What is a Federal Project?

Responses to Questions

How does the application of federal requirements to non-federally funded portions or phases of a project affect project delivery or cost? If so, how?

Applying Federal requirements to the non-Federally funded portions of the project can increase cost and delay delivery. Many times local supplied funds have fewer or different requirements on them and trying to add or overlay federal requirements complicates project delivery.
Would applying Federal requirements and oversight to only federally funded portion or phases of projects expedite project delivery?
Yes, it would expedite delivery.

Should FTA look at the phases of a project to determine what is federal or non-federal?
Yes they should and the determination should be made as early in the project process as is feasible and should remain consistent throughout the life of the project.
If so, how?
This should be based on project scope. A determination should be made as to what parts of the project are necessary to fulfil the project as it is described in the federal grant and the project owner should have some input as to what parts of the project need federal matching funds and what parts should be independently funded.
How would this impact project delivery? [As an example, if a rail line is to be built in three phrases, should FTA define the entire rail line as a federal project, or only the phase receiving federal funds]
This would simplify the project delivery and reporting process. If in the example given it can be shown that a single phase receiving federal funding is a viable standalone project then the other two phases should only have the regulatory and administrative requirements of the local funding agencies.
Should FTA define a more limited federal project based on project activities applied for or used as local match in a grant?
It should use project activities with the understanding that non-project activities cannot not be used as matching funds.
If so, how?
A complete and discrete standalone project needs to be defined.
How would this impact project delivery? (Examples could include: funding construction of guideway with federal funds and permitting the purchase of necessary vehicles to use local funds. Another example would be to permit State of Good Repair funds to be used for force account labor expenses while the materials or equipment used in the activity use local funds. In both cases the vehicles or equipment could not be included as match for the grant.
It would in many ways simplify project administration in reporting and with Buy America requirements. It does add the administrative burden of keeping the funding segregated.

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      • Shahnam Farhangi commented  · 

        I also agree that Federal requirements apply only to “Federally funded (including required local match)” portion of a project. There are times that a large transit project in an urban area require modification of existing infrastructure or addition of new infrastructure which is not property of the transit agency. As an example, a new rail extension may require relocation or rehabilitation of an old existing sewer system which is the property of another agency. Many times, work on that infrastructure is financed not by the FTA but by the owner of the property. To avoid inconvenience to the public, all work may have to be completed through one single contract only part of which is being financed by the FTA.

        When part of the contract work is being performed for and financed by another agency, it may be extremely difficult or prohibitively expensive to meet all Federal requirements. As an example, it is nearly impossible to meet Buy America requirements for certain assets owned by the San Francisco Water Department when that work has to be done in parallel with an FTA-funded transit project.

        Defining a more limited federal project based on project activities applied for or used as local match in a grant will not only expedite complete project delivery but also maintain the local municipality’s rights to apply its preferred local requirements for those phases that are financed solely through local funds.

        We also recommend that only those phases of the project which receive Federal funding to be subject to Federal requirements. This will not only expedite complete project delivery but also maintains the local municipality’s rights to apply its preferred local requirements for those phases that are financed solely through local funds.

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