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Nov 17 -- The Department of Transportation (DOT) invites comments to OMB by December 18, 2023 regarding the proposed extension of the data collection for Metropolitan and Statewide and Nonmetropolitan Transportation Planning.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) jointly carry out the federal mandate to improve urban and rural transportation. 49 U.S.C. 5303 and 5304 and 23 U.S.C. 134 and 135 authorize the use of federal funds to assist Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), States, and local public bodies in developing transportation plans and programs to serve the transportation needs of urbanized areas over 50,000 in population and other areas of States outside of urbanized areas. The program provides funding and procedural requirements for multimodal transportation planning in metropolitan areas and states. Planning needs to be cooperative, continuous, and comprehensive, resulting in long-range plans and short-range programs reflecting transportation investment priorities.

Eligible respondents include State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs). Federal planning funds are first apportioned to State DOTs. State DOTs then allocate planning funding to MPOs. Funds are available for planning activities that (A) support the economic vitality of the metropolitan area, especially by enabling global competitiveness, productivity, and efficiency; (B) increase the safety of the transportation system for motorized and nonmotorized users; (C) increase the security of the transportation system for motorized and nonmotorized users; (D) increase the accessibility and mobility of people and for freight; (E) protect and enhance the environment, promote energy conservation, improve the quality of life, and promote consistency between transportation improvements and State and local planned growth, housing, and economic development patterns; (F) enhance the integration and connectivity of the transportation system, across and between modes, for people and freight; (G) promote efficient system management and operation; (H) emphasize the preservation of the existing transportation system; and (I) improve the resiliency and reliability of the transportation system. Funds are apportioned to states by a formula that includes each state's urbanized area population in proportion to the total urbanized area population for the nation, as well as other factors. States can receive no less than .5 percent of the amount apportioned. These funds, in turn, are sub-allocated by states to MPOs by a formula that considers each MPO's urbanized area population, their individual planning needs, and a minimum distribution.

This is a mandatory collection that authorizes the use of federal funds to assist Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), States, and local public bodies in developing transportation plans and programs to serve the transportation needs of urbanized areas over 50,000 in population and other areas of States outside of urbanized areas. The information collection activities involved is the development of transportation plans. There is a different level of effort in the development of the plans, depending on the size of the agency, transportation issues and the population served. This supporting statement clearly shows the level of effort involved. The types of plans developed varies but could include; the Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP), the Metropolitan Transportation Plan, the Long-Range Statewide Transportation Plan, the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), and the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).

It is necessary to identify and evaluate the transportation issues and needs in each urbanized area and throughout every State. These products of the transportation planning process are essential elements in the reasonable planning and programming of federally funded transportation investments. The entities that respond to this collection are State Departments of Transportation and MPOs. This information is submitted on an annual basis are used by FTA and FHWA on a national scale to establish national out year budgets and regional program plans, develop policy on using funds, monitor State and local consistency with national planning and technical emphasis areas, respond to Congressional inquiries, prepare congressional testimony, and ensure efficiency in the use and expenditure of federal funds by determining that planning proposals are reasonable, cost-effective, and supportive of full compliance with all applicable federal law and regulations.

There have been no programmatic changes to this program since approval in 2020. However, this request is associated with an increase in the respondent universe from 456 in 2020 to 502 with the current proposed IC due to the 2020 census.

Respondents: State Departments of Transportation and MPOs.
Estimated Annual Burden on Respondents: 11,693 hours for each of the 502 respondents.
Estimated Total Annual Burden: 5,869,921 hours.

Metropolitan, Statewide & Non-Metropolitan Planning: https://www.transit.dot.gov/regulations-and-guidance/transportation-planning/metropolitan-statewide-non-metropolitan-planning
DOT submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202311-2132-001 Click IC List for data collection instruments, View Supporting Statement for technical documentation. Submit comments through this webpage.
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-25413

For AEA members wishing to submit comments, "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" is available at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806

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