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FY 2018 Competitive Funding Opportunity: Low or No Emission Grant Program

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Buses

FY 2018 Competitive Funding Opportunity: Low or No Emission Grant Program

K. Jane Williams
Federal Transit Administration
25 April 2018


[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 80 (Wednesday, April 25, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 18120-18126]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-08636]


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

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Transit Administration


FY 2018 Competitive Funding Opportunity: Low or No Emission Grant 
Program

AGENCY: Federal Transit Administration (FTA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of funding opportunity (NOFO).

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

SUMMARY: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announces the 
opportunity to apply for $84,450,000 in competitive grants under the 
fiscal year (FY) 2018 Low or No Emission Grant Program (Low-No Program; 
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number: 20.526). In 
addition to $55 million authorized by federal transit law, the 
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 authorizes an additional 
$29,450,000 for the Low-No Program for FY 2018. As required by Federal 
transit law, funds will be awarded competitively for the purchase or 
lease of low or no emission vehicles that use advanced technologies for 
transit revenue operations, including related equipment or facilities. 
Projects may include costs incidental to the acquisition of buses or to 
the construction of facilities, such as the costs of related workforce 
development and training activities, and project administration 
expenses. FTA may award additional funding that is made available to 
the program prior to the announcement of project selections.

DATES: Complete proposals must be submitted electronically through the 
GRANTS.GOV ``APPLY'' function by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on June 18, 
2018. Prospective applicants should initiate the process by registering 
on the GRANTS.GOV website promptly to ensure completion of the 
application process before the submission deadline. Instructions for 
applying can be found on FTA's website at http://transit.dot.gov/howtoapply and in the ``FIND'' module of GRANTS.GOV. The funding 
opportunity ID is FTA-2018-003-LowNo. Mail and fax submissions will not 
be accepted.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tara Clark, FTA Office of Program 
Management, 202-366-2623, or tara.clark@dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Table of Contents

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

A. Program Description

    Section 5339(c) of Title 49, United States Code, as amended by the 
Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, (Pub. L. 114-94, 
Dec. 4, 2015), authorizes FTA to award grants for low or no emission 
buses through a competitive process, as described in this notice. The 
Low or No Emission Bus Program (Low-No Program) provides funding to 
State and local governmental authorities for the purchase or lease of 
zero-emission and low-emission transit buses, including acquisition, 
construction, and leasing of required supporting facilities such as 
recharging, refueling, and maintenance facilities. FTA recognizes that 
a significant transformation is occurring in the transit

[[Page 18121]]

bus industry, with the increasing availability of low and zero emission 
bus vehicles for transit revenue operations.

B. Federal Award Information 5339(c) Low or No Emission Discretionary 
Program

    Federal transit law authorizes $55 million in FY 2018 for grants 
under the Low-No Program. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 
authorizes an additional $29,450,000 for the Low-No Program for FY 
2018, for a total authorization of $84,450,000. In FY 2017, the program 
received applications for 129 projects requesting a total of $515 
million. Fifty-one projects were funded at a total of $55 million.
    FTA will grant pre-award authority starting on the date of project 
announcement for the FY 2018 awards. Funds are available for obligation 
until September 30, 2021. Funds are only available for projects that 
have not incurred costs prior to the announcement of project 
selections.

C. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants
    Eligible applicants include designated recipients, States, local 
governmental authorities, and Indian Tribes. Except for projects 
proposed by Indian Tribes, proposals for funding projects in rural 
(non-urbanized) areas must be submitted as part of a consolidated State 
proposal. To be considered eligible, applicants must be able to 
demonstrate the requisite legal, financial and technical capabilities 
to receive and administer Federal funds under this program. States and 
other eligible applicants also may submit consolidated proposals for 
projects in urbanized areas. Proposals may contain projects to be 
implemented by the recipient or its eligible subrecipients. Eligible 
subrecipients are entities that are otherwise eligible recipients under 
this program.
    An eligible recipient may submit an application in partnership with 
other entities that intend to participate in the implementation of the 
project, including, but not limited to, specific vehicle manufacturers, 
equipment vendors, owners or operators of related facilities, or 
project consultants. If an application that involves such a partnership 
is selected for funding, the competitive selection process will be 
deemed to satisfy the requirement for a competitive procurement under 
49 U.S.C. 5325(a) for the named entities. Applicants are advised that 
any changes to the proposed partnership will require advanced FTA 
written approval, must be consistent with the scope of the approved 
project, and may necessitate a competitive procurement.
2. Cost Sharing or Matching
    All eligible expenses under the Low-No Program are attributable to 
compliance with the Clean Air Act. Therefore, under the provisions of 
49 U.S.C. 5323(i), the maximum Federal participation in the costs of 
leasing or acquiring a transit bus financed under the Low-No Program is 
85 percent of the total transit bus cost. Further, the maximum Federal 
participation in the cost of leasing or acquiring low or no emission 
bus-related equipment and facilities under the Low-No Program, such as 
recharging or refueling facilities, is 90 percent of the net project 
cost of the equipment or facilities that are attributable to compliance 
with the Clean Air Act. FTA may prioritize projects proposed with a 
higher local share.
    Eligible sources of local match include the following: cash from 
non-Government sources other than revenues from providing public 
transportation services; revenues derived from the sale of advertising 
and concessions; amounts received under a service agreement with a 
State or local social service agency or private social service 
organization; revenues generated from value capture financing 
mechanisms; funds from an undistributed cash surplus; replacement or 
depreciation cash fund or reserve; new capital; or in-kind 
contributions. In addition, transportation development credits or 
documentation of in-kind match may substitute for local match if 
identified in the application.
3. Eligible Projects
    Under 49 U.S.C. 5339 (c)(1)(B), eligible projects include projects 
or programs of projects in an eligible area for: (1) Purchasing or 
leasing low or no emission buses; (2) acquiring low or no emission 
buses with a leased power source; (3) constructing or leasing 
facilities and related equipment for low or no emission buses; (4) 
constructing new public transportation facilities to accommodate low or 
no emission buses; (5) or rehabilitating or improving existing public 
transportation facilities to accommodate low or no emission buses. As 
specified under 49 U.S.C. 5339(c)(5)(A), FTA will only consider 
eligible projects relating to the acquisition or leasing of low or no 
emission buses or bus facilities that make greater reductions in energy 
consumption and harmful emissions than comparable standard buses or 
other low or no emission buses. As specified under 49 U.S.C. 
5339(c)(5)(B), all proposed projects must be part of the intended 
recipient's long-term integrated fleet management plan.
    If a single project proposal involves multiple public 
transportation providers, such as when an agency acquires vehicles that 
will be operated by another agency, the proposal must include a 
detailed statement regarding the role of each public transportation 
provider in the implementation of the project.
    Under 49 U.S.C. 5339(c)(1)(E), a low or no-emission bus is defined 
as ``a passenger vehicle used to provide public transportation that 
significantly reduces energy consumption or harmful emissions, 
including direct carbon emissions, when compared to a standard 
vehicle.'' The statutory definition includes zero-emission transit 
buses, which are defined as buses that produce no direct carbon 
emissions and no particulate matter emissions under any and all 
possible operational modes and conditions. Examples of zero emission 
bus technologies include, but are not limited to, hydrogen fuel-cell 
buses and battery-electric buses. All new transit bus models procured 
with funds awarded under the Low-No Program must complete FTA bus 
testing for production transit buses pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 5318. All 
transit vehicles must be procured from certified transit vehicle 
manufacturers in accordance with the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise 
(DBE) regulations at 49 CFR part 26. The development or deployment of 
prototype vehicles is not eligible for funding under the Low-No 
program.
    Recipients are permitted to use up to 0.5 percent of their 
requested grant award for workforce development activities eligible 
under 49 U.S.C 5314(b) and an additional 0.5 percent for costs 
associated with training at the National Transit Institute. Applicants 
must identify the proposed use of funds for these activities in the 
project proposal and identify them separately in the project budget.

D. Application and Submission Information

1. Address To Request Application
    Applications must be submitted electronically through GRANTS.GOV. 
General information for submitting applications through GRANTS.GOV can 
be found at www.fta.dot.gov/howtoapply along with specific instructions 
for the forms and attachments required for submission. Mail and fax 
submissions will not be accepted. A complete proposal submission 
consists of two

[[Page 18122]]

forms: the SF424 Application for Federal Assistance (available at 
GRANTS.GOV) and the supplemental form for the FY 2018 Low-No Program 
(downloaded from GRANTS.GOV or the FTA website at https://www.transit.dot.gov/funding/grants/lowno). Failure to submit the 
information as requested can delay review or disqualify the 
application.
2. Content and Form of Application Submission
(i) Proposal Submission
    A complete proposal submission consists of two forms: (1) The SF424 
Application for Federal Assistance; and (2) the supplemental form for 
the FY 2018 Low-No Program. The supplemental form and any supporting 
documents must be attached to the ``Attachments'' section of the SF-
424. The application must include responses to all sections of the 
SF424 Application for Federal Assistance and the supplemental form, 
unless indicated as optional. The information on the supplemental form 
will be used to determine applicant and project eligibility for the 
program, and to evaluate the proposal against the selection criteria 
described in part E of this notice.
    FTA will accept only one supplemental form per SF-424 submission. 
FTA encourages States and other applicants to consider submitting a 
single supplemental form that includes multiple activities to be 
evaluated as a consolidated proposal. If a State or other applicant 
chooses to submit separate proposals for individual consideration by 
FTA, each proposal must be submitted using a separate SF-424 and 
supplemental form. Applicants may attach additional supporting 
information to the SF-424 submission, including but not limited to 
letters of support, project budgets, fleet status reports, or excerpts 
from relevant planning documents. Any supporting documentation must be 
described and referenced by file name in the appropriate response 
section of the supplemental form, or it may not be reviewed.
    Information such as proposer name, Federal amount requested, local 
match amount, description of areas served, etc. may be requested in 
varying degrees of detail on both the SF424 and Supplemental Form. 
Proposers must fill in all fields unless stated otherwise on the forms. 
If information is copied into the supplemental form from another 
source, applicants should verify that pasted text is fully captured on 
the supplemental form and has not been truncated by the character 
limits built into the form. Proposers should use both the ``Check 
Package for Errors'' and the ``Validate Form'' validation buttons on 
both forms to check all required fields on the forms, and ensure that 
the federal and local amounts specified are consistent.
(ii) Application Content
    The SF424 Application for Federal Assistance and the Supplemental 
Form will prompt applicants for the required information, including:

a. Applicant Name
b. Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) 
number
c. Key contact information (including contact name, address, email 
address, and phone)
d. Congressional district(s) where project will take place
e. Project Information (including title, an executive summary, and 
type)
f. A detailed description of the need for the project
g. A detailed description on how the project will support the Low-No 
program objectives
h. Evidence that the project is consistent with local and regional 
planning documents
i. Evidence that the applicant can provide the local cost share
j. A description of the technical, legal, and financial capacity of the 
applicant
k. A detailed project budget
l. An explanation of the scalability of the project
m. Details on the local matching funds
n. A detailed project timeline
3. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM)
    Each applicant is required to: (1) Be registered in SAM before 
submitting an application; (2) provide a valid unique entity identifier 
in its application; and (3) continue to maintain an active SAM 
registration with current information at all times during which the 
applicant has an active Federal award or an application or plan under 
consideration by FTA. These requirements do not apply if the applicant: 
(1) Is an individual; (2) is excepted from the requirements under 2 CFR 
25.110(b) or (c); or (3) has an exception approved by FTA under 2 CFR 
25.110(d). FTA may not make an award until the applicant has complied 
with all applicable unique entity identifier and SAM requirements. If 
an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the time 
FTA is ready to make an award, FTA may determine that the applicant is 
not qualified to receive an award and use that determination as a basis 
for making a Federal award to another applicant. All applicants must 
provide a unique entity identifier provided by SAM. Registration in SAM 
may take as little as 3-5 business days, but since there could be 
unexpected steps or delays (for example, if you need to obtain an 
Employer Identification Number), FTA recommends allowing ample time, up 
to several weeks, for completion of all steps. For additional 
information on obtaining a unique entity identifier, please visit 
www.sam.gov.
4. Submission Dates and Times
    Project proposals must be submitted electronically through 
GRANTS.GOV by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on June 18, 2018. GRANTS.GOV 
attaches a time stamp to each application at the time of submission. 
Proposals submitted after the deadline will only be considered under 
extraordinary circumstances not under the applicant's control. Mail and 
fax submissions will not be accepted.
    Within 48 hours after submitting an electronic application, the 
applicant should receive two email messages from GRANTS.GOV: (1) 
Confirmation of successful transmission to GRANTS.GOV, and (2) 
confirmation of successful validation by GRANTS.GOV. If confirmations 
of successful validation are not received or a notice of failed 
validation or incomplete materials is received, the applicant must 
address the reason for the failed validation, as described in the email 
notice, and resubmit before the submission deadline. If making a 
resubmission for any reason, include all original attachments 
regardless of which attachments were updated and check the box on the 
supplemental form indicating this is a resubmission.
    FTA urges proposers to submit applications at least 72 hours prior 
to the due date to allow time to receive the validation messages and to 
correct any problems that may have caused a rejection notification. 
GRANTS.GOV scheduled maintenance and outage times are announced on the 
GRANTS.GOV website. Deadlines will not be extended due to scheduled 
website maintenance.
    Proposers are encouraged to begin the process of registration on 
the GRANTS.GOV site well in advance of the submission deadline. 
Registration is a multi-step process, which may take several weeks to 
complete before an application can be submitted. Registered proposers 
may still be required to take steps to keep their registration up to 
date before submissions can be made successfully: (1) Registration in 
the System for Award Management (SAM) is renewed annually; and, (2) 
persons

[[Page 18123]]

making submissions on behalf of the Authorized Organization 
Representative (AOR) must be authorized in GRANTS.GOV by the AOR to 
make submissions.
5. Funding Restrictions
    Funds under this NOFO cannot be used to reimburse applicants for 
otherwise eligible expenses incurred prior to FTA award of a Grant 
Agreement until FTA has issued pre-award authority for selected 
projects.
6. Other Submission Requirements
    Applicants are encouraged to identify scaled funding options in 
case insufficient funding is available to fund a project at the full 
requested amount. If an applicant indicates that a project is scalable, 
the applicant must provide an appropriate minimum funding amount that 
will fund an eligible project that achieves the objectives of the 
program and meets all relevant program requirements. The applicant must 
provide a clear explanation of how the project budget would be affected 
by a reduced award. FTA may award a lesser amount whether a scalable 
option is provided.

E. Application Review

    Projects will be evaluated primarily on the responses provided in 
the supplemental form. Additional information may be provided to 
support the responses; however, any additional documentation must be 
directly referenced on the supplemental form, including the file name 
where the additional information can be found. FTA will evaluate 
proposals for the Low-No Program based on the criteria described in 
this notice.
i. Demonstration of Need
    Since the purpose of this program is to fund vehicles and 
facilities, applications will be evaluated based on the quality and 
extent to which they demonstrate how the proposed project will address 
an unmet need for capital investment in vehicles and/or supporting 
facilities. For example, an applicant may demonstrate that it requires 
additional or improved charging or maintenance facilities for low or no 
emission vehicles, that it intends to replace existing vehicles that 
have exceeded their minimum useful life, or that it requires additional 
vehicles to meet current ridership demands. FTA will consider an 
applicant's responses to the following criteria when assessing need for 
capital investment underlying the proposed project:
    a. Consistency with Long-Term Fleet Management Plan: As required by 
49 U.S.C. 5339 (c)(5)(b), all project proposals must demonstrate that 
they are part of the intended recipient's long-term integrated fleet 
management plan, as demonstrated through an existing transit asset 
management program, fleet procurement plan, or similarly documented 
program or policy. These plans must be attached to the application. FTA 
will evaluate the consistency of the proposed project with the 
applicant's long-term fleet management plan, as well as the applicant's 
previous experience with the relevant low or no emissions vehicle 
technologies.
    b. For low or no emission bus projects (replacement and/or or 
expansion): Applicants must provide information on the age, condition 
and performance of the vehicles to be replaced by the proposed project. 
Vehicles to be replaced must have met their minimum useful life at the 
time of project completion. For service expansion requests, applicants 
must provide information on the proposed service expansion and the 
benefits for transit riders and the community from the new service. For 
all vehicle projects, the proposal must address whether the project 
conforms to FTA's spare ratio guidelines. Low or no emission vehicles 
funded under this program are not exempted from FTA's standard spare 
ratio requirements which apply to and are calculated on the agency's 
entire fleet.
    c. For bus facility and equipment projects (replacement, 
rehabilitation, and/or expansion): Applicants must provide information 
on the age and condition of the asset to be rehabilitated or replaced 
relative to its minimum useful life.
ii. Demonstration of Benefits
    Applicants must demonstrate how the proposed project will support 
statutory requirements of 49 U.S.C 5339(c)(5)(A). In particular, FTA 
will consider the quality and extent to which applications demonstrate 
how the proposed project will: (1) Reduce Energy Consumption; (2) 
Reduce Harmful Emissions; and (3) Reduce Direct Carbon Emissions.
    a. Reduce Energy Consumption: Applicants must describe how the 
proposed project will reduce energy consumption. FTA will evaluate 
applications based on the degree to which the proposed technology 
reduces energy consumption as compared to more common vehicle 
propulsion technologies.
    b. Reduce Harmful Emissions: Applicants must demonstrate how the 
proposed vehicles or facility will reduce the emission of particulates 
that create local air pollution, which leads to local environmental 
health concerns, smog, and unhealthy ozone concentrations. FTA will 
evaluate the rate of particulate emissions by the proposed vehicles or 
vehicles to be supported by the proposed facility, compared to the 
emissions from the vehicles that will be replaced or moved to the spare 
fleet as a result of the proposed project, as well as comparable 
standard buses.
    c. Reduce Direct Carbon Emissions: Applicants should demonstrate 
how the proposed vehicles or facility will reduce emissions of 
greenhouse gases from transit vehicle operations. FTA will evaluate the 
rate of direct carbon emissions by the proposed vehicles or vehicles to 
be supported by the proposed facility, compared to the emissions from 
the vehicles that will be replaced or moved to the spare fleet as a 
result of the proposed project, as well as comparable standard buses.
iii. Planning and Local/Regional Prioritization
    Applicants must demonstrate how the proposed project is consistent 
with local and regional long range planning documents and local 
government priorities. FTA will evaluate applications based on the 
quality and extent to which they assess whether the project is 
consistent with the transit priorities identified in the long range 
plan; and/or contingency/illustrative projects included in that plan; 
or the locally developed human services public transportation 
coordinated plan. Applicants are not required to submit copies of such 
plans, but FTA will consider how the project will support regional 
goals and applicants may submit support letters from local and regional 
planning organizations attesting to the consistency of the proposed 
project with these plans.
    Evidence of additional local or regional prioritization may include 
letters of support for the project from local government officials, 
public agencies, and non-profit or private sector partners.
iv. Local Financial Commitment
    Applicants must identify the source of the local cost share and 
describe whether such funds are currently available for the project or 
will need to be secured if the project is selected for funding. FTA 
will consider the availability of the local cost share as evidence of 
local financial commitment to the project. Applicants should submit 
evidence of the availability of funds for the project, for example by 
including a

[[Page 18124]]

board resolution, letter of support from the State, or other 
documentation of the source of local funds such as a budget document 
highlighting the line item or section committing funds to the proposed 
project. In addition, an applicant may propose a local cost share that 
is greater than the minimum requirement or provide documentation of 
previous local investments in the project, which cannot be used to 
satisfy local matching requirements, as evidence of local financial 
commitment. Additional consideration will be given to those projects 
that propose a larger local cost share. FTA will also note if an 
applicant proposes to use grant funds only for the incremental cost of 
new technologies over the cost of replacing vehicles with standard 
propulsion technologies.
v. Project Implementation Strategy
    FTA will rate projects higher if grant funds can be obligated 
within 12 months of selection and the project can be implemented within 
a reasonable time frame. In assessing when funds can be obligated FTA 
will consider whether the project qualifies for a Categorical Exclusion 
(CE), or whether the required environmental work has been initiated or 
completed for projects that require an Environmental Assessment (EA) or 
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) under the National Environmental 
Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended. The proposal must state when 
grant funds can be obligated and indicate the timeframe under which the 
Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and/or Statewide 
Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) can be amended to include the 
proposed project.
    In assessing whether the proposed implementation plans are 
reasonable and complete, FTA will review the proposed project 
implementation plan, including all necessary project milestones and the 
overall project timeline. For projects that will require formal 
coordination, approvals or permits from other agencies or project 
partners, the applicant must demonstrate coordination with these 
organizations and their support for the project, such as through 
letters of support.
    For project proposals that involve a partnership with a 
manufacturer, vendor, consultant, or other third party, applicants must 
identify by name any project partners, including but not limited to 
other transit agencies, bus manufacturers, owners or operators of 
related facilities, or any expert consultants. FTA will evaluate the 
experience and capacity of the named project partners to successfully 
implement the proposed project based on the partners' experience and 
qualifications. Applicants are advised to submit information on the 
partners' qualification and experience as a part of the application. 
Entities involved in the project that are not named in the application 
will be required to be selected through a competitive procurement.
    For project proposals that will require a competitive procurement, 
applicants must demonstrate familiarity with the current market 
availability of the proposed advanced vehicle propulsion technology.
vi. Technical, Legal, and Financial Capacity
    Applicants must demonstrate that they have the technical, legal and 
financial capacity to undertake the project. FTA will review relevant 
oversight assessments and records to determine whether there are any 
outstanding legal, technical, or financial issues with the applicant 
that would affect the outcome of the proposed project.
vii. Review and Selection Process
    In addition to other FTA staff that may review the proposals, a 
technical evaluation committee will evaluate proposals based on the 
published evaluation criteria. Members of the technical evaluation 
committee and other FTA staff may request additional information from 
applicants, if necessary. Based on the findings of the technical 
evaluation committee, the FTA Administrator will determine the final 
selection of projects for program funding. FTA may consider geographic 
diversity, diversity in the size of the transit systems receiving 
funding, and/or the applicant's receipt of other competitive awards in 
determining the allocation of program funds. FTA may consider capping 
the amount a single applicant may receive and prioritizing investments 
in rural areas. Projects that have a higher local financial commitment 
may also be prioritized.
    After applying the above preferences, the FTA Administrator will 
consider the following key Departmental objectives:
    (A) Supporting economic vitality at the national and regional 
level;
    (B) Utilizing alternative funding sources and innovative financing 
models to attract non-Federal sources of infrastructure investment;
    (C) Accounting for the life-cycle costs of the project to promote 
the state of good repair;
    (D) Using innovative approaches to improve safety and expedite 
project delivery; and,
    (E) Holding grant recipients accountable for their performance and 
achieving specific, measurable outcomes identified by grant applicants.
    Prior to making an award, FTA is required to review and consider 
any information about the applicant that is in the designated integrity 
and performance system accessible through SAM (currently FAPIIS). An 
applicant, at its option, may review information in the designated 
integrity and performance systems accessible through SAM and comment on 
any information about itself that a Federal awarding agency previously 
entered and is currently in the designated integrity and performance 
system accessible through SAM. FTA will consider any comments by the 
applicant, in addition to the other information in the designated 
integrity and performance system, 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 
as described in the 2 CFR 200.205 Federal awarding agency review of 
risk posed by applicants.

F. Federal Award Administration

    The FTA Administrator will announce the final project selections on 
the FTA website. Recipients should contact their FTA Regional Offices 
for additional information regarding allocations for projects under the 
Low-No Program. At the time the project selections are announced, FTA 
will extend pre-award authority for the selected projects. There is no 
blanket pre-award authority for these projects before announcement.
1. Federal Award Notices
    Funds under the Low-No Program are available to States, designated 
recipients, local governmental authorities and Indian Tribes. There is 
no minimum or maximum grant award amount; however, FTA intends to fund 
as many meritorious projects as possible. Only proposals from eligible 
recipients for eligible activities will be considered for funding. Due 
to funding limitations, proposers that are selected for funding may 
receive less than the amount originally requested. In those cases, 
applicants must be able to demonstrate that the proposed projects are 
still viable and can be completed with the amount awarded.

[[Page 18125]]

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
i. Pre-Award Authority
    FTA will issue specific guidance to recipients regarding pre-award 
authority at the time of selection. FTA does not provide pre-award 
authority for discretionary funds until projects are selected, and even 
then there are Federal requirements that must be met before costs are 
incurred. For more information about FTA's policy on pre-award 
authority, please see the FY 2017 Apportionment Notice published on 
January 19, 2017. https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-01-19/pdf/2017-01194.pdf.
ii. Grant Requirements
    If selected, awardees will apply for a grant through FTA's Transit 
Award Management System (TrAMS). All Low-No Emission recipients are 
subject to the grant requirements of Section 5307 Urbanized Area 
Formula Grant program, including those of FTA Circular 9030.1E. All 
recipients must follow the Grants Management Requirements of FTA 
Circular 5010.1 and the labor protections of 49 U.S.C. 5333(b). 
Technical assistance regarding these requirements is available from 
each FTA regional office.
iii. Buy America
    FTA requires that all capital procurements meet FTA's Buy America 
requirements, which require that all iron, steel, or manufactured 
products be produced in the U.S. These requirements help create and 
protect manufacturing jobs in the U.S. The Low-No Program will have a 
significant economic impact on meeting the objectives of the Buy 
America law. Federal transit law amended the Buy America requirements 
to provide for a phased increase in the domestic content for rolling 
stock. For FY 2018 and FY 2019, the cost of components and 
subcomponents produced in the United States must be more than 65 
percent of the cost of all components. For FY 2020 and beyond, the cost 
of components and subcomponents produced in the United States must be 
more than 70 percent of the cost of all components. There is no change 
to the requirement that final assembly of rolling stock must occur in 
the United States. FTA issued guidance on the implementation of the 
phased increase in domestic content on September 1, 2016. A copy of the 
policy guidance may be found in 81 Federal Register 60278 (September 1, 
2016). Applicants should read the policy guidance carefully to 
determine the applicable domestic content requirement for their 
project. Any proposal that will require a waiver must identify the 
items for which a waiver will be sought in the application. Applicants 
should not proceed with the expectation that waivers will be granted, 
nor should applicants assume that selection of a project under the Low-
No Program that includes a partnership with a manufacturer, vendor, 
consultant, or other third party constitutes a waiver of the Buy 
America requirements applicable at the time the project is undertaken.
iv. Disadvantaged Business Enterprise
    FTA requires that its recipients receiving planning, capital and/or 
operating assistance that will award prime contracts exceeding $250,000 
in FTA funds in a Federal fiscal year comply with the Disadvantaged 
Business Enterprise (DBE) program regulations at 49 CFR part 26. 
Applicants should expect to include any funds awarded, excluding those 
to be used for vehicle procurements, in setting their overall DBE goal. 
Note, however, that projects including vehicle procurements remain 
subject to the DBE program regulations. The rule requires that, prior 
to bidding on any FTA-assisted vehicle procurement, entities that 
manufacture vehicles, perform post-production alterations or 
retrofitting must submit a DBE Program plan and goal methodology to 
FTA. Further, to the extent that a vehicle remanufacturer is responding 
to a solicitation for new or remanufactured vehicles with a vehicle to 
which the remanufacturer has provided post-production alterations or 
retro-fitting (e.g., replacing major components such as an engine to 
provide a ``like new'' vehicle), the vehicle remanufacturer is 
considered a transit vehicle manufacturer and must also comply with the 
DBE regulations.
    The FTA will then issue a transit vehicle manufacturer (TVM) 
concurrence/certification letter. Grant recipients must verify each 
entity's compliance with these requirements before accepting its bid. A 
list of compliant, certified TVMs is posted on FTA's web page at 
https://www.fta.dot.gov/regulations-and-guidance/civil-rights-ada/eligible-tvms-list. Please note, that this list is nonexclusive and 
recipients must contact FTA before accepting bids from entities not 
listed on this web-posting. Recipients may also establish project 
specific DBE goals for vehicle procurements. FTA will provide 
additional guidance as grants are awarded. For more information on DBE 
requirements, please contact Janelle Hinton, Office of Civil Rights, 
202-366-9259, email: janelle.hinton@dot.gov.
v. Planning
    FTA encourages proposers to notify the appropriate State 
Departments of Transportation and MPOs in areas likely to be served by 
the project funds made available under these initiatives and programs. 
Selected projects must be incorporated into the long-range plans and 
transportation improvement programs of States and metropolitan areas 
before they are eligible for FTA funding. As described under the 
evaluation criteria, FTA may consider whether a project is consistent 
with or already included in these plans when evaluating a project.
vi. Standard Assurances
    The applicant assures that it will comply with all applicable 
Federal statutes, regulations, executive orders, directives, FTA 
circulars, and other Federal administrative requirements in carrying 
out any project supported by the FTA grant. The applicant acknowledges 
that it is under a continuing obligation to comply with the terms and 
conditions of the grant agreement issued for its project with FTA. The 
applicant understands that Federal laws, regulations, policies, and 
administrative practices might be modified from time to time and may 
affect the implementation of the project. The applicant agrees that the 
most recent Federal requirements will apply to the project, unless FTA 
issues a written determination otherwise. The applicant must submit the 
Certifications and Assurances before receiving a grant if it does not 
have current certifications on file.
3. Reporting
    Post-award reporting requirements include the electronic submission 
of Federal Financial Reports and Milestone Progress Reports in FTA's 
electronic grants management system.

G. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts

    This program is not subject to Executive Order 12372, 
``Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs.'' FTA will consider 
applications for funding only from eligible recipients for eligible 
projects listed in Section C. Complete applications must be submitted 
through GRANTS.GOV by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on June 18, 2018. For 
issues with GRANTS.GOV please contact GRANTS.GOV by phone at 1-800-518-
4726 or by email at support@grants.gov. Contact information for FTA's 
regional

[[Page 18126]]

offices can be found on FTA's website at www.fta.dot.gov.

H. Technical Assistance and Other Program Information

    For further information concerning this notice, please contact the 
Low-No Program manager Tara Clark by phone at 202-366-2623, or by email 
at tara.clark@dot.gov. A TDD is available for individuals who are deaf 
or hard of hearing at 800-877-8339. In addition, FTA will post answers 
to questions and requests for clarifications on FTA's website at 
https://www.transit.dot.gov/funding/grants/lowno. To ensure applicants 
receive accurate information about eligibility or the program, the 
applicant is encouraged to contact FTA directly, rather than through 
intermediaries or third parties, with questions. FTA staff may also 
conduct briefings on the FY 2018 discretionary grants selection and 
award process upon request.

K. Jane Williams,
Acting Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2018-08636 Filed 4-24-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE P

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