Questions and Answers
A. Reporting Requirements
1) Question: Will the Federal Financial Report (FFR) and Milestone Progress Report (MPR) reporting requirements for ARRA grants be different than current requirements?
Answer: No. In the Federal Register of March 5, 2009, FTA stated that FFRs and MPRs were due 10 days after the end of the quarter. However, effective with the quarter ended 12/31/09 reporting and beyond, FTA will allow recipients of ARRA funding to submit FFRs and MPRs by the 30th day after the end of the calendar quarter. Reports for the quarter ending 12/31/09 are due on January 30, 2010.
2) Question: What is the definition of “infrastructure investments” for the purposes of Section 1512 reporting? Is it all capital such as bus purchases or Preventive Maintenance?
Answer: For the purposes of Section 1512, FTA considers all capital investments as “infrastructure” investments.
3) Question: Do MPO’s and/or Urbanized Area direct grantees have to submit a Section 1511 certification to DOT before FTA can award an ARRA grant?
Answer: Maybe. DOT has determined that the FHWA/FTA joint planning requirements provide a robust process to ensure that projects have been properly reviewed and vetted and are an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars. Therefore, the Governor or his/her designee’s signature on one Section 1511 certification can cover all highway and transit projects in a State under certain conditions. In order for the Governor’s certification to satisfy the Section 1511 requirement for transit projects in urbanized areas, the certification must cite the TIP/STIP planning process as the basis for certifying that the projects have been properly reviewed and vetted and are an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars. The State must also provide a link to the public web posting the STIP that includes (or will include prior to the grant award for a particular project) any highway and transit project designated to receive ARRA funding.
U.S. DOT will ensure that the certifications received from the State are posted on DOT’s Recovery site.
If the Governor’s certification includes only highway projects and not transit projects, or if the certification does not provide a link to the proposed transit projects included in the STIP for ARRA funding, it will be necessary for a direct recipient to submit an additional certification or project listing.
Secretary LaHood’s letter to the Governors, dated February 27, 2009, which is posted on DOT's site at the Recovery link, includes sample formats for the Section 1511 certification and two other certifications by the Governor.
If an FTA grantee or FTA determines that no satisfactory 1511 certification has previously been made and posted, the grantee should ensure that an appropriate official (for example, a mayor, chairman of the MPO or transit board, or State transit division chief) signs a certification for the project (or a list of projects) and emails it to firstname.lastname@example.org so that FTA can review the certification and ensure that it is posted on the DOT website, and linked to Recovery.Gov as required prior to grant award. While the project must be included on the TIP/STIP, as appropriate, before grant award, it is not required that the TIP/STIP amendment process be complete before the 1511 certification is signed. If a previous certification was based on the TIP/STIP process and included a link to the TIP/STIP, when a new or revised ARRA project is reflected in the TIP/STIP as posted on a website, it is not necessary to submit a new 1511 certification.
Note that the certification requirement only applies to infrastructure projects, so a new certification is not required for an operating assistance project under Section 5307 and 5311.
4) Question: Do all grantees have to submit the certifications required by Section 1201(a) (Maintenance of Effort) and Section 1607 (accepting ARRA funds)?
Answer: No. These certifications are one-time certifications at the State level.
5) Question: What reports does ARRA require and when do grantees have to begin submitting reports?
Answer: There are several reporting deadlines in the ARRA. Some of them apply to the Federal agency (DOT) and some to grantees.
- All FTA grantees receiving grants under any FTA ARRA program will be expected to submit standard Financial Status Reports (FSR) and Milestone Progress Reports (MPR) and accompanying narrative reports quarterly ten days after the end of each quarter, starting with the first quarter that ends after grant award. (Note: a grantee that has used pre-award authority also has to submit an initial FSR when it executes the grant.) Except for being due 10 days after the end of the quarter instead of 30, and being quarterly instead of annual in the case of States and small urbanized areas, these reports are the same reports required in FTA Circular 5010 and the relevant program circulars.
- DOT began submitting weekly reports to Recovery.gov beginning March 3, 2009. These reports include obligations and disbursements by program and FTA generates all the financial information needed from the grant award information in TEAM, and for DELPHI, the Department’s financial system. FTA encourages grantees to share noteworthy Recovery program accomplishments and “good news” stories and pictures with us so that we can pass them on to Recovery.gov to demonstrate to the public that the ARRA is working. Similarly, we encourage grantees to share less positive experiences with us so that we can work with the rest of DOT and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to address any potential issues. Grantees must report to the Inspector General any suspected incidence of waste, fraud and abuse related to ARRA funds, and should notify FTA regional offices of any problems encountered as they occur.
- The ARRA requires DOT grantees to report the information specified in Section 1201(c) , 90 days, 180 days, one year, two years, and three years after February 17, 2009, which DOT then transmits to Congress. The grantee’s first report was due May 18, 2009. Subsequent reports are due August 16, 2009, and thereafter on February 17, 2010, 2011, and 2012, for a cumulative reporting period ending at the end of the month preceding the due date.
The four FTA grantees that had received an ARRA grant before May 1, 2009, reported through a web based DOT reporting portal. Before the second report was due in August 2009, FTA provided access to the 1201(c) reporting form through TEAM. Further reporting instructions can be found at FAQ’s on 1201(c) reports. FTA may issue revised or supplemental guidance before the next reporting period.
In general, the 1201(c) report requests aggregate information for each ARRA program from February 17, 2009, through the end of the reporting period. FTA will collect this information from grantees in a report in TEAM for each grant awarded and will aggregate the information for DOT’s 1201(c) report to Congress on the number of projects for which funding has been awarded, expenditures, number of contracts that have been put out to bid, number of contracts that have been awarded, number of contracts for which work has begun, and number of contracts completed, and the ARRA funding associated with each category of contracts. The report will also request information on the number of direct on-site job hours associated with the ARRA funds awarded as of the end of the reporting period (both in-house labor and through contracts.) Grantees will not be expected to estimate employment data other than the direct on-site jobs (for example, construction workers building a maintenance facility, or transit agency workers doing preventive maintenance) . DOT economists will compute the number of indirect jobs or induced jobs (for example, jobs at suppliers or in unrelated industries as a result of the money flowing through the economy.) The report also calls for information about State funding the grantee expected to receive and actually received between February 17, 2009 and September 30, 2010, for any projects that would be eligible for ARRA funding under the program for which the grantee is reporting. These questions are related to the Governor’s 1201(a) certification of maintenance of effort, but only apply to the State funding directed to the grantee that is reporting.
FTA will aggregate the information from the grantee reports into reports for each of the three major FTA ARRA programs: Transit Capital Assistance – which includes money apportioned by the 5307 and 5311 formulas as well as TIGGER and Tribal discretionary grants; Fixed Guideway modernization formula; and Capital Investment Grants – discretionary ARRA funds for New Starts or Small Starts projects. FTA will also aggregate reports on any subsequent FTA grants awarded under the Departmental TIGER grant program. Section 1512 includes specific reporting requirements for recipients of ARRA funds from all Federal agencies, not just DOT. The ARRA (section 1512(f) ) requires Federal agencies to impose the reporting requirement on grantees. FTA has implemented this requirement through a special condition in each ARRA grant.
On June 22, 2009, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released new guidance for recipient reporting. This guidance, Implementing Guidance for the Reports on Use of Funds Pursuant to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (“Recovery Act”) , implements the reporting requirements for recipients of grants loans, and other forms of assistance. The page links provides access to:
- The new guidance (PDF)
- The recipient reporting data model, including data dictionary (PDF)
- The list of programs subject to recipient reporting (PDF)
In addition, FTA has published Section 1512 guidance for its grantees.
OMB has deployed a nationwide data collection system at the website http://www.federalreporting.gov/ that will reduce information reporting burden on recipients by simplifying reporting instructions and providing a user-friendly mechanism for submitting required data.
Each grantee that has received an ARRA grant as of the end of the reporting period must report. The 1512(c) reporting requirements include detailed information about the grant award(s) and about each project and sub-awardee (both sub-recipients and first tier contractors) . Direct recipients may delegate some reporting to subrecipients, but remain responsible for the data quality of their subrecipients. Grantees (and any subrecipients that they have delegated to report directly) must register in advance in order to report through http://www.federalreporting.gov/. FTA encourages grantees to register as soon as possible, to be prepared to submit quarterly reports. Check the FTA and FederalReporting.Gov sites frequently for new information.
Under ARRA, all direct recipients and first tier sub-awardees (including both sub-recipients and contractors) must obtain a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number. Direct recipients must also register with the Central Contractors Registration (CCR) . Unless the CCR applicant intends to pursue other Federal business, they do not have to complete the Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA) as part of the CCR registration process. [See questions IV, C, 8-20 for information about how to obtain a DUNS number and register with the CCR.] [Note: Previous OMB guidance indicated that first tier sub-awardees would also be required to register on CCR, but more recently OMB has indicated that only Direct Recipients must register with CCR, except in the case where a sub-recipient has been delegated by the direct recipient to report sub-recipient information directly to FederalReporting.Gov .]
The President has to report to Congress every 90 days on status and progress of projects and activities funded by ARRA with respect to NEPA compliance. Each Department is reporting the information to the President’s council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). FTA has submitted data for the reports due to CEQ in April and July, 2009. FTA is currently reporting based on the environmental determinations recorded in grant records in TEAM but may request supplemental information from grantees or applicants in the future.
Additional reporting may be required by the Inspector General (IG) , the Government Accountability Office (GAO) , or other entities, for example Congressional committees or individual members of Congress. If any of these entities requests information directly from an FTA recipient, the recipient may respond directly. FTA encourages grantees to copy the regional office on any responses to such requests for information.
6) Question: In regard to Preventive Maintenance, and reporting concerning job creation- what if we did not create jobs but were able to save jobs through the ARRA funds, how do we report?
Answer: DOT is not making any distinction between jobs created and jobs maintained in the reporting of direct jobs for purposes of the 1201(c) reports. The 1201(c) reports will collect direct job hours related to the funding during the reporting period but will not expect grantees to estimate indirect or induced jobs that result from the project. OMB has provided similar guidance for the reporting of jobs for purposes of the Section 1512 reports.
7) Question: Will FTA be issuing guidance on how to calculate direct and indirect jobs created, for reporting purposes?
Answer: Grantees will not be expected to calculate indirect jobs. The reporting guidance developed by FTA instructing grantees how to report job hours for direct jobs can be found at FAQ’s on 1201(c) (MS Word) reports and in the 1201(c) Reporting Form. FTA’s reporting guidance for how to report jobs for 1512 (PDF)
8) Question: Do transit operators need to prepare Form 424 for intergovernmental review for Section 5307 & 5309 ARRA grants?
Answer: Yes. The Standard Form (SF) 424 is required for the application of all Federal funds. The information required on the SF 424 is incorporated in the TEAM application but you may need to prepare a SF 424 form if your state’s intergovernmental review process requires it.
9) Question: Secretary LaHood’s February 17, 2009 letter to the Governors states that any Federal dollars not used for a particular project must be used for other projects consistent with the original ARRA appropriation. What will grantees be required to report?
Will the quantification of savings that will be redistributed be done at the regional office or in Washington and how/where will this be tracked?
Answer: The same reporting requirements that are currently in place for grantees will apply. Funds not needed for the initial project may be deobligated and reobligated before September 30, 2010.
B. Grant Implementation
1) Question: Do FTA’s Buy America requirements extend to ARRA funds?
Answer: Yes, Buy America requirements apply to ARRA funds because all of the provisions of 49 U.S.C. Chapter 53 apply. Therefore, an applicant, in carrying out a procurement financed with Federal assistance authorized under the ARRA must comply with applicable Buy America requirements in 49 U.S.C. 5323(j) and 49 C.F.R. Part 661.
2) Question: Will the states and UZAs be penalized if the vehicles are not delivered in time?
3) Question: Must grantees draw-down their FTA ARRA funds by September 30, 2015? If yes, where is it in the statute?
Answer: Yes, although FTA ARRA grant funds remain available for obligation by FTA through September 30, 2010, obligated balances are available through September 30, 2015 to be disbursed (drawn-down) for grant expenses, after which time any remaining balance in the grant will be canceled. This September 30, 2015 date is not in the ARRA statute. However, 31 U.S.C. Section 1552, Procedures for Appropriation Accounts, provides that funds made available for a fixed period of time must be closed within 5 years of the end of the availability of the appropriation. ARRA grant funds become unavailable for appropriation/obligation after September 30, 2010; thus, five years after that is September 30, 2015.
4) Question: Can ARRA funds be deobligated and reobligated in a new grant?
Answer: Deobligated funds are available for reobligation, in accordance with the ARRA redistribution requirements, to another ARRA eligible activity within that period. Once the period of availability for obligation has expired, funds may not be reobligated. However, because ARRA funds are intended for “ready to go” projects, FTA does not anticipate many requests for deobligation and reobligation. Such requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis and may or may not be granted.
5) Question: Under what circumstances will FTA allow grant amendments and budget revisions to ARRA grants after September 30, 2010?
Answer: After September 30, 2010, the circumstances under which FTA allows changes to ARRA grants are different than they were before the obligation deadline.
ARRA grants may not be amended after the period of funding availability expired on September 30, 2010. After this date, the funds are no longer available to FTA for new obligations, including grant amendments. Any funds previously obligated in a grant that will not be expended for the original purpose must be deobligated and returned to the US Treasury unless they can be redirected for other purposes in the grant through a budget revision.
Prior to September 30, 2010, FTA allowed amendments to ARRA grants under the following circumstances:
- To add previously unobligated ARRA resources to a grant;
- To allow up to 10% of ARRA funds to be used for operating assistance; and
- To allow the addition of a new scope that would be funded using cost savings from bids coming in under the previous estimate.
As noted above,the obligation authority of ARRA funds expired on September 30, 2010. Therefore, a grant amendment involving ARRA funds is prohibited after that date because it would result in a new obligation.
After September 30, 2010, FTA will continue to allow budget revisions to ARRA grants under the following limited circumstances:
- When the budget revision does not require prior FTA approval per FTA Circular 5010.1D; and
- To add an activity line item to the existing grant that will be funded using the cost savings from bids that come in under previous estimates for activities included in the same grant.
Note: Where a budget revision is initiated as a result of cost savings, documentation should be included in the TEAM grant file. A budget revision that includes the addition of an activity line item is subject to FTA review and approval on a case-by-case basis.
6) Question: In response to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) memorandum M-11-34 dated September 15, 2011, will FTA consider approving budget revisions beyond those previously allowed if the budget revision will facilitate earlier drawdown of the grant funds?
Answer: Yes, if the budget revision is consistent with FTA criteria described in FTA Circular 5010.1D, Chapter III, Section 2, Grant Modifications, Pages III-11 to III-14 and if the following two conditions are met:
- The purpose of the proposed budget revision must be to realign the ARRA grant funds within existing scopes in the grant so that they can be fully expended by September 30, 2013.
- The grantee can document that funds are redirected from grant activities that cannot be fully expended by September 30, 2013.
If a grantee wants to submit an ARRA budget revision requiring prior FTA approval for consideration, it should first contact its Regional Office before entering the request in TEAM and before incurring any costs for the proposed new use of the funds. The Regional Office representative will walk through the request with the grantee and explain the documentation requirements to help determine if the request should be submitted in TEAM and submitted to FTA Headquarters for approval.
7) Question: Are grantees required to actually pay out money before requesting reimbursement or could they actually request payments a few days in advance to meet immediate disbursement needs?
Answer: The FTA program operates on a reimbursement basis, which means an obligation must be incurred before a grantee can draw funds. However, a grantee does not have to disburse local funds before requesting reimbursement from FTA. Consistent with our current policy, grantees may request payments via the ECHO system for immediate project disbursement needs and must make payments on these obligations no later than three (3) days after receiving that Federal assistance.
8) Question: Can we expect different Project Management Oversight Contractors (PMOC) for the ARRA projects or will we see the same faces we see now?
Answer: FTA will be using the existing contracts/contractors for ARRA PMOC activities
C. Contracts and Procurement
1) Question: Can FTA allow progress payments on procurements?
Answer: Progress payments are made to the contractor only for costs incurred in the performance of the contract. The grantee must obtain adequate security for progress payments, which may include taking title, letter of credit or equivalent means to protect the grantee’s interest in the progress payment. More discussion on this subject can be found in 4220.1F, Chapter III.
2) Question: Are progress payments an allowable method of accelerating outlays on ARRA projects?
Answer: Yes. Progress payments are payments for contract work under a contract that has not yet been completed. Payments are based on actual costs incurred or upon a percentage of completion of the work. Under current guidance, a recipient may use FTA assistance to support progress payments provided the recipient obtains “adequate security” for those payments and has sufficient written documentation to substantiate the work for which payment is requested. A recipient should contact the regional office administering its project if it has questions about progress payments.
3) Question: What does FTA consider adequate security for progress payments?
Answer: Adequate security for progress payments may include taking title to the work in progress or obtaining an irrevocable letter of credit from a federally insured financial institution or taking equivalent measures to protect the recipient’s financial interest in the work product to ensure delivery and completion.
Other acceptable forms of securities may include surety bonds that guarantee repayment, personal or corporate endorsements or guarantees, advance payment bonds, pledges of collateral, subordination or standby of other indebtedness, or grantees taking first priority lien on any material or other property acquired. It is recommended that corporate sureties offered for bonds be listed in the Department of the Treasury List of Approved Sureties - Circular 570 http://www.fms.treas.gov/c570/c570.html
The recipient must consider the additional costs associated with providing security. For example, the recipient or its contractor may need to purchase bonds or letters of credit in the commercial marketplace and consider the impact of those costs on the contract price, as well as the consequences of incomplete performance.
A recipient should contact the regional office administering its project if it has questions about the securities it is contemplating to support progress payments.
4) Question: Is there a difference between progress payments and partial payments?
Answer: Yes. Partial payments happen when a contract authorizes delivery or performance in increments, where payment of a portion of the contract price may be made before the entire contract is completed. Such payments are referred to as partial payments. Partial payments are not considered to be a financing technique (like advance payments or progress payments) but they can be an important means of providing funds for performance.
Partial payments can be used whenever a contract can be structured in incremental stages or deliveries and there are appropriate acceptance criteria for the supplies, services, or completed subsystems of a larger system. If a recipient can safely inspect, test, and accept these units and make a “final” payment for those items delivered, without having to worry about their functioning as part of a larger system, then partial payments could be incorporated in the contract. Progress payments are described above.
5) Question: Are advance payments an allowable method of accelerating outlays on ARRA projects?
Answer: Yes, advance payments are acceptable under limited circumstances. Advance payments are payments made to a contractor before the contractor incurs contract costs and therefore are typically only used for sound business reasons. Under current guidance, the recipient may use its local share funds for advance payments. However, if there is no automatic pre-award authority for its project, then advance payments made with local share funds before FTA assistance has been awarded, or before a letter of no prejudice has been issued or other pre-award authority has been provided, or before FTA approval for the specific advance payment has been obtained, are ineligible for reimbursement.
FTA recognizes that advance payments are typically required for, but are not limited to, public utility connections and services, rent, tuition, insurance premiums, subscriptions to publications, software licenses, construction mobilization costs, transportation, hotel reservations, and conference and convention registrations. Accordingly, the recipient may use FTA assistance to support or reimburse the costs of such acquisitions. FTA concurrence is required only when such advance payment or payments customarily required in the marketplace exceed $100,000.
Apart from advance payments that are customary, as discussed above, FTA does occasionally make exceptions to its advance payment prohibitions, if the recipient can provide sound business reasons for doing so and has obtained FTA’s advance written concurrence. A recipient that seeks to use FTA assistance to support advance payments should contact the regional office administering its project to obtain FTA concurrence.
Similar to progress payments, the recipient must obtain adequate security for advance payments. Adequate security for the advance payment is an essential pre-condition to FTA’s concurrence in the use of FTA or local share funds. Similar to progress payments, examples of adequate security for advance payments include surety bonds that guarantee repayment, personal or corporate endorsements or guarantees, advance payment bonds, pledges of collateral, subordination or standby of other indebtedness, or grantees taking first priority lien on any material or other property acquired.
The recipient should consider the additional costs associated with providing security and the impact of those costs on the contract price, as well as the consequences of incomplete performance.
6) Question: Can a recipient unilaterally change the payment method already established in an existing third-party contract?
Answer: No, the recipient would have to negotiate the change with its contractor and modify the payment clauses in the contract accordingly. However, for those procurements not yet awarded, grantees could consider including accelerated payment terms.
7) Question: Can a recipient change the payment method in an existing third-party contract without concern about what was in the procurement package available to all potential bidders/responders?
Answer: Depending on state procurement law, there exists the potential that contractors could challenge the change in payment/financing terms through a protest action. The theory behind the protest would be that the change in payment terms materially changed the competitive environment and that the protesting contractor would have participated in the original competition had it known part of its costs would have been financed through an accelerated payment provision.
8) Question: Are there any changes to Federal procurement and contracting rules for grantees anticipated with these new ARRA funds?
Answer: Presently, FTA anticipates that existing U.S. DOT procurement and contracting regulations (found in 49 C.F.R. Part 18) and official guidance (found in FTA’s Third Party Procurement Circular) , including the Disadvantage Business Enterprise (DBE) program requirements will apply in full force to ARRA funded projects. U.S. DOT’s Office of General Counsel has issued official guidance via an ARRA-specific DBE Question & Answer site to address issues raised by the ARRA legislation, express DOT’s expectations, and delineate grantees’ continued obligations and options as they advance grants.
9) Question: Are there ways that I can expedite contract delivery of the ARRA funds?
Answer: There are several opportunities that FTA grantees can take to expedite contract delivery of the ARRA funds, as well as any other FTA program funds. FTA’s Best Practices Procurement Manual contains information on how transit agencies and other FTA grantees can partner with other grantees to do joint purchases of items such as rolling stock. For any other information on how to issue contracts using FTA funding, please go to FTA’s Third Party Procurement web site where you can find an array of procurement resources, including a site-specific search engine and an extensive list of Frequently Asked Questions.
Grantees should identify any capital projects (such as bus garage repairs or renovations) for ARRA funds. Grantees can initiate any contracting (statement of work, purchase requests and independent cost estimates) actions, so that when the funding becomes available, timely contract awards can be made.
10) Question: Is piggybacking onto existing contracts allowed?
Answer: Yes. Piggybacking is permissible when the solicitation document and resultant contract contain an “assignability clause” that provides for the assignment of all or a portion of the specified deliverables as originally advertised, competed, evaluated and awarded. If the supplies were solicited, competed and awarded through the use an indefinite-delivery-indefinite-quantity contract (IDIQ) , then both the solicitation and contract award must contain both a minimum and maximum quantity that represent the reasonably foreseeable needs of the party(s) to the solicitation and contract. If two or more parties jointly solicit and award an IDIQ contract, then there must be a total minimum and maximum. See Attachment 1 of FTA’s Best Practices Manual for the Piggybacking Worksheet.
Grantees are encouraged to pursue any joint or cooperative procurements (including piggybacking) of vehicles across state lines. Grantees may place orders against existing State or local contracts. It is advantageous to use existing contract rights if appropriate assignability clauses are in place so that supplies or services can be quickly obtained.
11) Question: Can FTA permit “change orders” to existing Federal or non-Federal contracts?
Answer: Modifications to contracts are allowed based on the terms and conditions established at the time of award. As a general rule, the owner agency of a contract is the only entity permitted to "modify" or "change" that contract's terms and conditions. If the contract stipulates that a portion or portions may be modified, then user agencies are restricted to those instructions. Roles and responsibilities of recipients in modification and changes to contracts are discussed in FTA Circular 4220.1F, chapter VI.
12) Question: Can ARRA funding be added to projects/procurements that do not currently have Federal funding in them?
Answer: It depends on whether the contract is a State GSA schedule-type contract or whether it is a contract awarded by a local government grantee. If a State has a GSA schedule-type contract which does not conflict with FTA’s procurement requirements (e.g., geographic preference) , FTA allows grantees to incorporate FTA’s required clauses and the execution of required certifications in State GSA schedule-type contracts when they first issue a purchase order against the contract; but FTA only permits this action in State GSA schedule-type contracts. For all other contracts, FTA has taken the position that grantees may not add Federal clauses and certifications to previously awarded locally-funded contracts of their own or of other grantees in order to fund these contracts with ARRA or FTA financial assistance.
13) Question: Is there any way that our contracting processing can be accelerated?
Answer: Grantees can use design/build and the flexibility to shorten bid times. In addition, you may want to look into setting up contracts that provide the kind of management services essential to moving a collection of projects, including financial management, procurement following Federal procedures, scheduling, cost control, design and construction management, and performance management reporting. This would not relieve a State or transit agency of responsibility for such activities.
14) Question: What is the Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number?
Answer: The Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) DUNS Number is a unique nine-digit identification sequence, which provides unique identifiers of single business entities, while linking corporate family structures together. D&B links the D&B DUNS Numbers of parents, subsidiaries, headquarters and branches on more than 70 million corporate family members around the world. Used by the world's most influential standards-setting organizations, it is recognized, recommended and/or required by more than 50 global, industry and trade associations, including the United Nations, the U.S. Federal Government, the Australian Government and the European Commission. In today's global economy, the D&B DUNS Number has become the standard for keeping track of the world's businesses.
15) Question: Where does D&B get its data?
Answer: D&B has built the most extensive business information database in the world with over 100,000,000 companies. D&B collects and receives information from a broad array of sources, including:
- Direct investigations and interviews with the company principals.
- Payment and banking data from company suppliers, which provides over 639,000,000 experiences updated annually.
- Suits, liens, judgment, UCCs, business registrations, corporate details and bankruptcy filings from state and county courthouses, resulting in over 135,000,000 records on file.
- Corporate financial reports and filings within 48-72 hours of filing.
- Contracts, grants, loans and debarments from the federal government.
- 3,000,000 URLs on DUNS numbers.
- News and media sources.
- Telephone company data and print directories.
16) Question: How does D&B ensure the accuracy of its data?
Answer: To verify and ensure the highest data quality, D&B has patented matching technology to identify and consolidate data from multiple sources into one business file identified by the D&B DUNS® Number. The DUNS® Number also enables them to link and identify businesses within a corporate family.
D&B uses over 2,000 information computer validations to ensure a high standard of data quality. They also conduct manual validation checks and reviews. They evaluate data consistency and use sophisticated models to compare incoming data on a given business to the data received on similar businesses of the same industry, age and size. For example, can a grocery store with 5 employees do $200,000,000 per year in sales? D&B also has sophisticated cross-check processes that identify potential duplicate businesses, and run their marketing database through address standardization and Zip+4 assignments every month.
For every business credit record, they cross check that new business with their public filing database of over 135,000,000 records and trade and banking database of 639,000,000 experiences. Every new piece of incoming information goes through their sophisticated match system to match it to an existing business credit file. The Severe Risk Department monitors business activity to identify potential frauds, overbuys or business failures. D&B has one department solely responsible for corporate linkages and family trees covering over 8,300,000 businesses/locations.
17) Question: How do I get a DUNS® Number or business listing with D&B?
Answer: You can request a DUNS Number and start a credit file on the D&B Small Business Solutions site, or call the D&B Customer Resource Center at (800) 333-0505 if you have an expedited request.
18) Question: Am I committing to a contract or subscription to join?
Answer: No, you can become a registered member for free. You must register in order to purchase a product, however you do not have to subscribe to a monthly subscription.
19) Question: Who is required to register in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR)?
Answer: Under ARRA, all direct recipients and first tier sub-awardees (including both sub-recipients and contractors) must obtain a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number. Direct recipients must also register with the Central Contractors Registration (CCR) . Unless the CCR applicant intends to pursue other Federal business, they do not have to complete the Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA) as part of the CCR registration process. [See questions IV, C, 8-20 for information about how to obtain a DUNS number and register with the CCR.] [Note: Previous OMB guidance indicated that first tier sub-awardees would also be required to register on CCR, but more recently OMB has indicated that only Direct Recipients must register with CCR.]
20) Question: What do I need to know about registering in CCR?
Answer: Anyone (sole proprietors, corporations, partnerships and governmental organizations) desiring to do business with the federal government or receiving ARRA funds must register in CCR.
21) Question: What data is needed to register in CCR?
Answer: CCR registrants are required to submit detailed information on their company in various categories. Additional, non-mandatory information is also requested. The CCR User's Guide defines and details specific informational requirements. The User's Guide also provides guidelines on how to obtain unknown information. Categories of required and requested information include:
- General Information – Includes, but is not limited to, DUNS number, CAGE Code, company name, Federal Tax Identification Number (TIN) , location, receipts, employee numbers, and web site address.
- Corporate Information – Includes, but is not limited to, organization or business type and SBA-defined socioeconomic characteristics.
- Goods and Services Information – Includes, but is not limited to, NAICS code, SIC code, Product Service (PSC) code, and Federal Supply Classification (FSC) code.
- Financial Information – Includes, but is not limited to, financial institution, American Banking Association (ABA) routing number, account number, remittance address, lock box number, automated clearing house (ACH) information, and credit card information.
- Point of Contact (POC) Information – Includes, but is not limited to, the primary and alternate points of contact and the electronic business, past performance, and government points of contact.
- Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) Information* – Includes, but is not limited to, the EDI point of contact and his or her telephone, e-mail, and physical address. (*Note: EDI Information is optional and may be provided only for businesses interested in conducting transactions through EDI.)
Users will be unable to submit their registration online unless all the mandatory information is provided.
22) Question: How do I register in CCR?
Answer: Step 1: Access the CCR online registration through the CCR home page. Click on "Start New Registration." You must have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number in order to begin the registration process.
Step 2: Before registering in CCR, you will be asked to select one of the following:
- I am not a U.S. Federal Government entity. *
- I am a U.S. Federal Government entity, required by my trading partner to be registered in CCR (e.g. CAGE Code).
- I am a U.S. Federal Government entity registering for intra-governmental transactions.
Please note that if you select #3, you will be directed to the federal Agency Registration (FedReg) system.
Step 3: Complete and submit the online registration. If you already have the necessary information on hand (see below) , the online registration takes approximately one hour to complete, depending upon the size and complexity of your business or organization.
23) Question: What does it cost to register in CCR?
Answer: Because CCR is a federally mandated and funded program, there is no cost to registrants for registering in CCR.
24) Question: What steps do I need to take to ensure I am registered at CCR after receiving my DUNS number?
Answer: Once you have obtained a DUNS Number from D&B, you are eligible for CCR registration. Go to CCR registration and click "Start New Registration". Obtaining a DUNS Number does not automatically mean you are registered in CCR. A DUNS is what is required to start your CCR registration.
25) Question: What are my yearly renewal requirements? How do I keep my record active?
Answer: You must renew and revalidate your registration at least every 12 months from the date you previously registered. However, you are strongly urged to revalidate your registration more frequently to ensure that CCR is up to date and in sync with changes that may have been made to DUNS and IRS information. If you do not renew your registration, it will expire. An expired registration will affect your ability to receive contract awards or payments, submit assistance award applications via Grants.gov, or receive certain payments from some federal government agencies.
26) Question: Where can I find step-by-step instructions on how to create a user account?
Answer: This information is found on the CCRs website under User’s Guide (PDF).
27) Question: What is the definition of a “responsible” contractor?
Answer: A “responsible” contractor is one that possesses the ability, willingness, and integrity to perform successfully under the terms and conditions of the contract (See 49 U.S.C. Section 5325) .
28) Question: What do I do to determine a contractor responsible?
Answer: Check the Federal Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) , and under DOT regulations, “Nonprocurement Suspension and Debarment” 2 CFR Parts 180 and 1200. The EPLS includes information regarding entities debarred, suspended, proposed for debarment, excluded or disqualified under the nonprocurement common rule, or otherwise declared ineligible from receiving Federal contracts, certain subcontracts, and certain Federal assistance and benefits. This information may include names, addresses, DUNS numbers, Social Security Numbers, Employer Identification Numbers or other Taxpayer identification Numbers, if available and deemed appropriate and permissible to publish by the agency taking the action. Please be aware that although the General Services Administration operates this system, individual agencies are responsible for the timely reporting, maintenance, and accuracy of their data.
29) Question: What is a suspension?
Answer: A suspension may be based on indictments, information or adequate evidence involving transportation crimes, contract fraud, embezzlement, theft, forgery, bribery, poor performance, non-performance, or false statements. A suspension is a temporary action which may last up to one year and is effective immediately.
30) Question: What is debarment?
Answer: A debarment may be based on convictions, civil judgments or fact based cases involving transportation crimes, contract fraud, embezzlement, theft, forgery, bribery, poor performance, non-performance or false statements as well as other causes. Results in the imposition of a set period of time decided on a case by case basis.
31) Question: How far can a suspension or debarment reach?
Answer: Suspensions & Debarments can be extended to include subsidiaries, parent companies & other individuals. All individuals and entities excluded from receiving government grants and contracts are listed on the GSA "Excluded Parties List System".
32) Question: What is the purpose of suspension and debarment?
Answer: The purpose of suspension and debarment is to protect the integrity of government programs by ensuring that only honest, ethical, and otherwise responsible persons and companies participate.
33) Question: Is suspension and debarment punitive?
Answer: No. Suspension and debarment are not punitive. Instead, suspension and debarment are remedial actions intended to ensure that only responsible persons and companies participate in government programs.
34) Question: What type of conduct will lead to a suspension?
Answer: The most common basis for a suspension is an indictment for a crime. Such offenses may include fraud, antitrust violations, forgery, bribery, falsification of records, making false statements, making false claims, conspiracy, failure to comply with applicable environmental requirements (such as the proper storage, transportation, and disposal of hazardous waste) , failure to pay the predetermined minimum wage, and other offenses indicating a lack of business integrity or business honesty that seriously and directly affects a person's or company's present responsibility. In addition to an indictment, a person or company may be suspended whenever the agency has other adequate evidence to suspect that a crime or some other serious cause that affect a person’s or company's present responsibility may have occurred.
35) Question: What type of conduct will lead to a debarment?
Answer: The basis for a debarment can be for either a conviction or a civil judgment. Criminal convictions that lead to a debarment may include fraud, antitrust violations, forgery, bribery, falsification of records, making false statements, making false claims, conspiracy, failure to comply with applicable environmental requirements (such as the proper storage, transportation, and disposal of hazardous waste) , failure to pay the predetermined minimum wage, and other offenses indicating a lack of business integrity or business honesty that seriously and directly affects a person's or company's present responsibility. Civil judgments that lead to a debarment typically include qui tam actions for making false claims under the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. 3729 et seq. In addition to a civil judgment or conviction, a person or company may be debarred whenever the agency can show by a preponderance of the evidence that some other serious cause that affect a person's or company's present responsibility has occurred.
36) Question: How long is the term of debarment?
Answer: Debarments generally do not exceed 3 years unless the debarring official determines that the circumstances warrant a longer period of time.
37) Question: How long is the term of suspension?
Answer: Suspensions are only for a temporary period of time pending the outcome of an investigation or legal or administrative proceedings. In the case of an investigation, the suspension will not last longer than 12 months, unless a prosecuting official submits a written request for an extension to the suspending official. In such cases, the suspension may not be extended beyond an additional 6 months. In cases where a legal or administrative proceeding have been initiated, such as where an indictment has been filed or where a person has been proposed for debarment, the suspension will continue until the conclusion of those proceedings.
38) Question: Where can I find more information on this subject?
39) Question: Is the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) requirement new with the ARRA funding or has this been required for regular formula funds? Do county governments who will be subrecipients of 5311 funding need to register with CCR?
Answer: Under ARRA, all direct recipients and first tier sub-awardees (including both sub-recipients) and contractors must have DUNS and CCR registration (unless the applicant intends to pursue other Federal business, they do not have to complete the Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA).
40) Question: Is there a threshold below which CCR registration is not required? For example, is CCR registration required for vendors of off-the-shelf equipment?
Answer: OMB has a threshold of $25,000 for the purposes of Section 1512 reporting. OMB guidance allows grantees to aggregate sub-awards below that amount, we do not anticipate that CCR registration would be required for those sub-recipients and contractors. Purchases of off-the-shelf equipment from a vendor, for example an office supply store, would not trigger a requirement for the vendor to register, The expense would simply be included in total project costs and outlays, not treated as a separate procurement.
41) Question: CCR—do the requirements apply to prime contractors only or to subcontractors also?
Answer: Unless a contractor has contracts directly with the Federal government (not with a transit agency that has a Federal grant) , the contractor does not need to register in CCR. For the purposes of 1512 reporting, the direct recipient and any sub-recipients that the direct recipient has delegated to report in FederalReporting.Gov must register in CCR.