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Federal Transportation Act

Background

In December 2015, Congress and the President enacted the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, a five-year authorization of federal highway funding. Washington is unique in its approach to splitting federal funds between state and local government. There is a requirement to sub-allocate a portion of the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program funding to Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) based on population and to distribute Metropolitan Planning funds to MPOs. Beyond that, there is no requirement in U.S. Code or the Act for the state to sub-allocate the remaining portion of the Federal Highway Administration formula funds it receives each year. Washington has a history dating back to ISTEA of collaboration between legislators, local government entities and various users of the transportation system to determine distributions of federal highway formula funds. The existing distribution to the state and local governments was last discussed in 2012 by the MAP-21 Steering Committee.


Distribution of Federal Funding

At its July 11, 2016 meeting, the FAST Act workgroup agreed that its recommendations would be limited to new distributions of funding for the National Highway Performance Program (NHPP) and the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program (STBGP). Other federal programs would be distributed as they have been historically. Or, in the case of the new National Highway Freight Program, based on the priorities identified by the Washington State Freight Advisory Committee.
The FAST Act programs are:

  • National Highway Performance Program (NHPP);
  • Surface Transportation Block Grant Program (STBG);
  • Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP);
  • Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ);
  • Metropolitan Planning; and
  • National Highway Freight Program (NHFP).

Other federal programs would be distributed as they have been historically.

Further details on Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act