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Federal Register Highlights – 2/20/15

February 20, 2015

Unpublished, time-sensitive and proposed rules for February 20, 2015:

PROPOSED RULE: The FHWA proposes to establish a process for the development of a State asset management plan in accordance with section 1106 of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP–21), to improve or preserve the condition of the assets and the performance of the National Highway System (NHS) as they relate to physical assets. In this document “asset management plan” and “risk-based asset management plan” are used interchangeably. An asset management plan is a key management tool for highway infrastructure owners. State departments of transportation (State DOT) increasingly use asset management plans to make decisions about where and when to invest State and Federal funds in highway infrastructure improvements to achieve and sustain a desired state of good repair over the life cycle of the assets at minimum practicable cost. The development and implementation of an asset management plan also is an important part of the overall MAP–21 framework for enhancing the management and performance of transportation highway infrastructure funded through the Federal-aid highway program (FAHP). The asset management plan required by section 1106 of MAP–21 will provide States with critical data and identify investment and management strategies to improve or preserve the condition of the assets and the performance of the NHS. Under section 1106, the plan must include strategies leading to a program of projects that would make progress toward achievement of the State targets for asset condition and performance of the NHS in accordance with section 1203(a) of MAP–21, and supporting progress toward the achievement of the national goals identified in section 1203(a). While the primary purpose of this proposed rule is to address asset management plan requirements in section 1106,  this proposed rule also would address other MAP–21 requirements that relate to asset management. The proposed rule defines the minimum standards that States would use in developing and operating highway bridge and pavement management systems as required by section 1203(a) of MAP–21. Also, this proposed rule would address the requirements in section 1315(b) of MAP–21 by requiring States to conduct statewide  evaluations to determine if reasonable alternatives exist to roads, highways, or bridges that repeatedly require repair and reconstruction activities from emergency events. The proposed rule would require State DOTs to take these evaluations into account in their asset management plans for facilities that are included in the plans. Comments must be received on or before April 21, 2015. Late-filed comments will be considered to the extent practicable. (To submit comments, visit http://www.regulations.gov, reference docket number FHWA–2013–0052. (Commenting page was not available at the time of this posting.)

PROPOSED RULE: This proposed rule is a cost-savings measure to update HUD’s regulations regarding the payment of FHA insurance claims in debentures. Section 520(a) of the National Housing Act affords the Secretary discretion to pay insurance claims in cash or debentures. Although HUD has given mortgagees the option to elect payment of FHA insurance claims in debentures in some sections of HUD’s regulations, HUD has not paid an FHA insurance claim under these regulations using debentures in approximately 5 years. This proposed rule would amend applicable FHA regulations to bring consistency in determining the method of payment for FHA insurance claims. Comment Due Date: April 21, 2015. (To submit comments, visit http://www.regulations.gov, reference docket number FR–5805–P–01. Commenting page was not available at the time of this posting.)

TEMPORARY RULE: NMFS reduces the trip limit for the commercial sector of Atlantic migratory group Spanish mackerel in the southern zone to 1,500 lb (680 kg) of Spanish mackerel per day in or from the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). This trip limit reduction is necessary to protect the Spanish mackerel resource. The rule is effective 6 a.m., local time, February 20, 2015, until 12:01 a.m., local time, March 1, 2015, unless changed by subsequent notification in the Federal Register.

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