Montana Administrative Register Notice 8-94-120 No. 6   03/27/2014    
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In the matter of the amendment of ARM 8.94.3814 and 8.94.3815 pertaining to governing the submission and review of applications for funding under the Treasure State Endowment Program (TSEP)







TO: All Concerned Persons


1. On January 30, 2014, the Department of Commerce published MAR Notice No. 8-94-120 pertaining to the proposed amendment of the above-stated rules at page 174 of the 2014 Montana Administrative Register, Issue Number 2.


2. The department has amended the above-stated rules as proposed.


3. The department has thoroughly considered the comments and testimony received. A summary of the comments received and the department's responses are as follows:




One comment was received regarding the explanation of Statutory Priority #2, "Indicator 2. Financial Analysis." The commenter asked whether "sub-paragraphs a. and b. (which discuss mileage rates) specific to Bridge projects?"




The department has added the requirement for all applicants to submit current mill value information under Statutory Priority #2. The information to be submitted will be required of applicants who apply for any project type funded by the Treasure State Endowment Program.  The language will remain as proposed.




Four comments were received regarding the following language proposed to be added to the application guidelines: "Projects with detour distances of less than four miles for most users or average daily traffic estimates of less than 400 vehicles per day are more likely to receive a reduced score when compared to those projects with longer detour distances or higher traffic volumes."  


The comments generally discussed multiple concerns of this change and its impact on shorter, less traveled routes that are nevertheless available for emergency response, as points of ingress/egress routes to residences, and as alternate routes in case of natural disaster in objecting to the proposed language.




The department proposed this language in an attempt to provide specifics about when a bridge application's score would be more likely to be reduced or increased based on the level of usage or detour length. The department has reviewed the comments and agrees that the proposed change may cause unnecessarily restrictive review and scoring of bridge applicants. The department will remove the proposed language, but will continue to consider and rank all bridge applicants based on usage and detour length factors, as described on page 42 of the 2017 Biennium Application Guidelines. The proposed language will be stricken.




One comment was received regarding whether the 150% matching funding amount for bridge application projects is applicable to this funding round.




Bridge projects are not required to provide 150% of the TSEP grant amount as a local match in order to qualify for a TSEP project grant. In past application guidelines, the department has indicated that TSEP funding would not be considered critical unless the applicant's matching dollars are at least 150% of the TSEP grant requested. This provision helps make matching funds for bridge projects consistent with the target rate analysis performed for water and wastewater projects. In the 2017 Biennium Application Guidelines, the department has softened that language to provide that the department may recommend a higher score for a bridge project if the applicant's matching dollars are at least 150% of the TSEP grant requested. This matching funding consideration helps the department score the applicant's ability to obtain funds from sources other than TSEP (Statutory Priority 5).  The language will remain as proposed. 



/s/ Kelly A. Lynch                                         /s/ Douglas Mitchell                                       

KELLY A. LYNCH                                        DOUGLAS MITCHELL

Rule Reviewer                                              Deputy Director

                                                                  Department of Commerce



Certified to the Secretary of State March 17, 2014.



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