notice. As required by Federal public transportation law (49 U.S.C. 5339(b)(5) E:\FR\FM\30JAN1.SGM 30JAN1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 20 / Thursday, January 30, 2020 / Notices and 49 U.S.C. 5339(b)(8)), a minimum of 10 percent of the amount awarded under the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program will be awarded to projects located in rural areas and no single grantee will be awarded more than 10 percent of the amounts made available. FTA may further cap the amount a single recipient or State may receive as part of the selection process. FTA will grant pre-award authority to incur costs for selected projects beginning on the date that project selections are announced. Funds are only available for projects that have not incurred costs prior to the selection of projects, and will remain available for obligation for three Federal fiscal years, not including the year in which the funds are allocated to projects. C. Eligibility Information 1. Eligible Applicants khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES Eligible applicants include designated recipients that allocate funds to fixed route bus operators, states or local governmental entities that operate fixed route bus service, and Indian tribes. Eligible subrecipients include all otherwise eligible applicants and also private nonprofit organizations engaged in public transportation. States may submit a statewide application on behalf of public agencies or private nonprofit organizations engaged in public transportation in rural areas or for other areas for which a State allocates funds. Except for projects proposed by Indian tribes, all proposals for projects in rural (non-urbanized) areas must be submitted by a State, either individually or as a part of a statewide application. States and other eligible applicants may also submit consolidated proposals for projects in urbanized areas. The submission of a statewide or consolidated urbanized area application shall not preclude the submission and consideration of any application from other eligible recipients in an urbanized area in a State. Proposals may contain projects to be implemented by the recipient or its subrecipients. To be considered eligible, applicants must be able to demonstrate the requisite legal, financial, and technical capabilities to receive and administer Federal funds under this program. 2. Cost Sharing or Matching The maximum federal share for projects selected under the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program is 80 percent of the net project cost (i.e., the local amount should be at least 20 percent of the net project cost, not 20 percent of the requested grant amount), VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:56 Jan 29, 2020 Jkt 250001 unless noted below by one of the exceptions. a. The maximum Federal share is 85 percent of the net project cost of acquiring vehicles (including clean-fuel or alternative fuel vehicles) for purposes of complying with or maintaining compliance with the Clean Air Act (CAA) and/or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. b. The maximum Federal share is 90 percent of the net project cost of acquiring, installing or constructing vehicle-related equipment or facilities (including clean fuel or alternative-fuel vehicle-related equipment or facilities) for purposes of complying with or maintaining compliance with the ADA or CAA. The award recipient must itemize the cost of specific, discrete, vehicle-related equipment associated with compliance with ADA or CAA to be eligible for the maximum 90 percent Federal share for these costs. Eligible sources of local match include the following: Cash from nonGovernment sources other than revenues from providing public transportation services; revenues derived from the sale of advertising and concessions; amounts received under a service agreement with a State or local social service agency or private social service organization; revenues generated from value capture financing mechanisms; or funds from an undistributed cash surplus; replacement or depreciation cash fund or reserve; or new capital. In addition, transportation development credits or documentation of in-kind match may substitute for local match if identified in the application. If an applicant proposes a Federal share greater than 80 percent, the application must clearly explain why the project is eligible for the proposed Federal share. 3. Eligible Projects Under the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program (49 U.S.C. 5339(b)(1)), eligible projects are capital projects to replace, rehabilitate purchase, or lease buses, vans, and related equipment, and capital projects to rehabilitate, purchase, construct, or lease bus-related facilities. Recipients are permitted to use up to 0.5 percent of their requested grant award for workforce development activities eligible under Federal public transportation law (49 U.S.C. 5314(b)) and an additional 0.5 percent for costs associated with training at the National Transit Institute, to pay not more than 80 percent of the cost of eligible activities (see 49 U.S.C. 5314(b)(4) and 49 U.S.C. 5314(c)(4)(A)). Applicants PO 00000 Frm 00173 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 5539 must identify the proposed use of funds for these activities in the project proposal and identify them separately in the project budget. D. Application and Submission Information 1. Address Applications must be submitted electronically through GRANTS.GOV. General information for submitting applications through GRANTS.GOV can be found at https://www.transit.dot.gov/ funding/grants/applying/applying-ftafunding along with specific instructions for the forms and attachments required for submission. Mail and fax submissions will not be accepted. A complete proposal submission consists of two forms: The SF–424 Application for Federal Assistance (downloaded from GRANTS.GOV) and the supplemental form for the FY 2020 Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program (downloaded from GRANTS.GOV or the FTA website at www.transit.dot.gov/busprogram). Applicants may also attach additional supporting information. Failure to submit the information as required can delay or prevent review of the application. 2. Content and Form of Application Submission A strong transportation network is critical to the functioning and growth of the American economy. The nation’s industry depends on the transportation network to move the goods that it produces, and facilitate the movements of the workers who are responsible for that production. When the nation’s highways, railways, and ports function well, that infrastructure connects people to jobs, increases the efficiency of delivering goods and thereby cuts the costs of doing business, reduces the burden of commuting, and improves overall well-being. Rural transportation networks play a vital role in supporting our national economic vitality. Addressing the deteriorating conditions and disproportionately high fatality rates on our rural transportation infrastructure is of critical interest to the Department, as rural transportation networks face unique challenges in safety, infrastructure condition, and passenger and freight usage. Consistent with the R.O.U.T.E.S. Initiative, the Department encourages applicants to consider how the project will address the challenges faced by rural areas. A complete proposal submission consists of two forms: The SF–424 Application for Federal Assistance and E:\FR\FM\30JAN1.SGM 30JAN1 khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES 5540 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 20 / Thursday, January 30, 2020 / Notices the FY 2020 Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program supplemental form. The supplemental form and any supporting documents must be attached to the ‘‘Attachments’’ section of the SF– 424. A complete application must include responses to all sections of the SF–424 Application for Federal Assistance and the supplemental form, unless indicated as optional. The information on the supplemental form will be used to determine applicant and project eligibility for the program, and to evaluate the proposal against the selection criteria described in part E of this notice. FTA will accept only one supplemental form per SF–424 submission. FTA encourages States and other applicants to consider submitting a single supplemental form that includes multiple activities to be evaluated as a consolidated proposal. If a State or other applicant chooses to submit separate proposals for individual consideration by FTA, each proposal must be submitted using a separate SF– 424 and supplemental form. Applicants may attach additional supporting information to the SF–424 submission, including but not limited to letters of support, project budgets, fleet status reports or excerpts from relevant planning documents. Supporting documentation must be described and referenced by file name in the appropriate response section of the supplemental form, or it may not be reviewed. Information such as applicant name, Federal amount requested, local match amount, description of areas served, etc. may be requested in varying degrees of detail on both the SF–424 and Supplemental Form. Applicants must fill in all fields unless stated otherwise on the forms. Applicants should not place N/A or ‘‘refer to attachment’’ in lieu of typing in responses in the field sections. If information is copied into the supplemental form from another source, applicants should verify that pasted text is fully captured on the supplemental form and has not been truncated by the character limits built into the form. Applicants should use both the ‘‘Check Package for Errors’’ and the ‘‘Validate Form’’ validation buttons on both forms to check all required fields on the forms, and ensure that the federal and local amounts specified are consistent. The SF–424 Mandatory Form and the Supplemental Form will prompt applicants for the required information, including: a. Applicant name VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:56 Jan 29, 2020 Jkt 250001 b. Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number c. Key contact information (including contact name, address, email address, and phone) d. Congressional district(s) where project will take place e. Project information (including title, an executive summary, and type) f. A detailed description of the need for the project g. A detailed description on how the project will support the Buses and Bus Facilities Program’s objectives h. Evidence that the project is consistent with local and regional planning objectives i. Evidence that the applicant can provide the local cost share j. A description of the technical, legal and financial capacity of the applicant k. A detailed project budget l. An explanation of the scalability of the project m. Details on the local matching funds n. A detailed project timeline o. Whether the project impacts an Opportunity Zone 3. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM) Each applicant is required to: (1) Be registered in SAM before submitting an application; (2) provide a valid unique entity identifier in its application; and (3) continue to maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which the applicant has an active Federal award or an application or plan under consideration by FTA. These requirements do not apply if the applicant has an exemption approved by FTA under Federal grants and agreements law (2 CFR 25.110(d)). FTA may not make an award until the applicant has complied with all applicable unique entity identifier and SAM requirements. If an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the time FTA is ready to make an award, FTA may determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive an award and use that determination as a basis for making a Federal award to another applicant. All applicants must provide a unique entity identifier provided by SAM. SAM registration takes approximately 3–5 business days, but FTA recommends allowing ample time, up to several weeks, for completion of all steps. For additional information on obtaining a unique entity identifier, please visit www.sam.gov. 4. Submission Dates and Times Project proposals must be submitted electronically through GRANTS.GOV by PO 00000 Frm 00174 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 11:59 p.m. Eastern on March 30, 2020. Mail and fax submissions will not be accepted. FTA urges applicants to submit applications at least 72 hours prior to the due date to allow time to correct any problems that may have caused either Grants.gov or FTA systems to reject the submission. Proposals submitted after the deadline will only be considered under extraordinary circumstances not under the applicant’s control. Deadlines will not be extended due to scheduled website maintenance. GRANTS.GOV scheduled maintenance and outage times are announced on the GRANTS.GOV website. Within 48 hours after submitting an electronic application, the applicant should receive an email message from GRANTS.GOV with confirmation of successful transmission to GRANTS.GOV. If a notice of failed validation or incomplete materials is received, the applicant must address the reason for the failed validation, as described in the email notice, and resubmit before the submission deadline. If making a resubmission for any reason, applicants must include all original attachments regardless of which attachments were updated and check the box on the supplemental form indicating this is a resubmission. Applicants are encouraged to begin the process of registration on the GRANTS.GOV site well in advance of the submission deadline. Registration is a multi-step process, which may take several weeks to complete before an application can be submitted. Registered applicants may still be required to take steps to keep their registration up to date before submissions can be made successfully: (1) Registration in the System for Award Management (SAM) is renewed annually; and, (2) persons making submissions on behalf of the Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) must be authorized in GRANTS.GOV by the AOR to make submissions. 5. Funding Restrictions Funds under this NOFO cannot be used to reimburse applicants for otherwise eligible expenses incurred prior to FTA award of a grant agreement until FTA has issued pre-award authority for selected projects. 6. Other Submission Requirements Applicants are encouraged to identify scaled funding options in case insufficient funding is available to fund a project at the full requested amount. If an applicant indicates that a project is scalable, the applicant must provide an appropriate minimum funding E:\FR\FM\30JAN1.SGM 30JAN1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 20 / Thursday, January 30, 2020 / Notices amount that will fund an eligible project that achieves the objectives of the program and meets all relevant program requirements. The applicant must provide a clear explanation of how the project budget would be affected by a reduced award. FTA may award a lesser amount whether or not a scalable option is provided. khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES E. Application Review Information FTA will evaluate project proposals for the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program based on the criteria described in this notice. Projects will be evaluated primarily on the responses provided in the supplemental form. Additional information may be provided to support the responses; however, any additional documentation must be directly referenced on the supplemental form, including the file name where the additional information can be found. Consistent with the Department’s R.O.U.T.E.S. Initiative (https:// www.transportation.gov/rural), the Department recognizes that rural transportation networks face unique challenges. To the extent that those challenges are reflected in the merit criteria listed in this section, the Department will consider how the activities proposed in the application will address those challenges, regardless of the geographic location of those activities. 1. Demonstration of Need Applications will be evaluated based on the quality and extent to which they demonstrate how the proposed project will address an unmet need for capital investment in bus vehicles and/or supporting facilities. For example, an applicant may demonstrate an excessive reliance on vehicles that are beyond their intended service life, insufficient maintenance facilities due to size or condition, a vehicle fleet that is insufficient to meet current ridership demands or passenger facilities that are insufficient for their current use. Applicants should address whether the project represents a one-time or periodic need that cannot reasonably be funded from FTA formula program allocations and State or local resources. As a part of the response for demonstration of need, applicants should provide the following information: a. For bus projects (replacement, rehabilitation or expansion): Applicants must provide information on the age, condition and performance of the asset(s) to be replaced or rehabilitated by the proposed project. For service expansion requests, applicants must provide information on the proposed VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:56 Jan 29, 2020 Jkt 250001 service expansion and the benefits for transit riders and the community from the new service. For all vehicle projects, the proposal must address how the project conforms to FTA’s spare ratio guidelines. b. For bus facility and equipment projects (replacement, rehabilitation and/or expansion): Applicants must provide information on the age and condition of the asset to be rehabilitated or replaced relative to its minimum useful life. 2. Demonstration of Benefits Applications will be evaluated based on how well they describe how the proposed project will improve the condition of the transit system, improve the reliability of transit service for its riders, enhance access and mobility within the service area, or accelerate innovation. System Condition: FTA will evaluate the potential for the project to improve the condition of the transit system by repairing and/or replacing assets that are in poor condition or have surpassed their minimum or intended useful life benchmarks, lowering the average age of vehicles in the fleet and/or reducing the cost of maintaining outdated vehicles, facilities and equipment. Service Reliability: FTA will evaluate the potential for the project to reduce the frequency of breakdowns or other service interruptions caused by the age and condition of the agency’s bus fleet. Applicants should document their current service reliability metrics and benchmark goals, including their strategy for improving reliability with or without the award of Bus and Bus Facilities Program funds. Enhanced Access and Mobility: FTA will evaluate the potential for the project to improve access and mobility for the transit riding public, such as through increased reliability, improved headways, creation of new transportation choices or eliminating gaps in the current route network. Proposed benefits should be based on documented ridership demand and be well-described or documented through a study or route planning proposal. Accelerating Innovation: FTA will evaluate the potential for the project to accelerate the introduction of innovative technologies or practices such as integrated fare payment systems permitting complete trips or advancements to propulsion systems. Innovation can also include practices such as new public transportation operational models, financial or procurement arrangements, or value capture. PO 00000 Frm 00175 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 5541 3. Planning and Local/Regional Prioritization Applicants must demonstrate how the proposed project will be consistent with local and regional long-range planning documents and local government priorities. This will involve assessing whether the project is consistent with the transit priorities identified in the long range plan; and/or contingency/ illustrative projects included in that plan; or the locally developed human services public transportation coordinated plan. Applicants are not required to submit copies of such plans, but should describe how the project will support regional goals. Additional consideration will be given to applications including support letters from local and regional planning organizations, local government officials, public agencies and/or nonprofit or private sector partners attesting to the consistency of the proposed project with these plans. Applicants may also address how the proposed project will impact overall system performance, asset management performance or specific performance measures tracked and monitored by the applying entity to demonstrate how the proposed project will address local and regional planning priorities. Evidence of additional local or regional prioritization (i.e., Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan and Long Range Transportation Plan) should include letters of support for the project from local government officials, public agencies (i.e., Metropolitan Planning Organizations) and non-profit or private sector partners. 4. Local Financial Commitment Applicants must identify the source of the local cost share and describe whether such funds are currently available for the project or will need to be secured if the project is selected for funding. FTA will consider the availability of the local cost share as evidence of local financial commitment to the project. Additional consideration will be given to those projects for which local funds have already been made available or reserved. Applicants should submit evidence of the availability of funds for the project, for example by including a board resolution, letter of support from the State or other documentation of the source of local funds such as a budget document highlighting the line item or section committing funds to the proposed project. In addition, as evidence of local financial commitment, an applicant may propose a local cost share that is greater than the minimum requirement. E:\FR\FM\30JAN1.SGM 30JAN1 khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES 5542 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 20 / Thursday, January 30, 2020 / Notices Additional consideration will be given to those projects that propose a larger percentage of local cost share. corrective actions taken will mitigate negative impacts on the proposed project. 5. Project Implementation Strategy Projects will be evaluated based on the extent to which the project is ready to implement within a reasonable period of time and whether the applicant’s proposed implementation plans are reasonable and complete. In assessing whether the project is ready to implement within a reasonable period of time, FTA will consider whether the project qualifies for a Categorical Exclusion, or whether the required environmental work has been initiated or completed for projects that require an Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended. As such, applicants should submit information describing the project’s anticipated path and timeline through the environmental review process. The proposal must also state whether grant funds can be obligated within 12 months from time of award, if selected, and indicate the timeframe under which the Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Program and/or Statewide Transportation Improvement Program can be amended to include the proposed project. Additional consideration will be given to projects for which grant funds can be obligated within 12 months from time of award. In assessing whether the proposed implementation plans are reasonable and complete, FTA will review the proposed project implementation plan, including all necessary project milestones and the overall project timeline. For projects that will require formal coordination, approvals or permits from other agencies or project partners, the applicant must demonstrate coordination with these organizations and their support for the project, such as through letters of support. F. Review and Selection Process Information 6. Technical, Legal and Financial Capacity Applicants must demonstrate that they have the technical, legal and financial capacity to undertake the project. FTA will review relevant oversight assessments and records to determine whether there are any outstanding legal, technical or financial issues with the applicant that would affect the outcome of the proposed project. Applicants with outstanding legal, technical or financial compliance issues from an FTA compliance review or Federal Transit grant-related Single Audit finding must explain how VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:56 Jan 29, 2020 Jkt 250001 In addition to other FTA staff that may review the proposals, a technical evaluation committee will evaluate proposals based on the published evaluation criteria. After applying the above criteria, the FTA Administrator will consider the following key Departmental objectives: (A) Supporting economic vitality at the national and regional level; (B) Utilizing alternative funding sources and innovative financing models to attract non-Federal sources of infrastructure investment; (C) Accounting for the life-cycle costs of the project to promote the state of good repair; (D) Using innovative approaches to improve safety and expedite project delivery; and (E) Holding grant recipients accountable for their performance and achieving specific, measurable outcomes identified by grant applicants. Prior to making an award, FTA is required to review and consider any information about the applicant that is in the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information Systems (FAPIIS) accessible through SAM. An applicant, may review and comment on information about itself that a Federal awarding agency previously entered. The FTA Administrator will determine the final selection of projects for program funding. In determining the allocation of program funds, FTA may consider geographic diversity, diversity in the size of the transit systems receiving funding, the applicant’s receipt of other competitive awards, projects located in or that support public transportation service in a qualified opportunity zone designated pursuant to 26 U.S.C. 1400Z–1, the percentage of local share provided, and whether the project includes an innovative technology or practice. Not less than 10 percent of the Buses and Bus Facilities Program funds will be distributed to projects in rural areas. In addition, FTA will not award more than 10 percent of the funds to a single grantee. G. Federal Award Administration Information 1. Federal Award Notice Final project selections will be posted on the FTA website. FTA will also publish a list of the selected projects, a summary of final ratings for selected PO 00000 Frm 00176 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 projects, Federal award amounts and recipients in the Federal Register. Selected recipients should contact their FTA regional offices for additional information regarding allocations for projects under the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program. At the time the project selections are announced, FTA will extend pre-award authority for the selected projects. There is no blanket pre-award authority for these projects before announcement. 2. Award Administration Funds under the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program are available to designated recipients that allocate funds to fixed route bus operators, state or local governmental entities that operate fixed route bus service, and Indian tribes. There is no minimum or maximum grant award amount apart from the restriction that FTA will not award more than ten percent of the funds to a single grantee; however, FTA intends to fund as many meritorious projects as possible. Only proposals from eligible recipients for eligible activities will be considered for funding. Due to funding limitations, proposals that are selected for funding may receive less than the amount originally requested. In those cases, applicants must be able to demonstrate that the proposed projects are still viable standalone projects that can be completed with the amount awarded. 3. Administrative and National Policy Requirements a. Pre-Award Authority The FTA will issue specific guidance to recipients regarding pre-award authority at the time of selection. The FTA does not provide pre-award authority for competitive funds until projects are selected and even then there are Federal requirements that must be met before costs are incurred. For more information about FTA’s policy on preaward authority, please see the FY 2019 Apportionment Notice published on July 3, 2019 which can be accessed at https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/ FR-2019-07-03/pdf/2019-14248.pdf. b. Grant Requirements If selected, awardees will apply for a grant through FTA’s Transit Award Management System (TrAMS). Recipients of Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program funding in urban areas are subject to the grant requirements of the Urbanized Area Formula Grant program (49 U.S.C. 5307), including those of FTA Circular ‘‘Urbanized Area Formula Program: Program Guidance and Application E:\FR\FM\30JAN1.SGM 30JAN1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 20 / Thursday, January 30, 2020 / Notices khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES Instructions’’ (FTA.C.9030.1E). Recipients of funding in rural areas are subject to the grant requirements of the Formula Grants for Rural Areas Program (49 U.S.C. 5311), including those of FTA Circular ‘‘Formula Grants for Rural Areas: Program Guidance and Application Instructions’’ (FTA.C.9040.1G). All recipients must follow the Award Management Requirements (FTA.C.5010.1E), and the labor protections required by Federal public transportation law (49 U.S.C. 5333(b)). Technical assistance regarding these requirements is available from each FTA regional office. c. Buy America and Strengthening BuyAmerican Preferences for Infrastructure Projects The FTA requires that all capital procurements meet FTA’s Buy America requirements (49 U.S.C. 5323(j)), which require that all iron, steel, or manufactured products be produced in the United States, to help create and protect manufacturing jobs in the United States. The Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program will have a significant economic impact toward meeting the objectives of the Buy America law. Federal public transportation law provides for a phased increase in the domestic content for rolling stock. For FY 2020 and beyond, the cost of components and subcomponents produced in the United States must be more than 70 percent of the cost of all components. There is no change to the requirement that final assembly of rolling stock must occur in the United States. FTA issued guidance on the implementation of the phased increase in domestic content on September 1, 2016 (81 FR 60278). Any proposal that will require a waiver must identify in the application the items for which a waiver will be sought. Applicants should not proceed with the expectation that waivers will be granted, nor should applicants assume that selection of a project under the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program that includes a partnership with a manufacturer, vendor, consultant, or other third party constitutes a waiver of the Buy America requirements applicable at the time the project is undertaken. Consistent with Executive Order 13858 Strengthening Buy-American Preferences for Infrastructure Projects, signed by President Trump on January 31, 2019, applicants should maximize the use of goods, products, and materials produced in the United States, in Federal procurements and through the terms and conditions of Federal financial assistance awards. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:56 Jan 29, 2020 Jkt 250001 d. Disadvantaged Business Enterprise FTA requires that its recipients receiving planning, capital and/or operating assistance that will award prime contracts exceeding $250,000 in FTA funds comply with the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program regulations (49 CFR part 26). The rule requires that, prior to bidding on any FTA-assisted vehicle procurement, entities that manufacture vehicles or perform post-production alterations or retrofitting must submit a DBE Program plan and annual goal methodology to FTA. Further, to the extent that a vehicle remanufacturer is responding to a solicitation for new or remanufactured vehicles with a vehicle to which the remanufacturer has provided post-production alterations or retro-fitting (e.g., replacing major components such as engine to provide a ‘‘like new’’ vehicle), the vehicle remanufacturer is considered a transit vehicle manufacturer and must also comply with the DBE regulations. FTA will then issue a transit vehicle manufacturer (TVM) concurrence/ certification letter. Grant recipients must verify each entity’s compliance with these requirements before accepting its bid. A list of compliant, certified TVMs is posted on FTA’s website at www.transit.dot.gov/TVM. Please note that this list is nonexclusive and recipients must contact FTA before accepting bids from entities not listed on this Web posting. Recipients may also establish project-specific DBE goals for vehicle procurements. FTA will provide additional guidance as grants are awarded. For more information on DBE requirements, please contact Scheryl Portee, the Office of the Chief Counsel, at 202–366–0840, email: scheryl.portee@dot.gov. e. Planning FTA encourages applicants to notify the appropriate State Departments of Transportation and MPOs in areas likely to be served by the project funds made available under this program. Selected projects must be incorporated into the long-range plans and transportation improvement programs of States and metropolitan areas before they are eligible for FTA funding. f. Standard Assurances By submitting a grant application, the applicant assures that it will comply with all applicable federal statutes, regulations, executive orders, directives, FTA circulars and other federal administrative requirements in carrying out any project supported by the FTA grant. Further, the applicant PO 00000 Frm 00177 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 5543 acknowledges that it is under a continuing obligation to comply with the terms and conditions of the grant agreement issued for its project with FTA. The applicant understands that Federal laws, regulations, policies and administrative practices might be modified from time to time and may affect the implementation of the project. The applicant agrees that the most recent Federal requirements will apply to the project, unless FTA issues a written determination otherwise. The applicant must submit the Certifications and Assurances before receiving a grant, if it does not have current certifications on file. g. Reporting Post-award reporting requirements include the electronic submission of Federal Financial Reports and Milestone Progress Reports in FTA’s electronic grants management system. Recipients of funds made available through this NOFO are also required to regularly submit data to the National Transit Database. H. Technical Assistance and Other Program Information This program is not subject to Executive Order 12372, ‘‘Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs.’’ FTA will consider applications for funding only from eligible recipients for eligible projects listed in Section C. Complete applications must be submitted through GRANTS.GOV by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on March 30, 2020. For assistance with GRANTS.GOV please contact GRANTS.GOV by phone at 1–800–518– 4726 or by email at support@grants.gov. Contact information for FTA’s regional offices can be found on FTA’s website at https://www.transit.dot.gov/about/ regional-offices/regional-offices. I. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts For further information concerning this notice, please contact the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program manager, Mark Bathrick, via email at mark.bathrick@dot.gov or by phone at 202–366–9955. A TDD is available for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing at 800–877–8339. In addition, FTA will post answers to questions and requests for clarifications on FTA’s website at http://transit.dot.gov/ busprogram. FTA staff will also conduct a webinar for potential applicants to learn more about the program and submittal process. To ensure the receipt of accurate information about eligibility or the program, applicants with questions are encouraged to contact FTA directly, E:\FR\FM\30JAN1.SGM 30JAN1 5544 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 20 / Thursday, January 30, 2020 / Notices D. Application and Submission Information E. Application Review Information F. Review and Selection Process Information G. Federal Award Administration Information H. Federal Awarding Agency Contact(s) I. Technical Assistance and Other Program Information rather than through intermediaries or third parties. K. Jane Williams, Acting Administrator. [FR Doc. 2020–01614 Filed 1–29–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P A. Program Description DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Transit Administration FY 2020 Competitive Funding Opportunity: Passenger Ferry Grant Program Federal Transit Administration (FTA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of funding opportunity (NOFO). AGENCY: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announces the opportunity to apply for $30 million in competitive grants under the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Passenger Ferry Grant Program (Ferry Program) (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance #20.507). As required by Federal public transportation law, funds will be awarded competitively to designated recipients or eligible direct recipients of Urbanized Area Formula funds to assist in the financing of capital projects to support existing passenger ferry service, establish new ferry service, and to repair and modernize ferry boats, terminals, and related facilities and equipment. FTA may award additional funding made available to the program prior to the announcement of project selections. DATES: Complete proposals must be submitted electronically through the GRANTS.GOV ‘‘APPLY’’ function by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time March 30, 2020. Prospective applicants should initiate the process by promptly registering on the GRANTS.GOV website to ensure completion of the application process before the submission deadline. Instructions for applying can be found on FTA’s website at https:// www.transit.dot.gov/funding/grants/ applying/applying-fta-funding and in the ‘‘FIND’’ module of GRANTS.GOV. The funding opportunity ID is FTA– 2020–008–Ferry. Mail and fax submissions will not be accepted. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Vanessa Williams, FTA Office of Program Management, (202) 366–4818, or vanessa.williams@dot.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: Table of Contents A. Program Description B. Federal Award Information C. Eligibility Information VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:56 Jan 29, 2020 Jkt 250001 Federal public transportation law (49 U.S.C. 5307(h)) authorizes FTA to award grants for passenger ferries through a competitive process, as described in this notice. The Ferry Program provides funding to designated recipients and direct recipients under FTA’s Urbanized Area Formula Program, as well as public entities engaged in providing public transportation passenger ferry service in urban areas that are eligible to be direct recipients. Projects under the program are for capital to improve the condition and quality of existing passenger ferry services, support the establishment of new passenger ferry services, and to repair and modernize ferry boats, terminals, and related facilities and equipment. FTA recognizes that passenger ferries provide critical and cost-effective transportation links in urban areas throughout the United States, but face a critical backlog of state of good repair and safety investments. In FY 2020, FTA is encouraging applicants to propose projects that introduce innovative technologies or practices in support of FTA’s Accelerating Innovative Mobility (AIM) initiative. FTA is focused on the introduction of new technology not commonly found within U.S. transit systems such as integrated fare payment systems permitting complete trips or advancements to propulsion systems. Innovation can also include practices such as new public transportation operational models, financial or procurement arrangements, or value capture. B. Federal Award Information Federal public transportation law (49 U.S.C. 5338(h)(1)) authorizes $30 million in FY 2020 funds for grants under the Ferry Program. The Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 appropriated $30 million for the FY 2020 Ferry Program. FTA may award additional funding made available to the program prior to the announcement of project selections. In FY 2019, the program received applications for 20 projects requesting approximately $99.3 million from 9 states. Nine projects were funded at a total of $32.8 million, using a combination of funding from FY 2019 and funding remaining from prior year appropriations. PO 00000 Frm 00178 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 FTA will grant pre-award authority to incur costs for selected projects beginning on the date that project selections are announced. Funds are only available for projects that have not already incurred costs and will be available for obligation five years after the fiscal year in which funding is allocated under this competition. C. Eligibility Information 1. Eligible Applicants Eligible applicants include designated recipients and direct recipients as defined in FTA Circular ‘‘Urbanized Area Formula Program: Program Guidance and Application Instructions’’ (FTA.C.9030.1E), as well as public entities engaged in providing public transportation passenger ferry service in urban areas that are eligible to be direct recipients. If an applicant does not currently have an active Urbanized Area Formula Program grant with FTA, the applicant is encouraged to contact the Ferry Program manager for assistance with determining if it is eligible to receive funds under the Ferry Program. Eligible applicants that do not currently have an active grant with FTA will, upon selection, be required to work with the FTA regional office to establish its organization as an active grantee. This process may require additional documentation to support the organization’s technical, financial, and legal capacity to receive and administer Federal funds under this program. 2. Cost Sharing or Matching a. The maximum Federal share for projects selected under the Ferry Program is 80 percent of the net project cost, with the following exceptions. b. The maximum Federal share is 85 percent of the net project cost of acquiring vehicles (including clean-fuel or alternative fuel vehicles) for purposes of complying with or maintaining compliance with the Clean Air Act (CAA) and/or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. c. The maximum Federal share is 90 percent of the net project cost of acquiring, installing or constructing vehicle-related equipment or facilities (including clean fuel or alternative-fuel vehicle-related equipment or facilities) for purposes of complying with or maintaining compliance with the ADA and/or r CAA. The award recipient must itemize the cost of specific, discrete, vehicle-related equipment associated with compliance with ADA or CAA to be eligible for the maximum 90 percent Federal share for these costs. Eligible sources of local match include: E:\FR\FM\30JAN1.SGM 30JAN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 20 (Thursday, January 30, 2020)]
[Notices]
[Pages 5538-5544]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-01614]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Transit Administration


Fiscal Year 2020 Competitive Funding Opportunity; Grants for 
Buses and Bus Facilities Program

AGENCY: Federal Transit Administration (FTA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of funding opportunity (NOFO).

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

SUMMARY: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announces the 
opportunity to apply for approximately $454.6 million in fiscal year 
(FY) 2020 funds under the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program 
(CFDA#20.526). As required by federal public transportation law and 
subject to funding availability, funds will be awarded competitively to 
assist in the financing of capital projects to replace, rehabilitate, 
purchase or lease buses and related equipment, and to rehabilitate, 
purchase, construct or lease bus-related facilities. Projects may 
include costs incidental to the acquisition of buses or to the 
construction of facilities, such as the costs of related workforce 
development and training activities, and project administration 
expenses. FTA may award additional funds if they are made available to 
the program prior to the announcement of project selections.

DATES: Complete proposals must be submitted electronically through the 
GRANTS.GOV ``APPLY'' function by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on March 30, 
2020. Prospective applicants should initiate the process by promptly 
registering on the GRANTS.GOV website to ensure completion of the 
application process before the submission deadline. Instructions for 
applying can be found on FTA's website at http://transit.dot.gov/howtoapply and in the ``FIND'' module of GRANTS.GOV.
    The GRANTS.GOV funding opportunity ID is FTA-2020-006-BUS. Mail and 
fax submissions will not be accepted.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark Bathrick, FTA Office of Program 
Management, 202-366-9955, or [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Table of Contents

A. Program Description
B. Federal Award Information
C. Eligibility Information
D. Application and Submission Information
E. Application Review Information
F. Review and Selection Process Information
G. Federal Award Administration Information
H. Technical Assistance and Other Program Information
I. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts

A. Program Description

    Federal public transportation law (49 U.S.C 5339(b)) authorizes FTA 
to award funds for the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program 
through a competitive process, as described in this notice, for capital 
projects to replace, rehabilitate, purchase or lease buses and related 
equipment and to rehabilitate, purchase, construct or lease bus-related 
facilities.
    The purpose of the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program is 
to assist in the financing of capital projects for buses and bus 
facilities, including replacing, rehabilitating, purchasing, or leasing 
buses or related equipment, and rehabilitating, purchasing, 
constructing, or leasing bus-related facilities.
    The Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program provides funds to 
eligible applicants including designated recipients that allocate funds 
to fixed route bus operators, states or local governmental entities 
that operate fixed route bus service, and Indian tribes. FTA also may 
award grants to eligible recipients for projects to be undertaken by 
subrecipients. Eligible subrecipients include all otherwise eligible 
applicants and also private nonprofit organizations engaged in public 
transportation. In accordance with Federal public transportation law 
(49 U.S.C. 5339(b)(2)), FTA will ``consider the age and condition of 
buses, bus fleets, related equipment, and bus-related facilities'' in 
selecting projects for funding. FTA may prioritize projects that 
demonstrate how they will address significant repair and maintenance 
needs, improve the safety of transit systems and deploy connective 
projects that include advanced technologies to connect bus systems with 
other networks.
    In FY 2020, FTA is encouraging applicants to propose projects that 
introduce innovative technologies or practices in support of FTA's 
Accelerating Innovative Mobility (AIM) initiative. FTA is focused on 
the introduction of new technology not commonly found within U.S. 
transit systems such as integrated fare payment systems permitting 
complete trips or advancements to propulsion systems. Innovation can 
also include practices such as new public transportation operational 
models, financial or procurement arrangements, or value capture.

B. Federal Award Information

    Federal public transportation law (49 U.S.C. 5338(a)(2)(M)) 
authorizes $289,044,179 in FY 2020 funds for the Grants for Buses and 
Bus Facilities Program. The Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 
2020 appropriated an additional $170,000,000 for the Grants for Buses 
and Bus Facilities Program. After the mandatory oversight takedown of 
$4,417,831 FTA is announcing the availability of $454,626,348 for the 
Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program through this notice.
    As required by Federal public transportation law (49 U.S.C. 
5339(b)(5)

[[Page 5539]]

and 49 U.S.C. 5339(b)(8)), a minimum of 10 percent of the amount 
awarded under the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program will be 
awarded to projects located in rural areas and no single grantee will 
be awarded more than 10 percent of the amounts made available. FTA may 
further cap the amount a single recipient or State may receive as part 
of the selection process.
    FTA will grant pre-award authority to incur costs for selected 
projects beginning on the date that project selections are announced. 
Funds are only available for projects that have not incurred costs 
prior to the selection of projects, and will remain available for 
obligation for three Federal fiscal years, not including the year in 
which the funds are allocated to projects.

C. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants

    Eligible applicants include designated recipients that allocate 
funds to fixed route bus operators, states or local governmental 
entities that operate fixed route bus service, and Indian tribes. 
Eligible subrecipients include all otherwise eligible applicants and 
also private nonprofit organizations engaged in public transportation.
    States may submit a statewide application on behalf of public 
agencies or private nonprofit organizations engaged in public 
transportation in rural areas or for other areas for which a State 
allocates funds. Except for projects proposed by Indian tribes, all 
proposals for projects in rural (non-urbanized) areas must be submitted 
by a State, either individually or as a part of a statewide 
application. States and other eligible applicants may also submit 
consolidated proposals for projects in urbanized areas. The submission 
of a statewide or consolidated urbanized area application shall not 
preclude the submission and consideration of any application from other 
eligible recipients in an urbanized area in a State. Proposals may 
contain projects to be implemented by the recipient or its 
subrecipients.
    To be considered eligible, applicants must be able to demonstrate 
the requisite legal, financial, and technical capabilities to receive 
and administer Federal funds under this program.

2. Cost Sharing or Matching

    The maximum federal share for projects selected under the Grants 
for Buses and Bus Facilities Program is 80 percent of the net project 
cost (i.e., the local amount should be at least 20 percent of the net 
project cost, not 20 percent of the requested grant amount), unless 
noted below by one of the exceptions.
    a. The maximum Federal share is 85 percent of the net project cost 
of acquiring vehicles (including clean-fuel or alternative fuel 
vehicles) for purposes of complying with or maintaining compliance with 
the Clean Air Act (CAA) and/or the Americans with Disabilities Act 
(ADA) of 1990.
    b. The maximum Federal share is 90 percent of the net project cost 
of acquiring, installing or constructing vehicle-related equipment or 
facilities (including clean fuel or alternative-fuel vehicle-related 
equipment or facilities) for purposes of complying with or maintaining 
compliance with the ADA or CAA. The award recipient must itemize the 
cost of specific, discrete, vehicle-related equipment associated with 
compliance with ADA or CAA to be eligible for the maximum 90 percent 
Federal share for these costs.
    Eligible sources of local match include the following: Cash from 
non-Government sources other than revenues from providing public 
transportation services; revenues derived from the sale of advertising 
and concessions; amounts received under a service agreement with a 
State or local social service agency or private social service 
organization; revenues generated from value capture financing 
mechanisms; or funds from an undistributed cash surplus; replacement or 
depreciation cash fund or reserve; or new capital. In addition, 
transportation development credits or documentation of in-kind match 
may substitute for local match if identified in the application.
    If an applicant proposes a Federal share greater than 80 percent, 
the application must clearly explain why the project is eligible for 
the proposed Federal share.

3. Eligible Projects

    Under the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program (49 U.S.C. 
5339(b)(1)), eligible projects are capital projects to replace, 
rehabilitate purchase, or lease buses, vans, and related equipment, and 
capital projects to rehabilitate, purchase, construct, or lease bus-
related facilities.
    Recipients are permitted to use up to 0.5 percent of their 
requested grant award for workforce development activities eligible 
under Federal public transportation law (49 U.S.C. 5314(b)) and an 
additional 0.5 percent for costs associated with training at the 
National Transit Institute, to pay not more than 80 percent of the cost 
of eligible activities (see 49 U.S.C. 5314(b)(4) and 49 U.S.C. 
5314(c)(4)(A)). Applicants must identify the proposed use of funds for 
these activities in the project proposal and identify them separately 
in the project budget.

D. Application and Submission Information

1. Address

    Applications must be submitted electronically through GRANTS.GOV. 
General information for submitting applications through GRANTS.GOV can 
be found at https://www.transit.dot.gov/funding/grants/applying/applying-fta-funding along with specific instructions for the forms and 
attachments required for submission. Mail and fax submissions will not 
be accepted. A complete proposal submission consists of two forms: The 
SF-424 Application for Federal Assistance (downloaded from GRANTS.GOV) 
and the supplemental form for the FY 2020 Grants for Buses and Bus 
Facilities Program (downloaded from GRANTS.GOV or the FTA website at 
www.transit.dot.gov/busprogram). Applicants may also attach additional 
supporting information. Failure to submit the information as required 
can delay or prevent review of the application.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

    A strong transportation network is critical to the functioning and 
growth of the American economy. The nation's industry depends on the 
transportation network to move the goods that it produces, and 
facilitate the movements of the workers who are responsible for that 
production. When the nation's highways, railways, and ports function 
well, that infrastructure connects people to jobs, increases the 
efficiency of delivering goods and thereby cuts the costs of doing 
business, reduces the burden of commuting, and improves overall well-
being.
    Rural transportation networks play a vital role in supporting our 
national economic vitality. Addressing the deteriorating conditions and 
disproportionately high fatality rates on our rural transportation 
infrastructure is of critical interest to the Department, as rural 
transportation networks face unique challenges in safety, 
infrastructure condition, and passenger and freight usage. Consistent 
with the R.O.U.T.E.S. Initiative, the Department encourages applicants 
to consider how the project will address the challenges faced by rural 
areas.
    A complete proposal submission consists of two forms: The SF-424 
Application for Federal Assistance and

[[Page 5540]]

the FY 2020 Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program supplemental 
form. The supplemental form and any supporting documents must be 
attached to the ``Attachments'' section of the SF-424. A complete 
application must include responses to all sections of the SF-424 
Application for Federal Assistance and the supplemental form, unless 
indicated as optional. The information on the supplemental form will be 
used to determine applicant and project eligibility for the program, 
and to evaluate the proposal against the selection criteria described 
in part E of this notice.
    FTA will accept only one supplemental form per SF-424 submission. 
FTA encourages States and other applicants to consider submitting a 
single supplemental form that includes multiple activities to be 
evaluated as a consolidated proposal. If a State or other applicant 
chooses to submit separate proposals for individual consideration by 
FTA, each proposal must be submitted using a separate SF-424 and 
supplemental form.
    Applicants may attach additional supporting information to the SF-
424 submission, including but not limited to letters of support, 
project budgets, fleet status reports or excerpts from relevant 
planning documents. Supporting documentation must be described and 
referenced by file name in the appropriate response section of the 
supplemental form, or it may not be reviewed.
    Information such as applicant name, Federal amount requested, local 
match amount, description of areas served, etc. may be requested in 
varying degrees of detail on both the SF-424 and Supplemental Form. 
Applicants must fill in all fields unless stated otherwise on the 
forms. Applicants should not place N/A or ``refer to attachment'' in 
lieu of typing in responses in the field sections. If information is 
copied into the supplemental form from another source, applicants 
should verify that pasted text is fully captured on the supplemental 
form and has not been truncated by the character limits built into the 
form. Applicants should use both the ``Check Package for Errors'' and 
the ``Validate Form'' validation buttons on both forms to check all 
required fields on the forms, and ensure that the federal and local 
amounts specified are consistent.
    The SF-424 Mandatory Form and the Supplemental Form will prompt 
applicants for the required information, including:

a. Applicant name
b. Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) 
number
c. Key contact information (including contact name, address, email 
address, and phone)
d. Congressional district(s) where project will take place
e. Project information (including title, an executive summary, and 
type)
f. A detailed description of the need for the project
g. A detailed description on how the project will support the Buses and 
Bus Facilities Program's objectives
h. Evidence that the project is consistent with local and regional 
planning objectives
i. Evidence that the applicant can provide the local cost share
j. A description of the technical, legal and financial capacity of the 
applicant
k. A detailed project budget
l. An explanation of the scalability of the project
m. Details on the local matching funds
n. A detailed project timeline
o. Whether the project impacts an Opportunity Zone

3. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM)

    Each applicant is required to: (1) Be registered in SAM before 
submitting an application; (2) provide a valid unique entity identifier 
in its application; and (3) continue to maintain an active SAM 
registration with current information at all times during which the 
applicant has an active Federal award or an application or plan under 
consideration by FTA. These requirements do not apply if the applicant 
has an exemption approved by FTA under Federal grants and agreements 
law (2 CFR 25.110(d)). FTA may not make an award until the applicant 
has complied with all applicable unique entity identifier and SAM 
requirements. If an applicant has not fully complied with the 
requirements by the time FTA is ready to make an award, FTA may 
determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive an award and 
use that determination as a basis for making a Federal award to another 
applicant. All applicants must provide a unique entity identifier 
provided by SAM. SAM registration takes approximately 3-5 business 
days, but FTA recommends allowing ample time, up to several weeks, for 
completion of all steps. For additional information on obtaining a 
unique entity identifier, please visit www.sam.gov.

4. Submission Dates and Times

    Project proposals must be submitted electronically through 
GRANTS.GOV by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on March 30, 2020. Mail and fax 
submissions will not be accepted.
    FTA urges applicants to submit applications at least 72 hours prior 
to the due date to allow time to correct any problems that may have 
caused either Grants.gov or FTA systems to reject the submission. 
Proposals submitted after the deadline will only be considered under 
extraordinary circumstances not under the applicant's control. 
Deadlines will not be extended due to scheduled website maintenance. 
GRANTS.GOV scheduled maintenance and outage times are announced on the 
GRANTS.GOV website.
    Within 48 hours after submitting an electronic application, the 
applicant should receive an email message from GRANTS.GOV with 
confirmation of successful transmission to GRANTS.GOV. If a notice of 
failed validation or incomplete materials is received, the applicant 
must address the reason for the failed validation, as described in the 
email notice, and resubmit before the submission deadline. If making a 
resubmission for any reason, applicants must include all original 
attachments regardless of which attachments were updated and check the 
box on the supplemental form indicating this is a resubmission.
    Applicants are encouraged to begin the process of registration on 
the GRANTS.GOV site well in advance of the submission deadline. 
Registration is a multi-step process, which may take several weeks to 
complete before an application can be submitted. Registered applicants 
may still be required to take steps to keep their registration up to 
date before submissions can be made successfully: (1) Registration in 
the System for Award Management (SAM) is renewed annually; and, (2) 
persons making submissions on behalf of the Authorized Organization 
Representative (AOR) must be authorized in GRANTS.GOV by the AOR to 
make submissions.

5. Funding Restrictions

    Funds under this NOFO cannot be used to reimburse applicants for 
otherwise eligible expenses incurred prior to FTA award of a grant 
agreement until FTA has issued pre-award authority for selected 
projects.

6. Other Submission Requirements

    Applicants are encouraged to identify scaled funding options in 
case insufficient funding is available to fund a project at the full 
requested amount. If an applicant indicates that a project is scalable, 
the applicant must provide an appropriate minimum funding

[[Page 5541]]

amount that will fund an eligible project that achieves the objectives 
of the program and meets all relevant program requirements. The 
applicant must provide a clear explanation of how the project budget 
would be affected by a reduced award. FTA may award a lesser amount 
whether or not a scalable option is provided.

E. Application Review Information

    FTA will evaluate project proposals for the Grants for Buses and 
Bus Facilities Program based on the criteria described in this notice. 
Projects will be evaluated primarily on the responses provided in the 
supplemental form. Additional information may be provided to support 
the responses; however, any additional documentation must be directly 
referenced on the supplemental form, including the file name where the 
additional information can be found.
    Consistent with the Department's R.O.U.T.E.S. Initiative (https://www.transportation.gov/rural), the Department recognizes that rural 
transportation networks face unique challenges. To the extent that 
those challenges are reflected in the merit criteria listed in this 
section, the Department will consider how the activities proposed in 
the application will address those challenges, regardless of the 
geographic location of those activities.

1. Demonstration of Need

    Applications will be evaluated based on the quality and extent to 
which they demonstrate how the proposed project will address an unmet 
need for capital investment in bus vehicles and/or supporting 
facilities. For example, an applicant may demonstrate an excessive 
reliance on vehicles that are beyond their intended service life, 
insufficient maintenance facilities due to size or condition, a vehicle 
fleet that is insufficient to meet current ridership demands or 
passenger facilities that are insufficient for their current use. 
Applicants should address whether the project represents a one-time or 
periodic need that cannot reasonably be funded from FTA formula program 
allocations and State or local resources. As a part of the response for 
demonstration of need, applicants should provide the following 
information:
    a. For bus projects (replacement, rehabilitation or expansion): 
Applicants must provide information on the age, condition and 
performance of the asset(s) to be replaced or rehabilitated by the 
proposed project. For service expansion requests, applicants must 
provide information on the proposed service expansion and the benefits 
for transit riders and the community from the new service. For all 
vehicle projects, the proposal must address how the project conforms to 
FTA's spare ratio guidelines.
    b. For bus facility and equipment projects (replacement, 
rehabilitation and/or expansion): Applicants must provide information 
on the age and condition of the asset to be rehabilitated or replaced 
relative to its minimum useful life.

2. Demonstration of Benefits

    Applications will be evaluated based on how well they describe how 
the proposed project will improve the condition of the transit system, 
improve the reliability of transit service for its riders, enhance 
access and mobility within the service area, or accelerate innovation.
    System Condition: FTA will evaluate the potential for the project 
to improve the condition of the transit system by repairing and/or 
replacing assets that are in poor condition or have surpassed their 
minimum or intended useful life benchmarks, lowering the average age of 
vehicles in the fleet and/or reducing the cost of maintaining outdated 
vehicles, facilities and equipment.
    Service Reliability: FTA will evaluate the potential for the 
project to reduce the frequency of breakdowns or other service 
interruptions caused by the age and condition of the agency's bus 
fleet. Applicants should document their current service reliability 
metrics and benchmark goals, including their strategy for improving 
reliability with or without the award of Bus and Bus Facilities Program 
funds.
    Enhanced Access and Mobility: FTA will evaluate the potential for 
the project to improve access and mobility for the transit riding 
public, such as through increased reliability, improved headways, 
creation of new transportation choices or eliminating gaps in the 
current route network. Proposed benefits should be based on documented 
ridership demand and be well-described or documented through a study or 
route planning proposal.
    Accelerating Innovation: FTA will evaluate the potential for the 
project to accelerate the introduction of innovative technologies or 
practices such as integrated fare payment systems permitting complete 
trips or advancements to propulsion systems. Innovation can also 
include practices such as new public transportation operational models, 
financial or procurement arrangements, or value capture.

3. Planning and Local/Regional Prioritization

    Applicants must demonstrate how the proposed project will be 
consistent with local and regional long-range planning documents and 
local government priorities. This will involve assessing whether the 
project is consistent with the transit priorities identified in the 
long range plan; and/or contingency/illustrative projects included in 
that plan; or the locally developed human services public 
transportation coordinated plan. Applicants are not required to submit 
copies of such plans, but should describe how the project will support 
regional goals. Additional consideration will be given to applications 
including support letters from local and regional planning 
organizations, local government officials, public agencies and/or non-
profit or private sector partners attesting to the consistency of the 
proposed project with these plans. Applicants may also address how the 
proposed project will impact overall system performance, asset 
management performance or specific performance measures tracked and 
monitored by the applying entity to demonstrate how the proposed 
project will address local and regional planning priorities.
    Evidence of additional local or regional prioritization (i.e., 
Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan and Long Range Transportation 
Plan) should include letters of support for the project from local 
government officials, public agencies (i.e., Metropolitan Planning 
Organizations) and non-profit or private sector partners.

4. Local Financial Commitment

    Applicants must identify the source of the local cost share and 
describe whether such funds are currently available for the project or 
will need to be secured if the project is selected for funding. FTA 
will consider the availability of the local cost share as evidence of 
local financial commitment to the project. Additional consideration 
will be given to those projects for which local funds have already been 
made available or reserved. Applicants should submit evidence of the 
availability of funds for the project, for example by including a board 
resolution, letter of support from the State or other documentation of 
the source of local funds such as a budget document highlighting the 
line item or section committing funds to the proposed project. In 
addition, as evidence of local financial commitment, an applicant may 
propose a local cost share that is greater than the minimum 
requirement.

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Additional consideration will be given to those projects that propose a 
larger percentage of local cost share.

5. Project Implementation Strategy

    Projects will be evaluated based on the extent to which the project 
is ready to implement within a reasonable period of time and whether 
the applicant's proposed implementation plans are reasonable and 
complete.
    In assessing whether the project is ready to implement within a 
reasonable period of time, FTA will consider whether the project 
qualifies for a Categorical Exclusion, or whether the required 
environmental work has been initiated or completed for projects that 
require an Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement 
under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended. 
As such, applicants should submit information describing the project's 
anticipated path and timeline through the environmental review process. 
The proposal must also state whether grant funds can be obligated 
within 12 months from time of award, if selected, and indicate the 
timeframe under which the Metropolitan Transportation Improvement 
Program and/or Statewide Transportation Improvement Program can be 
amended to include the proposed project. Additional consideration will 
be given to projects for which grant funds can be obligated within 12 
months from time of award.
    In assessing whether the proposed implementation plans are 
reasonable and complete, FTA will review the proposed project 
implementation plan, including all necessary project milestones and the 
overall project timeline. For projects that will require formal 
coordination, approvals or permits from other agencies or project 
partners, the applicant must demonstrate coordination with these 
organizations and their support for the project, such as through 
letters of support.

6. Technical, Legal and Financial Capacity

    Applicants must demonstrate that they have the technical, legal and 
financial capacity to undertake the project. FTA will review relevant 
oversight assessments and records to determine whether there are any 
outstanding legal, technical or financial issues with the applicant 
that would affect the outcome of the proposed project. Applicants with 
outstanding legal, technical or financial compliance issues from an FTA 
compliance review or Federal Transit grant-related Single Audit finding 
must explain how corrective actions taken will mitigate negative 
impacts on the proposed project.

F. Review and Selection Process Information

    In addition to other FTA staff that may review the proposals, a 
technical evaluation committee will evaluate proposals based on the 
published evaluation criteria. After applying the above criteria, the 
FTA Administrator will consider the following key Departmental 
objectives:
    (A) Supporting economic vitality at the national and regional 
level;
    (B) Utilizing alternative funding sources and innovative financing 
models to attract non-Federal sources of infrastructure investment;
    (C) Accounting for the life-cycle costs of the project to promote 
the state of good repair;
    (D) Using innovative approaches to improve safety and expedite 
project delivery; and
    (E) Holding grant recipients accountable for their performance and 
achieving specific, measurable outcomes identified by grant applicants.
    Prior to making an award, FTA is required to review and consider 
any information about the applicant that is in the Federal Awardee 
Performance and Integrity Information Systems (FAPIIS) accessible 
through SAM. An applicant, may review and comment on information about 
itself that a Federal awarding agency previously entered.
    The FTA Administrator will determine the final selection of 
projects for program funding. In determining the allocation of program 
funds, FTA may consider geographic diversity, diversity in the size of 
the transit systems receiving funding, the applicant's receipt of other 
competitive awards, projects located in or that support public 
transportation service in a qualified opportunity zone designated 
pursuant to 26 U.S.C. 1400Z-1, the percentage of local share provided, 
and whether the project includes an innovative technology or practice. 
Not less than 10 percent of the Buses and Bus Facilities Program funds 
will be distributed to projects in rural areas. In addition, FTA will 
not award more than 10 percent of the funds to a single grantee.

G. Federal Award Administration Information

1. Federal Award Notice

    Final project selections will be posted on the FTA website. FTA 
will also publish a list of the selected projects, a summary of final 
ratings for selected projects, Federal award amounts and recipients in 
the Federal Register. Selected recipients should contact their FTA 
regional offices for additional information regarding allocations for 
projects under the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program.
    At the time the project selections are announced, FTA will extend 
pre-award authority for the selected projects. There is no blanket pre-
award authority for these projects before announcement.

2. Award Administration

    Funds under the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program are 
available to designated recipients that allocate funds to fixed route 
bus operators, state or local governmental entities that operate fixed 
route bus service, and Indian tribes. There is no minimum or maximum 
grant award amount apart from the restriction that FTA will not award 
more than ten percent of the funds to a single grantee; however, FTA 
intends to fund as many meritorious projects as possible. Only 
proposals from eligible recipients for eligible activities will be 
considered for funding. Due to funding limitations, proposals that are 
selected for funding may receive less than the amount originally 
requested. In those cases, applicants must be able to demonstrate that 
the proposed projects are still viable stand-alone projects that can be 
completed with the amount awarded.

3. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

a. Pre-Award Authority
    The FTA will issue specific guidance to recipients regarding pre-
award authority at the time of selection. The FTA does not provide pre-
award authority for competitive funds until projects are selected and 
even then there are Federal requirements that must be met before costs 
are incurred. For more information about FTA's policy on pre-award 
authority, please see the FY 2019 Apportionment Notice published on 
July 3, 2019 which can be accessed at https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2019-07-03/pdf/2019-14248.pdf.
b. Grant Requirements
    If selected, awardees will apply for a grant through FTA's Transit 
Award Management System (TrAMS). Recipients of Grants for Buses and Bus 
Facilities Program funding in urban areas are subject to the grant 
requirements of the Urbanized Area Formula Grant program (49 U.S.C. 
5307), including those of FTA Circular ``Urbanized Area Formula 
Program: Program Guidance and Application

[[Page 5543]]

Instructions'' (FTA.C.9030.1E). Recipients of funding in rural areas 
are subject to the grant requirements of the Formula Grants for Rural 
Areas Program (49 U.S.C. 5311), including those of FTA Circular 
``Formula Grants for Rural Areas: Program Guidance and Application 
Instructions'' (FTA.C.9040.1G). All recipients must follow the Award 
Management Requirements (FTA.C.5010.1E), and the labor protections 
required by Federal public transportation law (49 U.S.C. 5333(b)). 
Technical assistance regarding these requirements is available from 
each FTA regional office.
c. Buy America and Strengthening Buy-American Preferences for 
Infrastructure Projects
    The FTA requires that all capital procurements meet FTA's Buy 
America requirements (49 U.S.C. 5323(j)), which require that all iron, 
steel, or manufactured products be produced in the United States, to 
help create and protect manufacturing jobs in the United States. The 
Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program will have a significant 
economic impact toward meeting the objectives of the Buy America law. 
Federal public transportation law provides for a phased increase in the 
domestic content for rolling stock. For FY 2020 and beyond, the cost of 
components and subcomponents produced in the United States must be more 
than 70 percent of the cost of all components. There is no change to 
the requirement that final assembly of rolling stock must occur in the 
United States. FTA issued guidance on the implementation of the phased 
increase in domestic content on September 1, 2016 (81 FR 60278). Any 
proposal that will require a waiver must identify in the application 
the items for which a waiver will be sought. Applicants should not 
proceed with the expectation that waivers will be granted, nor should 
applicants assume that selection of a project under the Grants for 
Buses and Bus Facilities Program that includes a partnership with a 
manufacturer, vendor, consultant, or other third party constitutes a 
waiver of the Buy America requirements applicable at the time the 
project is undertaken.
    Consistent with Executive Order 13858 Strengthening Buy-American 
Preferences for Infrastructure Projects, signed by President Trump on 
January 31, 2019, applicants should maximize the use of goods, 
products, and materials produced in the United States, in Federal 
procurements and through the terms and conditions of Federal financial 
assistance awards.
d. Disadvantaged Business Enterprise
    FTA requires that its recipients receiving planning, capital and/or 
operating assistance that will award prime contracts exceeding $250,000 
in FTA funds comply with the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) 
program regulations (49 CFR part 26). The rule requires that, prior to 
bidding on any FTA-assisted vehicle procurement, entities that 
manufacture vehicles or perform post-production alterations or 
retrofitting must submit a DBE Program plan and annual goal methodology 
to FTA. Further, to the extent that a vehicle remanufacturer is 
responding to a solicitation for new or remanufactured vehicles with a 
vehicle to which the remanufacturer has provided post-production 
alterations or retro-fitting (e.g., replacing major components such as 
engine to provide a ``like new'' vehicle), the vehicle remanufacturer 
is considered a transit vehicle manufacturer and must also comply with 
the DBE regulations.
    FTA will then issue a transit vehicle manufacturer (TVM) 
concurrence/certification letter. Grant recipients must verify each 
entity's compliance with these requirements before accepting its bid. A 
list of compliant, certified TVMs is posted on FTA's website at 
www.transit.dot.gov/TVM. Please note that this list is nonexclusive and 
recipients must contact FTA before accepting bids from entities not 
listed on this Web posting. Recipients may also establish project-
specific DBE goals for vehicle procurements. FTA will provide 
additional guidance as grants are awarded. For more information on DBE 
requirements, please contact Scheryl Portee, the Office of the Chief 
Counsel, at 202-366-0840, email: [email protected].
e. Planning
    FTA encourages applicants to notify the appropriate State 
Departments of Transportation and MPOs in areas likely to be served by 
the project funds made available under this program. Selected projects 
must be incorporated into the long-range plans and transportation 
improvement programs of States and metropolitan areas before they are 
eligible for FTA funding.
f. Standard Assurances
    By submitting a grant application, the applicant assures that it 
will comply with all applicable federal statutes, regulations, 
executive orders, directives, FTA circulars and other federal 
administrative requirements in carrying out any project supported by 
the FTA grant. Further, the applicant acknowledges that it is under a 
continuing obligation to comply with the terms and conditions of the 
grant agreement issued for its project with FTA. The applicant 
understands that Federal laws, regulations, policies and administrative 
practices might be modified from time to time and may affect the 
implementation of the project. The applicant agrees that the most 
recent Federal requirements will apply to the project, unless FTA 
issues a written determination otherwise. The applicant must submit the 
Certifications and Assurances before receiving a grant, if it does not 
have current certifications on file.
g. Reporting
    Post-award reporting requirements include the electronic submission 
of Federal Financial Reports and Milestone Progress Reports in FTA's 
electronic grants management system. Recipients of funds made available 
through this NOFO are also required to regularly submit data to the 
National Transit Database.

H. Technical Assistance and Other Program Information

    This program is not subject to Executive Order 12372, 
``Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs.'' FTA will consider 
applications for funding only from eligible recipients for eligible 
projects listed in Section C. Complete applications must be submitted 
through GRANTS.GOV by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on March 30, 2020. For 
assistance with GRANTS.GOV please contact GRANTS.GOV by phone at 1-800-
518-4726 or by email at [email protected]. Contact information for 
FTA's regional offices can be found on FTA's website at https://www.transit.dot.gov/about/regional-offices/regional-offices.

I. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts

    For further information concerning this notice, please contact the 
Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program manager, Mark Bathrick, via 
email at [email protected] or by phone at 202-366-9955. A TDD is 
available for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing at 800-877-
8339. In addition, FTA will post answers to questions and requests for 
clarifications on FTA's website at http://transit.dot.gov/busprogram. 
FTA staff will also conduct a webinar for potential applicants to learn 
more about the program and submittal process.
    To ensure the receipt of accurate information about eligibility or 
the program, applicants with questions are encouraged to contact FTA 
directly,

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rather than through intermediaries or third parties.

K. Jane Williams,
Acting Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2020-01614 Filed 1-29-20; 8:45 am]
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