By Erin Voegele
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration has opened a public comment period regarding its intention to request Office of Management and Budget approval for a new information collection related to sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) grant funding included in the Inflation Reduction Act.
The IRA was signed by President Biden in August 2022. Section 40007 of the legislation directs the Secretary of Transportation to implement a “competitive grant program for eligible entities to carry out projects located in the United States that produce, transport, blend, or store sustainable aviation fuel, or develop, demonstrate, or apply low-emission aviation technologies.” It also allocates nearly $245 million for projects relating to production, transportation, blending or storage of SAF; nearly $47 million for projects to develop, demonstrate, or apply low-emission aviation technologies; and nearly $6 million for program oversight. The DOT is working to implement the grant program, known as the Fueling Aviation’s Sustainable Transition (FAST) Grant Program.
The FAA published a notice on May 24 inviting public comments about its intention to request OMB approval for a new information collection that involves soliciting project proposals for the FAST Grant Program. According to the notice, information to be collected will be used to determine projects to be awarded FAST competitive discretionary grants.
The FAST program will have elements focused on SAF, to be termed FAST-SAF, and elements focused on low-emissions aviation technologies, to be termed FAST-Tech, the FAA said in the notice. The agency intends to collect proposals via a notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) that will solicit project proposals from eligible entities.
According to the FAA, the collected information is required for it to evaluate proposals and distribute IRA funds to address U.S. climate goals. Eligible entities that elect to compete for funding and obtain benefits from the FAST Grant Program will submit project information. The agency said the information collection is outlined in the IRA Section 40007.
“The FAA will use information submitted to evaluate and select projects for funding that most closely align with the criteria outlined in the NOFO,” the agency said in the notice. “A team of subject matter experts in aircraft technology development and sustainable aviation fuels from the FAA and other government agencies will assess each application against the applicable criteria. The information FAA is collecting will include technical, project management, and cost proposals for candidate projects. Key evaluation criteria include the capacity for the project to increase the domestic production and deployment of SAF or the use of low-emission aviation technologies and the projected greenhouse gas emissions from such a project.
“Project information will be solicited through a NOFO published to grants.gov,” the FAA continued. “Applications will be collected via grants.gov. The NOFO will outline in detail the form of the full application.”
The FAA is seeking comments on any aspect of the information collection, including whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for FAA’s performance; the accuracy of the estimated burden; ways for FAA to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information collection; and ways that the burden could be minimized without reducing the qualify of the collected information.
The public comment period is open through July 24. A full copy of the notice is available on the Federal Register website.