FHWA’s New LEAP Pilot Program

A message to local agencies, from Ray Zhang, Chief, Division of Local Assistance, Caltrans:

Dear Transportation Partners:

By now, you have probably seen or heard about this federal register notice announcing FHWA’s new pilot program called LEAP.

In yesterday’s Federal Register, the Federal Highway Administration announced a solicitation of interest to permit on a pilot basis for up to FIVE (5) Local Public Agencies (LPAs) NATIONWIDE to have direct delivery of Federal-aid highway funding (link is shown below).  The pilot program is entitled the Local Empowerment for Accelerating Projects (LEAP) Pilot Program.

LPAs selected under this pilot would be “subject to Federal oversight and would have to meet all State and Federal requirements, and the State DOT would be relieved of direct oversight and accountability for projects under this program”.  In the background summary accompanying the Federal Register Notice, it is stated that the this pilot is motivated by concerns expressed to FHWA by LPAs “related to cost and time delays in delivery of projects, inadequate communication and collaboration among transportation partners, accessibility to Federal funding, and the need for improved statewide consistency in project administration and oversight, including the need for clarity and consistency as to direction and interpretation.”

No new funds are created to carry out this pilot program.  All funds made available to selected LPAs would come from contract authority apportionments and Federal-aid obligation authority currently administered by a State DOT.  Further, any funds made available by a State to be administered by a LPA would require an additional one percent of that dollar value to be transferred from non-Federal sources to FHWA to cover additional administrative costs anticipated under this pilot.

The deadline for applying is Nov. 25, 2016.  For your convenience, I have attached the pdf version of the notice here: 2016-25894

Please not everybody get excited about this, because there are only FIVE slots available nationwide for this program. But, I want to make sure that you are informed of this opportunity.

For those interested in applying, you will apply directly to FHWA, as directed in the Notice.

Thank you.

Ray Zhang
Chief, Division of Local Assistance
email: rihui.zhang@dot.ca.gov