FHWA issues guidance on high-priority projects

News AASHTO Journal January 11, 2006
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With more than 6,000 high-priority projects contained in the Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has developed guidance on the funding, federal share, eligibility and transferability it will use in administering the projects.

According to the FHWA guidance, the law authorizes $2.9 billion for the projects from the Highway Trust Fund for each fiscal year from 2005 through 2009, which will be allocated to the states in 20% increments annually. Generally speaking, the federal share is 80% of project costs, with a 20% match from other sources. However, in some cases the federal share is increased.

As sorted out by the FHWA, the projects fall into two categories; ones for which obligation authority can be transferred to other projects and later restored; and, projects in which the state may select which projects to advance with its special obligation authority.

Any changes to project descriptions must be accomplished through legislation.

The guidance has been distributed by the FHWA to its division administrators. An ad hoc task force of AASHTO members is reviewing the document to identify any questions that require further clarification by the FHWA.

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