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Participation in the Congestion Pricing Pilot Program

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Participation in the Congestion Pricing Pilot Program

Rodney E. Slater
Federal Highway Administration
May 25, 1994


[Federal Register Volume 59, Number 100 (Wednesday, May 25, 1994)]
[Unknown Section]
[Page 0]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 94-12735]


[[Page Unknown]]

[Federal Register: May 25, 1994]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Highway Administration
[FHWA Docket No. 92-24]

 

Participation in the Congestion Pricing Pilot Program

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice; extension of request for participation.

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SUMMARY: This notice extends the invitation to State or local 
governments or other public authorities to make applications for 
participation in the Congestion Pricing Pilot Program (Pilot Program) 
established by Section 1012(b) of the Intermodal Surface Transportation 
Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA). This document also contains a statement 
of future direction for the Pilot Program.

DATES: The solicitation for participation in the Pilot Program will be 
held open indefinitely or until further notice.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. James R. Link or Mr. John T. Berg, 
Highway Revenue Analysis Branch, HPP-13, (202) 366-0570; or Mr. Wilbert 
Baccus, Office of the Chief Counsel, HCC-32, (202) 366-0780; Federal 
Highway Administration, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 1012(b) of the ISTEA (Pub. L. 102-
240, 105 Stat. 1914) authorizes the Secretary of Transportation (the 
Secretary) to create a Pilot Program by entering into cooperative 
agreements with up to five State or local governments or other public 
authorities, to establish, maintain, and monitor congestion pricing 
pilot projects. Three of these agreements may involve the use of tolls 
on the Interstate System notwithstanding 23 U.S.C. 129, as amended, and 
301. A maximum of $25 million is authorized for each of the fiscal 
years 1992 through 1997 to be made available to carry out program 
requirements. Not more than $15 million can be made available each 
fiscal year to fund any single cooperative agreement.
    In advance of completing its plan for implementing this program, 
the FHWA published a Federal Register notice on May 29, 1992 (57 FR 
22857), which presented general information about the Pilot Program and 
solicited public comment on a number of implementation issues [Docket 
No. 92-94]. The comment period closed on June 29, 1992. The FHWA 
published the initial solicitation for the Pilot Program in the Federal 
Register on November 24, 1992 (57 FR 55293). The solicitation period 
closed on January 25, 1993. The results of the first solicitation were 
summarized in the Federal Register on June 16, 1993 (58 FR 33293). The 
June 16 notice also extended the solicitation period until October 14, 
1993.

Extension of Solicitation

    Because the proposals received in response to the June 16 notice 
did not adequately meet the criteria for selection as pilot projects at 
this time, the FHWA has determined that the goals of the Pilot Program 
can best be advanced if the solicitation period is held open until 
further notice to encourage development of promising congestion pricing 
experiments.
    To promote development of projects, the FHWA will use a small 
amount of Pilot Program funds to assist a limited number of areas in 
carrying out pre-project activities, such as the development of public-
involvement programs and activities designed to overcome institutional 
barriers to implementing congestion pricing. In addition, more 
attention will be given to parking pricing and other pricing 
experiments that would be supportive of future highway congestion 
pricing applications. The FHWA's program activities, in cooperation 
with other Federal agencies, will focus on nurturing the development of 
market pricing experiments in areas showing the most promise for 
implementing congestion pricing pilot projects.
    Proposals to price high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes to allow 
their use by single-occupant vehicles (HOV Buy-In) have previously not 
been accepted for inclusion in the Pilot Program. The HOV Buy-In 
pricing concept was discussed extensively at a recent National Academy 
of Sciences (NAS) symposium on congestion pricing. The sense of those 
discussions was that in some circumstances this application of pricing 
should be considered on an experimental basis, and under limited 
circumstances. The thinking was that this kind of pricing would improve 
the use of available capacity and could be a way of introducing the 
notion of variable pricing for highways to the public. In response to 
these discussions, and in anticipation of a likely NAS recommendation 
for experimentation with this type of pricing in its forthcoming report 
on congestion pricing, the FHWA has decided to allow consideration of 
HOV Buy-In projects during this solicitation. Further, because 
substantial economic benefits are likely to result from expediting 
truck movements in congested urban corridors, the FHWA is also seeking 
a project proposal that would allow commercial freight vehicles to pay 
a price for the right to use an underutilized HOV lane, either along 
with an HOV Buy-In for passenger vehicles, or as a commercial freight 
vehicle Buy-In alone. Such proposals would have to ensure that the 
safety and operational efficiency of the HOV lanes are not compromised. 
Proposals should address such considerations as size and type of 
commercial freight vehicle in relation to the particular HOV lane 
design characteristics (e.g., HOV lanes must be barrier separated); 
likely enforcement problems; lane capacity and traffic flow; and 
effects on corridor travel patterns.
    In order to protect the integrity of HOV programs, the FHWA will 
give priority to those HOV Buy-In proposals where it is clear that an 
HOV lane is underutilized and where local officials can demonstrate 
that the experiment would not undermine a long-term regional strategy 
to increase ride-sharing. In addition, areas proposing HOV Buy-In 
projects are encouraged to use revenues from the project to promote 
improved transit service or other programs that will encourage transit 
use and ride-sharing. Priority will also be given to proposals which 
will result in early implementation of pricing activities. To gain 
acceptance as a pilot project, an HOV Buy-In project must incorporate 
the use of electronic pricing technologies, HOV time-savings must be 
maintained, and enforcement authorities should have input to any 
proposal.
    Proposals for funding of pre-project activities shall be submitted 
through the local Metropolitan Planning Organization and State 
Department of Transportation to the FHWA through the appropriate 
Federal Highway Division Administrator. Proposals will be reviewed by 
an Interagency Review Group comprised of representatives of FHWA, the 
Office of the Secretary of Transportation, Federal Transit 
Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, and Department of 
Energy. Based on this review, a limited number of applicants will be 
invited to enter into negotiations with FHWA to develop a cooperative 
agreement under which the pre-project activities will be carried out.
    Proposals for congestion pricing project implementation using one 
of the four remaining Pilot Program slots shall be submitted via the 
same route. The selection criteria contained in the FHWA's November 24, 
1992, Federal Register notice will continue to be used for selection of 
new pilot projects for implementation. To obtain further information 
contact Mr. John T. Berg or Mr. James R. Link at the address provided 
under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

    Authority: 23 U.S.C. 315; 49 CFR 1.48.

    Issued on: May 18, 1994.
Rodney E. Slater,
Federal Highway Administrator.
[FR Doc. 94-12735 Filed 5-24-94; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-22-P

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