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RULE §15.55Construction Cost Participation

(a) Required cost participation. The commission may require, request, or accept from a local government matching or other funds, rights-of-way, utility adjustments, additional participation, planning, documents, or any other local incentives.

  (1) Participation ratios. Except as provided in subsections (b) and (d) of this section, the agreement between the local government and the department must include participation ratios as described in subsection (c) of this section.

  (2) In-kind contributions. The department will accept in-kind contributions for local government matching or other funds only under agreements that do not include highway construction.

(b) Economically disadvantaged counties. In evaluating a proposal for a highway improvement project with a local government that consists of all or a portion of an economically disadvantaged county, the executive director shall, for those projects in which the commission is authorized by law to provide state cost participation, adjust the minimum local matching funds requirement after receipt of a request for adjustment under paragraph (4) of this subsection.

  (1) Commission certification. The commission will certify a county as an economically disadvantaged county on an annual basis as soon as possible after the comptroller reports on the economic indicators listed in Transportation Code, §222.053(a).

  (2) Local match adjustment for a county described by Transportation Code, §222.053(a). In determining the adjustment to the local matching funds requirement, and a local government's effort and ability to meet the requirement, the commission will consider a local government's:

    (A) population level;

    (B) bonded indebtedness;

    (C) tax base;

    (D) tax rate;

    (E) extent of in-kind resources available; and

    (F) economic development sales tax.

  (3) Local match adjustment for a county described by Transportation Code, §222.053(a-1). The adjustment will be equivalent to the highest adjustment rate set in the last year the county was considered to meet the criteria set out in Transportation Code, §222.053(a).

  (4) Request for adjustment. The city council, county commissioners court, district board, or similar governing body of a local government that represents all or a portion of an economically disadvantaged county, shall submit a request for adjustment to the local district office of the department. The request will include, at a minimum:

    (A) the proposed project scope;

    (B) the estimated total project cost;

    (C) a breakdown of the anticipated total cost by category (e.g., right-of-way, utility adjustment, plan preparation, construction);

    (D) the proposed participation rate;

    (E) the nature of any in-kind resources to be provided by the local government;

    (F) the rationale for adjusting the minimum local matching funds requirement; and

    (G) any other information considered necessary to support a request.

  (5) Timing of determination. The executive director will determine whether to make an adjustment at the time the local government submits a proposal for a highway improvement or other transportation project.

  (6) Definition. For purposes of this subsection, "executive director" means the executive director or his or her designee, not below the level of district engineer or division or office director.

(c) Participation ratios. The department will establish federal, state, and local cost participation ratios for highway improvement or other transportation projects, subject to the availability of funds to the department. In-kind participation will be valued as described in §15.52(7)(E) of this subchapter (relating to Agreements).

(d) Off-state highway system bridge program.

  (1) Definitions. The following words and terms, when used in this subsection, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

    (A) Bridge--For an equivalent-match project, a bridge or other mainlane cross-drainage structure, including low water crossings (with or without conduit).

    (B) Deficient bridge--A bridge having a structural load capacity or other safety condition that is inadequate.

    (C) District engineer--The chief executive officer in each designated district office of the department.

    (D) Equivalent-match project--A project in which the local government will improve the structural load capacity or other safety condition of off-state system bridges utilizing 100% local funds.

    (E) Participation-waived project--An off-state system bridge project in which the state agrees to pay for local participation for eligible preliminary engineering, construction, and construction engineering costs as shown in subsection (c) of this section. This project must be authorized for development only, or for development and construction, on the department's approved Unified Transportation Program, satisfy minimum standards established by the department for off-state system bridges, and meet the additional requirements of this subsection.

    (F) Safety work--Work performed as part of an equivalent-match project that improves the safety of the project. This work may include, but is not limited to, providing improved structural load capacity, improved hydraulic capacity, increased roadway width, adequate bridge rail, and adequate approach guardrail.

  (2) Waiver. The district engineer may waive the requirement for a local government to provide the original 10% estimate of direct costs for preliminary engineering, construction engineering, and construction funds on the participation-waived project(s) if the local governmental body commits by written resolution or ordinance, as described in paragraph (4) of this subsection, to spend an equivalent amount of funds for structural improvement or other safety work on another bridge or bridges on the equivalent-match project(s) within its jurisdiction or the jurisdiction of a geographically adjacent or overlapping governmental unit. An equivalent amount includes, but is not limited to, expenditures for direct or indirect costs for structural improvement or other safety work on bridge(s) in the equivalent-match project(s). Work on one or more equivalent-match projects may be credited to one or more participation-waived projects.

  (3) Eligibility. A local government is eligible for a waiver if:

    (A) the construction contract for the participation-waived project has not been awarded;

    (B) work on the equivalent-match project has not begun prior to approval of the waiver (approval of the waiver does not guarantee that the participation-waived project agreement will be executed);

    (C) the local government is in compliance with load posting and closure regulations as defined in the National Bridge Inspection Standards under 23 C.F.R. §650.303;

    (D) the bridge on the proposed equivalent-match project(s) is a deficient bridge, or a bridge that is weight restricted for school buses; and

    (E) the equivalent-match project increases the structural load capacity of the existing bridge, replaces the bridge with a new bridge, or otherwise increases safety, with a minimum upgrade to safely carry expected school bus loading.

  (4) Request for waiver. To request a waiver, a local government must provide a written request to the district engineer that includes the location(s), description of structural improvement or other safety work proposed, estimated cost for the equivalent-match project(s), and a copy of the local governmental body's resolution or ordinance. The resolution or ordinance must acknowledge assumption of all responsibilities for engineering and construction and complying with all applicable state and federal environmental regulations and permitting requirements for the bridge(s) on the equivalent-match project(s).

  (5) Considerations. In approving a request for waiver, the district engineer will consider:

    (A) the type of work proposed for the equivalent-match project(s);

    (B) regional transportation needs; and

    (C) past performance under this subsection.

  (6) Approval. The district engineer will submit a letter to the local government indicating the district engineer's approval or disapproval of the waiver. If disapproved, the letter will state the reasons for disapproval. If the waiver is approved, the letter will state that the local government, for the equivalent-match project(s) will assume:

    (A) all costs of the work;

    (B) responsibility for complying with all applicable state and federal environmental regulations and permitting requirements; and

    (C) responsibility for the engineering and construction necessary for completion of the work.

  (7) Agreement and conditions.

    (A) If the district engineer approves the waiver, the local government and the department will enter into an agreement for the participation-waived project as specified in §15.52 of this subchapter. One or more participation-waived project agreements can utilize one or more common or independent equivalent-match projects if the total equivalent-match project amount equals or exceeds the total remaining local participation amount being waived at the time the agreement is executed, and the common agreements are adequately cross-referenced. Previously executed agreements may be amended to incorporate these participation waiver provisions, or to utilize an additional equivalent-match project(s) for any outstanding amount not previously waived, provided the construction contract for the participation-waived project has not been awarded and the equivalent-match work has not begun.

    (B) Local governments will be allowed a maximum of three years after the contract award of the participation-waived project(s) to complete structural or other safety improvements on the equivalent-match project(s). If more than one participation-waived project utilizes a common equivalent-match project, the time period allowed for completion of the equivalent-match project(s) will begin when the first of the participation-waived projects is awarded. The district engineer may specify a period less than three years for completion of equivalent-match projects if project specific conditions warrant. If specified, the shorter allowable work period must be explicitly stated in the agreement(s). No later than 30 days after completion, documentation of completion of the equivalent-match project(s) requirement will be provided by letter to the district engineer. If the local government fails to adequately complete the equivalent-match project(s), it will be excluded from future waivers under this subsection for a minimum of five years. The district engineer may grant an extension to the three-year completion requirement if a contract for the equivalent-match project(s) has been executed within that three years and the contract timeline for completion is reasonable. In the absence of information suggesting that a shorter or longer period is appropriate, two years or less will be presumed to be a reasonable time, for a maximum of five years to complete the equivalent-match project(s) following award of the programmed bridge. The granting of an extension to the three-year time limit must be done in writing in response to a written request to the district engineer from the local government. The extension approval must specify a new required completion date.

    (C) With the approval of the district engineer, an equivalent-match project(s) may be substituted by subsequent amendment to the participation-waived project agreement(s). A substitution may be allowed for unforeseen circumstances, including but not limited to, an equivalent-match project that is selected for replacement under some other program of work. Work on the substituted equivalent-match project(s) must be completed within a maximum of three years after the award of the construction contract for the original participation-waived project.

    (D) The local government is responsible for all of the direct cost of any participation-waived project cost item or portion of a cost item that is not eligible for federal participation under the Federal Highway Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Program under 23 U.S.C. §144 and 23 C.F.R. §650 Subpart D. The local government is also responsible for any costs resulting from changes made at the request of the local government.

    (E) The local government will be responsible for 100% of right of way and utilities for the participation-waived project.

    (F) A local government located in an economically disadvantaged county that receives an adjustment under subsection (b) of this section may participate in the provisions of this subsection in the amount of its reduced matching funds requirement.

    (G) The department will not reimburse funds already received by the department under the terms of existing agreements. Funds already received for a specific project(s) may be credited against the local government's required participation for the subsequent participation-waived project agreement(s) for that same project(s).

    (H) Any equivalent-match project(s) cost that is in excess of the local government's required participation for a specific participation-waived project agreement(s) cannot be credited for use on a future participation-waived project(s).

    (I) Each equivalent-match project(s) must be specifically identified in the participation-waived project agreement(s) at the time of execution.

    (J) The local government must pay its funding share of the estimated participation-waived project cost, as provided in §15.52(7)(A) of this subchapter, for any local participation balance that is remaining at the time the project agreement(s) is executed. This balance would include any remaining required local participation amount in excess of the amount waived as a result of credit for equivalent-match work to be performed as part of the agreement.

  (8) Projects with neighboring states. Local cost participation is not required for a bridge connecting Texas with a neighboring state.

Source Note: The provisions of this §15.55 adopted to be effective September 26, 1996, 21 TexReg 8957; amended to be effective January 1, 1998, 22 TexReg 12090; amended to be effective January 1, 1998, 22 TexReg 12090; amended to be effective February 21, 1999, 24 TexReg 1194; amended to be effective August 20, 2000, 25 TexReg 7781; amended to be effective November 14, 2001, 26 TexReg 9227; amended to be effective September 19, 2002, 27 TexReg 8776; amended to be effective January 9, 2005, 29 TexReg 12241; amended to be effective January 5, 2006, 30 TexReg 8995; amended to be effective August 19, 2010, 35TexReg7084; amended to be effective April 19, 2012, 37 TexReg 2686; amended to be effective May 14, 2014, 39 TexReg 3733; amended to be effective July 17, 2019, 44 TexReg 3551; amended to be effective December 4, 2019, 44 TexReg 7416

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