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Title 23: Highways
PART 656—CARPOOL AND VANPOOL PROJECTS
§656.7 Determination of an exception.
Authority: 23 U.S.C. 146 and 315; sec. 126 of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1978, Pub. L. 95-599, 92 Stat. 2689; 49 CFR 1.48(b).
Source: 47 FR 43024, Sept. 30, 1982, unless otherwise noted.
The purpose of this regulation is to prescribe policies and general procedures for administering a program of ridesharing projects using Federal-aid primary, secondary, and urban system funds.
Section 126(d) of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1978 declares that special effort should be made to promote commuter modes of transportation which conserve energy, reduce pollution, and reduce traffic congestion.
(a) Projects which promote ridesharing programs need not be located on but must serve a Federal-aid system to be eligible for Federal-aid primary, secondary, or urban system funds depending on the system served. The Federal share payable will be in accordance with the provisions of 23 U.S.C. 120. Except for paragraph (c)(3) of this section, for all purposes of this regulation the term carpool includes vanpool.
(b) Projects shall not be approved under this regulation if they will have an adverse effect on any mass transportation system.
(c) The following types of projects and work are considered eligible under this program:
(1) Systems, whether manual or computerized, for locating potential participants in carpools and informing them of the opportunities for participation. Eligible costs for such systems may include costs of use or rental of computer hardware, costs of software, and installation costs (including both labor and other related items).
(2) Specialized procedures to provide carpooling opportunities to elderly or handicapped persons.
(3) The costs of acquiring vanpool vehicles and actual financial losses that occur when the operation of any vanpool is aborted before the scheduled termination date for the reason, concurred in by the State, that its continuation is no longer productive. The cost of acquiring a vanpool vehicle is eligible under the following conditions:
(i) The vanpool vehicle is a four-wheeled vehicle manufactured for use on public highways for transportation of 7-15 passengers (no passenger cars which do not meet the 7-15 criteria and no buses); and
(ii) Provision is made for repayment of the acquisition cost to the project within the passenger-service life of the vehicle. Repayment may be accomplished through the charging of a reasonable user fee based on an estimated number of riders per vehicle and the cost of reasonable vehicle depreciation, operation, and maintenance. Repayment is not required under the following conditions:
(A) When vehicles are purchased as demonstrator vans for use as a marketing device. Vehicles procured for this purpose should be used to promote the vanpool concept among employees, employers, and other groups by allowing potential riders and sponsors to examine commuter vans; or
(B) When vehicles are purchased for use on a trial commuting basis to enable people to experience vanpooling first hand. The trial period must be limited to a maximum of 2 months. That part of the user fee normally collected to cover the capital or ownership cost of the van would be eligible for reimbursement as a promotional cost during the limited trial period. As with established vanpool service, all vehicle operating costs must be borne by the user(s) during the trial period.
(4) Work necessary to designate existing highway lanes as preferential carpool lanes or bus and carpool lanes. Eligible work may include preliminary engineering to determine traffic flow and design criteria, signing, pavement markings, traffic control devices, and minor physical modifications to permit the use of designated lanes as preferential carpool lanes or bus and carpool lanes. Such improvements on any public road may be approved if such projects facilitate more efficient use of any Federal-aid highway. Eligible costs may also include costs of initial inspection or monitoring of use, including special equipment, to ensure that the high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes designation is effective and that the project is fully developed and operating properly. While no fixed time limit is being arbitrarily prescribed for the inspection and monitoring period, it is intended that this activity be conducted as soon as possible to evaluate the effectiveness of the project and does not extend indefinitely nor become a part of routine facility operations.
(5) Signing of and modifications to existing facilities to provide preferential parking for carpools inside or outside the central business district. Eligible costs may include trail blazers, on-site signs designating highway interchange areas or other existing publicly or privately owned facilities as preferential parking for carpool participants, and initial or renewal costs for leasing parking space or acquisition or easements or restrictions, as, for example, at shopping centers and public or private parking facilities. The lease or acquisition cost may be computed on the demonstrated reduction in the overall number of vehicles using the designated portion of a commercial facility, but not on a reduction of the per-vehicle user charge for parking.
(6) Construction of carpool parking facilities outside the central business district. Eligible costs may include acquisition of land and normal construction activities, including installation of lighting and fencing, trail blazers, on-site signing, and passenger shelters. Such facilities need not be located in conjunction with any existing or planned mass transportation service, but should be designed so that the facility could accommodate mass transportation in the event such service may be developed. Except for the requirement of the availability of mass/public transportation facilities, fringe parking construction under this section shall be subject to the provisions of 23 CFR part 810.106.
(7) Reasonable public information and promotion expenses, including personnel costs, incurred in connection with any of the other eligible items mentioned herein.
§656.7 Determination of an exception.
(a) The FHWA has determined under provisions of 23 U.S.C. 146(b) that an exceptional situation exists in regard to the funding of carpools so as to allow the State to contribute as its share of the non-Federal match essential project-related work and services performed by local agencies and private organizations when approved and authorized in accordance with regular Federal-aid procedures. The cost of such work must be properly valued, supportable and verifiable in order for inclusion as an eligible project cost. Examples of such contributed work and services include: public service announcements, computer services, and project-related staff time for administration by employees of public and private organizations.
(b) This determination is based on: (1) The nature of carpool projects to provide a variety of services to the public; (2) the fact that carpool projects are labor intensive and require professional and specialized technical skills; (3) the extensive use of joint public and private endeavors; and (4) the fact that project costs involve the acquisition of capital equipment as opposed to construction of fixed items.
(c) This exception is limited to carpool projects and therefore is not applicable to other Federal-aid projects. The exception does not affect or replace the standard Federal-aid funding procedures or real property acquisition procedures and requirements, part 712, The Acquisition Function.