Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Department of Transportation's National Infrastructure Investments Under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020

 
CONTENT
Federal Register, Volume 85 Issue 37 (Tuesday, February 25, 2020)
[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 37 (Tuesday, February 25, 2020)]
[Notices]
[Pages 10811-10823]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-03711]
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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Office of the Secretary of Transportation
Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Department of
Transportation's National Infrastructure Investments Under the
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020
AGENCY: Office of the Secretary of Transportation, DOT.
ACTION: Notice of funding opportunity.
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SUMMARY: The Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, December 20,
2019) (``FY 2020 Appropriations Act'') appropriated $1 billion to be
awarded by the Department of Transportation (``DOT'') for National
Infrastructure Investments. This appropriation stems from the program
funded and implemented pursuant to the American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the ``Recovery Act'') and is known as the
Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development, or ``BUILD
Transportation Grants,'' program. Funds for the FY 2020 BUILD
Transportation grants program are to be awarded on a competitive basis
for surface transportation infrastructure projects that will have a
significant local or regional impact. The purpose of this notice is to
solicit applications for BUILD Transportation grants.
DATES: Applications must be submitted by 5 p.m. E.D.T. on May 18, 2020.
ADDRESSES: Applications must be submitted through Grants.gov.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information concerning
this notice, please contact the BUILD Transportation grants program
staff via email at [email protected], or call Howard Hill at 202-366-
0301. A TDD is available for individuals who are deaf or hard of
hearing at 202-366-3993. In addition, DOT will regularly post answers
to questions and requests for clarifications as well as information
about webinars for further guidance on DOT's website at
www.transportation.gov/BUILDgrants.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Each section of this notice contains
information and instructions relevant to
[[Page 10812]]
the application process for these BUILD Transportation grants, and all
applicants should read this notice in its entirety so that they have
the information they need to submit eligible and competitive
applications. The definitions of urban and rural areas are consistent
with the FY 2019 BUILD Transportation grant definitions, which differed
from previous rounds. Additionally, not more than 50 percent of funds
will be awarded to projects located in urban and rural areas,
respectively. In addition to capital awards, DOT will award at least
$15 million for eligible planning and preconstruction activities that
do not result in construction of a capital project.
Table of Contents
A. Program Description
B. Federal Award Information
C. Eligibility Information
D. Application and Submission Information
E. Application Review Information
F. Federal Award Administration Information
G. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts
H. Other Information
A. Program Description
 The Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (Pub. L. 116-94,
December 20, 2019) (``FY 2020 Appropriations Act'') appropriated $1
billion to be awarded by the Department of Transportation (``DOT'') for
National Infrastructure Investments. Since this program was created, $8
billion has been awarded for capital investments in surface
transportation infrastructure over eleven rounds of competitive grants.
Throughout the program, these discretionary grant awards have supported
projects that have a significant local or regional impact.
 Like the FY 2017 TIGER program, the FY 2020 BUILD program will also
give special consideration to projects which emphasize improved access
to reliable, safe, and affordable transportation for communities in
rural areas, such as projects that improve infrastructure condition,
address public health and safety, promote regional connectivity or
facilitate economic growth or competitiveness. Consistent with DOT's
R.O.U.T.E.S. initiative, DOT seeks rural projects that address
deteriorating conditions and disproportionately high fatality rates on
rural transportation infrastructure. Such projects may concurrently
invest in broadband to better facilitate productivity and help rural
citizens access opportunities, or promote energy independence to help
deliver significant local or regional economic benefit.
B. Federal Award Information
1. Amount Available
 The FY 2020 Appropriations Act appropriated $1 billion to be
awarded by DOT for the BUILD Transportation grants program. The FY 2020
BUILD Transportation grants are for capital investments in surface
transportation infrastructure and are to be awarded on a competitive
basis for projects that will have a significant local or regional
impact. Additionally, DOT will award no less than $15 million (of the
$1 billion) for the planning, preparation or design of eligible
projects. DOT refers to such awards as BUILD Transportation planning
grants. The FY 2020 Appropriations Act also allows DOT to retain up to
$25 million of the $1 billion for award, oversight and administration
of grants and credit assistance made under the program. In addition to
the FY 2020 BUILD funds, unobligated TIGER FY 2017 and FY 2018 BUILD
funds may be made available and awarded under this solicitation to
projects that can be obligated before the September 30, 2020 obligation
deadline associated with those prior years' funds. If this solicitation
does not result in the award and obligation of all available funds, DOT
may publish additional solicitations.
 The FY 2020 Appropriations Act allows up to 20 percent of available
funds (or $200 million) to be used by DOT to pay the subsidy and
administrative costs of a project receiving credit assistance under the
Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 1998
(``TIFIA'') or Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF)
programs, if that use of the FY 2020 BUILD funds would further the
purposes of the BUILD Transportation grants program.
2. Award Size
 The FY 2020 Appropriations Act specifies that BUILD Transportation
grants may not be less than $5 million and not greater than $25
million, except that for projects located in rural areas (as defined in
Section C.4.(a)) the minimum award size is $1 million. There is no
minimum award size, regardless of location, for BUILD Transportation
planning grants. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit
applications only for eligible award amounts.
3. Restrictions on Funding
 Pursuant to the FY 2020 Appropriations Act, no more than 10 percent
of the funds made available for BUILD Transportation grants (or $100
million) may be awarded to projects in a single State. The Act also
directs that not more than 50 percent of the funds provided for BUILD
Transportation grants (or $500 million) shall be awarded to projects
located in rural areas (as defined in section C.4.(a)) and directs that
not more than 50 percent of the funds provided for BUILD Transportation
grants (or $500 million) shall be awarded to projects located in
urbanized areas (as defined in section C.4.(a)). Further, DOT must take
measures to ensure an equitable geographic distribution of grant funds,
an appropriate balance in addressing the needs of urban and rural
areas, and investment in a variety of transportation modes.
4. Availability of Funds
 The FY 2020 Appropriations Act requires that FY 2020 BUILD
Transportation grants funds are available for obligation only through
September 30, 2022. Obligation occurs when a selected applicant and DOT
enter into a written grant agreement after the applicant has satisfied
applicable administrative requirements, including transportation
planning and environmental review requirements. Unless authorized by
DOT in writing after DOT's announcement of FY 2020 BUILD awards, any
costs incurred prior to DOT's obligation of funds for a project are
ineligible for reimbursement.\1\ All FY 2020 BUILD funds must be
expended (the grant obligation must be liquidated or actually paid out
to the grantee) by September 30, 2027. After this date, unliquidated
funds are no longer available to the project. As part of the review and
selection process described in Section E.2., DOT will consider a
project's likelihood of being ready to proceed with an obligation of
BUILD Transportation grant funds and complete liquidation of these
obligations, within the statutory timelines. No waiver is possible for
these deadlines.
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 \1\ Pre-award costs are only costs incurred directly pursuant to
the negotiation and anticipation of the BUILD award where such costs
are necessary for efficient and timely performance of the scope of
work, as determined by DOT. Costs incurred under an advance
construction (23 U.S.C. 115) authorization before the DOT announces
that a project is selected for a FY 2020 BUILD award cannot be
charged to FY 2020 BUILD funds.
 Likewise, costs incurred under an FTA Letter of No Prejudice
under Chapter 53 of title 49 U.S.C. before the DOT announces that a
project is selected for a FY 2020 BUILD award cannot be charged to
FY 2020 BUILD funds.
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5. Previous BUILD/TIGER Awards
 Recipients of BUILD/TIGER grants may apply for funding to support
[[Page 10813]]
additional phases of a project previously awarded funds in the BUILD/
TIGER program. However, to be competitive, the applicant should
demonstrate the extent to which the previously funded project phase has
met estimated project schedules and budget, as well as the ability to
realize the benefits expected for the project.
C. Eligibility Information
 To be selected for a BUILD Transportation grant, an applicant must
be an Eligible Applicant and the project must be an Eligible Project.
1. Eligible Applicants
 Eligible Applicants for BUILD Transportation grants are State,
local and tribal governments, including U.S. territories, transit
agencies, port authorities, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs),
and other political subdivisions of State or local governments.
 Multiple States or jurisdictions may submit a joint application and
must identify a lead applicant as the primary point of contact and also
identify the primary recipient of the award. Each applicant in a joint
application must be an Eligible Applicant. Joint applications must
include a description of the roles and responsibilities of each
applicant and must be signed by each applicant.
 DOT expects that the eligible applicant that submits the
application will administer and deliver the project. If the applicant
seeks a transfer of the award to another agency, a letter of support
from the designated entity must be included in the application.
2. Cost Sharing or Matching
 Per the FY 2020 Appropriations Act, the Federal share of project
costs for which an expenditure is made under the BUILD Transportation
grant program may not exceed 80 percent for a project located in an
urban area.\2\ The Secretary may increase the Federal share of costs
above 80 percent for a project located in a rural area. Urban area and
rural area are defined in Section C.4.(a) of this notice. DOT shall
give priority to projects that require a contribution of Federal funds
in order to complete an overall financing package.
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 \2\ To meet match requirements, the minimum total project cost
for a project located in an urban area must be $6.25 million.
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 Non-Federal sources include State funds originating from programs
funded by State revenue, local funds originating from State or local
revenue-funded programs, or private funds. Toll credits under 23 U.S.C.
120(i) are considered a Federal source under the BUILD program and,
therefore, cannot be used to satisfy the statutory cost sharing
requirement of a BUILD award. Unless otherwise authorized by statute,
non-Federal cost-share may not be counted as the non-Federal share for
both the BUILD Transportation grant and another Federal grant program.
DOT will not consider previously incurred costs or previously expended
or encumbered funds towards the matching requirement for any project.
Matching funds are subject to the same Federal requirements described
in Section F.2. as awarded funds. If repaid from non-Federal sources,
Federal credit assistance is considered non-Federal share.
 For each project that receives a BUILD Transportation grant award,
the terms of the award will require the recipient to complete the
project using at least the level of non-Federal funding that was
specified in the application. If the actual costs of the project are
greater than the costs estimated in the application, the recipient will
be responsible for increasing the non-Federal contribution. If the
actual costs of the project are less than the costs estimated in the
application, DOT will generally reduce the Federal contribution.
3. Other
i. Eligible Projects
(a) Capital Projects
 Eligible projects for BUILD Transportation grants are surface
transportation capital projects that include, but are not limited to:
(1) Highway, bridge, or other road projects eligible under title 23,
United States Code; (2) public transportation projects eligible under
chapter 53 of title 49, United States Code; (3) passenger and freight
rail transportation projects; (4) port infrastructure investments
(including inland port infrastructure and land ports of entry); (5)
intermodal projects; and (6) projects investing in surface
transportation facilities that are located on tribal land and for which
title or maintenance responsibility is vested in the Federal
Government.\3\
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 \3\ Please note that DOT may award a BUILD Transportation grant
to pay for the surface transportation components of a broader
project that has non-surface transportation components, and
applicants are encouraged to apply for BUILD Transportation grants
to pay for the surface transportation components of these projects.
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 Other than projects described in this section, improvements to
Federally owned facilities are ineligible under the FY 2020 BUILD
program. Research, demonstration, or pilot projects are eligible only
if they will result in long-term, permanent surface transportation
infrastructure that has independent utility as defined in Section
C.4.(b).
(b) Planning Projects
 Activities eligible for funding under BUILD Transportation planning
grants are related to the planning, preparation, or design--including
environmental analysis, feasibility studies, and other pre-construction
activities--of eligible surface transportation capital projects
described in Section C.3.(a).
 In addition, eligible activities related to multidisciplinary
projects or regional planning may include: (1) Development of master
plans, comprehensive plans, or corridor plans; (2) Planning activities
related to the development of a multimodal freight corridor, including
those that seek to reduce conflicts with residential areas and with
passenger and non-motorized traffic; (3) Development of port and
regional port planning grants, including State-wide or multi-port
planning within a single jurisdiction or region; (4) Risk assessments
and planning to identify vulnerabilities and address the transportation
system's ability to withstand probable occurrence or recurrence of an
emergency or major disaster.
ii. Rural/Urban Definition
 For purposes of this notice, a project is designated as urban if it
is located within (or on the boundary of) a Census-designated urbanized
area \4\ that had a population greater than 200,000 in the 2010
Census.\5\ If a project is located outside a Census-designated
urbanized area with a population greater than 200,000, it is designated
as a rural project. Rural and urban definitions differ in some other
DOT programs, including TIFIA.
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 \4\ Updated lists of UAs as defined by the Census Bureau are
available on the Census Bureau website at https://www.census.gov/geographies/reference-maps/2010/geo/2010-census-urban-areas.html.
 \5\ See www.transportation.gov/BUILDgrants for a list of UAs.
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 A project located in both an urban and a rural area will be
designated as urban if the majority of the project's costs will be
spent in urban areas. Conversely, a project located in both an urban
area and a rural area will be designated as rural if the majority of
the project's costs will be spent in rural areas. For BUILD
Transportation planning grants, the location of the project being
planned, prepared, or designed will be used for the urban or rural
designation.
 This definition affects four aspects of the program: (1) Not more
than $500 million of the funds provided for BUILD Transportation grants
are to be used for
[[Page 10814]]
projects in rural areas; (2) not more than $500 million of the funds
provided for BUILD Transportation grants are to be used for projects in
urban areas; (3) for a project in a rural area the minimum award is $1
million; and (4) the Secretary may increase the Federal share above 80
percent to pay for the costs of a project in a rural area.
iii. Project Components
 An application may describe a project that contains more than one
component, and may describe components that may be carried out by
parties other than the applicant. DOT expects, and will impose
requirements on fund recipients to ensure, that all components included
in an application will be delivered as part of the BUILD project,
regardless of whether a component includes Federal funding. DOT may
award funds for a component, instead of the larger project, if that
component (1) independently meets minimum award amounts described in
Section B and all eligibility requirements described in Section C; (2)
independently aligns well with the selection criteria specified in
Section E.1; and (3) meets National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
requirements with respect to independent utility. Independent utility
means that the component will represent a transportation improvement
that is usable and represents a reasonable expenditure of DOT funds
even if no other improvements are made in the area, and will be ready
for intended use upon completion of that component's construction. All
project components that are presented together in a single application
must demonstrate a relationship or connection between them. (See
Section D.2. for Required Approvals).
 Applicants should be aware that, depending upon the relationship
between project components and applicable Federal law, DOT funding of
only some project components may make other project components subject
to Federal requirements as described in Section F.2.
 DOT strongly encourages applicants to identify in their
applications the project components that have independent utility and
separately detail costs and requested BUILD Transportation grant
funding for those components. If the application identifies one or more
independent project components, the application should clearly identify
how each independent component addresses selection criteria and
produces benefits on its own, in addition to describing how the full
proposal of which the independent component is a part addresses
selection criteria.
iv. Application Limit
 Each lead applicant may submit no more than three applications.
Unrelated project components should not be bundled in a single
application for the purpose of adhering to the limit. If a lead
applicant submits more than three applications as the lead applicant,
only the first three received will be considered.
D. Application and Submission Information
1. Address
 Applications must be submitted to Grants.gov. Instructions for
submitting applications can be found at www.transportation.gov/BUILDgrants along with specific instructions for the forms and
attachments required for submission.
2. Content and Form of Application Submission
 The application must include the Standard Form 424 (Application for
Federal Assistance), cover page, and the Project Narrative. Applicants
are encouraged to also complete SF-424C and attach to their application
the ``BUILD 2020 Project Information'' form available at
www.transportation.gov/BUILDgrants.
 DOT recommends that the project narrative follow the basic outline
below to address the program requirements and assist evaluators in
locating relevant information.
____________________________________

____________________________________
I. Project Description.................... See D.2.i.
II. Project Location...................... See D.2.ii.
III. Grant Funds, Sources and Uses of all See D.2.iii.
 Project Funding.
IV. Selection Criteria.................... See D.2.iv. and E.1.
V. Environmental Risk Review.............. See D.2.v. and E.1.ii.
VI. Benefit Cost Analysis................. See D.2.vi. and E.1. iii.
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 The project narrative should include the information necessary for
DOT to determine that the project satisfies project requirements
described in Sections B and C and to assess the selection criteria
specified in Section E.1. To the extent practicable, applicants should
provide supporting data and documentation in a form that is directly
verifiable by DOT. DOT may ask any applicant to supplement data in its
application but expects applications to be complete upon submission.
 In addition to a detailed statement of work, detailed project
schedule, and detailed project budget, the project narrative should
include a table of contents, maps and graphics, as appropriate, to make
the information easier to review. DOT recommends that the project
narrative be prepared with standard formatting preferences (a single-
spaced document, using a standard 12-point font such as Times New
Roman, with 1-inch margins). The project narrative may not exceed 30
pages in length, excluding cover pages and table of contents. The only
substantive portions that may exceed the 30-page limit are documents
supporting assertions or conclusions made in the 30-page project
narrative. If possible, website links to supporting documentation
should be provided rather than copies of these supporting materials. If
supporting documents are submitted, applicants should clearly identify
within the project narrative the relevant portion of the project
narrative that each supporting document supports. DOT recommends using
appropriately descriptive file names (e.g., ``Project Narrative,''
``Maps,'' ``Memoranda of Understanding and Letters of Support,'' etc.)
for all attachments. DOT recommends applications include the following
sections:
i. Project Description
 The first section of the application should provide a description
of the project, the transportation challenges that it is intended to
address, and how it will address those challenges. This section should
discuss the project's history, including a description of any
previously completed components. The applicant may use this section to
place the project into a broader context of other transportation
infrastructure investments being pursued by the project sponsor, and,
if applicable, how it will benefit communities in rural areas.
Applicants may also include a detailed statement of work that focuses
on the technical and engineering aspects of the project and describes
in detail the project to be constructed.
ii. Project Location
 This section of the application should describe the project
location, including a detailed geographical description of the proposed
project, a map of the project's location and connections to existing
transportation infrastructure, and geospatial data describing the
project location. The application should also identify whether the
project is located in an Opportunity Zone.\6\ The
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Department intends to collect Opportunity Zone information to advance
other Department activities related to Opportunity Zones, but the
Department does not consider projects located in an Opportunity Zone to
be more competitive for a BUILD 2020 award than projects located
outside an Opportunity Zone.\7\ If the project is located within the
boundary of a Census-designated urbanized area, the application should
identify that urbanized area.
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 \6\ See https://www.cdfifund.gov/Pages/Opportunity-Zones.aspx
for more information on Opportunity Zones.
 \7\ See https://www.transportation.gov/opportunity-zones for
more information about the Department's activities related to
Opportunity Zones.
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iii. Grant Funds, Sources and Uses of Project Funds
 This section of the application should describe the budget for the
BUILD project (i.e., the project scope that includes BUILD funding).
This budget should not include any previously incurred expenses. At a
minimum, it should include:
 (a) Costs for the BUILD 2020 project;
 (b) For all funds to be used for eligible project costs, the source
and amount of those funds;
 (c) For non-Federal funds to be used for eligible project costs,
documentation of funding commitments. Documentation should also be
included as an appendix to the application. If matching contributions
from a State DOT are included as non-Federal match, a supporting letter
from the State indicating the source of the funds;
 (d) For Federal funds to be used for eligible project costs, the
amount, nature, and source of any required non-Federal match for those
funds; and
 (e) A budget showing how each source of funds will be spent. The
budget should show how each funding source will share in each major
construction activity, and present that data in dollars and
percentages. Funding sources should be grouped into three categories:
Non-Federal, BUILD, and other Federal. If the project contains
individual components, the budget should separate the costs of each
project component. If the project will be completed in phases, the
budget should separate the costs of each phase. The budget detail
should sufficiently demonstrate that the project satisfies the
statutory cost-sharing requirements described in Section C.2.
 In addition to the information enumerated above, this section
should provide complete information on how all project funds may be
used. For example, if a particular source of funds is available only
after a condition is satisfied, the application should identify that
condition and describe the applicant's control over whether it is
satisfied. Similarly, if a particular source of funds is available for
expenditure only during a fixed time period, the application should
describe that restriction. Complete information about project funds
will ensure that DOT's expectations for award execution align with any
funding restrictions unrelated to DOT, even if an award differs from
the applicant's request.
iv. Selection Criteria
 This section of the application should demonstrate how the project
aligns with the criteria described in Section E.1 of this notice. DOT
encourages applicants to either address each criterion or expressly
state that the project does not address the criterion. Applicants are
not required to follow a specific format, but the outline suggested
addresses each criterion separately and promotes a clear discussion
that assists project evaluators. To minimize redundant information in
the application, DOT encourages applicants to cross-reference from this
section of their application to relevant substantive information in
other sections of the application. The guidance in this section is
about how the applicant should organize their application. Guidance
describing how DOT will evaluate projects against the Selection
Criteria is in Section E.1 of this notice. Applicants also should
review that section before considering how to organize their
application.
(1) Primary Selection Criteria
(a) Safety
 This section of the application should describe the anticipated
outcomes of the project that support the Safety criterion (described in
Section E.1.i.(a) of this notice). The applicant should include
information on, and to the extent possible, quantify, how the project
would improve safety outcomes within the project area or wider
transportation network, to include how the project will reduce the
number, rate, and consequences of transportation-related accidents,
serious injuries, and fatalities. If applicable, the applicant should
also include information on how the project will eliminate unsafe grade
crossings or contribute to preventing unintended releases of hazardous
materials.
(b) State of Good Repair
 This section of the application should describe how the project
will contribute to a state of good repair by improving the condition or
resilience of existing transportation facilities and systems (described
in Section E.1.i.(b) of this notice), including the project's current
condition and how the proposed project will improve it, and any
estimates of impacts on long-term cost structures or overall life-cycle
costs. If the project will contribute to a state of good repair of
transportation infrastructure that supports border security, the
applicant should describe how.
(c) Economic Competitiveness
 This section of the application should describe how the project
will support the Economic Competitiveness criterion (described in
Section E.1.i.(c) of this notice). The applicant should include
information about expected impacts of the project on the movement of
goods and people, including how the project increases the efficiency of
movement and thereby reduces costs of doing business, improves local
and regional freight connectivity to the national and global economy,
reduces burdens of commuting, and improves overall well-being. The
applicant should describe the extent to which the project contributes
to the functioning and growth of the economy, including the extent to
which the project addresses congestion or freight connectivity, bridges
service gaps in rural areas, or promotes the expansion of private
economic development.
(d) Environmental Sustainability
 This section of the application should describe how the project
addresses the environmental sustainability criterion (described in
Section E.1.i.(d) of this notice). Applicants are encouraged to provide
quantitative information, including baseline information that
demonstrates how the project will reduce energy consumption, reduce
stormwater runoff, or achieve other benefits for the environment such
as brownfield redevelopment.
(e) Quality of Life
 This section should describe how the project increases
transportation choices for individuals, expands access to essential
services for people in communities across the United States, improves
connectivity for citizens to jobs, health care, and other critical
destinations, particularly for rural communities, or otherwise
addresses the quality of life criterion (described in Section E.1.i.(e)
of this notice). If construction of the transportation project will
allow concurrent installation of fiber or other broadband deployment as
an essential service, the applicant should describe those activities
and how they support quality of life. Unless the concurrent activities
[[Page 10816]]
support transportation, they will not be eligible for reimbursement.
(2) Secondary Selection Criteria
(a) Innovation
 This section of the application should describe innovative
strategies used and the anticipated benefits of using those strategies,
including those corresponding to three categories (described in Section
E.1.i.(f) of this notice): (i) Innovative Technologies, (ii) Innovative
Project Delivery, or (iii) Innovative Financing.
(i) Innovative Technologies
 If an applicant is proposing to adopt innovative safety approaches
or technology, the application should demonstrate the applicant's
capacity to implement those innovations, the applicant's understanding
of applicable Federal requirements and whether the innovations may
require extraordinary permitting, approvals, exemptions, waivers, or
other procedural actions, and the effects of those innovations on the
project delivery timeline.
 If an applicant is proposing to deploy innovative traveler
information systems or technologies as part of the surface
transportation capital project, including work zone data exchanges or
related data exchanges, the application should demonstrate the
applicant's capacity to implement these innovations, the applicant's
understanding of applicable data standards, and whether the proposed
innovations will advance safety or other benefits during and after
project completion.
 If an applicant is proposing to deploy autonomous vehicles or other
innovative motor vehicle technology, the application should demonstrate
that all vehicles will comply with applicable safety requirements,
including those administered by the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration (NHTSA) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
(FMCSA). Specifically, the application should show that vehicles
acquired for the proposed project will comply with applicable Federal
Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Regulations (FMCSR). If the vehicles may not comply, the application
should either (1) show that the vehicles and their proposed operations
are within the scope of an exemption or waiver that has already been
granted by NHTSA, FMCSA, or both agencies or (2) directly address
whether the project will require exemptions or waivers from the FMVSS,
FMCSR, or any other regulation and, if the project will require
exemptions or waivers, present a plan for obtaining them.
(ii) Innovative Project Delivery
 If an applicant plans to use innovative approaches to project
delivery or is located in a State with NEPA delegation authority,
applicants should describe those project delivery methods and how they
are expected to improve the efficiency of the project development or
expedite project delivery.
 If an applicant is proposing to use SEP-14 or SEP-15 (as described
in section E.1.i.(f) of this notice) the applicant should describe that
proposal. The applicant should also provide sufficient information for
evaluators to confirm that the applicant's proposal would meet the
requirements of the specific experimental authority program.\8\
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 \8\ SEP-14 information is available at https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/programadmin/contracts/sep_a.cfm. SEP-15 information is available at
https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ipd/p3/toolkit/usdot/sep15/implementation_procedure/.
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(iii) Innovative Financing
 If an applicant plans to incorporate innovative funding or
financing, the applicant should describe the funding or financing
approach, including a description of all activities undertaken to
pursue private funding or financing for the project and the outcomes of
those activities.
(b) Partnership
 This section of the application should include information to
assess the partnership criterion (described in Section E.1.i.(g) of
this notice) including a list of all project parties and details about
the proposed grant recipient and other public and private parties who
are involved in delivering the project. This section should also
describe efforts to collaborate among stakeholders, including with the
private sector.
 Applications for projects involving other Federal agencies, or
requiring action from other Federal agencies, should demonstrate
commitment and involvement of those agencies. For example, projects
involving border infrastructure should demonstrate evidence of
concurrent investment from U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, U.S.
Department of State, and other relevant Federal agencies; relevant port
projects should demonstrate alignment with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
investment strategies.
v. Environmental Risk
 This section of the application should include sufficient
information for DOT to evaluate whether the project is reasonably
expected to begin construction in a timely manner. To assist DOT's
project environmental risk review, the applicant should provide the
information requested on project schedule, required approvals and
permits, NEPA, risk and mitigation strategies, each of which is
described in greater detail in the following sections. Applicants are
not required to follow the specific format described here, but this
organization, which addresses each relevant aspect of environmental
risk, promotes a clear discussion that assists project evaluators. To
minimize redundant information in the application, DOT encourages
applicants to cross-reference from this section of their application to
relevant substantive information in other sections of the application.
 The guidance here is about what information applicants should
provide and how the applicant should organize their application.
Guidance describing how DOT will evaluate environmental risk is
described in Section E.1.ii of this notice. Applicants should review
that section when considering how to organize their application.
(a) Project Schedule
 The applicant should include a detailed project schedule that
identifies all major project milestones. Examples of such milestones
include State and local planning approvals (e.g., programming on the
Statewide Transportation Improvement Program); start and completion of
NEPA and other Federal environmental reviews and approvals including
permitting; design completion; right of way acquisition; approval of
plans, specifications and estimates; procurement; State and local
approvals; project partnership and implementation agreements, including
agreements with railroads; and construction. The project schedule
should be sufficiently detailed to demonstrate that:
 (1.) All necessary activities will be complete to allow BUILD
Transportation grant funds to be obligated sufficiently in advance of
the statutory deadline (September 30, 2022 for FY 2020 funds), and that
any unexpected delays will not put the funds at risk of expiring before
they are obligated;
 (2.) the project can begin construction quickly upon obligation of
grant funds and that those funds will be spent expeditiously once
construction starts, with all funds expended by September 30, 2027; and
 (3.) all real property and right-of-way acquisition will be
completed in a timely manner in accordance with 49
[[Page 10817]]
CFR part 24, 23 CFR part 710, and other applicable legal requirements
or a statement that no acquisition is necessary.
(b) Required Approvals
 1. Environmental Permits and Reviews. The application should
demonstrate receipt (or reasonably anticipated receipt) of all
environmental approvals and permits necessary for the project to
proceed to construction on the timeline specified in the project
schedule and necessary to meet the statutory obligation deadline,
including satisfaction of all Federal, State and local requirements and
completion of the NEPA process. Specifically, the application should
include:
 i. Information about the NEPA status of the project. If the NEPA
process is complete, an applicant should indicate the date of
completion, and provide a website link or other reference to the final
Categorical Exclusion, Finding of No Significant Impact, Record of
Decision, and any other NEPA documents prepared. If the NEPA process is
underway, but not complete, the application should detail the type of
NEPA review underway, where the project is in the process, and indicate
the anticipated date of completion of all milestones and of the final
NEPA determination. If the last agency action with respect to NEPA
documents occurred more than three years before the application date,
the applicant should describe why the project has been delayed and
include a proposed approach for verifying and, if necessary, updating
this material in accordance with applicable NEPA requirements.
 ii. Information on reviews, approvals, and permits by other
agencies. An application should indicate whether the proposed project
requires reviews or approval actions by other agencies,\9\ indicate the
status of such actions, and provide detailed information about the
status of those reviews or approvals and should demonstrate compliance
with any other applicable Federal, State or local requirements, and
when such approvals are expected. Applicants should provide a website
link or other reference to copies of any reviews, approvals, and
permits prepared.
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 \9\ Projects that may impact protected resources such as
wetlands, species habitat, cultural or historic resources require
review and approval by Federal and State agencies with jurisdiction
over those resources.
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 iii. Environmental studies or other documents, preferably through a
website link, that describe in detail known project impacts, and
possible mitigation for those impacts.
 iv. A description of discussions with the appropriate DOT operating
administration field or headquarters office regarding the project's
compliance with NEPA and other applicable Federal environmental reviews
and approvals.
 v. A description of public engagement about the project that has
occurred, including details on the degree to which public comments and
commitments have been integrated into project development and design.
 2. State and Local Approvals. The applicant should demonstrate
receipt of State and local approvals on which the project depends, such
as State and local environmental and planning approvals and Statewide
Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) or (Transportation
Improvement Program) TIP funding. For projects acquiring State DOT-
owned right of way, applicants should demonstrate they have coordinated
the project with the State DOT or transportation facility owner.
Additional support from relevant State and local officials is not
required; however, an applicant should demonstrate that the project has
broad public support.
 3. Federal Transportation Requirements Affecting State and Local
Planning. The planning requirements applicable to the relevant
operating administration apply to all BUILD Transportation grant
projects,\10\ including intermodal projects located at airport
facilities.\11\ Applicants should demonstrate that a project that is
required to be included in the relevant State, metropolitan, and local
planning documents has been or will be included in such documents. If
the project is not included in a relevant planning document at the time
the application is submitted, the applicant should submit a statement
from the appropriate planning agency that actions are underway to
include the project in the relevant planning document. To the extent
possible, freight projects should be included in a State Freight Plan
and supported by a State Freight Advisory Committee (49 U.S.C. 70201,
70202), if these exist. Applicants should provide links or other
documentation supporting this consideration. Because projects have
different schedules, the construction start date for each BUILD
Transportation grant must be specified in the project-specific
agreements signed by relevant operating administration and the grant
recipients, based on critical path items that applicants identify in
the application and will be consistent with relevant State and local
plans.
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 \10\ Under 23 U.S.C. 134 and 135, all projects requiring an
action by FHWA must be in the applicable plan and programming
documents (e.g., metropolitan transportation plan, transportation
improvement program (TIP) and statewide transportation improvement
program (STIP)). Further, in air quality non-attainment and
maintenance areas, all regionally significant projects, regardless
of the funding source, must be included in the conforming
metropolitan transportation plan and TIP. Inclusion in the STIP is
required under certain circumstances. To the extent a project is
required to be on a metropolitan transportation plan, TIP, and/or
STIP, it will not receive a BUILD Transportation grant until it is
included in such plans. Plans that do not currently include the
awarded BUILD project can be amended by the State and MPO. Projects
that are not required to be in long range transportation plans,
STIPs, and TIPs will not need to be included in such plans in order
to receive a BUILD Transportation grant. Port, freight rail, and
intermodal projects are not required to be on the State Rail Plans
called for in the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of
2008, or in a State Freight Plan as described in the FAST Act.
However, applicants seeking funding for freight projects are
encouraged to demonstrate that they have done sufficient planning to
ensure that projects fit into a prioritized list of capital needs
and are consistent with long-range goals. Means of demonstrating
this consistency would include whether the project is in a TIP or a
State Freight Plan that conforms to the requirements 49 U.S.C. 70202
prior to the start of construction. Port planning guidelines are
available at StrongPorts.gov.
 \11\ Projects at grant obligated airports must be compatible
with the FAA-approved Airport Layout Plan, as well as aeronautical
surfaces associated with the landing and takeoff of aircraft at the
airport. Additionally, projects at an airport: must comply with
established Sponsor Grant Assurances, including (but not limited to)
requirements for non-exclusive use facilities, consultation with
users, consistency with local plans including development of the
area surrounding the airport, and consideration of the interest of
nearby communities, among others; and must not adversely affect the
continued and unhindered access of passengers to the terminal.
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(c) Assessment of Project Risks and Mitigation Strategies
 Project risks, such as procurement delays, environmental
uncertainties, increases in real estate acquisition costs, uncommitted
local match, unavailability of vehicles that either comply with Federal
Motor Vehicle Safety Standards or are exempt from Federal Motor Vehicle
Safety Standards in a manner that allows for their legal acquisition
and deployment, unavailability of domestically manufactured equipment,
or lack of legislative approval, affect the likelihood of successful
project start and completion. The applicant should identify all
material risks to the project and the strategies that the lead
applicant and any project partners have undertaken or will undertake in
order to mitigate those risks. The applicant should assess the greatest
risks to the project and identify how the project parties will mitigate
those risks.
[[Page 10818]]
 If an applicant anticipates pursuing a waiver for relevant domestic
preference laws, the applicant should describe steps that have been or
will be taken to maximize the use of domestic goods, products, and
materials in constructing its project.
 To the extent the applicant is unfamiliar with the Federal program,
the applicant should contact the appropriate DOT operating
administration field or headquarters offices, as found in contact
information at www.transportation.gov/BUILDgrants, for information on
the pre-requisite steps to obligate Federal funds in order to ensure
that their project schedule is reasonable and that there are no risks
of delays in satisfying Federal requirements.
 BUILD Transportation planning grant applicants should describe
their capacity to successfully implement the proposed activities in a
timely manner.
vi. Benefit Cost Analysis
 This section describes the recommended approach for the completion
and submission of a benefit-cost analysis (BCA) as an appendix to the
Project Narrative. The results of the analysis should be summarized in
the Project Narrative directly, as described in Section D.2.
 The appendix should provide present value estimates of a project's
benefits and costs relative to a no-build baseline. To calculate
present values, applicants should apply a real discount rate (i.e., the
discount rate net of the inflation rate) of 7 percent per year to the
project's streams of benefits and costs. The purpose of the BCA is to
enable DOT to evaluate the project's cost-effectiveness by estimating a
benefit-cost ratio and calculating the magnitude of net benefits for
the project.
 The primary economic benefits from projects eligible for BUILD
Transportation grants are likely to include savings in travel time
costs, vehicle or terminal operating costs, and safety costs for both
existing users of the improved facility and new users who may be
attracted to it as a result of the project. Reduced damages from
vehicle emissions and savings in maintenance costs to public agencies
may also be quantified. Applicants may describe other categories of
benefits in the BCA that are more difficult to quantify and value in
economic terms, such as improving the reliability of travel times or
improvements to the existing human and natural environments (such as
increased connectivity, improved public health, storm water runoff
mitigation, and noise reduction), while also providing numerical
estimates of the magnitude and timing of each of these additional
impacts wherever possible. Any benefits claimed for the project, both
quantified and unquantified, should be clearly tied to the expected
outcomes of the project.
 The BCA should include the full costs of developing, constructing,
operating, and maintaining the proposed project, as well as the
expected timing or schedule for costs in each of these categories. The
BCA may also consider the present discounted value of any remaining
service life of the asset at the end of the analysis period. The costs
and benefits that are compared in the BCA should also cover the same
project scope.
 The BCA should carefully document the assumptions and methodology
used to produce the analysis, including a description of the baseline,
the sources of data used to project the outcomes of the project, and
the values of key input parameters. Applicants should provide all
relevant files used for their BCA, including any spreadsheet files and
technical memos describing the analysis (whether created in-house or by
a contractor). The spreadsheets and technical memos should present the
calculations in sufficient detail and transparency to allow the
analysis to be reproduced by DOT evaluators. Detailed guidance for
estimating some types of quantitative benefits and costs, together with
recommended economic values for converting them to dollar terms and
discounting to their present values, are available in DOT's guidance
for conducting BCAs for projects seeking funding under the BUILD
Transportation grant program (see www.transportation.gov/BUILDgrants/additional-guidance).
3. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM)
 Each applicant must: (1) Be registered in SAM before submitting its
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 it has an active
Federal award or an application or plan under consideration by a
Federal awarding agency. DOT may not make a BUILD Transportation grant
to an applicant until the applicant has complied with all applicable
unique entity identifier and SAM requirements and, if an applicant has
not fully complied with the requirements by the time DOT is ready to
make a BUILD Transportation grant, DOT may determine that the applicant
is not qualified to receive a BUILD Transportation grant and use that
determination as a basis for making a BUILD Transportation grant to
another applicant.
4. Submission Dates and Times
 Applications must be submitted to Grants.gov. Instructions for
submitting applications can be found at www.transportation.gov/BUILDgrants along with specific instructions for the forms and
attachments required for submission.
(a) Deadline
 Applications must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. E.D.T. on May 18, 2020.
To submit an application through Grants.gov, applicants must:
 (1) Obtain a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number;
 (2) Register with the System for Award Management (SAM) at
www.SAM.gov;
 (3) Create a Grants.gov username and password; and
 (4) The E-Business Point of Contact (POC) at the applicant's
organization must respond to the registration email from Grants.gov and
login at Grants.gov to authorize the applicant as the Authorized
Organization Representative (AOR). Please note that there can be more
than one AOR for an organization.
 Please note that the Grants.gov registration process usually takes
2-4 weeks to complete and that DOT will not consider late applications
that are the result of failure to register or comply with Grants.gov
applicant requirements in a timely manner. For information and
instruction on each of these processes, please see instructions at
http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/applicant-faqs.html. If
applicants experience difficulties at any point during the registration
or application process, please call the Grants.gov Customer Service
Support Hotline at 1(800) 518-4726, Monday-Friday from 7:00 a.m. to
9:00 p.m. EST.
(b) Consideration of Applications
 Only applicants who comply with all submission deadlines described
in this notice and electronically submit valid applications through
Grants.gov will be eligible for award. Applicants are strongly
encouraged to make submissions in advance of the deadline.
(c) Late Applications
 Applicants experiencing technical issues with Grants.gov that are
beyond the applicant's control must contact [email protected] prior
to the application deadline with the user name of the registrant and
details of the technical issue experienced. The applicant must provide:
[[Page 10819]]
 (1) Details of the technical issue experienced;
 (2) Screen capture(s) of the technical issues experienced along
with corresponding Grants.gov ``Grant tracking number;''
 (3) The ``Legal Business Name'' for the applicant that was provided
in the SF-424;
 (4) The AOR name submitted in the SF-424;
 (5) The DUNS number associated with the application; and
 (6) The Grants.gov Help Desk Tracking Number.
 To ensure a fair competition of limited discretionary funds, the
following conditions are not valid reasons to permit late submissions:
(1) Failure to complete the registration process before the deadline;
(2) failure to follow Grants.gov instructions on how to register and
apply as posted on its website; (3) failure to follow all instructions
in this notice of funding opportunity; and (4) technical issues
experienced with the applicant's computer or information technology
environment. After DOT reviews all information submitted and contact
the Grants.gov Help Desk to validate reported technical issues, DOT
staff will contact late applicants to approve or deny a request to
submit a late application through Grants.gov. If the reported technical
issues cannot be validated, late applications will be rejected as
untimely.
E. Application Review Information
1. Criteria
(a) Capital Projects
 This section specifies the criteria that DOT will use to evaluate
and award applications for BUILD Transportation grants. The criteria
incorporate the statutory eligibility requirements for this program,
which are specified in this notice as relevant. For each proposed
project, DOT will review the potential long-term benefits for the
primary and secondary merit criteria described in this section. DOT
does not consider any primary merit criterion more important than the
others. Applications that do not demonstrate a potential for moderate
long-term benefits based on these criteria will not proceed in the
evaluation process. In evaluating the primary and secondary merit
criteria, DOT will review the project's local or regional impact as
well the content and credibility of information used to explain project
benefits.
i. Primary Merit Criteria
a. Safety
 DOT will assess the project's ability to foster a safe
transportation system for the movement of goods and people. DOT will
consider the projected impacts on the number, rate, and consequences of
crashes, fatalities and injuries among transportation users; the
project's contribution to the elimination of highway/rail grade
crossings; or the project's contribution to preventing unintended
releases of hazardous materials.
b. State of Good Repair
 DOT will assess whether and to what extent: (1) The project is
consistent with relevant plans to maintain transportation facilities or
systems in a state of good repair and address current and projected
vulnerabilities; (2) if left unimproved, the poor condition of the
asset will threaten future transportation network efficiency, mobility
of goods or accessibility and mobility of people, or economic growth;
(3) the project is appropriately capitalized up front and uses asset
management approaches that optimize its long-term cost structure; (4) a
sustainable source of revenue is available for operations and
maintenance of the project and the project will reduce overall life-
cycle costs; (5) the project will maintain or improve transportation
infrastructure that supports border security functions; and (6) the
project includes a plan to maintain the transportation infrastructure
in a state of good repair. DOT will prioritize projects that ensure the
good condition of transportation infrastructure, including rural
transportation infrastructure, that support commerce and economic
growth.
c. Economic Competitiveness
 DOT will assess whether the project will (1) decrease
transportation costs and improve access, through reliable and timely
access to employment centers and job opportunities; (2) improve long-
term efficiency, reliability or costs in the movement of workers or
goods; (3) increase the economic productivity of land, capital, or
labor; (4) result in long-term job creation and other economic
opportunities; or (5) help the United States compete in a global
economy by facilitating efficient and reliable freight movement.
 Projects that address congestion in major urban areas, particularly
those that do so through the use of congestion pricing or the
deployment of advanced technology, projects that bridge gaps in service
in rural areas, and projects that attract private economic development,
all support local or regional economic competitiveness.
d. Environmental Sustainability
 DOT will consider the extent to which the project improves energy
efficiency, reduces dependence on oil, reduces congestion-related
emissions, improves water quality, avoids and mitigates environmental
impacts and otherwise benefits the environment, including through
alternative right of way uses demonstrating innovative ways to improve
or streamline environmental reviews while maintaining the same
outcomes. DOT will assess the project's ability to: (i) Reduce energy
use and air or water pollution through congestion mitigation
strategies; (ii) avoid adverse environmental impacts to air or water
quality, wetlands, and endangered species; or (iii) provide
environmental benefits, such as brownfield redevelopment, ground water
recharge in areas of water scarcity, wetlands creation or improved
habitat connectivity, and stormwater mitigation.
e. Quality of Life
 DOT will consider the extent to which the project: (i) Increases
transportation choices for individuals to provide more freedom on
transportation decisions; (ii) expands access to essential services for
communities across the United States, particularly for rural
communities; or (iii) improves connectivity for citizens to jobs,
health care, and other critical destinations, particularly for rural
communities. Americans living in rural areas and on Tribal lands
continue to disproportionately lack access and connectivity, and DOT
will consider whether and the extent to which the construction of the
transportation project will allow concurrent installation of fiber or
other broadband deployment as an essential service.
ii. Secondary Merit Criteria
a. Innovation
 DOT will assess the extent to which the applicant uses innovative
strategies, including: (1) Innovative technologies, (2) innovative
project delivery, or (3) innovative financing.
1. Innovative Technologies
 DOT will assess innovative approaches to transportation safety,
particularly in relation to automated vehicles and the detection,
mitigation, and documentation of safety risks. When making BUILD
Transportation grant award decisions, DOT will consider any innovative
safety approaches proposed by the applicant,
[[Page 10820]]
particularly projects which incorporate innovative design solutions,
enhance the environment for automated vehicles, or use technology to
improve the detection, mitigation, and documentation of safety risks.
Innovative safety approaches may include, but are not limited to:
 Conflict detection and mitigation technologies (e.g.,
intersection alerts and signal prioritization);
 Dynamic signaling, smart traffic signals, or pricing
systems to reduce congestion;
 Traveler information systems, to include work zone data
exchanges;
 Signage and design features that facilitate autonomous or
semi-autonomous vehicle technologies;
 Applications to automatically capture and report safety-
related issues (e.g., identifying and documenting near-miss incidents);
and
 Cybersecurity elements to protect safety-critical systems.
 For innovative safety proposals, DOT will evaluate safety benefits
that those approaches could produce and the broader applicability of
the potential results. DOT will also assess the extent to which the
project uses innovative technology that supports surface transportation
to significantly enhance the operational performance of the
transportation system.
 Innovative technologies include: Broadband deployment and the
installation of high-speed networks concurrent with the project
construction; connecting Intelligent Transportation System (ITS)
infrastructure; and providing direct fiber connections that support
surface transportation to public and private entities, which can
provide a platform and catalyst for growth of rural communities. DOT
will consider whether and the extent to which the construction of the
transportation project will allow concurrent broadband deployment and
the installation of high-speed networks.
2. Innovative Project Delivery
 DOT will consider the extent to which the project utilizes
innovative practices in contracting (such as public-private
partnerships), congestion management, asset management, or long-term
operations and maintenance.
 DOT also seeks projects that employ innovative approaches to
improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the environmental
permitting and review to accelerate project delivery and achieve
improved outcomes for communities and the environment. DOT's objective
is to achieve timely and consistent environmental review and permit
decisions. Accordingly, projects from States with NEPA assignment
authority under 23 U.S.C. 327 are considered to use an innovative
approach to project delivery. Participation in innovative project
delivery approaches will not remove any statutory requirements
affecting project delivery.
 While BUILD Transportation grant award recipients are not required
to employ innovative approaches, DOT encourages BUILD Transportation
grant applicants to describe innovative project delivery methods for
proposed projects.
 Additionally, DOT is interested in projects that apply innovative
strategies to improve the efficiency of project development or expedite
project delivery by using FHWA's Special Experimental Project No. 14
(SEP-14) and Special Experimental Project No. 15 (SEP-15). Under SEP-14
and SEP-15, FHWA may waive statutory and regulatory requirements under
title 23 on a project-by-project basis to explore innovative processes
that could be adopted through legislation. This experimental authority
is available to test changes that would improve the efficiency of
project delivery in a manner that is consistent with the purposes
underlying existing requirements; it is not available to frustrate the
purposes of existing requirements.
 When making BUILD Transportation grant award decisions, DOT will
consider the applicant's proposals to use SEP-14 or SEP-15, whether the
proposals are consistent with the objectives and requirements of those
programs, the potential benefits that experimental authorities or
waivers might provide to the project, and the broader applicability of
potential results. DOT is not replacing the application processes for
SEP-14 or SEP-15 with this notice or the BUILD Transportation grant
program application. Instead, it seeks detailed expressions of interest
in those programs. If selected for an BUILD Transportation grant award,
the applicant would need to satisfy the relevant programs' requirements
and complete the appropriate application processes. Selection for a
BUILD Transportation grant award does not mean a project's SEP-14 or
SEP-15 proposal has been approved. DOT will make a separate
determination in accordance with those programs' processes on the
appropriateness of a waiver.
3. Innovative Financing
 DOT will assess the extent to which the project incorporates
innovations in transportation funding and finance through both
traditional and innovative means, including by using private sector
funding or financing and recycled revenue from the competitive sale or
lease of publicly owned or operated assets.
b. Partnership
 DOT will consider the extent to which projects demonstrate strong
collaboration among a broad range of stakeholders. Projects with strong
partnership typically involve multiple partners in project development
and funding, such as State and local governments, other public
entities, and private or nonprofit entities. DOT will consider
applicants that partner with State, local, or private entities for the
completion and operation of transportation infrastructure to have
strong partnership. DOT will also assess the extent to which the
project application demonstrates collaboration among neighboring or
regional jurisdictions to achieve local or regional benefits. In the
context of public-private partnerships, DOT will assess the extent to
which partners are encouraged to ensure long-term asset performance,
such as through pay-for-success approaches.
 DOT will also consider the extent to which projects include
partnerships that bring together diverse transportation agencies or are
supported, financially or otherwise, by other stakeholders that are
pursuing similar objectives. For example, DOT will consider the extent
to which transportation projects are coordinated with economic
development, housing, water and waste infrastructure, power and
electric infrastructure, broadband and land use plans and policies or
other public service efforts.
iii. Demonstrated Project Readiness
 During application evaluation, DOT may consider project readiness
to assess the likelihood of a successful project. In that analysis, DOT
will consider three evaluation ratings: Environmental Risk, Technical
Capacity, and Financial Capacity. Environmental Risk assessment
analyzes the project's environmental approvals and likelihood of the
necessary approval affecting project obligation. The Technical Capacity
will be reviewed for all eligible applications and will assess the
applicant's capacity to successfully deliver the project in compliance
with applicable Federal requirements based on factors including the
recipient's experience working with Federal agencies, previous
experience with BUILD or INFRA awards, and the technical experience and
resources
[[Page 10821]]
dedicated to the project. The Financial Capacity assessment reviews the
availability of matching funds and whether the applicant presented a
complete funding package. Risks do not disqualify projects from award,
but competitive applications clearly and directly describe achievable
risk mitigation strategies. A project with mitigated risks or with a
risk mitigation plan is more competitive than a comparable project with
unaddressed risks.
iv. Project Costs and Benefits
 DOT may consider the costs and benefits of projects seeking BUILD
Transportation grant funding. To the extent possible, DOT will rely on
quantitative, data-supported analysis to assess how well a project
addresses this criterion, including an assessment of the project's
estimated benefit-cost ratio (BCR) and net quantifiable benefits based
on the applicant-supplied BCA described in Section D.2.vi.
 To evaluate the costs and benefits of a proposed project, DOT will
assign the project into ranges based on its estimated BCR and net
present value (NPV), and DOT will assign a level of confidence
associated with the estimated BCR and NPV ranges. DOT will use these
ranges for BCR: Less than 1; 1-1.5; 1.5-3; and greater than 3. DOT will
use these ranges for NPV: Less than $0; $0- $50,000,000; $50,000,000-
$250,000,000; and greater than $250,000,000. The confidence levels are
high, medium, and low.
(b) Planning Grants
 Planning grant applications will be evaluated against the same
criteria as capital grants. For project-level planning, this means
considering how the project resulting from the plan will ultimately
further the primary and secondary merit criteria. For regional
transportation planning efforts, applications should demonstrate how
the regional plan will help lead to these outcomes. BUILD
Transportation planning grant applicants will be evaluated for their
capacity to successfully implement the proposed planning activities in
a timely manner. DOT will not evaluate the benefits and costs (as
expressed in a benefit-cost analysis) or environmental risks of
projects that do not include construction.
(c) Additional Considerations
 The FY 2020 Appropriations Act requires DOT to consider
contributions to geographic diversity among recipients, including the
need for a balance between the needs of rural and urban communities
when selecting BUILD Transportation grant awards.
2. Review and Selection Process
 DOT reviews all eligible applications received by the deadline. The
BUILD Transportation grants review and selection process consists of at
least Technical Review and Senior Review. In the Technical Review,
teams comprising staff from the Office of the Secretary (OST) and
operating administrations review all eligible applications and rate
projects as Highly Recommended, Recommended, Acceptable, or
Unacceptable. To receive a Highly Recommended rating, (1) the project
must demonstrate that, more likely than not, it will generate long-term
benefits in one or more primary merit criteria and the project does not
appear to negatively affect any of the other merit criteria; (2) the
project must have a clear, direct, significant, and positive local or
regional impact (i.e. the project will, more likely than not, reduce
the problem or use the opportunity that project proposes to address);
and (3) the application contains sufficient information to assess
project benefits and the benefits claimed by the applicant appear
reasonable and justifiable. If the project has not substantively
changed from prior submissions to BUILD or other Department programs,
staff may rely on previous analysis. The Senior Review Team, which
includes senior leadership from OST and the operating administrations,
determines which projects to advance to the Secretary as Highly Rated.
The FY 2020 Appropriations Act mandated BUILD Transportation grant
awards by September 15, 2020. The Secretary selects from the Highly
Rated projects for final awards.
3. Additional Information
 Prior to award, each selected applicant will be subject to a risk
assessment as required by 2 CFR 200.205. DOT must review and consider
any information about the applicant that is in the designated integrity
and performance system accessible through SAM (currently the Federal
Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS). An
applicant may review information in FAPIIS and comment on any
information about itself. DOT will consider comments by the applicant,
in addition to the other information in FAPIIS, in making a judgment
about the applicant's integrity, business ethics, and record of
performance under Federal awards when completing the review of risk
posed by applicants.
F. Federal Award Administration Information
1. Federal Award Notice
 Following the evaluation outlined in Section E, the Secretary will
announce awarded projects by posting a list of selected projects at
www.transportation.gov/BUILDgrants. Notice of selection is not
authorization to begin performance or to incur costs for the proposed
project. Following that announcement, the relevant operating
administration will contact the point of contact listed in the SF 424
to initiate negotiation of the grant agreement for authorization.
 Recipients of BUILD Transportation Grant awards will not receive
lump-sum cash disbursements at the time of award announcement or
obligation of funds. Instead, BUILD funds will reimburse recipients
only after a grant agreement has been executed, allowable expenses are
incurred, and valid requests for reimbursement are submitted. Unless
authorized in writing by DOT, an expense incurred before a grant
agreement is executed will not be reimbursed.
2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
 Please visit https://www.transportation.gov/policy-initiatives/build/grant-agreements for the General Terms and Conditions for BUILD
2019 awards. The BUILD 2020 Terms and Conditions will be similar to the
BUILD 2019 Terms and Conditions, but may include relevant updates.
 All awards will be administered pursuant to the Uniform
Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for
Federal Awards found in 2 CFR part 200, as adopted by DOT at 2 CFR part
1201. Federal wage rate requirements included in subchapter IV of
chapter 31 of title 40, U.S.C., apply to all projects receiving funds
under this program, and apply to all parts of the project, whether
funded with BUILD Transportation Grant funds, other Federal funds, or
non-Federal funds.
 In connection with any program or activity conducted with or
benefiting from funds awarded under this notice, recipients of funds
must comply with all applicable requirements of Federal law, including,
without limitation, the Constitution of the United States; the
conditions of performance, non-discrimination requirements, and other
assurances made applicable to the award of funds in accordance with
regulations of the Department of Transportation; and applicable Federal
financial assistance and contracting
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principles promulgated by the Office of Management and Budget. In
complying with these requirements, recipients, in particular, must
ensure that no concession agreements are denied or other contracting
decisions made on the basis of speech or other activities protected by
the First Amendment. If DOT determines that a recipient has failed to
comply with applicable Federal requirements, DOT may terminate the
award of funds and disallow previously incurred costs, requiring the
recipient to reimburse any expended award funds.
 Additionally, applicable Federal laws, rules and regulations of the
relevant operating administration administering the project will apply
to the projects that receive BUILD Transportation grant awards,
including planning requirements, Service Outcome Agreements,
Stakeholder Agreements, Buy America compliance, and other requirements
under DOT's other highway, transit, rail, and port grant programs. In
particular, Executive Order 13858 directs the Executive Branch
Departments and agencies to maximize the use of goods, products, and
materials produced in the United States through the terms and
conditions of Federal financial assistance awards. If selected for an
award, grantees must be prepared to demonstrate how they will maximize
the use of domestic goods, products, and materials in constructing
their project. BUILD Transportation grant projects involving vehicle
acquisition must involve only vehicles that comply with applicable
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and Federal Motor Carriers
Safety Regulations, or vehicles that are exempt from Federal Motor
Vehicle Safety Standards or Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations in
a manner that allows for the legal acquisition and deployment of the
vehicle or vehicles.
 For projects administered by FHWA, applicable Federal laws, rules,
and regulations set forth in Title 23 U.S.C. and Title 23 CFR apply,
including the 23 U.S.C. 129 restrictions on the use of toll revenues,
and Section 4(f) preservation of parklands and historic properties
requirements under 23 U.S.C. 138. For an illustrative list of the other
applicable laws, rules, regulations, executive orders, polices,
guidelines, and requirements as they relate to a BUILD Transportation
grant project administered by the FHWA, please see https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/Freight/infrastructure/tiger/#build18.
 For BUILD Transportation projects administered by the Federal
Transit Administration and partially funded with Federal transit
assistance, all relevant requirements under chapter 53 of title 49
U.S.C. apply. For transit projects funded exclusively with BUILD
Transportation grant funds, some requirements of chapter 53 of title 49
U.S.C. and chapter VI of title 49 CFR apply.
 For projects administered by the Federal Railroad Administration,
FRA requirements described in 49 U.S.C. Subtitle V, Part C apply.
3. Reporting
(a) Progress Reporting on Grant Activities
 Each applicant selected for BUILD Transportation grant funding must
submit quarterly progress reports and Federal Financial Reports (SF-
425) to monitor project progress and ensure accountability and
financial transparency in the BUILD Transportation grant program.
(b) System Performance Reporting
 Each applicant selected for BUILD Transportation grant funding must
collect and report to the DOT information on the project's performance.
The specific performance information and reporting time period will be
determined on a project-by-project basis. Performance indicators will
not include formal goals or targets, but will include observed measures
under baseline (pre-project) as well as post-implementation outcomes,
and will be used to evaluate and compare projects and monitor the
results that grant funds achieve to the intended long-term outcomes of
the BUILD Transportation grant program are achieved. To the extent
possible, performance indicators used in the reporting should align
with the measures included in the application and should relate to at
least one of the selection criteria defined in Section E.1. Performance
reporting continues for several years after project construction is
completed, and DOT does not provide BUILD Transportation grant funding
specifically for performance reporting.
(c) Reporting of Matters Related to Recipient Integrity and Performance
 If the total value of a selected applicant's currently active
grants, cooperative agreements, and procurement contracts from all
Federal awarding agencies exceeds $10,000,000 for any period of time
during the period of performance of this Federal award, then the
applicant during that period of time must maintain the currency of
information reported to the SAM that is made available in the
designated integrity and performance system (currently FAPIIS) about
civil, criminal, or administrative proceedings described in paragraph 2
of this award term and condition. This is a statutory requirement under
section 872 of Public Law 110-417, as amended (41 U.S.C. 2313). As
required by section 3010 of Public Law 111-212, all information posted
in the designated integrity and performance system on or after April
15, 2011, except past performance reviews required for Federal
procurement contracts, will be publicly available.
G. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts
 For further information concerning this notice please contact the
BUILD Transportation grant program staff via email at
[email protected], or call Howard Hill at 202-366-0301. A TDD is
available for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing at 202-366-
3993. In addition, DOT will post answers to questions and requests for
clarifications on DOT's website at www.transportation.gov/BUILDgrants.
To ensure applicants receive accurate information about eligibility or
the program, the applicant is encouraged to contact DOT directly,
rather than through intermediaries or third parties, with questions.
DOT staff may also conduct briefings on the BUILD Transportation grant
selection and award process upon request.
H. Other information
1. Protection of Confidential Business Information
 All information submitted as part of or in support of any
application shall use publicly available data or data that can be made
public and methodologies that are accepted by industry practice and
standards, to the extent possible. If the applicant submits information
that the applicant considers to be a trade secret or confidential
commercial or financial information, the applicant must provide that
information in a separate document, which the applicant may cross-
reference from the application narrative or other portions of the
application. For the separate document containing confidential
information, the applicant must do the following: (1) State on the
cover of that document that it ``Contains Confidential Business
Information (CBI)''; (2) mark each page that contains confidential
information with ``CBI''; (3) highlight or otherwise denote the
confidential content on each page; and (4) at the end of the document,
explain how disclosure of the confidential information would cause
substantial competitive harm. DOT will protect confidential information
complying with these requirements to the extent
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required under applicable law. If DOT receives a Freedom of Information
Act (FOIA) request for the information that the applicant has marked in
accordance with this section, DOT will follow the procedures described
in its FOIA regulations at 49 CFR 7.29. Only information that is in the
separate document, marked in accordance with this section, and
ultimately determined to be confidential under Sec. 7.29 will be
exempt from disclosure under FOIA.
2. Publication/Sharing of Application Information
 Following the completion of the selection process and announcement
of awards, DOT intends to publish a list of all applications received
along with the names of the applicant organizations and funding amounts
requested. Except for the information properly marked as described in
Section H.1., DOT may make application narratives publicly available or
share application information within DOT or with other Federal agencies
if DOT determines that sharing is relevant to the respective program's
objectives.
3. Department Feedback on Applications
 DOT strives to provide as much information as possible to assist
applicants with the application process. DOT will not review
applications in advance, but DOT staff are available for technical
questions and assistance. To efficiently use Department resources, DOT
will prioritize interactions with applicants who have not already
received a debrief on their FY 2019 BUILD Transportation grant
application. Program staff will address questions received at
[email protected] throughout the application period. DOT staff will
make reasonable efforts to schedule meetings on projects through April
1, 2020. After that date, DOT staff will schedule meetings only to the
extent possible and consistent with timely completion of other
activities.
 Issued On: February 18, 2020.
Elaine L. Chao,
Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2020-03711 Filed 2-24-20; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-9X-P