METROPOLITAN PLANNING PROGRAM (49 U.S.C. §5303).
Metropolitan Planning Program (MPP) funds are available to carry out the transportation planning process and meet the programming requirements of the joint FTA/FHWA planning regulations, "Planning Assistance and Standards," 23 C.F.R. Part 450 and 49 C.F.R. Part 613. FTA apportions MPP funds to the States based on a set of formulas: 80% of the funds available is apportioned according to an urbanized area population based formula; the remaining 20% is provided to the states based on an FTA administrative formula to address planning needs in larger, more complex urbanized areas with one million or more population. Acting as the FTA grantees, the States distribute these funds to each urbanized area, or portion of an urbanized area, within the state according to a formula developed by the State and approved by FTA.
The MPP provides financial assistance, through the states, to Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) to support the costs of preparing long-range transportation plans and financially-feasible TIPs, required as a condition of obtaining Federal Capital Program and Urbanized Area Formula Program grants for transit projects. In addition to providing funding for local and state transportation planning and objectives, the MPP provides a means of drawing state and local attention to national priorities through a series of periodically issued Planning Emphasis Areas (PEA). A planning emphasis area is established by FTA and FHWA to advance national goals as established by Federal law, to reflect FTA and FHWA priorities, and to respond to congressional direction established through the appropriations process.
STATE PLANNING AND RESEARCH PROGRAM (49 U.S.C. §5313(b)).
State Planning and Research Program (SP&R) funds may be used for a variety of purposes such as planning, technical studies and assistance, demonstrations, management training and cooperative research. In addition, a State may authorize a portion of these funds to be used to supplement planning funds allocated by the State to its urbanized areas. The SP&R is a source of Federal financial assistance to the States to meet the planning requirements of the joint FTA/FHWA planning regulations, "Planning Assistance and Standards," 23 C.F.R. Part 450 and 49 C.F.R. Part 613. As with the MPP, the State is the FTA grantee for this program.
In addition to its function as a source of financial support for state transportation planning activities, SP&R funds can also be used to fund the following programs: Research, Development, and Demonstration (49 U.S.C. §5312(a)); Training (49 U.S.C. §5312(c); Research and Training in Urban Transportation Problems (49 U.S.C. §§5312(a), 5317(a)); Human Resource (49 U.S.C. §5322); as well as for Metropolitan Planning (49 U.S.C. §5303).
For additional information on the planning programs, contact Candace Noonan, Office of Planning, TPL-11, at (202) 366-1648.
CONSOLIDATED PLANNING GRANT PILOT PROGRAM.
In fiscal year 1997, FTA and FHWA began offering states the option of participating in a pilot
Consolidated Planning Grant (CPG) program. FTA and FHWA have now made CPG a permanent pilot. Since the first CPG grant was awarded in April 1997, almost $232 million has been obligated by the pilot states. Of this total, more than $180 million is from FHWA sources. Of the 11 state pilot participants, three have used annual grants only; three have a mixture of grant lengths, starting with annual and switching to multi-year grants or vice versa; and five have used only multi-year grants with the grant period ranging up to three years. Those with the multi-year grants can close them at any time and begin the next year with either a new multi-year grant or an annual grant. The ease with which a state can opt for the single year or the multi-year approach to the CPG grant is just one example of the flexibility intended for the pilot.
Under the CPG, states can report metropolitan planning expenditures (to comply with the Single Audit Act) for both FTA and FHWA under the Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance number for FTA's Metropolitan Planning Program. Additionally, for states with an FHWA Metropolitan Planning (PL) fund matching ratio greater than 80 percent, the state (through FTA) can request a waiver of FTA’s 20 percent local share requirement in order that all FTA funds used for metropolitan planning in a CPG can be granted at the higher, FHWA rate. For some states, this Federal match rate can exceed 90 percent. Currently, two western states participating in the pilot are using the FHWA PL match rate. Pre-award authority has been granted to both of FTA's planning programs for the life of TEA-21 (through FY 2003). This pre-award authority enables states to continue planning program activities from year to year with the assurance that eligible costs can later be converted to a regularly funded Federal project without the need for prior approval or authorization from the granting agency. Beginning in FY 2000, the transfer provision in TEA-21 (Section 1103(i)"Transfer of Highway and Transit Funds") is applied to FHWA funds used in the CPG.