23 CFR § 515.13 - Process certification and recertification, and annual plan consistency review.

§ 515.13 Process certification and recertification, and annual plan consistency review.

(a) Process certification and recertification under 23 U.S.C. 119(e)(6). Not later than 90 days after the date on which the FHWA receives a State DOT's processes and request for certification or recertification, the FHWA shall decide whether the State DOT's processes for developing its asset management plan meet the requirements of this part. The FHWA will treat the State DOT's submission of an initial State-approved asset management plan under § 515.11(b) as the State DOT's request for the first certification of the State's DOT's plan development processes under 23 U.S.C. 119(e)(6). As provided in paragraph (c) of this section, State DOT shall update and resubmit its asset management plan development processes to the FHWA for a new process certification at least every 4 years.

(1) If FHWA determines that the processes used by a State DOT to develop and maintain the asset management plan do not meet the requirements established under this part, FHWA will send the State DOT a written notice of the denial of certification or recertification, including a listing of the specific requirement deficiencies.

(2) Upon receiving a notice of denial of certification or recertification, the State DOT shall have 90 days from receipt of the notice to address the deficiencies identified in the notice and resubmit the State DOT's processes to FHWA for review and certification. The FHWA may extend the State DOT's 90-day period to cure deficiencies upon request. During the cure period established, all penalties and other legal impacts of a denial of certification shall be stayed as provided in 23 U.S.C. 119(e)(6)(C)(i).

(3) If FHWA finds that a State DOT's asset management processes substantially meet the requirements of this part except for minor deficiencies, FHWA may certify or recertify the State DOT's processes as being in compliance, but the State DOT must take actions to correct the minor deficiencies within 90 days of receipt of the notification of certification. The State shall notify FHWA, in writing, when corrective actions are completed.

(b) Annual determination of consistency under 23 U.S.C. 119(e)(5). Not later than August 31, 2019, and not later than July 31 in each year thereafter, FHWA will notify the State DOT whether the State DOT has developed and implemented an asset management plan consistent with 23 U.S.C. 119. The notice will be in writing and, in the case of a negative determination, will specify the deficiencies the State DOT needs to address. In making the annual consistency determination, the FHWA will consider the most recent asset management plan submitted by the State DOT, as well as any documentation submitted by the State DOT to demonstrate implementation of the plan. The FHWA determination is only as to the consistency of the State DOT asset management plan and State DOT implementation of that plan with applicable requirements, and is not an approval or disapproval of strategies or other decisions contained in the plan. With respect to any assets the State DOT may elect to include in its plan in addition to NHS pavement and bridge assets, the FHWA consistency determination will consider only whether the State DOT has complied with § 515.9(l) with respect to such discretionary assets.

(1) Plan development. The FHWA will review the State DOT's asset management plan to ensure that it was developed with certified processes, includes the required content, and is consistent with other applicable requirements in this part.

(2) Plan implementation. The State DOT must demonstrate implementation of an asset management plan that meets the requirements of 23 U.S.C. 119 and this part. Each State DOT may determine the most suitable approach for demonstrating implementation of its asset management plan, so long as the information is current, documented, and verifiable. The submission must show the State DOT is using the investment strategies in its plan to make progress toward achievement of its targets for asset condition and performance of the NHS and to support progress toward the national goals identified in 23 U.S.C. 150(b). The State DOT must submit its implementation documentation not less than 30 days prior to the deadline for the FHWA consistency determination.

(i) FHWA considers the best evidence of plan implementation to be that, for the 12 months preceding the consistency determination, the State DOT funding allocations are reasonably consistent with the investment strategies in the State DOT's asset management plan. This demonstration takes into account the alignment between the actual and planned levels of investment for various work types (i.e., initial construction, maintenance, preservation, rehabilitation and reconstruction).

(ii) FHWA may find a State DOT has implemented its asset management plan even if the State has deviated from the investment strategies included in the asset management plan, if the State DOT shows the deviation was necessary due to extenuating circumstances beyond the State DOT's reasonable control.

(3) Opportunity to cure deficiencies. In the event FHWA notifies a State DOT of a negative consistency determination, the State DOT has 30 days to address the deficiencies. The State DOT may submit additional information showing the FHWA negative determination was in error, or to demonstrate the State DOT has taken corrective action that resolves the deficiencies specified in FHWA's negative determination.

(c) Updates and other amendments to plans and development processes. A State DOT must update its asset management plan and asset management plan development processes at least every 4 years, beginning on the date of the initial FHWA certification of the State DOT's processes under paragraph (a) of this section. Whenever the State DOT updates or otherwise amends its asset management plan or its asset management plan development processes, the State DOT must submit the amended plan or processes to the FHWA for a new process certification and consistency determination at least 30 days prior to the deadline for the next FHWA consistency determination under paragraph (b) of this section. Minor technical corrections and revisions with no foreseeable material impact on the accuracy and validity of the processes, analyses, or investment strategies in the plan do not constitute amendments and do not require submission to FHWA.