January 4, 2018 12:30 PM, EST

FMCSA to Phase In Multiyear Plans for State Grant Program

FMCSA inspection TT File Photo

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced Jan. 4 that some states will start using multiyear commercial vehicle safety plans when carrying out projects made possible by the agency’s largest grant program supporting states.

States participating in the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program, which supports state-level projects designed to reduce the number of vehicle crashes, are required to periodically submit plans and updates to FMCSA. The agency announced that its electronic Commercial Vehicle Safety Plan tool, the portal through which states submit grant applications, will be modified to allow at least 18 states to use three-year plans. States that do not volunteer for the three-year plan will submit one-year plans through the online system, known as eCVSP.

The agency made its announcement in the Federal Register with a notice that is scheduled for publication Jan. 5.

“The three-year plan for this group of states will include fiscal 2018, 2019 and 2020,” the notice states. “FMCSA’s goal is one access point for quarterly reporting and eCVSP submissions.”

These submissions include information on states’ prior objectives, current goals and spending plans. States must submit goals for the next three years, as well as certifications of program conformance and compatibility, and substantiation of maintenance of effort calculations.

Fiscal 2018 spans Oct. 1, 2017-Sept. 30, 2018 for the federal government. During the next fiscal cycle, FMCSA stated it will solicit more states to volunteer three-year plans by Aug. 1. These gradual moves will result in all states using the three-year plan in the next few years, according to FMCSA.

“FMCSA expects that the remaining states will move to the three-year eCVSP by Aug. 1, 2019. If a state is unable to transition to a three-year plan, states can continue to submit one-year eCVSP until FMCSA decides whether or not to require the multiyear plan,” the agency states. “As a result of distributing states’ complete plans across three years and only requiring annual updates, FMCSA anticipates the workload of the states to decrease by 40%, as information will carry over, unless authorization requires changes. Additionally, FMCSA expects that this change will improve and expedite the agency’s eCVSP reviews.”

FMCSA’s announcement stems from information collected in late 2016, when the agency asked states for input as it developed an information technology system and procedures for submitting multiyear plans. According to the agency, the largest number of states recommended three-year plans, rather than one- or five-year options.

The agency is required by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act to establish procedures for submitting plans and updates for the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program.