SS4A Frequently Asked Questions
Potential applicants will find answers below to frequently asked questions about the Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) grant opportunity.
This page includes all final FAQs for the FY22 Notice of Funding Opportunity.
You can access the amended NOFO on Grants.gov and Transportation.gov. You can also review highlights of changes to the FY22 SS4A NOFO.
Technical changes were made that affect the selection criteria, the application requirements, and the post-award grant administration requirements.
To calculate the population percentage in underserved communities required in both Action Plan and Implementation Grant applications, a new web tool that uses the same underlying data for the Underserved Community designation was duplicated with additional query features and appended 2019 population data. The tool is titled SS4A Underserved Communities Census Tracts (Historically Disadvantaged Communities).
Also see the calculation instructions: Calculating Percentage of Population in Underserved Communities for SS4A.
For Action Plan Grant applicants:
- The Key Information Table includes a new row to denote whether the application is for “a new action plan,” “to complete an action plan,” or for “supplemental planning activities.”
- The calculation for the selection criteria #1: safety impact clarified how to calculate the fatality rate. The rate is a 5-year annual average per 100,000 persons based on 2019 American Community Survey population data.
- The calculation for selection criteria #2: equity was modified to use 2019 American Community Survey data for the population counts.
For Implementation Grant applicants:
- The percentage of the population that resides in an Underserved Community calculation was modified to use 2019 American Community Survey data for the population counts.
- The safety impact criterion rating methodology was revised to remove a reference to “future costs,” which are not to be included in an application narrative.
- Award recipients are encouraged but not required to adhere to the Public Rights-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines.
The changes are technical in nature and are not substantive policy changes. The changes improve consistency across the notice of funding opportunity.
The changes to the calculations for the percentage of the population that resides in an Underserved Community ensures a consistent unit of analysis: 2019 Census tracts. The Underserved Communities tool is based on 2019 Census tract boundaries, some of which changed based on the 2020 Census.
The underlying data and methodology for the Underserved Community designation remain the same. The query features in the web tool and the inclusion of 2019 population data have both been added to make it easier for applicants to calculate the percent population in underserved communities directly in the tool.
The definition of an Underserved Community as defined for this NOFO is still consistent with the Office of Management and Budget’s Interim Guidance for the Justice40 Initiative and the Historically Disadvantaged Community designation.
Access the SS4A Underserved Communities Census Tracts mapping tool.
DOT will reach out to those who already submitted applications prior to the amendment to make corrections and address any issues in their application.
In Section F.2.v of the NOFO, which focuses on grant recipient requirements, the paragraph on civil rights obligations and nondiscrimination laws was amended to read as follows (modified wording in bold):
SS4A award recipients should demonstrate compliance with civil rights obligations and nondiscrimination laws, including Titles VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and accompanying regulations. Recipients of Federal transportation funding will also be required to comply fully with regulations and guidance for the ADA, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and all other civil rights requirements. The Department’s and the applicable Operating Administrations’ Office of Civil Rights will work with awarded grant recipients as appropriate to ensure full compliance with Federal civil rights requirements.
The NOFO states that Executive Order 14063, Use of Project Labor Agreements for Federal Construction Projects (87 FR 7363), is required for projects over $35 million. This FAQ serves as a technical correction that compliance with Executive Order 14063 is NOT a requirement in grant agreements for projects that meet a $35 million threshold as stated in the NOFO.
SS4A Grant Priorities
The purpose of SS4A grant program is to improve roadway safety by significantly reducing or eliminating roadway fatalities and serious injuries through safety action plan development and implementation focused on all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, public transportation users, motorists, personal conveyance and micromobility users, and commercial vehicle operators. The program provides funding to develop the tools to strengthen a community’s approach to safety and save lives.
No, there are no percentage minimums or maximums for specific line items.
However, the quantity and quality of the projects and strategies in relation to the cost amounts is part of Implementation Grant application evaluation. DOT expects most of the funding for Implementation Grants to go towards project and strategy execution. See Section E.ii.b Safety Impact Criterion Rating Methodology in the Notice of Funding Opportunity for how DOT will assess project costs in relation to the selection criteria.
The status of being a J40 Initiative-covered program, described on Transportation.gov, does not change the selection criteria and project selection process for this round of SS4A funding. The Notice of Funding Opportunity is consistent with the Office of Management and Budget’s Interim Guidance for the Justice40 Initiative and the Historically Disadvantaged Community designation by aligning the definition of an Underserved Community with the Historically Disadvantaged designation.
Future funding rounds will continue to be aligned with the J40 Initiative as additional guidance is made as part of its implementation.
SS4A Grant Types
The SS4A program provides funding for two types of grants:
- Action Plan Grants provide Federal funds to develop, complete, or supplement a comprehensive safety action plan. Having an Action Plan in place is the foundation of the SS4A grant program. Action Plan Grants may also fund supplemental Action Plan activities. The goal of an Action Plan is to develop a holistic, well-defined strategy to prevent roadway fatalities and serious injuries in a locality, Tribe, or region.
- Implementation Grants provide Federal funds to implement projects and strategies identified in an Action Plan to address a roadway safety problem. Projects and strategies may be infrastructure, behavioral, and/or operational activities. Implementation Grants may also fund associated planning and design and supplemental Action Plan activities in support of an existing Action Plan. Applicants must have an existing Action Plan to apply for Implementation Grants or have an existing plan that is substantially similar and meets the eligibility requirements.
Eligibility to Apply
For an Action Plan Grant, eligible applicants are:
- A metropolitan planning organization (MPO);
- A political subdivision of a State (e.g., cities, towns, counties, special districts, and similar units of local government);
- A federally recognized Tribal government; or
- A multijurisdictional group of entities described in (1) through (3).
For an Implementation Grant, eligible applicants listed above must also meet at least one of the following conditions:
- Have ownership and/or maintenance responsibilities over a roadway network;
- Be an eligible applicant with safety responsibilities that affect roadways; or
- Have agreement from the agency that has ownership and/or maintenance responsibilities for the roadway within the applicant’s jurisdiction.
Please see the Eligible and Ineligible SS4A Applicants factsheet and the NOFO to determine applicant eligibility.
For the purposes of the SS4A Notice of Funding Opportunity, an applicant’s jurisdiction is defined as the U.S. Census tracts where the applicant operates or performs their safety responsibilities.
For the purposes of the SS4A Notice of Funding Opportunity, a political subdivision of a State is defined as a unit of government created under the authority of State law. This includes cities, towns, counties, special districts, and similar units of local government.
Please see the Eligible and Ineligible SS4A Applicants factsheet and the NOFO to determine applicant eligibility.
Yes, it is possible to not have a high number of roadway deaths and serious injuries and still receive an Action Plan Grant or an Implementation Grant.
The selection criteria for an Action Plan Grant are primarily based on three quantitative ratings: 1) number of roadway fatalities from 2016-2020; 2) the fatality rate; and 3) percent of the jurisdiction’s population that resides in an Underserved Community Census tract. These ratings will be compared against other applicants to determine funding recipients.
The selection criteria for an Implementation Grant include safety impact, which can be demonstrated in multiple ways. This can include historical crash data, as well as risk models, hazard analysis, the identification of high-risk roadway features, roadway safety audits/assessments, and/or other proactive safety analyses.
A political subdivision is defined as a unit of government created under the authority of State law. Each eligible applicant can apply only once. Unless the administrative offices within a political subdivision were created separately under State law and meet the definition of a political subdivision in their own right, multiple offices/departments within the same city/county/political subdivision cannot separately apply for an SS4A grant. The offices/departments within one eligible applicant should submit one application only.
An Implementation Grant application could include projects (that are identified in an Action Plan) that would be implemented by different departments within the jurisdiction.
No. The Underserved Communities aspect of SS4A is included in the selection criteria for both Action Plan and Implementation Grants and is a consideration for award selection, but projects do not have to be in an Underserved Community in order to receive SS4A funds.
Yes, a contractor could assist in writing the grant application and then assist in the execution of the grant agreement. After the grant has been awarded, procurement of any contractors should adhere to the procurement standards set forth in 2 CFR 200.317 through 200.330. d and any applicable Federal requirements such as the cost principles set forth in 2 CFR 200 subpart E, including 2 CFR 200.401, and 2 CFR 200.403. For further information about procurement guidelines and associated consultant and contractor costs, review 2 CFR 200.320 and 2 CFR 200.430.
You must use the USDOT SS4A Underserved Communities status tool to identify which Census tracts are underserved communities for the following purposes:
- To calculate the population percentage in underserved communities; and
- To determine whether an Implementation Grant project or strategy would be located in an underserved community.
There are two options for accessing the data:
- Download the shapefile (found about halfway down this page) and use in your own GIS analysis.
- Use the interactive mapping dashboard to select the relevant Census tracts in your project area and see the associated percent historically disadvantaged population.
Applicants may use the narrative response portion of their applications to address equity, including alternative data sources or analysis (e.g., considering key population groups in projects and strategies, how equity analysis is performed developing an Action Plan, meaningful engagement with certain populations irrespective of if they are in underserved communities or not).
Supporting materials outside the application requirements as outlined in the notice of funding opportunity are not required.
If supporting materials such as letters of support are submitted, you should clearly identify the relevance of each supporting document (e.g., commitment of match funds, memoranda of understanding with partners or joint applicants, project readiness documentation that provides evidence in support of an Implementation Grant application, etc.).
No Congressional letters of support are requested.
No, select c. to respond to question #19: “Program is not covered by E.O. 12372.”
The intention of the narrative for Action Plan Grants length cap is to ensure short responses; the application review process expects and is designed for these short responses. The applicant needs to demonstrate consideration of certain activities that will enhance the implementation of an Action Plan once developed or updated. See Section E.1.i of the Notice of Funding Opportunity for more information on the additional safety considerations.
Action Plan Grants requesting funds for supplemental action plan activities should use the narrative to describe the planned activities and how they address the additional safety considerations.
No. Action Plan Grants requesting funds for supplemental action plan activities should describe the activities they plan to do in relation to those additional safety considerations in the narrative.
The budget section should be supplemental narrative connected to the cost information provided on the Budget Information for Construction Programs form SF-424 C to add in any details left out of that Standard Form. The budget section should provide a high-level cost description to complement the costs included in an SF-424C. The section must also include Table 3 to delineate the estimated costs by (A), (B), and (C) eligible activity categories, as well as the amount of funds to underserved communities. Applicants do not need to repeat information already found in the SF-424 C form.
For purposes of the percent population in underserved communities calculation, and the fatality rate per 100,000 persons calculation required for Action Plan Grants, please include the entire Census tracts that are partially located in the jurisdiction.
No. Any letters of support submitted must be included in the Grants.gov application as supporting documentation. Application materials received outside the Grants.gov process as required in the Notice of Funding Opportunity will not be included or considered in an application.
Paul Teicher, Grant Lead for the Safe Streets and Roads for All Program, for this Notice of Funding Opportunity.
Grant Awards, Funding, and Match
For Action Plan Grants, DOT seeks to make awards based on safety impact, equity, and additional safety considerations.
For Implementation Grants, DOT seeks to make awards to projects and strategies that:
- Save lives and reduce roadway fatalities and serious injuries;
- Incorporate equity, engagement, and collaboration into how projects and strategies are executed;
- Use effective practices and strategies; and
- Consider climate change, sustainability, and economic competitiveness in project and strategy implementation.
Project readiness and funding to provide safety benefits for underserved communities are considerations for Implementation Grants, and budget costs are a consideration for both Action Plan and Implementation Grants.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law established the SS4A program and approved $6 billion in funding, with $5 billion in advanced appropriations. For fiscal year 2022, $1 billion has been made available for grants under the SS4A program.
There is no funding minimum or maximum. However, the NOFO provides expected minimum and maximum ranges for applicant consideration.
For Action Plan Grants, award amounts will be based on estimated costs, with an expected minimum of $200,000 for all applicants, an expected maximum of $1,000,000 for a political subdivision of a State or a federally recognized Tribal government, and an expected maximum of $5,000,000 for an MPO or a joint application comprised of a multijurisdictional group of entities that is regional in scope (e.g., a multijurisdictional group of counties, a council of governments and cities within the same region, etc.).
For Implementation Grants, DOT expects the minimum award will be $5,000,000 and the maximum award will be $30,000,000 for political subdivisions of a State. For applicants who are federally recognized Tribal governments or applicants in rural areas, DOT expects the minimum award will be $3,000,000 and the maximum award will be $30,000,000. For an MPO or a joint application comprised of a multijurisdictional group of entities that is regional in scope, the expected maximum award will be $50,000,000.
In FY22, DOT expects to award hundreds of Action Plan Grants, and up to one hundred Implementation Grants. DOT reserves the right in the SS4A NOFO to make more, or fewer, awards, as well as the discretion to alter minimum and maximum award sizes upon receiving the full pool of applications and assessing the needs of the program.
Yes. Recipients are required to contribute a local matching share of no less than 20 percent of eligible activity costs. All matching funds must be from non-Federal sources, which could include in-kind contributions, funding from the applicant, or other SS4A-eligible non-Federal sources partnering with the applicant.
Unless otherwise authorized by statute, non-Federal cost-share may not be counted as the non-Federal share for both the SS4A grant and another Federal grant program.
Learn more about cost sharing or matching in the Code of Federal Regulations’ uniform guidance on match requirements (2 CFR § 200.306) and in SS4A Match and Cost Share Examples.
- The SS4A statute requires not more than 15 percent of the available funds be awarded to eligible applicants in a single State. For example, if $1 billion is available in FY22, the maximum amount of funding to all recipients in a given State would be $150 million.
- Funding for Tribal lands will be treated as their own State and will not count toward a State’s 15 percent limit.
- The SS4A statute also requires 40 percent of the total FY22 funds be made available for comprehensive safety action plans, which includes developing and updating a comprehensive safety action plan, and supplemental action plan activities. For example, if $1 billion is awarded in FY22, the minimum amount of funding to be made available to comprehensive safety action plans is $400 million.
For FY22 funding, an eligible applicant will only be able to submit one application, either for an Action Plan Grant OR an Implementation Grant, but not both.
If an Applicant applies for an Action Plan Grant this cycle, they are encouraged to apply for an Implementation Grant to execute the Action Plan in future funding rounds through SS4A or other funding opportunities.
Depending on specific project timelines, it may be difficult for most awardees to complete an Action Plan through a new grant agreement before the next grant cycle in FY23. DOT expects to obligate SS4A award funding through signed grant agreements as expeditiously as possible, ideally within 12 months after awards have been announced. The expected period of performance for Action Plan Grant agreements is likely between 12 and 24 months.
A local match of no less than 20 percent is required for all SS4A grant funds. Local match may include both cash as well as in-kind contributions. Details on cost-sharing and match can be found in 2 CFR § 200.306, and illustrative examples can be found in SS4A Match and Cost Share Examples.
In-kind contributions are typically in the form of the value of personnel, goods, services, space, and utilities contributed by a non-federal third party, such as a private business or nonprofit, specifically for the project. Routine operations and passive attendance at events do not count as in-kind match.
Additionally, the value of personnel, goods, services, space, and utilities provided by the recipient toward work on the grant may count toward local match, and may be billed as direct or indirect costs, as appropriate, toward the grant and reimbursed with SS4A funding.
Local match may be used only once and may not be used as match for multiple Federal awards. Other Federal funds cannot be used toward a recipient’s local match requirement including, but not limited to, the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program and Transportation Alternatives set aside funding, Federal funds from other DOT discretionary grant awards, and funds from the American Rescue Plan.
No. The SS4A program was enacted as a standalone program provision under Section 24112 of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. A State may ONLY apply toll credits towards the non-Federal share requirement for programs authorized under title 23, U.S.C., or chapter 53 of title 49, U.S.C. (See 23 U.S.C. 120(i) for other restrictions on the use of toll credits).
Yes, contingent on the period of performance time frame and when you submit expense reimbursement requests to DOT.
While the Department encourages maximum local contribution, it will not give preference toward projects that provide a local match above 20 percent.
No, there is no set aside and there are no exemptions for the non-Federal match requirement. A match of no less than 20 percent will be required by applicants for all Federal funds, which could include matching funds as well as in-kind contributions.
Tribal Transportation Program (TTP) funds cannot be used as a match. The SS4A statue does not provide USDOT any ability to waive the mandatory local match for any applicant because the specific United States Code provision that permits TTP funds to be used as non-Federal match, 23 U.S.C. § 120(k), applies only to programs funded under Title 23 or Chapter 53 of Title 49. SS4A is a standalone program under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and is not funded under either Title 23 or Title 49, so the exception under 23 U.S.C. § 120(k) cannot be applied.
Generally, yes. We encourage applicants to leverage all available USDOT grant programs. However, if you receive multiple sources of funding for the same project, you will need to clearly delineate which sources fund which components or phases.
Yes, States and other government entities that are not applying for the grant program can provide matching funds. However, all matching funds must be from non-Federal sources. For example, funds from the American Rescue Plan or the Federal Highway Administration surface transportation block grant program would be considered Federal sources and are not eligible to be used toward local match.
Hiring contractors or consultants to directly support the execution of the grant award and its activities is an eligible cost. Expenses related to contracting with these individuals or organizations must take place during the grant award and be reasonable, allocable, and necessary to accomplish the grant objectives/scope of work, unless authorized by DOT in writing after DOT’s announcement of FY 2022 SS4A grant awards.
Expenses incurred prior to the grant award, e.g., costs to develop a grant application, are not eligible for reimbursement.
Procuring contractors or consultants must follow local procurement guidelines and any applicable Federal requirements such as 2 CFR 200.400, 2 CFR 200.401, and 2 CFR 200.403. For further information about procurement guidelines and associated consultant and contractor costs, review 2 CFR 200.320 and 2 CFR 200.430.
Acquiring land for right of way to implement a project in an Implementation Grant is an allowable expense as long as the costs are reasonable, necessary, and allocable to achieve the objectives outlined in the scope of work in the grant award.
In acquiring property as part of a right-of-way purchase, grantees must follow local procurement guidelines and any applicable Federal requirements. For further information about real property, including disposition, and procurement guidelines, review 2 CFR 200.311, 2 CFR 200.320, and 2 CFR 200.403.
Yes. Funds in fiscal year 2022 are made available for obligation through September 30, 2025. If funds are not fully awarded in this round of funding, USDOT would likely include them in the next round.
DOT strongly recommends that you wait until awards have been announced and a grant agreement is established before setting up a contract to execute a grant, because any costs incurred prior to a signed grant agreement are not eligible costs and cannot be used toward local match. Costs incurred after grant awards have been announced, but before there is a signed grant agreement, are only eligible costs if authorized by DOT in writing consistent with 2 CFR 200.458. DOT intends to authorize such costs only on a case-by-case basis after DOT’s announcement of FY 2022 SS4A grant awards in January of 2023.
DOT reserves the right to make awards less than the total amount requested by the applicant. In instances where DOT would like to make an award less than the funding requested by the applicant, Federal officials will directly reach out to the point of contact on the SF-424 form. Mutual agreement of the Federal funding amount would be a pre-condition to making a grant award.
Eligible Plans and Projects
For an Action Plan Grant, eligible activities and costs include only those that directly assist in the development of the Action Plan or supplemental action plan activities in support of an existing Action Plan.
Activities must include carrying out projects and strategies identified in an Action Plan. Projects and strategies must be infrastructure, behavioral, or operational activities identified in the Action Plan and must be directly related to addressing the safety problem(s) identified in the application and Action Plan. Implementation Grants may also include supplemental action plan activities in support of an existing Action Plan, as well as fund associated planning and design.
Applications must identify the problems to be addressed, the relevant geographic locations, and the projects and strategies they plan to implement, based on their Action Plan or established plan. This should include specific intervention types to the extent practical.
Please see the Eligible and Ineligible Implementation Grant Projects factsheet and the NOFO to determine Implementation Grant activity eligibility.
Feasibility studies using quick-build strategies (e.g., paint, plastic bollards) that inform permanent projects in the future are eligible activities for both Action Plan Grants and Implementation Grants as supplemental action plan activities.
Yes, under certain conditions. Those policy and process updates could be done as part of developing a new comprehensive safety action plan through an Action Plan Grant. Complete Streets plans and manual updates could also be done as a supplemental planning activity via an Action Plan Grant or Implementation Grant, provided recipients already have an eligible Action Plan.
Please see the Eligible and Ineligible Implementation Grant Projects factsheet and the NOFO to determine Implementation Grant activity eligibility.
Quick builds, on-the-ground trials, and other impermanent activities can be part of an Action Plan Grant (supplemental action plan activities) or be included as part of an Implementation Grant. This type of activity must be connected to the comprehensive safety action plan development or be in support of an existing action plan in place (e.g., feasibility studies as part of conducting safety analysis, better identifying and then selecting projects and strategies).
Yes. Under 2 CFR § 200, Subpart E, these costs may be reimbursed either as indirect costs if such costs are included in the recipient’s approved indirect cost rate, or as a direct cost if the cost is incurred specifically for the award and not otherwise accounted for the approved indirect cost rate. If a recipient intends to enter into such an arrangement and seek reimbursement of direct costs through the grant, those estimated costs should be included in the grant application. During administration, the recipient is responsible for ensuring direct costs incurred are eligible and allocable to the grant administration. States will not have direct funding relationships with USDOT.
Yes. An eligible applicant must have an agreement with the agency that has ownership and/or maintenance responsibilities for the roadway within the applicant’s jurisdiction to implement the project or strategy as part of an Implementation Grant.
Yes, all projects and strategies as part of an Implementation Grant should consider equity in an application, as defined in the NOFO. Equity is a required component of developing or completing an Action Plan.
For the purposes of the NOFO and in alignment with Federal Government Executive Orders, the definition of equity is the consistent and systematic fair, just, and impartial treatment of all individuals, including individuals who belong to underserved communities that have been denied such treatment, such as Black, Latino, and Indigenous and Native American persons; Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other persons of color; members of religious minorities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) persons; persons with disabilities; persons who live in rural areas; and persons otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality.
Yes, in addition to funding projects and strategies to address roadway safety problems, Implementation Grants may fund associated project-level planning and design, as well as supplemental Action Plan activities in support of an existing Action Plan. Applicants must have an existing, eligible Action Plan to apply for Implementation Grants.
Action Plans are encouraged to cover an entire community and be comprehensive in nature. DOT generally expects Action Plans to be broader than just one neighborhood or problematic area. However, an eligible applicant could apply for an Action Plan Grant for a subpart of a community if such a focus would best meet the needs of the applicant.
If you have an existing, eligible Action Plan in place that identifies the need for the safety improvements you are seeking to address, a project to address the unsafe corridor may be eligible for an SS4A Implementation Grant.
If you do not have an existing Action Plan in place, you are encouraged to work with others in your area for a joint application that would encompass a broader geographic area, which would also include the unsafe corridor of interest. Other grant opportunities at DOT or working with your State or local government to address the safety issue may also be better suited for addressing one specific corridor or problem area.
Supplemental action plan activities that support or enhance an existing Action Plan could include, but are not limited to:
- Additional analysis;
- Expanded data collection and evaluation using integrated data;
- Testing action plan concepts before project and strategy implementation;
- Feasibility studies using quick-build strategies that inform permanent projects in the future (e.g., paint, plastic bollards, etc.);
- Follow-up stakeholder engagement and collaboration;
- Targeted equity assessments;
- Progress report development; and
- Complementary planning efforts such as speed management plans, accessibility and transition plans, racial and health equity plans, and lighting management plans.
What is the difference between supplemental planning activities—funded through an Action Plan Grant under eligible activity (A)—and the planning, design, and development activities in support of an Action Plan—funded through an Implementation Grant under eligible activity (B)?
Action Plan Grants that fund supplemental action plan activities are to support or enhance an existing Action Plan and are considered to be under the eligible activity (A) developing a comprehensive safety action plan or Action Plan (i.e., the activities outlined in Section A.2.i in Table 1 of the NOFO and the list of supplemental Action Plan activities). Implementation Grants may fund supplemental action plan activities under eligible activity (B) conducting planning, design, and development activities for projects and strategies identified in an Action Plan, as well as supplemental action plan activities under eligible activity (A).
Generally speaking, supplemental action plan activities (A) encompass a broader geography or set of projects in support of an Action Plan Grant and associated planning efforts, and eligible activity (B) would fund project- and strategy-specific planning, design, and development activities directly connected to implementing a project or strategy through an Implementation Grant.
Conducting planning, design, and development activities for projects and strategies identified in an Action Plan are under eligible activity (B), including design work associated with construction, and should be noted as such in the budget submission of the narrative for Implementation Grants. The construction portion of the costs for carrying out infrastructure safety projects would be listed under eligible activity (C).
For Implementation Grants, what level of project and strategy detail is required in the Action Plan to propose those projects and strategies in an application? Does a project need to be specifically identified in a plan (e.g., by location, name, description), or can a project be submitted that is not completely/specifically identified, but satisfies goals outlined in an Action Plan?
DOT expects the following details in an Action Plan as outlined in the Self-Certification Eligibility Worksheet: a list of the types of projects and strategies to address the safety issue(s) identified in the Action Plan, and the locations/areas where safety risks have been identified. The safety problem(s), location(s) of interest, and the list of the types of projects/strategies within the Action Plan should have a logical connection to each other and be articulated in the Action Plan.
You may apply to fund projects and strategies through Implementation Grants that address broad, programmatic safety recommendations and goals from Action Plans. For example, if an Action Plan has an action item to review and address left turn crashes that are resulting in fatal crashes throughout the jurisdiction, an appropriate Implementation Grant could be to study access restriction throughout the jurisdiction (or even a particular problem corridor) and install medians or make signal modifications that address the identified safety issue.
USDOT will not review any Action Plans prior to submission of applications to determine whether a potential applicant meets the eligibility requirement for an Implementation Grant or an Action Plan Grant to fund supplemental Action Plan activities. USDOT encourages the use of the Self-Certification Eligibility Worksheet to determine whether your action plan qualifies as a comprehensive safety action plan for the purposes of the NOFO.
Applicants are expected to provide accurate information and must meet the standards and submit the supporting documentation outlined in the Self-Certification Eligibility Worksheet as part of both an Implementation Grant application and an Action Plan Grant application funding supplemental Action Plan activities. USDOT reserves the right to review plans and request additional information to affirm that a plan meets the eligibility criteria.
Please see the Eligible and Ineligible Action Plans factsheet and the NOFO to determine if your existing safety plan is eligible for applying for an Implementation Grant.
Please see the Eligible and Ineligible Action Plans factsheet and the NOFO to determine if your existing safety plan is eligible for applying for an Implementation Grant.
Yes, as long as the project and strategies are within the jurisdiction covered by the Action Plan, are identified at a high level or are consistent with safety recommendations from the Action Plan, and address an identified roadway safety problem.
A qualifying Comprehensive Safety Action Plan should be completed before an application is submitted for Implementation Grant funding, or Action Plan Grant funding for supplemental Action Plan activities. The application deadline is September 15.
To be eligible for Implementation Grants, Action Plans must be completed and adopted prior to submission of your application (on or before September 15, 2022) to qualify as an existing plan. If your plan is not complete before the September 15 deadline, we encourage you to complete your plan and apply for an Implementation Grant in a subsequent SS4A funding cycle.
The necessary elements may be found in more than one existing plan or document for this funding round. State-level action plans, including but not limited to a Strategic Highway Safety Plans, State Highway Safety Plans, and Public Transportation Agency Safety Plans, cannot be used as an established plan.
The Self-Certification Eligibility Worksheet has a question on Leadership and Goal Commitment and whether the plan has set a target date to reduce fatalities and serious injuries and has a leadership commitment to zero roadway fatalities and serious injuries. Can a Council Resolution or other separate action that sets a target and commits to zero serve to answer that question?
Yes. The leadership commitment should be documented and have the requisite components as described in the Self-Certification Eligibility Worksheet but could be in a separate document such as a resolution.
Private entities such as companies are not eligible applicants. Safety interventions are incorporated into projects and strategies identified in an Action Plan. An eligible grant recipient would have the opportunity to include use of products if their procurement is consistent with 2CFR 200.317-200.330.
Within the Action Plan components outlined in Table 1 of the Notice of Funding Opportunity (leadership commitment and goal setting, safety analysis, etc.), there is latitude in what that would exactly entail for your community. Any activity that could be a “supplemental action plan activity” as described in Section A.2.i.a could also be a component in Action Plan development.
Our Action Plan is missing a leadership commitment to zero fatalities and a target date, required to respond “Yes” for Question 1 in the Self-Certification Eligibility Worksheet (Table 1). Could a leadership resolution separate from the Action Plan be used to respond to yes Question 1?
Potentially, yes. A leadership body such as a city council or regional executive board could formally adopt the commitment to zero fatalities and serious injuries, and set a target, separate from the Action Plan. Such a resolution can be used to respond to the Self-Certification Eligibility Checklist.
Joint Applications and Partnering Across Agencies
Joint applications that engage multiple jurisdictions in the same region are encouraged to promote collaboration across multiple jurisdictions, leverage the expertise of multiple agencies, and facilitate partnerships with entities that have established financial relationships with DOT and knowledge of Federal grant administration requirements. Applicants may propose the development of a single Action Plan covering all jurisdictions, or several plans for individual jurisdictions, administered by the leading applicant. Each jurisdiction in a joint application must be an eligible applicant.
Yes. A recipient may establish an arrangement with a State DOT or another State or local governmental entity to administer an SS4A grant so long as that arrangement complies with State and local law. Under 2 CFR § 200.331, the recipient must determine whether such arrangement is contractual, such as an interagency agreement, or a subgrant. As provided at 2 CFR § 200.300(b), the recipient is responsible for compliance with all Federal requirements applicable to the award. States will not have direct funding relationships with USDOT.
SS4A grant agreements are directly between the applicant and the Department. SS4A grant agreements are not with State DOTs, and eligible applicants cannot serve as a pass through for a State DOT to take full responsibility over the grant agreement. However, an applicant may choose to work with a State DOT and provide SS4A grant funding to State DOTs to assist in the execution of the grant activities separately from the grant agreement. But the SS4A recipient retains responsibility for ensuring completion of the grant activities and for compliance with the terms of the grant award and federal requirements.
No. An eligible applicant may submit only one application to the funding opportunity. A joint application, which is comprised of a multijurisdictional group of entities that is regional in scope, and an individual application, would count as two separate applications.
If an applicant submits more than one application, USDOT will contact the applicant to confirm which application should proceed; the applicant will be expected to respond within two business days.
Yes. Based on information provided in applications, the Department will allocate funding amounts to each State to calculate the contribution to the 15 percent maximum by State. In general, Tribal awards, including a consortium of Tribal governments, will not count against the 15 percent maximum by State.
Yes, a series of implementation projects across multiple jurisdictions can be grouped together under a single application. The projects and strategies must be in existing Action Plans and must address identified safety problems.
Separate Action Plan Grant applications for similar jurisdiction areas are permitted. However, duplicative Action Plan Grant requests will be flagged during the application review process, and DOT may decline to fund duplicative applications irrespective of their individual merits. Joint applications are encouraged but are not required.
A joint application is comprised of a multijurisdictional group of entities that is regional in scope (e.g., a multijurisdictional group of counties, a council of governments and cities within the same region, etc.). Joint applicants will all be signing a grant agreement, with one as the lead applicant and the rest as supporting signatories. All entities participating in a joint application must be eligible applicants.
Partners collaborate and work with an applicant on the execution of the project but are not applicants. Partners are not a party to the grant agreement and have no affiliation with USDOT. If an eligible applicant is a partner on an application (and not a joint applicant), being a partner on that application does not preclude the partner from submitting its own application.
(E.g., roles and responsibilities, implementing infrastructure safety projects on roads not owned by the applicant.)
Generally, a MOU/MOA does not need to be in place at the time of application for most Action Plan Grants and is not an application requirement. As an option, applicants could provide supporting documentation in instances such as joint applications formalizing their partnership, affirming match from a source that is not the applicant, etc.
For Implementation Grants, applicants performing projects and strategies on a roadway that they do not own, maintain, or have safety responsibilities over must, prior to DOT obligating funding to the grant award, have an agreement from the agency that has ownership and/or maintenance responsibilities for the roadway within the applicant’s jurisdiction. For example, an infrastructure project on State-owned roads would require an agreement from the State Department of Transportation. A letter of intent at the time of application would be the minimum required for instances where the projects and strategies are on roadways where the applicant has no ownership, maintenance, or safety responsibilities.
Implementation Grant application reviews include a project readiness consideration. Depending on the focus of the MOU and the projects and strategies in an application, not having a signed MOU at the time of application could negatively impact the project readiness rating that an Implementation Grant application receives.
Because State agencies are not eligible applicants, an applying agency should not list them as a joint applicant when submitting their grant application, even if the State agency is named on the MOU in the application packet.
Any MOU or other agreement required to successfully execute the grant agreement must be in place prior to DOT signing an Action Plan Grant or an Implementation Grant agreement.
Whether you decide to submit an individual or joint application depends on what makes the most sense for your community and situation. Both the Action Plan Grant and the Implementation Grant selection processes give equal weight to individual and joint applicants. Considerations for whether to submit a joint Implementation Grant application include but are not limited to:
- If you do not have ownership over the roadways where projects and strategies are to be executed;
- If you do not have the expertise to complete the projects and strategies;
- If you are unfamiliar with administering Federal grant requirements; and
- If the project and strategy safety advancements provide benefits to multiple communities.
No. The lead applicant applying on behalf of the group would provide its UEI. However, all applicants in a joint application should have their own unique UEI. To obtain a UEI, visit https://sam.gov.
While the NOFO does not specifically require applicants to list partners, it is recommended that the narrative reference appropriate partners if their participation is critical to the success of the project. NOFO section D.2.ii.d (budget) states, “If non-Federal share funds or in-kind contributions are from entities who are not the applicant, include commitment letters or evidence of allocated cost share as a supporting document.”
Also note that for Implementation Grants, applicants that do not have ownership of maintenance responsibilities for a roadway must include a commitment letter to affirm that they have an agreement with the appropriate entity (or multiple entities, if applicable) to conduct the project.
No, a regional entity applying for an Action Plan grant to cover the entire jurisdiction does not need to list each individual municipality within the jurisdiction as a joint applicant. However, if the regional entity is applying on behalf of a select subset of municipalities to conduct a plan for a smaller area within their region, or to help facilitate the municipalities in conducting their own plans, then it would be appropriate to specify each of the municipalities as joint applicants/partners.
USDOT anticipates that such cases would be permissible and expects regionally focused plans would permit individual entities within that regional plan to apply for Implementation Grants either individually or jointly. For this year’s funding round, entities within a region that has an eligible plan in place may use that plan to apply for an Implementation Grant.
Eligible applicants may submit an application as a standalone, individual applicant. Joint applications are encouraged, but they are not a requirement. Joint applications are treated the same as individual applications in the selection criteria. If a regional transportation planning agency is a political subdivision of the State as outlined in the NOFO, they are eligible applicants and could be included in a joint application.
Areas that are rural are welcome to submit a joint application with urban areas. For example, unincorporated rural areas and cities together as a joint county-city application, or an individual application that includes both rural and urban areas.
Joint applications for Implementation Grants would follow the requirements in the NOFO. The projects and strategies should be identified in the comprehensive safety action plan, and the action plan(s) should encompass the jurisdiction(s) where the projects and strategies are to be implemented. Also see the SS4A Joint Applicant Scenarios.
Action Plan Grant applications will be reviewed as part of the evaluation process to identify if multiple applicants requested funding for the same jurisdiction. For example, a city within a county with an MPO that has a regional transit agency all apply as individual applicants to develop a new plan for the same community in four separate Action Plan Grant applications. Multiple Action Plan Grants in the same jurisdiction will be flagged as potentially duplicative. The purpose of the duplicative flag is to minimize the number of Action Plan Grant awards that cover the same exact area unless there is a compelling reason multiple Action Plan Grants are needed.
Implementation Grant applications in nearby jurisdictions, but for different projects, are permitted.
Action Plan Grant recipients are encouraged to collaborate and coordinate with a wide variety of stakeholder groups as part of the Action Plan development, including public health, the impacted community or communities, and non-transportation groups. This could include action plan development for the following Action Plan components: safety analysis, engagement and collaboration, equity, policy and process change, as well as strategy and project selection.
These groups may continue to play a role as part of Action Plan implementation, depending on the safety problems identified and the proposed projects and strategies.
The Department expects one eligible applicant to handle all funding and administrative requirements on behalf of all joint applicants as part of executing the grant agreement. That could be the lead applicant, or one of the other joint applicants.
Funding and administrative arrangements among joint applicants and partners to execute the grant agreement outside of the financial and administrative terms established with DOT in a grant agreement are up to the award recipient(s) to manage.
Implementation Grant applications can include multiple projects and strategies. The projects and strategies are not required to address the same safety problem, nor be in the same location.
However, the projects and strategies must follow other requirements as laid out in the Notice of Funding Opportunity (e.g., address a safety problem identified in an eligible action plan). See our resource on Eligible and Ineligible Implementation Grant Projects for more information.
The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) contains guidance about the development and content of a comprehensive safety action plan. See Table 1 of the NOFO for more information.
No. Implementation Grant applications can include a funding request to complete necessary analyses for NEPA and other environmental laws, including the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), as part of an Implementation Grant under eligible activity (B) project and strategy-specific planning, design, and development activities. The NEPA and NHPA processes must be complete prior to funds being released for construction.
Grant recipients are subject to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other environmental laws. Project sponsors must conduct the applicable environmental studies to identify the project impacts along with any required mitigation. NEPA and environmental resource subject-matter experts should develop materials that identify and evaluate impacts to human and natural resources including the following:
- Low income/minority communities,
- Historic properties,
- Park and recreation lands,
- Wildlife and waterfowl refuges,
- Wetlands, and
- Threatened and endangered species and their habitats.
Project sponsors should also assess the need to obtain new rights-of-way and evaluate those impacts. If the project sponsor lacks staff with the specific skills, knowledge, and experience to conduct environmental studies, they are obliged to engage staff expertise at their State Departments of Transportation or fund consultants/contractors. Hiring consultants/contractors to directly support the execution of the grant award and its activities is considered an eligible cost under the grant.
FHWA’s Overview of NEPA as Applied to Transportation Projects - Environment- Federal-aid Essentials for Local Public Agencies provides training materials and resources that will help applicants better understand the requirements of NEPA and other federal laws and requirements for projects administered by FHWA.
The NOFO does not prescribe a specific threshold for what is an ambitious percentage in roadway fatalities and serious injuries, and would be determined through the development of the comprehensive safety action plan. As a point of reference, DOT committed to a two-thirds reduction in roadway fatalities by 2040.
No, a benefit-cost analysis is not a required as part of an application. Implementation Grant applications are required to provide information on safety impact, which includes a description of the problem, a safety impact assessment, and implementation costs.
Generally, no. Typically, programmatic agreements to standardize and streamline Federal funding administration requirements are between the Federal government and State DOTs only and do not permit political subdivisions of a State/MPOs to use those agreements. Please contact your State DOT for more information.
In many ways rural and urban areas are treated similarly in the SS4A NOFO and selection criteria. A few differences to note:
- The expected award size for rural communities and federally recognized Tribal governments interested in applying for an Implementation Grant is $3 million, versus $5 million for other applicants. These are expected award sizes, and there is no minimum grant application amount for rural or urban applicants.
- The definition of equity includes the consistent and systematic fair, just, and impartial treatment of all individuals, including persons who live in rural areas (amongst other identified groups). This can be a potential consideration as part of the narrative for an Implementation Grant.
Infrastructure safety projects that receive Federal funds must abide by any applicable Federal design standard requirements, including but not limited to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, as well as any applicable guidance.
A funding recipient may also be required to follow any applicable State design standards, which will depend on whether the activities are occurring on a State-owned road and the extent to which State design standards apply to roadways owned by non-State entities such as in the instance of county-owned roads or local roads maintained and owned by a city.
Applicants should indicate in their application if they will be seeking permission to use roadway design standards that are different from those generally applied by the State in which the project is located.
Applications must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday, September 15, 2022. Late applications will not be accepted. Applications must be submitted through Grants.gov.
We expect award selections to be made for this funding round January of 2023.
USDOT expects to obligate SS4A funding via a signed grant agreement between the Department and the recipient within 12 months after awards have been announced, though individual recipient timelines may vary depending on the complexity of project, status of project readiness, and other factors. Funding is expected to be provided on a reimbursement basis, with corresponding invoices.
The expected period of performance for Action Plan Grant agreements is between 12 and 24 months. The period of performance for Implementation Grant agreements may not exceed 5 years.
USDOT anticipates that there will be a NOFO open annually for each of the 5 years of the program around the same timeframe.