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Public Roads - Autumn 2018

Autumn 2018
Issue No:
Vol. 82 No. 3
Publication Number:
Table of Contents

Training Update

Guidance for Changing Federal-Aid Regulations

by Marisa Beck

The planning and finance staff of State departments of transportation and metropolitan planning organizations face myriad regulations and requirements for expending and administering Federal-aid planning funds. Indepth knowledge of these regulations is vital to ensuring sound administration and management of funds.

The establishment of uniform administrative requirements for Federal awards and enactment of new legislation and regulations under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) and the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Acts introduced changes to the requirements for administering and managing Federal Highway Administration planning and research grants. To help familiarize transportation professionals with the details of these requirements, the National Highway Institute (NHI) has updated its Web-based training series on FHWA Planning and Research Grants with three introductory-level courses.

Planning and Research Program Administration

NHI’s three-part series provides a comprehensive overview of the management of FHWA planning grants, including key concepts and terminology. The first of the three courses, FHWA Planning and Research Grants: Program Administration (23 CFR Part 420) (course number 151057), introduces participants to the series and focuses on program administration. Learners gain familiarity with terms and general concepts around grants. They also learn the requirements of 23 CFR Part 420—the regulation that implements the Federal-aid highway planning program outlined in Title 23 and contains the specific FHWA grant policies and procedures.

This Web-based training uses an interactive format. On every screen that discusses a regulation, users can click directly on a link to visit the full text of the regulation in question. The interface also features an interactive glossary where users can review the definitions of unfamiliar terms.

The Uniform Guidance

The second and third courses in the series dive into the requirements of 2 CFR Part 200, Uniform Guidance. The second course, FHWA Planning and Research Grants: The Uniform Guidance (2 CFR Part 200) – Part 1 (course number 151058), begins with a brief history of the Uniform Guidance and addresses the responsibilities of the States and the flow of requirements to State and local governments. It finishes with detailed reviews of subparts A through D of the regulation, which cover definitions, general provisions, and pre- and post-award requirements.

In the third and final course of the series, FHWA Planning and Research Grants: The Uniform Guidance (2 CFR Part 200) – Part 2 (course number 151059), learners explore the last two subparts of the Uniform Guidance: subpart E on cost principles and subpart F on audit requirements. The review of subpart E includes detailed discussion on which costs are allowable and which are unallowable. The lessons on subpart F cover key terms, basic requirements, and roles and responsibilities associated with the audit of Federal awards. Entities that expend more than $750,000 in Federal funds during their fiscal year are subject to audit of their handling of the funds.

“It took me about a year as a participant of FHWA’s Professional Development Program to compile and comprehend all of this information separately. This series puts everything in one place and will be invaluable for new employees,” says Vontra Giles, a community planner in FHWA’s Alabama Division. “It’s really helpful to have hyperlinked references to the CFR and other resources sprinkled throughout the course. It’s interactive and engaging, and it closed a lot of knowledge gaps I had prior to completing the series.”


NHI's Web-based planning and administration course 151057 introduces participants to the grant funding process by walking through the steps and explaining key terms and concepts.


This training series is highly recommended for staff, including planning, engineering, and finance professionals from FHWA, the Federal Transit Administration, State departments of transportation, metropolitan planning organizations, and other agencies who expend or administer Federal-aid planning funds. The training series does not have any prerequisites and is suitable for beginners.

Each portion of the series is available for $25 per participant. The entire series can be completed in 5.5 hours, and participants can earn up to 0.6 continuing education units for successful completion of the entire series. To register for these courses, visit

Marisa Beck is a contracted instructional designer for NHI.