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Section 5: Planning Process Self-Certification

Addressing Major Issues. The department and the MPO, in accordance with 43 TAC §15.5(h)(1), will annually certify to FHWA and FTA that the transportation planning process is addressing the major transportation management issues facing the metropolitan planning area and is being conducted in accordance with all applicable requirements of 23 CFR §§450.218 and 23 CFR §450.334.

TMAs. FHWA and FTA will jointly review and evaluate the transportation planning process for each Transportation Management Area ( TMA) to determine if the process meets the requirements of 23 CFR §450.334(b).

FHWA and FTA will either issue or deny certification. If denied, the federal agencies may:

  • withhold all or part of the apportionment attributed to the relevant metropolitan planning area, or
  • withhold approval of all or certain categories of projects.

Upon full, joint certification by FHWA and FTA, approval of projects and all withheld funds will be restored to the metropolitan area, unless the funds have lapsed.

Nonattainment or Maintenance Areas. In TMAs that are nonattainment or maintenance areas for transportation related air pollutants, FHWA and FTA will also review and evaluate the transportation planning process to assure that the MPO has an adequate process to ensure conformity of plans and programs.

Upon the review and evaluation conducted, FHWA and FTA will jointly make the determinations and certifications provided for in 23 CFR §450.334.

Non-TMAs. For non-TMA areas, TxDOT will determine whether the MPO's transportation planning process substantially meets requirements and act accordingly.

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Self-Certification Form

Federal regulations specify that the state and the MPO must self-certify that the planning process is addressing the requirements of 23 CFR §§450.218 and .334. The MPOs should maintain supporting documentation illustrating how their planning process meets the self-certification requirements. Districts are requested to carefully review the federal and state requirements with their transportation planning partners and work with them to ensure compliance.

An MPO Self-Certification form is found Appendix F of the example UPWP format. The MPO and District Engineer must sign the self-certification form.

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Frequency

The state and the MPO must annually submit and certify as a part of the UPWP submittal that the planning process is conducted in accordance with all applicable requirements. The state must submit and certify to FHWA and FTA at least every four years as part of their STIP submittal (including STIP amendments) that their planning process is conducted in accordance with all applicable requirements.

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Guidelines

These are some of the substantial items to be considered by the department and the MPO's self-certification process. Each item provides discussion and guidelines.

  • Metropolitan Planning
  • Statewide Planning
  • Environmental Justice
  • Disadvantaged Business Enterprises
  • Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
  • Restrictions on Influencing Certain Federal Activities
  • Air Pollution Prevention and Control.

Metropolitan Planning. The state and the MPO must annually certify to FHWA and FTA that the planning process is addressing major issues facing the metropolitan planning area and is being conducted in accordance with all applicable transportation planning requirements.

The planning process will undergo joint review and evaluation by FHWA, FTA, and TxDOT no less than once every four years to determine if the process meets requirements for TMAs. The federal administrators will take the appropriate action for each TMA to either issue certification, or deny certification if the TMA planning process fails to substantially meet requirements. If FHWA and FTA jointly determine that the transportation planning process in a TMA does not substantially meet the requirements, they may withhold up to 20 percent of the funds attributable to the metropolitan planning area of the MPO for projects funded under 23 USC Chapter 1, and 49 USC Chapter 53, (scroll down on website to find Chapter 53) in addition to corrective actions and funding restrictions, or withhold approval of all or certain categories of projects. Upon full, joint certification by FHWA and FTA, all funds withheld will be restored to the metropolitan area, unless they have lapsed.

For non-TMA areas, the department will determine whether an MPO’s transportation planning process substantially meets requirements and act accordingly. Refer to 23 CFR §450.334; 49 CFR §613; 23 USC §134; and 49 USC §§5303, 5304, 5305, and 5306.

Statewide Planning. The process for developing transportation plans and programs must provide for consideration of all modes of transportation and must be continuous, cooperative, and comprehensive, based on the complexity of the transportation problems to be addressed. The state must coordinate transportation planning activities for metropolitan areas, and must carry out its responsibilities for the development of the transportation portion of the State Implementation Plan ( SIP) to the extent required by the Clean Air Act. The state will carry out the long range planning processes and the STIP development in cooperation and consultation with designated MPOs, affected local transportation officials and affected tribal governments.

The STIP shall include financial plans that demonstrate how the programs can be implemented, indicate resources from public and private sources reasonably expected to be made available for carrying out the programs, and recommend any additional financing strategies for needed projects. Refer to 23 CFR §450.220; 23 USC §135; 49 USC §§5307, 5308, 5309, 5310, 5311 and 5323.

Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits exclusion from participation, denial of benefits, and discrimination under federally assisted programs on grounds of race, color, or national origin. Title VI assurance regulations were also executed by each state, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex or disability. Refer to 23 USC §324 and 29 USC §794.

Environmental Justice. In support of Title VI regulations, each federal agency must identify and address, as appropriate, disproportionately high adverse human health or environmental effects of its programs, policies, and activities on minority and low-income populations. The department and MPOs are responsible for developing procedures to collect statistical data (race, color, religion, sex, and national origin) of participants in, and beneficiaries of state highway programs, i.e., relocatees, affected citizens and affected communities. Recipients of federally assisted programs shall keep documentation for federal review, demonstrating the extent to which members of target populations are beneficiaries of such programs. Refer to EO 12898; 23 CFR §200.9 (b)(4); and 49 CFR §21.9 (b).

Disadvantaged Business Enterprises. The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program ensures equal opportunity in transportation contracting markets, addresses the effects of discrimination in transportation contracting, and promotes increased participation in federally funded contracts by small, socially and economically disadvantaged businesses, including minority and women owned enterprises. The statute provides that at least 10 percent of the amounts made available for any federal-aid highways, public transportation, and transportation research and technology program be expended with certified DBEs. Refer to SAFETEA-LU (Public Law 85-767), TEA-21, §1101(b)(1) [Public Law 105-178]; and 49 CFR §26.41.

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Programs and activities funded with federal dollars are prohibited from discrimination based on disability. Compliance with the applicable regulations is a condition of receiving federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Refer to the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 as amended (PL 101-336); 49 CFR Parts 27, 37 and 38.

Restrictions on Influencing Certain Federal Activities. No appropriated funds may be expended by the recipient of a federal contract, grant, loan, or cooperative agreement to pay any person for influencing a federal employee regarding the award of federal contracts, grants, loans or cooperative agreements. Refer to 49 CFR Part 20.

Clean Air Act: Air Pollution Prevention & Control. All state and local transportation officials will take part in a 3-C planning process in nonattainment areas to determine which planning elements will be developed, adopted and implemented to maintain or improve the air quality for said area. In nonattainment areas that include more than one state, the affected states may jointly undertake and implement air quality planning procedures. For nonattainment areas, activities not conforming to approved SIPs will not be financially supported by the federal government. Priority of funding will be given to those projects or programs that achieve and maintain national primary ambient air quality standards. Refer to 42 USC §§ 7408, 7410, 7504, 7505a, 7506 (c) and (d), 7511, 7512, and §7604; 49 USC Chapter 53 (scroll to find Chapter 53); and 23 USC §134.

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