Districts were recently notified that Obligation Authority (OA)[1] for FFY13 will be met with projects that have been submitted for processing. In fact, there are enough projects in the queue to expend all Local Assistance OA plus any anticipated August Redistribution[2] for California.

While that is great news for the State overall, that may have an impact on your project if you’re expecting authorization to proceed by September 30. As with every year, complete requests are processed in the order that they’re received until all OA (and any August Redistribution) is spent. Once that happens, the remaining projects will need to wait until OA becomes available for FFY14.

Hopefully, this isn’t critical for your project as OA for the new fiscal year is anticipated in a couple of weeks[3]. If your project doesn’t get obligated and waiting will not impact your project, no action is needed. Requests in the queue will be submitted to FHWA as soon as the OA becomes available.

So what happens if you can’t wait? What if you need your E–76 this fiscal year?

There may be an opportunity to replace a project submitted earlier that meets the cut-off for OA, but that requires coordination with your DLAE and concurrence with the affected project sponsor. There may not be enough time for those things to happen.

A more feasible option that I recommend is requesting Advance Construction[4] for your project. Reimbursement cannot take place until the funds have been converted in the new FFY, but you’ll receive authorization to proceed and can advertise sooner.