(a) Eligibility. A Tribe is eligible to participate in the Program if -
(1) The Tribe requests participation in the Program by resolution or other official action by the governing body of the Tribe; and
(2) The Department determines, based on the evidence submitted by the Tribe, that, over the 3 most recent fiscal years, the Tribe has demonstrated financial stability and financial management capability, and transportation program management capability in accordance with the criteria specified in 23 U.S.C. 207(b) and this section.
(b) Financial stability and financial management capability. In making the eligibility determination under 23 U.S.C. 207(b), the Department must determine that a Tribe demonstrates financial stability and financial management capability. To assist the Department in determining whether a Tribe meets the financial stability and financial management capability criterion, a Tribe must satisfy one of the following evidence standards:
(1) Conclusive evidence. A Tribe subject to the Single Audit Act demonstrates financial stability and financial management capability by providing evidence establishing that, during the preceding 3 fiscal years, the Tribe had no uncorrected significant and material audit exceptions in the required annual audit of the Tribe's self-determination contracts or self-governance funding agreements with any Federal agency. This will be conclusive evidence that the Tribe has satisfied the financial stability and financial management capability criterion.
(2) Sufficient evidence. A Tribe subject to the Single Audit Act that has a TTP Agreement, or a grant award provided by the Department may provide evidence establishing that, during the preceding 3 fiscal years, the Tribe had no uncorrected significant and material audit exceptions in its required single audit of the Tribe's Federal award programs. This will be sufficient evidence that the Tribe has satisfied the financial stability and financial management capability criterion.
(3) Evidence without a mandate to comply with the Single Audit Act. If a Tribe is not subject to the Single Audit Act, a Tribe may provide evidence of the following for the Department's determination of whether the Tribe satisfies the financial stability and financial management capability criterion:
(i) An independent audit, consistent with 2 CFR 200.514, containing no uncorrected significant and material audit exceptions that covers the preceding 3 fiscal years of the Tribe's self-determination contracts or self-governance funding agreements with any Federal agency, TTP Agreements, or a grant award from the Department; and
(ii) Evidence demonstrating that the Tribe has financial management systems and standards that meet or exceed the standards set forth in §§ 29.505 through 29.511 and 29.515 of this part. The Department will confirm in writing within 90 days of receipt of any such submission by the Tribe whether the Tribe's management systems meet the required standards.
(c) Transportation program management capability. In making the eligibility determination under 23 U.S.C. 207(b), the Department also must determine that a Tribe demonstrates transportation program management capability, including the capability to manage and complete projects eligible under title 23 and chapter 53 of title 49 of the U.S. Code, based on the totality of the evidence that a Tribe submits to the Department.
(1) Evidence of transportation management capability. To assist the Department in determining whether a Tribe meets the transportation program management capability criterion, a Tribe may submit evidence including:
(i) Documentation showing that the Tribe has previously or is currently directing or carrying out transportation services, projects, or programs under a self-determination contract, self-governance compact, a TTP Agreement, or a grant award with the Department.
(ii) Documentation showing the extent to which the Tribe previously received Federal funding and carried out management responsibilities relating to the planning, design, delivery, construction, maintenance, or operation of transportation-related projects, and whether they were completed;
(iii) Documentation that the Tribe has established and maintains, as appropriate, a staffed and operational transportation or transit program, department, commission, board, or official of any Tribal government charged by its laws with the responsibility for transportation-related responsibilities, including administration, planning, maintenance, and construction activities. This documentation should identify the Tribal personnel, job descriptions, and expertise necessary to administer or implement PSFAs that the Tribe proposes to assume under the Program. The documentation may also include resolutions, other authorizations, or proposed budgets demonstrating that the Tribe has taken steps to organize a Tribal office or department to address the transportation-related needs of the Tribe and how that entity has or will demonstrate transportation program management capacity; and
(iv) Documentation showing the completion of one or more transportation projects or operation of a program that is related to or similar to the PSFA the Tribe requests to include in a funding agreement negotiated between the Department and the Tribe. The Department will consider the number, complexity, and type of projects or programs that the Tribe has carried out and describes as part of this determination. This documentation should address the substantive involvement of the Tribe in operating a transportation program, which may be demonstrated by:
(A) Involvement in the development of a completed and approved highway safety plan;
(B) Involvement in the development of completed and approved plans, specifications, and estimates design package for one or more transportation projects to be carried out with available funding;
(C) Involvement in the delivery of a completed and approved transportation construction project using Federal or non-Federal funds;
(D) Oversight or operation of a public transit project or public transit system;
(E) Oversight or operation of a transportation maintenance system; or
(F) Other information that evidences the transportation program management capabilities of the Tribe.
(2) Other indicia of program management capability. In determining transportation program management capability, the Department will consider any other evidence that a Tribe may submit, including the operation by the Tribe of non-transportation programs of similar complexity, size, administrative need, staffing requirement, or budget.
(d) Program eligibility determination. The Department will make its determination of a Tribe's eligibility according to the following time frames:
(1) Within 30 days of receipt of a Tribe's submission seeking an eligibility determination under this section to participate in the Program, the Department will notify the Tribe in writing to confirm that it has received the submission and notify the Tribe whether any evidence necessary to make the determination is missing.
(3) Within 120 days of receipt of an initial submission, the Department will issue its determination of a Tribe's eligibility to participate in the Program. If the Tribe provides additional evidence to complete the application, the Department will have up to an additional 45 days after such submittal to issue its determination of the Tribe's eligibility to participate in the Program. The determination will constitute final agency action, which the Tribe may appeal in accordance with §§ 29.904 through 29.911.
(e) Technical assistance. A Tribe with one or more uncorrected significant and material audit exceptions may request technical assistance from the Department through the Self-Governance Official. To the extent feasible, the Department will provide technical assistance, such as feedback on management systems and standards or review of internal controls, with the goal of assisting the Tribe to establish eligibility for the Program. Where audit exceptions involve funding administered by another Federal agency, the Tribe will resolve those exceptions with that agency.
After the Department notifies a Tribe in writing that it is eligible to participate in the Program pursuant to § 29.100, the Tribe must submit a written request to the Self-Governance Official to begin negotiating a compact and funding agreement. A Tribe participating in the Program may submit a written request to the Self-Governance Official at any time to begin negotiating an amendment. A Tribe may send the request to email@example.com or use any other method that provides receipt.
After the Department notifies a Tribe in writing that it is eligible to participate in the Program pursuant to § 29.100, the Tribe may express its interest in negotiating a compact, funding agreement, or amendment by written request. Such request need only request that the Department enter into negotiations for a compact, funding agreement, or amendment. To the degree the Tribe has the following information available to it, the request may include, as appropriate:
(a) Whether the Tribe wants to negotiate a compact, funding agreement, or amendment;
(b) The funding programs that the Tribe wants to include in the funding agreement or amendment;
(c) The terms the Tribe wants to include in the compact, funding agreement, or amendment;
(d) Any information or technical assistance the Tribe needs from the Department to assist in pursuing the negotiation process; and
(e) The Tribal official with authority to negotiate on behalf of the Tribe, the designated Tribal contact, relevant contact information, and, if applicable, the name and contact information of an attorney authorized to represent the interests of the Tribe in the negotiation.
Within 15 days of receipt of a Tribe's written request, the Department will notify the Tribe in writing of the identity of the designated representative(s) of the Department who will conduct the negotiation and, to the extent feasible, will provide to the Tribe the information requested by the Tribe consistent with § 29.102(d).
The Department and a Tribe do not have to follow a specific process when negotiating compacts, funding agreements, and amendments. The Department and the Tribe should cooperate to develop a plan to address each issue subject to negotiation and provide the representatives an opportunity to address the Tribal proposals, legal or program issues of concern, the time needed to complete the negotiations, and the development of a term sheet.
Unless the Department and the Tribe agree otherwise, negotiations will commence within 60 days of the Department's receipt of the Tribe's written request to negotiate a compact, funding agreement, or amendment. The Department and the Tribe should make every effort to conclude negotiations within 90 days from the date on which negotiations commence, unless they agree to extend the time period for negotiations. Negotiations may proceed by electronic mail, teleconferences, or in-person meetings.
(a) The Department and the Tribe should collaborate and provide a clear explanation of their positions and interests. Each party should provide timely and specific responses to proposals presented during negotiations in order to conclude negotiations as soon as possible within the period provided in § 29.105.
(b) In negotiating the applicable construction, design, monitoring, or health and safety requirements that apply to the PSFAs the Tribe carries out using funds included in a funding agreement, along with the other terms set forth in § 29.307, the Department and the Tribe should cooperate and the Department will prioritize the reduction of administrative requirements on the Tribe when negotiating the terms of the compact, funding agreement, or amendment to effectuate Tribal self-governance.
(c) The Department and the Tribe should conduct the negotiations in order to reach agreement on as many items as possible, and to refine unresolved issues in order to avoid disputed terms. The negotiations should conclude with mutually agreed upon terms and conditions. If any unresolved issues remain, the Tribe may submit a final offer to the Department under subpart C of this part.
The Department and the Tribe should resolve disagreements informally and by mutual agreement whenever possible. If the Department and the Tribe are unable to reach agreement by the agreed upon date for completing negotiations, the Tribe may request to participate in an alternative dispute resolution process pursuant to § 29.901, or it may submit a final offer to the Self-Governance Official in accordance with subpart C of this part.
The Department and the Tribe may continue negotiations after the Tribe submits a final offer by mutual agreement, and may execute the remaining terms of the compact, funding agreement, or amendment not subject to the final offer, consistent with § 29.213.
It is the mutual obligation of the Department and the Tribe to draft the compact, funding agreement, or amendment. Either the Department or the Tribe may prepare the initial draft for the other party's review.