23 CFR 420.107 - What is the minimum required expenditure of State planning and research funds for research development and technology transfer?
(a) A State DOT must expend no less than 25 percent of its annual SPR funds on RD&T activities relating to highway, public transportation, and intermodal transportation systems in accordance with the provisions of 23 U.S.C. 505(b), unless a State DOT certifies, and the FHWA accepts the State DOT's certification, that total expenditures by the State DOT during the fiscal year for transportation planning under 23 U.S.C. 134 and 135 will exceed 75 percent of the amount apportioned for the fiscal year.
(b) Prior to submitting a request for an exception to the 25 percent requirement, the State DOT must ensure that:
(1) The additional planning activities are essential, and there are no other reasonable options available for funding these planning activities (including the use of NHS, STP, MG, or FTA State planning and research funds (49 U.S.C. 5313(b)) or by deferment of lower priority planning activities);
(2) The planning activities have a higher priority than RD&T activities in the overall needs of the State DOT for a given fiscal year; and
(3) The total level of effort by the State DOT in RD&T (using both Federal and State funds) is adequate.
(c) If the State DOT chooses to pursue an exception, it must send the request, along with supporting justification, to the FHWA Division Administrator for action by the FHWA Associate Administrator for Research, Development, and Technology. The Associate Administrator's decision will be based upon the following considerations:
(1) Whether the State DOT has a process for identifying RD&T needs and for implementing a viable RD&T program.
(2) Whether the State DOT is contributing to cooperative RD&T programs or activities, such as the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, the Transportation Research Board, and transportation pooled fund studies.
(3) Whether the State DOT is using SPR funds for technology transfer and for transit or intermodal research and development to help meet the 25 percent minimum requirement.
(4) Whether the State DOT can demonstrate that it will meet the requirement or substantially increase its RD&T expenditures over a multi-year period, if an exception is granted for the fiscal year.
(5) Whether Federal funds needed for planning exceed the 75 percent limit for the fiscal year and whether any unused planning funds are available from previous fiscal years.
(d) If the FHWA Associate Administrator for Research, Development, and Technology approves the State DOT's request for an exception, the exception is valid only for that fiscal year's funds. A new request must be submitted and approved for subsequent fiscal year funds.