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Notice of Funding Availability for Accelerated Innovation Deployment Demonstration

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Notice of Funding Availability for Accelerated Innovation Deployment Demonstration

Victor M. Mendez
Federal Highway Administration
November 1, 2013


[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 212 (Friday, November 1, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 65747-65751]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-26053]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Highway Administration

[Docket No. FHWA-2013-0048]


Notice of Funding Availability for Accelerated Innovation 
Deployment Demonstration

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Department of 
Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Notice of funding availability; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: This notice announces the availability of funding for 
Accelerated Innovation Deployment (AID) Demonstration authorized within 
the Technology and Innovation Deployment Program (TIDP) under the 
Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). This notice 
is addressed to organizations that are interested in applying and 
proposes selection criteria and application requirements for AID 
Demonstration funding. The FHWA requests comments on the content of 
this notice. The FHWA will take all comments into consideration and 
publish a final notice of funding availability.
    The FHWA will solicit grant applications through the governmentwide 
electronic grants Web site at http://www.grants.gov.

DATES: All public comments must be received on or before November 22, 
2013. Late-filed comments will be considered to the extent practicable.
    The FHWA plans to conduct outreach regarding the AID Demonstration 
in the form of a Webinar within 2 weeks of this notice being issued. 
Participants can pre-register online at: https://connectdot.connectsolutions.com/tidp/event/. Information on the Webinar 
date and time will be emailed to registered participants. The Webinar 
will be recorded and posted on FHWA's Web site at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/accelerating/grants.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by docket number FHWA-
2013-0048, by any of the following methods:
    Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and 
follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
    Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.
    Hand Delivery: West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001, between 9 a.m. and 5 
p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
    Instructions: You must include the agency name and docket number 
FHWA-2013-0048 on your comments. All comments received will be posted, 
without change, to http//www.regulations.gov, including any personal 
information provided.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Ewa Flom, Program Coordinator, 
Center for Accelerating Innovation, Federal Highway Administration, 
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, (202) 366-2169; or 
Ms. Seetha Srinivasan, Office of the Chief Counsel, Federal Highway 
Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, (202) 
366-4099. Office hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., e.t., Monday 
through Friday, except Federal holidays. A TDD is available for 
individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing at (202) 366-3993.
    In addition, the FHWA will regularly post answers to questions and 
requests for clarifications on FHWA's Web site at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/accelerating/grants. Applicants are encouraged to 
contact FHWA directly to receive information about AID Demonstration.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

[[Page 65748]]

Electronic Access

    This document may be viewed online through the Federal eRulemaking 
portal at: http://www.regulations.gov. Regulations.gov is available 24 
hours each day, 365 days each year. Electronic submission and retrieval 
help and guidelines are available under the help section of the Web 
site. An electronic copy of this document may also be downloaded by 
accessing the Office of the Federal Register's home page at: http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/, or the Government Printing 
Office's Web page at: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys.

Request for Comments on Proposed Selection Criteria and Application 
Requirements

    This notice invited interested parties to submit comments on the 
proposed selection criteria and application requirements described 
below. The FHWA will consider these comments and publish a final notice 
of funding availability.

Table of Contents

I. Background
II. Program Funding and Award
III. Eligibility
    A. Entities Eligible to Apply for Funding
    B. Eligible Uses of Funds
IV. Selection Criteria
V. Evaluation Process
VI. Application Process
    A. Contents of Applications
    B. Standard Form 424
    C. Narrative
    D. Contact Information
    E. Protection of Confidential Business Information
    F. Additional Information
    G. Experiencing Technical Issues With Grants.gov
VII. Performance Measurement
VIII. Questions and Clarifications

I. Background

    On July 6, 2012, President Obama signed into law MAP-21 (Pub. L. 
112-141), which amends 23 U.S.C. 503 for TIDP to implement accelerated 
innovation deployment; future strategic highway research program 
findings and results; and accelerated implementation and deployment of 
pavement technologies. The TIDP relates to all aspects of highway 
transportation including planning, financing, operation, structures, 
materials, pavements, environment, and construction.
    Section 503(c)(1) specifies the following TIDP goals: (A) 
Significantly accelerate the adoption of innovative technologies by the 
surface transportation community; (B) provide leadership and incentives 
to demonstrate and promote state-of the-art technologies, elevated 
performance standards, and new business practices in highway 
construction processes that result in improved safety, faster 
construction, reduced congestion from construction, and improved 
quality and user satisfaction; (C) construct longer-lasting highways 
through the use of innovative technologies and practices that lead to 
faster construction of efficient and safe highways and bridges; (D) 
improve highway efficiency, safety, mobility, reliability, service 
life, environmental protection, and sustainability; and (E) develop and 
deploy new tools, techniques, and practices to accelerate the adoption 
of innovation in all aspects of highway transportation.

II. Program Funding and Award

    Section 51001 of MAP-21 authorized $62,500,000 for the TIDP for 
each of Fiscal Years (FY) 2013 and 2014. The FY 2013 and FY 2014 funds 
are subject to an annual obligation limitation that is established in 
appropriations law. The amount of TIDP budget authority available in a 
given year may be less than the amount authorized for that fiscal year.
    The AID Demonstration is one aspect of the multifaceted TIDP 
approach. The FHWA expects approximately $15,000,000 to be made 
available in each of FY 2013 and FY 2014 for AID Demonstration. The 
FHWA expects to award AID Demonstration funds to multiple projects in 
each fiscal year. The FHWA has funding award goals of up to $14,000,000 
available to State departments of transportation (State DOT) and up to 
$1,000,000 available to Federal Land Management Agencies and tribal 
governments. Initially, awards will be limited to one project per 
applicant, subject to the number of eligible applications and the 
availability of funds.
    The amount of the award may be up to the full cost of the 
innovation, but only to a maximum of $1,000,000. States are also 
encouraged to use Section 1304 of MAP-21 ``Innovative Project Delivery 
Methods'' (23 U.S.C. 120(c)(3)) to increase the Federal share on these 
projects up to 5 percent. Information on the ``Innovative Project 
Delivery Methods'' provision is available at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/map21/qandas/qaipd.cfm. These funding goals will be reviewed annually 
and may be adjusted to reflect current priorities and needs.
    The FHWA will use an open, rolling solicitation. Applicants are 
encouraged to apply as soon as the eligible project is within 6 months 
of being initiated. Funds will be allocated upon award selection. Award 
recipients must obligate the awarded funds to the project within 6 
months of allocation.
    Award recipients must submit a final report to the FHWA within 6 
months of project completion that documents the process, benefits, and 
lessons learned including development and/or refinement of guidance, 
specifications or other tools and methods to support rapid adoption of 
the innovation(s) as standard practice, as well as level of commitment 
by recipient to deploy the innovation as standard practice.

III. Eligibility

A. Entities Eligible To Apply for Funding

    The AID Demonstration provides incentive funding for eligible 
entities to accelerate the implementation and adoption of innovation in 
highway transportation. Section 502(b)(3) of title 23, U.S.C., 
authorizes the Secretary to award research grants to a wide range of 
entities. The FHWA proposes to provide AID Demonstration grants to 
eligible State DOTs, Federal Land Management Agencies, and tribal 
governments. We believe these entities are the most likely to fulfill 
the deployment goals of the AID Demonstration program, since they are 
actively engaged in the deployment of new technologies. Consistent with 
other FHWA funding provided to tribes, any federally recognized tribe 
identified on the list of ``Indian Entities Recognized and Eligible to 
Receive Services from the Bureau of Indian Affairs'' (published at 77 
FR 47868) is eligible to apply. Metropolitan planning organizations and 
local governments may apply through State DOTs as subrecipients. 
Applicants must submit applications electronically through Grants.gov.
    The FHWA has funding award goals of up to $14,000,000 available to 
State DOTs and up to $1,000,000 available to Federal Land Management 
Agencies and tribal governments. Initially, awards will be limited to 
one project per applicant, subject to the number of eligible 
applications and the availability of funds. These funding goals will be 
reviewed annually and may be adjusted to reflect current priorities and 
needs.

B. Eligible Uses of Funds

    The AID Demonstration funds are available for any project eligible 
for assistance under title 23, United States Code. Eligible projects 
may involve any aspect of highway transportation including planning, 
financing, operation, structures, materials, pavements, environment, 
and

[[Page 65749]]

construction that address the TIDP goals mentioned in the 
``Background'' section. Projects eligible for funding shall include 
proven innovative practices or technologies, including infrastructure 
and non-infrastructure strategies or activities, which the applicant or 
subrecipient intends to implement and adopt as a significant 
improvement from the applicant's or the subrecipient's conventional 
practice.
    The amount of the award may be up to the full cost of the 
innovation in the project, but only to a maximum of $1,000,000. States 
are also encouraged to use Section 1304 of MAP-21 (23 U.S.C. 120(c)(3)) 
``Innovative Project Delivery Methods'' on projects that may qualify to 
increase the Federal share by up to 5 percent. Information on the 
``Innovative Project Delivery Methods'' is available at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/map21/qandas/qaipd.cfm.

IV. Selection Criteria

    The FHWA will award TIDP AID Demonstration funds to projects based 
on the selection criteria outlined below.
    The FHWA will use an open, rolling solicitation. Project readiness 
will be treated as primary selection criteria in FHWA's evaluation 
process. The project must be ready to be advanced within 6 months of 
applying for AID Demonstration funding. An eligible project shall 
include an innovation that aligns with the previously described TIDP 
goals. The innovation must be proven in real-world application with 
documented benefits (in a form that is publicly available or 
verifiable), not routinely used by the applicant or the subrecipient, 
and of significant improvement from the applicant's or the 
subrecipient's conventional practice. The FHWA encourages the use of 
innovations included in the Every Day Counts (EDC) initiative. Please 
go to the following link to see examples of EDC initiatives: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/everydaycounts/.
    Initially, awards will be limited to one project per applicant, 
subject to the number of eligible applications and the availability of 
funds. To ensure a wide variety of innovations and project types, the 
FHWA will also initially limit awards to three projects per innovation. 
If several applications submitted at the same time are rated as 
``Qualified'' and exceed the amount of available funding, the FHWA 
intends to give priority funding consideration to projects that (1) 
have not received TIDP funding, and (2) use an innovation that is 
included in the EDC initiative.
    In the application, the applicant or the subrecipient must indicate 
willingness to: (1) Participate in monitoring and assessment activities 
regarding the effectiveness of the innovation(s) and subsequent 
technology transfer and information dissemination activities associated 
with the project; (2) accept FHWA oversight of the project; and (3) 
conduct a before and after customer satisfaction determination for 
construction projects.

V. Evaluation Process

    The FHWA will evaluate AID Demonstration applications in accordance 
with the evaluation process discussed below.
    The FHWA will establish an evaluation team of technical and 
professional staff with relevant experience and/or expertise to review 
each application received by FHWA through Grants.gov. The evaluation 
team will be responsible for reviewing, evaluating, and rating the 
applications as well as making funding recommendations to FHWA senior 
leadership.
    After reviewing the application, the evaluation team may contact 
the applicant to discuss the application and confirm understanding of 
the requirements for participation in AID Demonstration. Based on the 
information collected, the evaluation team will prepare a summary 
assessment rating the application along with the team's recommendation. 
The summary assessment and recommendation will be presented to FHWA 
senior leadership to make a final determination on the approval of the 
award.
A. Selection Criteria
    All applications will be evaluated on a first submitted basis and 
be assigned a rating of ``Qualified'' or ``Not Qualified.'' If several 
applications submitted at the same time are rated as ``Qualified'' and 
exceed the amount of available funding, the FHWA intends to give 
priority funding consideration to projects that (1) have not received 
TIDP funding and (2) use an innovation that is included in the EDC 
initiative.
    The ratings are as follows:
1. Qualified
     Project ready to initiate within 6 months of applying for 
AID Demonstration funding;
     project innovation aligns with TIDP goals;
     innovation is proven in real-world application with 
documented benefits, and not routinely used by the applicant or the 
subrecipient;
     application describes the innovation's magnitude and scope 
of impact on the applicant's or the subrecipient's conventional 
practice;
     data is included that directly supports the requested 
funding amount;
     information provided on performance goals and measures for 
respective innovation demonstration and deployment activities;
     application indicates the applicant's or subrecipient's 
willingness to:
    (1) participate in monitoring and assessment activities regarding 
the effectiveness of the innovation(s) and subsequent technology 
transfer and information dissemination activities associated with the 
project;
    (2) accept FHWA oversight of the project; and
    (3) conduct before and after customer satisfaction determinations 
for construction projects.
2. Not Qualified
     Project does not meet the eligibility requirements;
     application does not meet the ``Qualified'' rating;
     application fails to address one or more of the 
application requirements;
     applicant received AID Demonstration funding within the 
current fiscal year;
     three projects with the innovation were already awarded 
AID Demonstration funding.

VI. Application Process

A. Contents of Applications

    The applicant will include all of the information requested below 
in their applications. The FHWA may request applicants to supplement 
the data in the application, but encourages applicants to submit the 
most relevant and complete information they can provide. The applicant 
should, to the extent practicable, provide data and evidence of project 
merits in a form that is publicly available or verifiable.
    A complete application will consist of: (1) The Standard Form 424 
(SF 424) available from Grants.gov, and (2) the narrative attachment to 
the SF 424 as described below.

B. Standard Form 424, Application for Federal Assistance

    Applicants should see www.grants.gov/assets/SF424Instructions.pdf 
for instructions on completing the SF 424, which is part of the 
standard Grants.gov submission.

C. Narrative (Attachment to SF 424)

    The applicant should include the supplemental narrative in the 
attachments section of the SF 424 mandatory form in Grants.gov to

[[Page 65750]]

successfully complete the application process.
    The applicant should respond to the application requirements 
described below. The supplemental narrative should be prepared with 
standard formatting (e.g. a single-spaced document, using a standard 
12-point font, such as Times New Roman, with 1-inch margins) and should 
not exceed five pages.
    An application should include information needed to verify that the 
project meets the statutory eligibility criteria as described in 
Section III (Eligibility) as well as other information required for 
FHWA to assess each of the criteria specified in Section IV (Selection 
Criteria). The applicant is required to demonstrate the responsiveness 
of the proposal to any pertinent selection criteria with the most 
relevant information that applicants can provide, regardless of whether 
such information is specifically requested or identified. The applicant 
should provide concrete evidence of project milestones, financial 
capacity, and commitment in order to support project readiness.
    For ease of review, the narrative should generally adhere to the 
following basic outline, and include relevant maps and graphics:
    1. Project Abstract: Describe work that would be completed under 
the project, whether the project is a complete project or part of a 
larger project with prior investment, and the aspect of highway 
transportation and the TIDP goals that the innovation would address 
(maximum five sentences). The project abstract should succinctly 
describe how this specific request for AID Demonstration funding would 
be included in the project.
    2. Project Description: Brief description of the project and 
project objective(s), the innovation and related documented benefits, 
the performance goals and measures for the innovation, current 
organizational/institutional experience with the innovation, and the 
significant improvement to conventional practice expected.
    3. Innovation Performance: Brief description of how the innovation 
will be monitored, assessed, and documented to determine if the 
performance goals and measures are achieved, including a timeline of 
demonstration, deployment, implementation, and/or adoption activities.
    4. Applicant information and coordination with other entities: 
Identification of applicant, and subrecipient if applicable; 
description of cooperation with other entities; and information 
regarding any other entities involved in the project.
    5. Funding Request: Summary of the funding request including the 
basis for determining the cost of the innovation in the project. The 
applicant should also include the total project cost.
    6. Eligibility and Selection Criteria: Brief description of how the 
project meets the statutory eligibility criteria as described in 
Section III (Eligibility) and the selection criteria identified in 
Section IV (Selection Criteria).

D. Contact Information

    The applicant should include contact information requested as part 
of the SF-424. The FHWA will use this information to contact applicants 
and to inform parties of FHWA's decision regarding selection of 
projects. Contact information should be provided for a direct employee 
of the applicant. Contact information for a contractor, agent, or 
consultant of the lead applicant is insufficient for FHWA's purposes.

E. Additional Information on Applying Through Grants.gov

    Applications for AID Demonstration must be submitted through 
Grants.gov. To apply for funding through Grants.gov, applicants must be 
properly registered. Complete instructions on how to register and apply 
can be found at www.grants.gov. If interested parties experience 
difficulties at any point during the registration or application 
process, they should call the Grants.gov Customer Support Hotline at 1-
800-518-4726, Monday-Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. e.t.
    Registering with Grants.gov is a one-time process, however, 
processing delays may occur and it can take up to several weeks for 
first-time registrants to receive confirmation and a user password. 
Accordingly, FHWA highly recommends that potential applicants start the 
registration process as early as possible. In order to apply for AID 
Demonstration under this notice and to apply for funding through 
Grants.gov, all applicants are required to complete the following:
    1. Acquire a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number. A DUNS 
number is required for Grants.gov registration. The Office of 
Management and Budget requires that all applicants for Federal funds 
include a DUNS number in their applications for a new award or renewal 
of an existing award. A DUNS number is a unique nine-digit sequence 
recognized as the universal standard for identifying and keeping track 
of entities receiving Federal funds. The identifier is used for 
tracking purposes and to validate address and point of contact 
information for Federal assistance applicants, recipients, and 
subrecipients. The DUNS number will be used throughout the grant life 
cycle. Obtaining a DUNS number is a free, one-time activity that can be 
completed by calling 1-866-705-5711 or by applying online at http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform.
    2. Acquire or Renew Registration with the Central Contractor 
Registration (CCR) Database. All applicants for Federal financial 
assistance maintain current registrations in the CCR database. An 
applicant must be registered in the CCR to successfully register in 
Grants.gov. The CCR database is the repository for standard information 
about Federal financial assistance applicants, recipients, and 
subrecipients. Entities that have previously submitted applications via 
Grants.gov are already registered with CCR, as it is a requirement for 
Grants.gov registration. Please note, however, that applicants must 
update or renew their CCR registration at least once per year to 
maintain an active status, so it is critical to check registration 
status well in advance of relevant application deadlines. Information 
about CCR registration procedures can be accessed at: https://www.sam.gov/portal/public/SAM/.
    3. Acquire an Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) and a 
Grants.gov Username and Password. Applicants will need to complete an 
AOR profile on Grants.gov and create a username and password. The 
assigned DUNS Number is required to complete this step. For more 
information about the registration process, go to: www.grants.gov/applicants/get_registered.jsp.
    4. Acquire Authorization for the AOR from the E-Business Point of 
Contact (E-Biz POC). The E-Biz POC for the applicant must log in to 
Grants.gov to confirm the applicant as an AOR. Please note that there 
can be more than one AOR for each applicant.
    5. Search for the Funding Opportunity on Grants.gov. Applicants can 
use the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance number for this 
solicitation, which is 20.200, titled Technology and Innovation 
Development Program, when searching for the AID Demonstration 
opportunity on Grants.gov.
    6. Submit an Application Addressing All of the Requirements 
Outlined in this Notice of Funding Availability. Within 24 to 48 hours 
after submitting an electronic application, applicants should receive 
an email validation message from Grants.gov. The validation message 
will specify whether the

[[Page 65751]]

application was received and validated or rejected, with an 
explanation.

    Note:  When uploading attachments, applicants should use 
generally accepted formats such as .pdf, .doc, and .xls. While 
applicants may imbed picture files such as .jpg, .gif, .bmp, in your 
files, they should not save and submit the attachment in these 
formats. Additionally, the following formats will not be accepted: 
.com, .bat, .exe, .vbs, .cfg, .dat, .db, .dbf, .dll, .ini, .log, 
.ora, .sys, and .zip.

F. Experiencing Technical Issues With Grants.gov

    If interested parties experience difficulties at any point during 
the registration or application process, they should call the 
Grants.gov Customer Support Hotline at 1-800-518-4726, Monday-Friday 
from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. e.t.

VII. Performance Measurement

    Each applicant selected for AID Demonstration funding will need to 
work with FHWA on the development and implementation of a plan to 
collect information and report on the project's performance with 
respect to the relevant outcomes that are expected to be achieved 
through the innovation in the project. Each recipient of AID 
Demonstration funding will report on specified performance indicators 
for its project. Performance indicators will be identified for each 
project, and will consider the individual project's stated goals as 
well as resource constraints of the recipient. Performance indicators 
will not include formal goals or targets, but will include baseline 
measures as well as post-project outputs, and will inform the AID 
Demonstration program in working toward best practices, programmatic 
performance measures, and future decisionmaking guidelines. The 
recipient must submit a final report to FHWA within 6 months of project 
completion which documents the process, benefits, and lessons learned 
including development and/or refinement of guidance, specifications or 
other tools and methods to support rapid adoption of the innovation(s) 
as standard practice.

VIII. Questions and Clarifications

    For further information concerning this notice please contact Ms. 
Ewa Flom, Program Coordinator, Center for Accelerating Innovation, 
(202) 366-2169, or Ms. Seetha Srinivasan, Office of the Chief Counsel, 
(202) 366-4099, Federal Highway Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue 
SE., Washington, DC 20590. Office hours are from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 
e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. A TDD is 
available for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing at (202) 366-
3993.
    In addition, FHWA will post answers to questions and requests for 
clarifications on FHWA's Web site at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/accelerating/grants. Applicants are encouraged to contact FHWA directly 
to receive information about AID Demonstration.

    Authority:  Section 52003 of Pub. L. 112-141; 23 U.S.C. 503.

    Issued on: October 21, 2013.
Victor M. Mendez,
FHWA Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2013-26053 Filed 10-31-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-22-P



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