Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

State Aid for Local Transportation

E-Scene April 2022

flowers in meadow

Do you need a PIF for that?

By: Chris Nobach, Assistant Project Development Engineer

Over the last couple of months, State Aid has reviewed and updated its Public Interest Finding (PIF) guidance. The State Aid Public Interest Finding Guide for Locals (Word) is the latest State Aid guidance to help you determine when a PIF is required. Please reference this document with any PIF related questions within the State Aid program.

Background

Various FHWA policies provide for exceptions to federal requirements. To get exceptions approved a Local Public Agency (LPA) needs to clearly demonstrate that the proposed deviation is more beneficial to the public than meeting the federal requirement in the form of a PIF. Templates of common PIFs can be found on the SALT Plan, Design and Preparation Forms webpage. The PIF will need to be signed and approved by the local engineer, DSAE, and State Aid Engineer before the exception is allowed. Please note that if justification is lacking or the benefit to the public is not well defined, the PIF may not be approved. Be cautious on moving forward with the project until you hear back on the PIF determination from State Aid.

FHWA has great video on the FHWA resource webpage* explaining PIFs and the need for them.

*Please note the video is out of date in reference to Patented and Proprietary Products. PIFs are no longer required for those products when utilized on federally funded construction projects.

A few reminders

  • If using local forces or materials supplied by the LPA for any work on a federal job, a PIF will be required.
  • A PIF needs to be approved prior to federal authorization.
  • If federal reimbursement is expected on activities or materials receiving exceptions an agreement between State Aid and the LPA may be needed. The associated work or materials purchased cannot occur before federal authorization. Contact Rachel Broughton at rachel.broughton@state.mn.us with agreement questions.
  • PIF rules still apply to the FHWA Emergency Relief Program when performing Permanent Repair or Permanent Repair Concurrent with Emergency Repair (PRCER) work. The PIF Process does not apply when performing Emergency Repair work. NOTE: If LPA misclassifies the type of repair work and doesn’t go through the PIF process, the LPA runs the risk of not being federally reimbursed for that work.
  • Submit all completed and signed documents to your DSAE for MnDOT review and signature.
  • Reach out to Sulmaan Khan at sulmaan.khan@state.mn.us with any PIF related questions.