California Department of Transportation



Quarterly Review of Inactive Projects
Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is an inactive project?

    An inactive project is a project for which no expenditures have been charged against Federal funds for the past 12 months.

    For complete information about inactive projects, please refer to the link below:

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  3. What projects are subject to inactive quarterly review?

    Inactive projects as defined in question # 1 are subject to quarterly review based on FHWA criteria listed below

    1. Projects inactive for the past 12 months with unexpended balances more than $500,000,
    2. Projects inactive for the past 24 months with unexpended balances of $50,000 to $500,000, and
    3. Projects inactive for the past 36 months with unexpended balances less than $50,000
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  5. What are the roles of the Local Agency in managing inactive projects?

    To meet FHWA requirements, Division of Local Assistance (DLA), Office of Project Delivery and Safety, has created reports for locally federal funded projects based on data from FHWA’s database (FMIS). Additional information such as responsible agency is added to the report for ease of project identification. Local Agencies should review their projects and do one of the following:

    1. Submit complete and correct invoice for eligible expenditure to Caltrans Local Program Accounting by the specific due date.
    2. Identify unneeded funds and submit deobligation request to DLAE.
    3. Submit justification along with all backup documentation to DLAE for projects that do not have eligible expenditures to be invoiced or do not have unneeded funds to be deobligated.
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  7. What are the roles of the DLAE in managing inactive projects?

    The roles of the DLAE are as follows:

    1. Being the point of contact for agencies with projects on the inactive project list.
    2. Contacting agencies with projects on the inactive project list to get them to submit justification forms, invoices, or deobligation requests.
    3. Reviewing justification forms and backup documentation for completeness and accuracy before forwarding them to DLA.
    4. Submit deobligation requests to their Area Engineer in DLA for projects with unneeded Federal funds.
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  9. What are the roles of the DLA in managing inactive projects?

    The roles of DLA are as follows:

    1. Reviewing justification forms and backup documentation for completeness and accuracy before meeting with FHWA.
    2. Creating the inactive project list and look ahead lists every quarter.
    3. Contacting the DLAE regarding due dates for agencies to submit justification forms, invoices, or deobligation requests.
    4. The DLA Area Engineer will submit deobligation requests to FHWA.
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  11. Why is it important for Local Agencies to manage their inactive projects?
    1. If Local Agencies have large number of inactive projects and large amount of unexpended federal funds, it gives the impression to Congress and FHWA that federal funds are not needed and might affect the federal funds distribution in the future.
    2. Unused federal funds might be removed from inactive projects.
    3. Federal funds received to date might be subject to repayment.
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  13. How would Local Agencies prevent their projects from being in the inactive list?

    Local Agencies should submit invoice for eligible cost every six months. Local Agencies should review the Look Ahead Report for any projects that would become inactive for future quarterly review if no action is taken.

    Please note: Awarding a project does not prevent it from getting onto the inactive list.

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  14. How is the inactive project list generated?

    The inactive project list is generated from FHWA’s Fiscal Management Information System (FMIS) database.

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  16. How can a specific Agency be filtered from the inactive project list quarterly review report?

    Once the Quarterly Review Report is open (, look for the Responsible Agency Column and click on the drop down arrow and select agency name.

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  18. Why do some projects have multiple lines in the inactive project list?

    Some projects have multiple funding sources and each line represents a different funding source or program code.

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  20. Can District Local Assistance Engineer (DLAE) or Division of Local Assistance (DLA) take a project off the list?

    No, DLAEs and DLA are not authorized to take any project(s) off the list. Once the inactive list is generated from the FMIS database, the project will remain on the list until a financial transaction is captured in FMIS databases. (Please note that awarding a contract is NOT a financial transaction.)

    If there is any technical FMIS error that resulted in the project being placed on the list, notify your local DLAE to do further research on the project and once the error is confirmed, DLA will inform FHWA to correct it in the FMIS database.

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  22. Who should Local Agency contact for inquiries regarding the inactive project and inactive list?

    District Local Assistance Engineers (DLAE).

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  24. When does the Local Agency need to submit a justification form?

    The Local Agency needs to submit a justification form to the DLAE by the due date for each inactive project with no financial transaction in FMIS and LPAMS databases.

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  26. What are the steps in filling out the justification form?

    Instruction on how to fill out the justification form is provided on the Division of Local Assistance website.

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  28. To whom do the Local Agencies submit the justification form?

    Local Agencies should submit Justification Form to the DLAE who will review it then forward it to DLA.

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  30. How can Local Program Accounting Project Status be identified?

    The quarterly Review Report has a Status Code column (updated accordingly).

    LPA Status Codes

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  32. Where would Local Agencies check the status of submitted invoice?

    Invoices status can be checked in Invoice Register website:

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  34. Who should Local Agency contact for any invoice inquiries?

    Invoice inquiries should be addressed to Local Program Accounting (LPA). Local Agencies should contact DLAE if they don’t know their assigned Accounting Officer.

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  36. If project is completed, what does Local Agency need to do?

    If project is completed, a Final Report of Expenditures (consisting of the final invoice and all backup documentation listed in Exhibit 17-A of the Local Assistance Procedures Manual) needs to be submitted to the DLAE along with a letter requesting deobligation of unexpended funds.

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  38. What projects are excluded from the inactive projects quarterly review list?
    1. FTA (Federal Transit Administration) projects
    2. Projects with no federal funds
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  40. Are Emergency Relief (ER) projects included in the quarterly review?

    Yes, ER projects are included in the quarterly review if the projects meet the review criteria. See question number 1 for review criteria.

    Please note that to determine whether ER project is inactive is based on the date of disaster and not the date of the E-76 was approved or issued.

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  42. How can incorrect AUTH DATE be corrected?

    Inform DLAE regarding the error. Once confirmed, FHWA will be informed to correct error.

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  44. What are the definitions of FHWA status review comments?

    “Has confirmed FMIS transaction” – Caltrans has captured invoice payment in FMIS (Fiscal Management Information System) FHWA database. Project is currently in active status.

    “In Final Voucher Process” – Local Agency must work with CALTRANS Accounting with their final invoice so project can be closed and unneeded funds can be deobligated.

    “FMIS error” – FHWA has been informed about an error, and FHWA staff will correct the error in FMIS database.

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  46. What are the most commonly used acronyms associated with inactive projects?
    Division of Local Assistance
    District Local Assistance Engineer
    Emergency Relief
    Federal Aid Data System
    Federal Highway Administration
    Fiscal Management Information System
    Federal Transit Administration
    Local Programs Accounting
    Local Programs Accounting Management System
    Metropolitan Planning Organization
    Regional Transit Planning Agency

    For complete list of acronyms, go to below link:

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