What Does This Mean for You?
Local governments have long been recipients of state and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) funds through programs such as Transportation Enhancement, Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation, and Congestion Mitigation/Air Quality Improvement. Though most of these funds are from the Highway Trust Fund, the federal-aid highway program is a federally funded, state-administered program. For many years TxDOT directly managed most FHWA-funded projects for local government. However, as the size of the programs expanded and local entities expressed the desire to manage their projects, TxDOT developed the Local Government Project Procedures (LGPP) as a guide for local governments. TxDOT expanded the LGPP with the advent of alternate contracting techniques such as regional mobility authorities and public-private partnerships.
Qualification Now Required
TxDOT is including a requirement for training and qualification of local entities. This requirement is part of all new agreements between TxDOT and a local government when the local entity is allowed to directly manage a project with state or FHWA funds. This requirement is intended to better inform all parties of their responsibilities, increase compliance with applicable regulations, and reduce the risk for loss of participation in project funding.
So What Is This Qualification?
Local entities must have a “qualified” person assigned to the project as a condition of having the authority to directly manage a project. This person may be either an employee of the local entity or a representative from a firm hired by the local entity to serve as the qualified person. The qualified person must be assigned for the duration of the project. The qualified person does not have to be the project manager but should be in a position to provide input into regulatory compliance. Employee departures are allowed, but must be replaced by another qualified individual. TxDOT maintains a current list of qualified individuals on their Internet site.
Qualification is fairly simple. A person becomes qualified by successfully completing a training course entitled Local Government Project Procedures Qualification for the Texas Department of Transportation. Once qualified, that person will maintain their qualified status unless TxDOT or FHWA determines that they do not routinely discharge their responsibilities. Further examination or refresher training is not required.
Purpose and Content of Training
The Local Government Project Procedures Qualification for the Texas Department of Transportation course has two primary objectives:
Highlight the roles and responsibilities of local entities and TxDOT staff.
Bring awareness and increase compliance with regulatory requirements.
During class, participants will learn what resources are available and how to access those resources. Class exercises provide an opportunity to access resources via the Internet. Open discussion and exchange of questions, answers and experiences are encouraged.
Who is the Target Audience?
Individuals responsible for:
Identifying and determining which state and federal regulatory requirements apply to a project.
Actions to be taken by the local government to comply with the regulatory requirements.
Local government employees:
Regional mobility authorities
Local toll authorities
Employees of private firms hired to serve as an extension of local government staff.
TxDOT district personnel involved in monitoring locally administered projects.
How Do I Get Qualified, and What Does It Cost?
TEEX offers the 12-hour training class titled Local Government Project Procedures Qualification for the Texas Department of Transportation. Classes normally run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. the first day and 8 a.m. to noon the second day. If the first day falls on Monday, the schedule will usually be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday.
There is no cost for TxDOT and local government employees or for the local government’s consultant who is contractually representing the local government. Consultant staff without a contractual obligation may attend on a “space-available” basis and will be charged a fee of $300.
Classes are scheduled by TxDOT; if you want to schedule a class or find out when one may be offered in your area, contact Theresa Sykes at 512-846-5409 or Richard Kirby at 512-416-3301.
Use the following procedure to locate information on already-scheduled classes:
Go to www.teex.org/ltap.
At the top of the page, click on “Training.”
A course description for the Local Government Project Procedures Qualification for the Texas Department of Transportation course is listed, including the locations and dates of already-scheduled classes.
For general course information, please call Laura Wilson at 800-SAFE-811 (800-723-3811) or send an e-mail to: Laura.Wilson@teexmail.tamu.edu. H