81 FR 17767 - Notice of order soliciting community proposals

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Office of the Secretary of Transportation

Federal Register Volume 81, Issue 61 (March 30, 2016)

Page Range17767-17782
FR Document2016-07286

The Department of Transportation is soliciting proposals from communities or consortia of communities interested in receiving grants under the Small Community Air Service Development Program. The full text of the Department's order, including Appendices, is included in this Notice. As noted in the order, an application for a grant under this program must include a Grant Proposal of no more than 20 pages (one-sided only), a completed Application for Federal Domestic Assistance (SF424), a Summary Information Schedule, and any letters from the applicant community showing support.

Federal Register, Volume 81 Issue 61 (Wednesday, March 30, 2016)
[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 61 (Wednesday, March 30, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 17767-17782]
From the Federal Register Online  [www.thefederalregister.org]
[FR Doc No: 2016-07286]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Office of the Secretary of Transportation

[Docket No. DOT-OST-2016-0037]


Notice of order soliciting community proposals

AGENCY: Department of Transportation, Office of the Secretary.

ACTION: Notice of order soliciting community proposals (Order 2016-3-
32).

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SUMMARY: The Department of Transportation is soliciting proposals from 
communities or consortia of communities interested in receiving grants 
under the Small Community Air Service Development Program. The full 
text of the Department's order, including Appendices, is included in 
this Notice. As noted in the order, an application for a grant under 
this program must include a Grant Proposal of no more than 20 pages 
(one-sided only), a completed Application for Federal Domestic 
Assistance (SF424), a Summary Information Schedule, and any letters 
from the applicant community showing support.

DATES: Applications must be submitted no later than May 2, 2016.

ADDRESSES: Communities must submit applications electronically through 
http://www.grants.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brooke Chapman, Associate Director, 
Small Community Air Service Development Program, Office of Aviation 
Analysis, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., W86-307, Washington, DC 20590, 
(202) 366 0577.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: By this order, the U.S. Department of 
Transportation (the Department or DOT) invites proposals from 
communities and/or consortia of communities interested in obtaining a 
federal grant under the Small Community Air Service Development Program 
(``Small Community Program'' or ``SCASDP'') to address air service and 
airfare issues in their communities. Subject to the availability of 
funding, the Department has up to $5 million available for FY 2016 
grant awards to carry out this program. There is no other limitation on 
the amount of individual awards, and the amounts awarded will vary 
depending upon the features and merits of the selected proposals. In 
past years, the Department's individual grant sizes have ranged from 
$20,000 to nearly $1.6 million. Funding amounts made available for 
reimbursement may be impacted by future limitations placed on the 
spending authority and appropriations enacted for the Department. OST 
cannot award grants until the enactment of authorizing legislation, an 
appropriations act, budget authority, and apportionment from the Office 
of Management and Budget (OMB). OST may, at its discretion, issue 
partial funding awards up to the level authorized and provided that the 
above conditions are met. Additional information on the budget process 
may be found in OMB A-11: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars_default/.
    Applications of no more than 20 one-sided pages each (excluding the 
completed Application for Federal Domestic Assistance (SF424), Summary 
Information schedule, and any letters from the community or an air 
carrier showing support for the application), including all required 
information, must be submitted to www.grants.gov no later than 5:00 
p.m. EDT on May 2, 2016. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit 
applications in advance of the deadline. Please be aware that 
applicants must complete the grants.gov registration process before 
submitting an application, and that this process usually takes two to 
four weeks to complete.\1\ The Department will not accept late-filed 
applications except under limited circumstances related to technical 
difficulties. Additional information on applying through grants.gov is 
in Appendix A, including a notice regarding late-filed applications.
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    \1\ If an applicant experiences difficulties at any point during 
the registration or application process, it should contact the 
grants.gov support center by email (grants.gov">[email protected]grants.gov) or by 
telephone (1-800-518-4726, available 24/7 except Federal holidays). 
See www.grants.gov/web/grants/support.html.

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[[Page 17768]]

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    This order is organized into the following sections:

I. Background
II. Selection Criteria and Guidance on Application of Selection 
Criteria
III. Evaluation and Selection Process
IV. How To Apply
V. Air Service Development Zone
VI. Grant Administration
VII. Questions and Clarifications
Appendix A--Additional Information on Applying Through 
www.grants.gov
Appendix B--Summary Information
Appendix C--Application Checklist
Appendix D--Confidential Commercial Information

I. Background

    The Small Community Program was established by the Wendell H. Ford 
Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (Pub. L. 106-
181), reauthorized by the Vision 100-Century of Aviation 
Reauthorization Act (Pub. L. 108-176), and subsequently reauthorized by 
the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (Pub. L. 112-95) (FAA 
2012), as amended. The program is designed to provide financial 
assistance to small communities in order to help them enhance their air 
service. The Department provides this assistance in the form of 
monetary grants that are disbursed on a reimbursable basis. 
Authorization for this program is codified at 49 U.S.C. 41743.
    The Small Community Program is authorized to receive appropriations 
under 49 U.S.C. 41743(e)(2), as amended. Appropriations are provided 
for this program for award selection in FY 2016 pursuant to FAA 2012 
and the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (Pub. L. 114-113). The 
Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2015 provides contract authority 
until March 31, 2016, for the Airport Improvement Program, which funds 
SCASDP. Therefore, subject to the availability of funding, the 
Department has up to $5 million available for FY 2016 grant awards to 
carry out this program. There is no other limitation on the amount of 
individual awards, and the amounts awarded will vary depending upon the 
features and merits of the selected proposals. In past years, the 
Department's individual grant sizes have ranged from $20,000 to nearly 
$1.6 million. Funding amounts made available for reimbursement may be 
impacted by future limitations placed on the spending authority and 
appropriations enacted for the Department. OST cannot award grants 
until the enactment of authorizing legislation, an appropriations act, 
budget authority, and apportionment from the Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB). OST may, at its discretion, issue partial funding awards 
up to the level authorized and provided that the above conditions are 
met. Additional information on the budget process may be found in OMB 
A-11: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars_default/.

A. Eligible Applicants

    Eligible applicants are small communities that meet the following 
statutory criteria under 49 U.S.C. 41743, as amended by Public Law 114-
113:
    1. (a) The airport serving the community or consortium is not 
larger than a small hub airport, according to FAA hub classifications 
effective on the date of service of this Order,\2\ or
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    \2\ ``Small hub airport'' is defined in 49 U.S.C. 47102 (23) as 
``a commercial service airport that has at least 0.05 percent but 
less than 0.25 percent of the passenger boardings.'' See also http://www.faa.gov/airports/planning_capacity/passenger_allcargo_stats/categories/. For FAA passenger enplanement information to use to 
determine an airport's eligibility as a small hub airport, see 
http://www.faa.gov/airports/planning_capacity/passenger_allcargo_stats/passenger/.
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    (b) As of calendar year 1997, the airport serving the community or 
consortium was not larger than a small hub airport,\3\ and
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    \3\ See, http://www.dot.gov/policy/aviation-policy/small-community-rural-air-service/SCASDP, for the FAA's 1997 list of 
Primary and Nonprimary Commercial Service Airports.
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    2. It has insufficient air carrier service or unreasonably high air 
fares; and
    3. The airport serving the community presents characteristics, such 
as geographic diversity or unique circumstances that demonstrate the 
need for, and feasibility of, grant assistance from the Small Community 
Program.\4\
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    \4\ 49 U.S.C. 41743(c)(1), (2).
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    No more than four communities or consortia of communities, or a 
combination thereof, from the same State may be selected to participate 
in the program in any fiscal year. No more than 40 communities or 
consortia of communities, or a combination thereof, may be selected to 
participate in the program in each year for which the funds are 
appropriated.
    Consortium applications: Both individual communities and consortia 
of communities are eligible for SCASDP funds. An application from a 
consortium of communities must be one that seeks to facilitate the 
efforts of the communities working together toward one joint grant 
project, with one joint objective, including the establishment of one 
entity to ensure that the joint objective is accomplished.
    Multiple applications prohibited: A community may file only one 
application for a grant, either individually or as part of a 
consortium.
    Communities without existing air service: Communities that do not 
currently have commercial air service are eligible for SCASDP funds.
    Essential Air Service communities: Small communities that meet the 
basic SCASDP criteria and currently receive subsidized air service 
under the Essential Air Service (``EAS'') program are eligible to apply 
for SCASDP funds. However, grant awards to EAS-subsidized communities 
are limited to marketing or promotion projects that support existing or 
newly subsidized EAS. Grant funds will not be authorized for EAS-
subsidized communities to support any new competing air service. 
Furthermore, no funds will be authorized to support additional flights 
by EAS carriers or changes to those carriers' existing schedules. These 
restrictions are necessary to avoid conflicts with the mandate of the 
EAS program.
    Alternate Essential Air Service communities: Likewise, small 
communities that meet the basic SCASDP criteria and currently receive 
assistance under the Alternate Essential Air Service Pilot Program 
(``Alternate EAS Pilot Program'') (49 U.S.C. 41745(a)) are eligible to 
apply for SCASDP funds. Since the Alternate EAS Pilot Program is a 
substitute/alternative to traditional EAS, we would consider 
applications from communities receiving assistance under 49 U.S.C. 
41745(a) only for marketing or promotion projects; however, if the 
community is already receiving Department support for marketing 
projects, per the community's proposal under the Alternate EAS Pilot 
Program, the community's project would not be considered for a SCASDP 
grant.

Eligible Projects

    The Department is authorized to award grants under 49 U.S.C. 41743 
to communities that seek to provide assistance to:
     A U.S. air carrier \5\ to subsidize service to and from an 
underserved airport for a period not to exceed 3 years;
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    \5\ Only U.S. air carriers are eligible to receive assistance 
from communities under SCASDP. See 49 U.S.C. 41743(d)(1) and 
40102(a)(2).
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     An underserved airport to obtain service to and from the 
underserved airport; and/or
     An underserved airport to implement such other measures as 
the Secretary, in consultation with such airport, considers appropriate 
to improve air service both in terms of the

[[Page 17769]]

cost of such service to consumers and the availability of such service, 
including improving air service through marketing and promotion of air 
service and enhanced utilization of airport facilities.
    Applicants should also keep in mind the following statutory 
restrictions on eligible projects:
     An applicant may not receive an additional grant to 
support the same project from a previous grant (see Same Project 
Limitation below); and
     An applicant may not receive an additional grant, prior to 
the completion of its previous grant (see Concurrent Grant Limitation 
below).
    Same Project Limitation: Under 49 U.S.C. 41743(c), a community or 
consortium may not receive an additional grant to support the same 
project for which it received a previous grant (Same Project 
Limitation).\6\ In assessing whether a previous grantee's current 
application represents a new project, the Department will compare the 
goals and objectives of the previous grant, including the key 
components of the means by which those goals and objectives were to be 
achieved, to the current application. For example, if a community 
received an earlier grant to support a revenue guarantee for service to 
a particular destination or direction, a new application by that 
community for another revenue guarantee for service to the same 
destination or in the same direction is ineligible, even if the revenue 
guarantee were structured differently or the type of carrier were 
different. However, a new application by such a previous grantee for 
service to a new destination or direction using a revenue guarantee, or 
for general marketing of the airport and the various services it 
offers, is eligible.\7\ The Department recognizes that not all revenue 
guarantees, marketing agreements, studies, or other activities are of 
the same nature, and that if a subsequent application incorporates 
different goals or significantly different components, it may be 
sufficiently different to constitute a new project under 49 U.S.C. 
41743(c).
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    \6\ This limitation applies for all projects contained in a 
previous grant agreement's scope; thus, even if the community did 
not actively implement a project listed in the scope of an earlier 
grant agreement, it may not receive funding for that project in a 
subsequent round of SCASDP funding.
    \7\ As noted in the ``Market Analysis'' subsection of section C 
below, target markets proposed by communities may be destination 
specific (e.g., service to LAX), a geographic region (e.g., 
northwest mountain region) or directional (e.g., hub in the 
southeastern United States or a point north, south, east, or west of 
the applicant community).
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    Concurrent Grant Limitation: A community or consortium may have 
only one SCASDP grant at any time. If a community or consortium applies 
for a subsequent SCASDP grant when its current grant has not yet 
expired, that community/consortium must notify the Department of its 
intent to terminate the current SCASDP grant, and if the community/
consortium is selected for a new grant, such termination must take 
place prior to entering into the new grant agreement. In addition, for 
consortium member applicants, permission must be granted from both the 
grant sponsor and the Department to withdraw from the current SCASDP 
grant before that consortium member will be deemed eligible to receive 
a subsequent SCASDP grant.
    Airport Capital Improvements Ineligible: Airport capital 
improvement projects, including, but not limited to, runway expansions 
and enhancements, the construction of additional aircraft gates, and 
other airport terminal expansions and reconfigurations are ineligible 
for funding under the Small Community Program. Airports seeking funding 
for airport capital improvement projects may want to consult with their 
local FAA Regional Office to discuss potential eligibility for grants 
under the Airport Improvement Program.

II. Selection Criteria and Guidance on Application of Selection 
Criteria

    SCASDP grants will be awarded based on the selection criteria as 
outlined below. There are two categories of selection criteria: 
Priority Selection Criteria and Secondary Selection Criteria. 
Applications that meet one or more of the Priority Selection Criteria 
will be viewed more favorably than those that do not meet any Priority 
Selection Criteria.

A. Priority Selection Criteria

    The statute directs the Department to give priority consideration 
to those communities or consortia where the following criteria are met:
    1. Air fares are higher than the national average air fares for all 
communities--The Department will compare the local community's air 
fares to the national average air fares for all similar markets. 
Communities with market air fares significantly higher than the 
national average air fares in similar markets will receive priority 
consideration. The Department calculates these fares using data from 
the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) Airline Origin and 
Destination Survey data. The Department evaluates all fares in all 
relevant markets that serve a SCASDP community and compares the SCASDP 
community fares to all fares in similar markets across the country. 
Each SCASDP applicant's air fares are computed as a percentage above or 
below the national averages. The report compares a community's air 
fares to the average for all other similar markets in the country that 
have similar density (passenger volume) and similar distance 
characteristics (market groupings). All calculations are based on 12-
month ended periods to control for seasonal variation of fares.
    2. The community or consortium will provide a portion of the cost 
of the activity from local sources other than airport revenue sources--
The Department will consider whether a community or consortium proposes 
local funding for the proposed project. Applications providing 
proportionately higher levels of cash contributions from sources other 
than airport revenues will be viewed more favorably. Applications that 
provide multiple levels of contributions (state, local, cash and in-
kind contributions) will also be viewed more favorably. See Additional 
Guidance--Cost Sharing and Local Contributions, in Subsection C below, 
for more information on the application of this selection criterion.
    3. The community or consortium has established or will establish a 
public-private partnership to facilitate air carrier service to the 
public--The Department will consider a community's or consortium's 
commitment to facilitate air carrier service in the form of a public-
private partnership. Applications that describe in detail how the 
partnership will actively participate in the implementation of the 
proposed project will be viewed more favorably.
    4. The assistance will provide material benefits to a broad segment 
of the traveling public, including businesses, educational 
institutions, and other enterprises, whose access to the national air 
transportation system is limited--The Department will consider whether 
the proposed project would provide, to a broad segment of the 
community's traveling public, important benefits relevant to the 
community. Examples include service that would offer new or additional 
access to a connecting hub airport, service that would provide 
convenient travel times for both business and leisure travelers that 
would help obviate the need to drive long distances, and service that 
would offer lower fares.
    5. The assistance will be used in a timely manner--The Department 
will consider whether a proposed project provides a well-defined 
strategic plan and reasonable timetable for use of the grant funds. In 
the Department's experience, reasonable timetables for

[[Page 17770]]

use of grant funds generally include a year to complete studies, two 
years for marketing and promotion of the airport, community, carrier, 
or destination, and three years for projects that target a revenue 
guarantee, subsidy, or other financial incentives. Applicants should 
describe how their projects can be accomplished within this timetable, 
including whether the airport and proposed air service provider have 
the requisite authorities and certifications necessary to carry out the 
proposed projects. In addition, because of this emphasis placed on 
timely use of funds, applicants proposing new service should describe 
the airport and whether it can support the proposed service, including 
whether the airport holds, or intends to apply for, an airport 
operating certificate issued under 14 CFR part 139. Air service 
providers proposed for the new service must have met or be able to 
meet, in a reasonably short period of time, all Department requirements 
for air service certification, including safety and economic 
authorities.
    6. Multiple communities cooperate to submit a regional or 
multistate application to consolidate air service into one regional 
airport--The Department will consider whether a proposed project 
involves a consortium effort to consolidate air service into one 
regional airport. This statutory priority criterion was added pursuant 
to Section 429 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (Pub. L. 
112-95).

B. Secondary Selection Criteria

    1. Innovation--The Department will consider whether an application 
proposes new and creative solutions to air transportation issues facing 
the community, including:
     The extent to which the applicant's proposed solution(s) 
to solving the problem(s) is new or innovative, including whether the 
proposed project utilizes or encourages intermodal or regional 
solutions to connect passengers to the community's air service (or, if 
the community cannot implement or sustain its own air services, to 
connect to a neighboring community's air service) e.g., cost-effective 
inter/intra city passenger bus service, or marketing of intermodal 
surface transportation options also available to air travelers; and
     whether the proposed project, if successfully implemented, 
could serve as a working model for other communities.
    2. Community Participation--The Department will consider whether an 
application has broad community participation, including:
     Whether the proposed project has broad community support; 
and
     the community's demonstrated commitment to and 
participation in the proposed project.
    3. Location--The Department will consider the location and 
characteristics of a community:
     The geographic location of each applicant, including the 
community's proximity to larger centers of air service and low-fare 
service alternatives;
     The population and business activity, as well as the 
relative size of each community; and
     Whether the community's proximity to an existing or prior 
grant recipient could adversely affect either its proposal or the 
project undertaken by the other recipient.
    4. Other Factors--The Department will also consider:
     Whether the proposed project clearly addresses the 
applicant's stated problems;
     The community's existing level of air service and whether 
that service has been increasing or decreasing;
     Whether the applicant has a plan to provide any necessary 
continued financial support for the proposed project after the 
requested grant award expires;
     The grant amount requested compared with the total funds 
available for all communities;
     The proposed federal grant amount requested compared with 
the local share offered;
     any letters of intent from airline planning departments or 
intermodal surface transportation providers on behalf of applications 
that specifically indicate intent to enlist new or expanded air service 
or surface transportation service in support of the air service in the 
community;
     whether the applicant has plans to continue with the 
proposed project if it is not self-sustaining after the grant award 
expires; and
     equitable and geographic distribution of available funds.

C. Additional Guidance

    Market Analysis: Applicants requesting funds for a revenue 
guarantee/subsidy/financial incentive are encouraged to conduct and 
reference in their applications an in-depth analysis of their target 
markets. Target markets can be destination specific (e.g., service to 
LAX), a geographic region (e.g., northwest mountain region) or 
directional (e.g., hub in the southeastern United States or a point 
north, south, east, or west of the applicant community).
    Complementary Marketing Commitment: Applicants requesting funds for 
a revenue guarantee/subsidy/financial incentive are encouraged to 
designate in their applications a portion of the project funds 
(Federal, local or in-kind) for the development and implementation of a 
marketing plan in support of the service sought.
    Subsidies for a carrier to compete against an incumbent: The 
Department is reluctant to subsidize one carrier, but not others in a 
competitive market. For this reason, a community that proposes to use 
the grant funds for service in a city-pair market that is already 
served by another air carrier must explain in detail why the existing 
service is insufficient or unsatisfactory, or provide other compelling 
information to support such a proposal.
    Cost Sharing and Local Contributions: Applications must clearly 
identify the level of federal funding sought for the proposed project. 
Applications must also identify the community's cash contributions to 
the proposed project, in-kind contributions from the airport, and in-
kind contributions from the community. Non-federal funds will be 
applied proportionately to the entire scope of the project. Communities 
cannot use non-federal funds selectively to fund certain components of 
a project (see Section VI--Grant Administration--Payments for more 
information). Cash contributions from airport revenues must be 
identified separately from cash contributions from other community 
sources. Cash contributions from the state and/or local government 
should be separately identified and described as well.
    Types of contributions. Contributions should represent a new 
financial commitment or new financial resources devoted to attracting 
new or improved service, or addressing specific high-fare or other 
service issues, such as improving patronage of existing service at the 
airport. For communities that propose to contribute to the grant 
project, that contribution can be in the following forms:
    Cash from non-airport revenues. A cash contribution can include 
funds from the state, the county or local government, and/or from local 
businesses, or other private organizations in the community. Because 
private cash contributions are to be from local community sources, the 
Department will not consider as a part of these non-airport revenues 
any funds that a community might receive from an air carrier interested 
in providing service under that community's proposal. Moreover, 
contributions that are comprised of intangible non-cash items, such as 
the value of donated advertising, are considered in-kind

[[Page 17771]]

contributions (see further discussion below).
    Cash from airport revenues. This includes contributions from funds 
generated by airport operations. Airport revenues may not be used for 
revenue guarantees to airlines, per 49 U.S.C. 47107 and 47133. 
Applications that include local contributions based on airport revenues 
do not receive priority consideration for selection.
    In-kind contributions from the airport. This can include such items 
as waivers of landing fees, ground handling fees, terminal rents, fuel 
fees, and/or vehicle parking fees.
    In-kind contributions from the community. This can include such 
items as donated advertising from media outlets, catering services for 
inaugural events, or in-kind trading, such as advertising in exchange 
for free air travel. Travel banks and travel commitments/pledges are 
considered to be in-kind contributions.
    Cash vs. in-kind contributions. Communities that include local 
contributions made in cash will be viewed more favorably.
    Eligible Air Carriers: As noted in footnote 3 above, only U.S. air 
carriers are eligible to receive assistance from communities under 
SCASDP grants. A particular U.S. carrier may hold authority to conduct 
operations as a certificated air carrier, a commuter air carrier, or an 
air taxi operator.\8\ Communities are encouraged to verify, at an early 
stage of any air carrier discussions, that the air carrier does in fact 
hold appropriate Department authority to conduct the proposed services. 
Communities may verify this authority by contacting the Department's 
Air Carrier Fitness Division at (202) 366-9721.
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    \8\ For example, an air carrier holding only air taxi authority 
under 14 CFR parts 298 and 135 is limited to the use of small 
aircraft (60 or fewer seats and a maximum payload capacity of 18,000 
pounds or less, and to conducting fewer than five round-trip flights 
per week in a particular city-pair market.
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    Aviation Security: Communities proposing new or expanded air 
service under a SCASDP grant proposal are encouraged to contact the 
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) early in the process to 
ascertain what the security implications of such service would be with 
respect to the airport involved, and what measures that airport would 
need to take with the TSA to assure that the service would meet all 
applicable TSA requirements.

III. Evaluation and Selection Process

    The Department will first review each application to determine 
whether it has satisfied the following eligibility requirements:
    1. The applicant is an eligible applicant;
    2. The application is for an eligible project (including compliance 
with the Same Project Limitation); and
    3. The application is complete (including submission of a completed 
SF424 and all of the information listed in Contents of Application, in 
Section IV below).
    To the extent that the Department determines that an application 
does not satisfy these eligibility requirements, the Department will 
deem that application ineligible and not consider it further.
    The Department will then review all eligible applications based on 
the selection criteria outlined above in Section II. The Department 
will not assign specific numerical scores to projects based on the 
selection criteria. Rather, ratings of ``highly recommended,'' 
``recommended,'' ``acceptable,'' or ``not recommended'' will be 
assigned to applications. Applications that align well with one or more 
of the Priority Selection Criteria will be viewed more favorably than 
those that do not align with any Priority Selection Criteria. The 
Department will consider the Secondary Selection Criteria when 
comparing and selecting among similarly-rated projects.
    The Department reserves the right to award funds for a part of the 
project included in an application, if a part of the project is 
eligible and aligns well with the selection criteria specified in this 
Order. In addition, as part of its review of the Secondary Selection 
Criterion ``Other Factors,'' the Department will consider the 
geographical distribution of the applications to ensure consistency 
with the statutory requirement limiting awards to no more than four 
communities or consortia of communities, or a combination thereof, from 
the same state. The final selections will be limited to no more than 40 
communities or consortia of communities, or a combination thereof.
    Grant awards will be made as promptly as possible so that selected 
communities can complete the grant agreement process and implement 
their plans. Given the competitive nature of the grant process, the 
Department will not meet with applicants regarding their applications. 
All non-confidential portions of each application, all correspondence 
and ex-parte communications, and all orders will be posted in the 
above-captioned docket on www.regulations.gov.
    The Department will announce its grant selections in a Selection 
Order that will be posted in the above-captioned docket, served on all 
applicants and all parties served with this Solicitation Order, and 
posted on the Department's SCASDP Web site https://www.transportation.gov/policy/aviation-policy/small-community-rural-air-service/SCASDP.

IV. How To Apply

    Required Steps:
     Determine eligibility;
     Register with www.grants.gov (see Registration with 
www.grants.gov, below);
     Submit an Application for Federal Domestic Assistance 
(SF424);
     Submit a completed ``Summary Information'' schedule. This 
is your application cover sheet (see Appendix B);
     Submit a detailed application of up to one-sided 20 pages 
(excluding the completed SF424, Summary Information schedule, and any 
letters from the community or an air carrier showing support for the 
application) that meets all required criteria (see Appendix C);
     Attach any letters from the community or an air carrier 
showing support for the application to the proposal, which should be 
addressed to: Brooke Chapman, Associate Director, Small Community Air 
Service Development Program; and
     Provide separate submission of confidential material, if 
requested. (see Appendix D)
    An application will not be complete and will be deemed ineligible 
for a grant award until and unless all required materials, including 
SF424, have been submitted through www.grants.gov and time-stamped by 
5:00 p.m. EDT on May 2, 2016 (the ``Application Deadline'').
    An application consisting of more than 20 pages will be accepted by 
the Department, but the content in the additional pages past page 20 
will not be evaluated or considered by the Department. The Department 
would prefer that applicants use one-inch margins and a font size not 
less than 12 point type.
    Late Application Notice: Applicants who are unable to successfully 
submit their application package through grants.gov prior to the 
Application Deadline due to technical difficulties outside their 
control must submit an email to [email protected] with the 
information described in Appendix A.
    Registration with www.grants.gov: Communities must be registered 
with www.grants.gov in order to submit an application for funds 
available under this program. For consortium

[[Page 17772]]

applications, only the Legal Sponsor must be registered with 
www.grants.gov in order to submit its application for funds available 
under this program. See Appendix A for additional information on 
applying through www.grants.gov.
    Contents of Application: There is no set format that must be used 
for applications. Each application should, to the maximum extent 
possible, address the selection criteria set forth in Section II, 
above, including a clear description of the air service needs/
deficiencies and present plans/strategies that directly address those 
needs/deficiencies. At a minimum, however, each application must 
include the following information:
     A description of the community's air service needs or 
deficiencies, including information about: (1) Major origin/destination 
markets that are not now served or are not served adequately; (2) fare 
levels that the community deems relevant to consideration of its 
application, including market analyses or studies demonstrating an 
understanding of local air service needs; (3) any recent air service 
developments that have adversely affected the community; \9\ and (4) 
any air service development efforts over the past three years and the 
results of those efforts (including marketing and promotional efforts).
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    \9\ For example, if a community has lost service or been 
otherwise adversely affected as a result of an airline merger, the 
applicant should describe the situation in detail and quantify, to 
the extent possible, its effects on the community.
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     A strategic plan for meeting those needs under the Small 
Community Program, including the community's specific project goal(s) 
and detailed plan for attaining such goal(s). If the application is 
selected, DOT will work with the grantee to incorporate the relevant 
elements of the application's strategic plan into the grant agreement's 
project scope.\10\ Applicants should note that, once a grant agreement 
is signed, the agreement generally cannot be amended in a way that 
would alter the project scope. Applicants also are advised to obtain 
firm assurances from air carriers proposing to offer new air services 
if a grant is awarded. Strategic plans should:
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    \10\ If new service is proposed to or from a specific city or 
market served by multiple airports (such as New York, Chicago, Los 
Angeles, or Washington, DC, for example), the applicant is 
encouraged to identify the airport(s) in that city or market the 
community would be targeting under its proposal in order to 
facilitate the drafting of the grant agreement's project scope. 
Communities should carefully select, within a specific city or 
market, those airports for which it proposes service, as proposing 
multiple airports in a city or market could impact the ability of a 
community to seek future grants involving those airports (see Same 
Project Limitation, above).
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    [cir] For applications involving new or improved service, explain 
how the service will become self-sufficient;
    [cir] fully and clearly outline the goals and objectives of the 
project; and
    [cir] fully and clearly summarize the actual, specific steps (in 
bullet form, with a proposed timeline) that the community intends to 
take to bring about these goals and objectives.
     A detailed description of the funding necessary for 
implementation of the proposed project (including federal and non-
federal contributions).
     An explanation of how the proposed project differs from 
any previous projects for which the community received SCASDP funds 
(see Same Project Limitation, above).
     Designation of a legal sponsor responsible for 
administering the proposed project. The legal sponsor of the proposed 
project must be a government entity, such as a state, county, or 
municipality. The legal sponsor must be legally, financially, and 
otherwise able to execute the grant agreement and administer the grant, 
including having the authority to sign the grant agreement and to 
assume and carry out the certifications, representations, warranties, 
assurances, covenants and other obligations required under the grant 
agreement with the Department and to ensure compliance by the grant 
recipient with the grant agreement and grant assurances. If the 
applicant is a public-private partnership, a public government member 
of the organization must be identified as the community's sponsor to 
receive project cost reimbursements. A community may designate only one 
government entity as the legal sponsor, even if it is applying as a 
consortium that consists of two or more local government entities. 
Private organizations may not be designated as the legal sponsor of a 
grant under the Small Community Program. The community has the 
responsibility to ensure that the legal sponsor and grant recipient of 
any funding has the legal authority under state and local laws to carry 
out all aspects of the grant, and the Department may require an opinion 
of the legal sponsor's attorney as to its legal authority to act as a 
sponsor and to carry out its responsibilities under the grant 
agreement. The applicant should also provide the name of the signatory 
party for the legal sponsor.

V. Air Service Development Zone Designation

    As part of the Small Community Program, the Department may also 
designate one grant recipient as an ``Air Service Development Zone'' 
(ASDZ).\11\ The purpose of the designation is to provide communities 
interested in attracting business to the area surrounding the airport 
and/or developing land-use options for the area to work with the 
Department on means to achieve those goals. The Department will assist 
the designated community in establishing contacts with and obtaining 
advice and assistance from appropriate government agencies, including 
the Department of Commerce and other offices within the Department of 
Transportation, and in identifying other pertinent resources that may 
aid the community in its efforts to attract businesses and to formulate 
land-use options. However, the community receiving this designation 
will be responsible for developing, implementing, and managing 
activities related to the air service development zone initiative. Only 
communities that are interested in these objectives and have a plan to 
accomplish them should apply for this designation. There are no 
additional funds associated with this designation, and applying for 
this designation will provide no special benefits or priority to the 
community applying for a SCASDP grant.
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    \11\ See 49 U.S.C. 41743(h).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Grant applicants interested in selection for the Air Service 
Development Zone designation must include in their applications a 
separate section, titled, Support for Air Service Development Zone 
Designation. The community should provide as detailed a plan as 
possible, including what goals it expects to achieve from the air 
service development zone designation and the types of activities on 
which it would like to work with the Department in achieving those 
goals. The community should also indicate whether further local 
government approvals are required in order to implement the proposed 
activities.

VI. Grant Administration

    Grant Agreements: Communities awarded grants are required to 
execute a grant agreement with the Department before they begin to 
expend funds under the grant award. Applicants should not assume they 
have received a grant, nor should they obligate or expend local funds 
prior to receiving and fully executing a grant agreement with the 
Department. Expenditures made prior to the execution of a grant 
agreement, including costs associated with preparation of the grant 
application, will not be reimbursed. Moreover, there are numerous 
assurances that grant

[[Page 17773]]

recipients must sign and honor when federal funds are awarded. All 
communities receiving a grant will be required to accept and meet the 
obligations created by these assurances when they execute their grant 
agreements. Copies of assurances are available online at http://www.dot.gov/policy/aviation-policy/small-community-rural-air-service/SCASDP, (click on ``SCASDP Grant Assurances'').
    Payments: The Small Community Program is a reimbursable program; 
therefore, communities are required to make expenditures for project 
implementation under the program prior to seeking reimbursement from 
the Department. Eligible project implementation costs are reimbursable 
from grant funds only for services or property delivered during the 
grant term. Reimbursement rates are calculated as a percentage of the 
total federal funds requested divided by the federal funds plus the 
local cash contribution (which is not refundable). The percentage is 
determined by: (SCASDP Grant Amount) / (SCASDP Grant Amount + Local 
Cash Contribution + State Cash Contribution, if applicable). For 
example, if a community requests $500,000 in federal funding and 
provides $100,000 in local contributions, the reimbursement rate would 
be 83.33 percent: ((500,000)/(500,000 + 100,000)) = 83.33. Payments/
expenditures in forms other than cash (e.g., in-kind) are not 
reimbursable.
    Grantee Reports: Each grantee must submit quarterly reports on the 
progress made during the previous quarter in implementing its grant 
project. In addition, each community will be required to submit a final 
report on its project to the Department, and 10 percent of the grant 
funds will not be reimbursed to the community until such a final report 
is received. Additional information on award administration for 
selected communities will be provided in the grant agreement.

VII: Questions and Clarifications

    For further information concerning the technical requirements set 
out in this Order, please contact Brooke Chapman at 
[email protected] or (202) 366-0577. A TDD is available for 
individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing at (202) 366-3993. The 
Department may post answers to questions and other important 
clarifications in the above-captioned docket on www.regulations.gov and 
on the program Web site at https://www.transportation.gov/policy/aviation-policy/small-community-rural-air-service/SCASDP.
    This Order is issued under authority delegated in 49 CFR 1.25a(b).
    Accordingly,
    1. Applications for funding under the Small Community Air Service 
Development Program should be submitted via www.grants.gov as an 
attachment to the SF424 by 5:00 p.m. EDT, May 2, 2016; and
    2. This Order will be published in the Federal Register, posted on 
www.grants.gov and www.regulations.gov, and served on the United States 
Conference of Mayors, the National League of Cities, the National 
Governors Association, the National Association of State Aviation 
Officials, County Executives of America, the American Association of 
Airport Executives, and the Airports Council International--North 
America.

    Issued in Washington, DC on March 28, 2016.

    By:
Susan L. Kurland,
Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs.
    An electronic version of this document is available online at 
www.regulations.gov.

Additional Information on Applying Through www.Grants.Gov

    Applications must be submitted electronically through http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/apply-for-grants.html. To apply 
for funding through www.grants.gov, applicants must be properly 
registered. The Grants.gov/Apply feature includes a simple, unified 
application process that makes it possible for applicants to apply for 
grants online. There are five ``Get Registered'' steps for an 
organization to complete at Grants.gov. Complete instructions on how to 
register and apply can be found at http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/organization-registration.html. If applicants experience 
difficulties at any point during registration or application process, 
please call the www.grants.gov Customer Support Hotline at 1-800-518-
4726, Monday-Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. EDT.
    Registering with www.grants.gov is a one-time process; however, 
processing delays may occur and it can take up to several weeks for 
first-time registrants to receive confirmation and a user password. It 
is highly recommended that applicants start the registration process as 
early as possible to prevent delays that may preclude submitting an 
application by the deadlines specified. Applications must be submitted 
and time-stamped not later than 5:00 p.m. EDT on May 2, 2016 (the 
Application Deadline), and, as set forth below, failure to complete the 
registration process before the Application Deadline is not a valid 
reason to permit late submissions.
    In order to apply for SCASDP funding through http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/apply-for-grants.html, all applicants are 
required to complete the following:
    1. DUNS Requirement. The Office of Management and Budget requires 
that all businesses and nonprofit applicants for federal funds include 
a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number in 
their applications for a new award or renewal of an existing award. A 
DUNS number is a unique nine-digit sequence recognized as the universal 
standard for identifying and keeping track of entities receiving 
federal funds. The identifier is used for tracking purposes and to 
validate address and point of contact information for federal 
assistance applicants, recipients, and sub-recipients. The DUNS number 
will be used throughout the grant life cycle. The DUNS number must be 
included in the data entry field labeled ``Organizational DUNS'' on the 
SF-424 form. Instructions for obtaining DUNS number can be found at the 
following Web site: http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/organization-registration/step-1-obtain-duns-number.html.
    2. System for Award Management. In addition to having a DUNS 
number, applicants applying electronically through Grants.gov must 
register with the federal System for Award Management (SAM). Step-by-
step instructions for registering with SAM can be found here: http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/organization-registration/step-2-register-with-sam.html. All applicants must register with SAM in order 
to apply online. Failure to register with the SAM will result in your 
application being rejected by Grants.gov during the submissions 
process.
    3. Username and Password. Acquire an Authorized Organization 
Representative (AOR) and a www.grants.gov username and password. 
Complete your AOR profile on www.grants.gov and create your username 
and password. You will need to use your organization's DUNS Number to 
complete this step. For more information about creating a profile on 
Grants.gov visit: http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/organization-registration/step-3-username-password.html.
    4. After creating a profile on Grants.gov, the E-Biz Point of 
Contact (E-Biz POC)--a representative from your organization who is the 
contact listed

[[Page 17774]]

for SAM--will receive an email to grant the AOR permission to submit 
applications on behalf of their organization. The E-Biz POC will then 
log in to Grants.gov and approve an applicant as the AOR, thereby 
giving him or her permission to submit applications. To learn more 
about AOR Authorization visit: http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/organization-registration/step-4-aor-authorization.html. To 
track an AOR status visit: http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/organization-registration/step-5-track-aor-status.html.
    Applicants are, therefore, encouraged to register early. The 
registration process can take up to four weeks to be completed. Thus, 
registration should be done in sufficient time to ensure it does not 
impact your ability to meet required submission deadlines. You will be 
able to submit your application online any time after you have approved 
as an AOR.
    5. Electronic Signature. Applications submitted through Grants.gov 
constitute a submission as electronically signed applications. The 
registration and account creation with Grants.gov with E-Biz POC 
approval establishes an Authorized Organization Representative (AOR). 
When you submit the application through Grants.gov, the name of your 
AOR on file will be inserted into the signature line of the 
application. Applicants must register the individual who is able to 
make legally binding commitments for the applicant organization as the 
Authorized Organization Representative (AOR);
    6. Search for the Funding Opportunity on www.grants.gov. Please use 
the following identifying information when searching for the SCASDP 
funding opportunity on www.grants.gov. The Catalog of Federal Domestic 
Assistance (CFDA) number for this solicitation is 20.930, titled 
Payments for Small Community Air Service Development.
    7. Submit an application addressing all of the requirements 
outlined in this funding availability announcement. Within 24-48 hours 
after submitting your electronic application, you should receive an 
email validation message from www.grants.gov. The validation message 
will tell you whether the application has been received and validated 
or rejected, with an explanation. You are urged to submit your 
application at least 72 hours prior to the due date of the application 
to allow time to receive the validation message and to correct any 
problems that may have caused a rejection notification.
    8. Timely Receipt Requirements and Proof of Timely Submission. 
Proof of timely submission is automatically recorded by Grants.gov. An 
electronic timestamp is generated within the system when the 
application is successfully received by Grants.gov. The applicant will 
receive an acknowledgement of receipt and a tracking number from 
Grants.gov with successful transmission of the application. Applicants 
should print this receipt and save it, as a proof of timely submission.
    9. Grants.gov allows applicants to download the application 
package, instructions and forms that are incorporated in the 
instructions, and work offline. In addition to forms that are part of 
the application instructions, there will be a series of electronic 
forms that are provided utilizing Adobe Reader.
    a. Adobe Reader. Adobe Reader is available for free to download 
from the Adobe Software Compatibility page: http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/adobe-software-compatibility.html. Adobe Reader 
allows applicants to read the electronic files in a form format so that 
they will look like any other Standard form. The Adobe Reader forms 
have content sensitive help. This engages the content sensitive help 
for each field you will need to complete on the form. The Adobe Reader 
forms can be downloaded and saved on your hard drive, network drive(s), 
or CDs.
    b. Note: For the Adobe Reader, Grants.gov is compatible with 
versions 9.0.0 and later versions. Always refer to the Adobe Software 
Compatibility page for compatible versions for the operating system you 
are using. Please do not use lower versions of the Adobe Reader.
    c. Mandatory Fields in Adobe Forms. In the Adobe Reader forms, you 
will note fields that will appear with a background color on the data 
fields to be completed. These fields are mandatory fields and they must 
be completed to successfully submit your application.

    Note: When uploading attachments please use generally accepted 
formats such as .pdf, .doc, and .xls. While you may imbed picture 
files such as .jpg, .gif, .bmp, in your files, please do not save 
and submit the attachment in these formats. Additionally, the 
following formats will not be accepted: .com, .bat, .exe, .vbs, 
.cfg, .dat, .db, .dbf, .dll, .ini, .log, .ora, .sys, and .zip.

Experiencing Unforeseen www.grants.gov Technical Issues

    Late Application Notice: Applicants who are unable to 
successfully submit their application package through grants.gov 
prior to the Application Deadline due to technical difficulties 
outside their control must submit an email to [email protected] 
with the following information:

     The nature of the technical difficulties experienced in 
attempting to submit an application;
     A screenshot of the error;
     The Legal Sponsor's name; and
     The Grants.Gov tracking number (e.g. GRANT12345678).
    DOT will consider late applications on a case-by-case basis and 
reserves the right to reject late applications that do not meet the 
conditions outlined in the Order Soliciting Small Community Grant 
Proposals. Late applications from applicants that do not provide DOT an 
email with the items specified above will not be considered.
    If you experience unforeseen www.grants.gov technical issues beyond 
your control that prevent you from submitting your application by the 
Application Deadline, you must contact us at [email protected] or 
[email protected] or (202) 366-1842 by 5:00 p.m. EDT the day 
following the deadline and request approval to submit your application 
after the deadline has passed. At that time, DOT staff will require you 
to provide your DUNS number and your www.grants.gov Help Desk tracking 
number(s). After DOT staff review all of the information submitted and 
contact the www.grants.gov Help Desk to validate the technical issues 
you reported, DOT staff will contact you to either approve or deny your 
request to submit a late application through www.grants.gov. If the 
technical issues you reported cannot be validated, your application 
will be rejected as untimely.
    To ensure a fair competition for limited discretionary funds, the 
following conditions are not valid reasons to permit late submissions: 
(1) Failure to complete the registration process before the deadline 
date; (2) failure to follow www.grants.gov instructions on how to 
register and apply as posted on its Web site; (3) failure to follow all 
of the instructions in the funding availability notice; and (4) 
technical issues experienced with the applicant's computer or 
information technology (IT) environment.
BILLING CODE 4910-9X-P

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BILLING CODE 4910-9X-C

Confidential Commercial Information

    Applicants will be able to provide certain confidential business 
information relevant to their proposals on a confidential basis. Under 
the Department's Freedom of Information Act regulations (49 CFR 7.17), 
such information is limited to commercial or financial information 
that, if disclosed, would either likely cause substantial harm to the 
competitive position of a business or enterprise or make it more 
difficult for the Federal Government to obtain similar information in 
the future.
    Applicants seeking confidential treatment of a portion of their 
applications must segregate the confidential material in a sealed 
envelope marked ``Confidential Submission of X (the applicant) in 
Docket DOT-OST-2016-0037'' and include with that material a request in 
the form of a motion seeking confidential treatment of the material 
under 14 CFR 302.12 (``Rule 12'') of the Department's regulations. The 
applicant should submit an original and two copies of its motion and an 
original and two copies of the confidential material in the sealed 
envelope.
    The confidential material should not be included with the original 
of the applicant's proposal that is submitted via www.grants.gov. The 
applicant's original submission, however, should indicate clearly where 
the confidential material would have been inserted. If an applicant 
invokes Rule 12, the confidential portion of its filing will be treated 
as confidential pending a final determination. All confidential 
material must be received by 5:00 p.m. EDT, May 2, 2016, and delivered 
to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Aviation Analysis, 
8th Floor, Room W86-307, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE., Washington, DC 
20590.

[FR Doc. 2016-07286 Filed 3-28-16; 4:15 pm]
 BILLING CODE 4910-9X-P


81_FR_17828
Current View
CategoryRegulatory Information
CollectionFederal Register
sudoc ClassAE 2.7:
GS 4.107:
AE 2.106:
PublisherOffice of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration
SectionNotices
ActionNotice of order soliciting community proposals (Order 2016-3- 32).
DatesApplications must be submitted no later than May 2, 2016.
ContactBrooke Chapman, Associate Director, Small Community Air Service Development Program, Office of Aviation Analysis, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., W86-307, Washington, DC 20590, (202) 366 0577.
FR Citation81 FR 17767 

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