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Cooperative Agreements

A cooperative agreement is the legal instrument reflecting a relationship between FMCSA and a recipient whenever:

The principal purpose of the relationship is to transfer money, property, services, or anything of value to accomplish a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by Federal statute
There is substantial involvement (e.g., collaboration, participation, or intervention by FMCSA in the management of the project) anticipated between FMCSA and the recipient during performance of the contemplated activity. See 31 U.S.C. 6305.

Cooperative agreements are subject to the same laws OMB, Treasury, and other Federal directives as grants.

The following are examples of oversight activities that would demonstrate substantial involvement by the Agency if they were included in the terms and conditions of a financial assistance award:

  • Authority to halt an activity immediately if detailed performance specifications (e.g., construction specifications) are not met;
  • Stipulation that the recipient must meet or adhere to specific procedural requirements before subsequent stages of a project may continue;
  • Approval by an appropriate FMCSA official of substantive provisions of proposed sub-awards;
  • Involvement in the selection of key recipient personnel;
  • Requirement that the appropriate FMCSA official collaborate with the recipient by working jointly with a recipient scientist or technician in carrying out the scope of work;
  • Requirement to train recipient personnel or detail Federal personnel to work on the project effort;
  • Specify direction or redirection of the scope of work due to inter-relationships with other projects, such as requiring recipients to achieve a specific level of cooperation with other projects; and
  • Limitation on recipient discretion with respect to scope of work, organizational structure, staffing, mode of operations and other management processes, coupled with close monitoring of operational involvement during performance.

For more detailed examples, see the OMB guidelines, "Implementation of Federal Grant and Cooperative Agreement Act of 1977" (43 FR 36860).

Updated: Tuesday, March 18, 2014