Category:123 Federal-Aid Highway Program

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Key Points

123.1 Discussion

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is one of the key partners with MoDOT in delivering the highway program in the State of Missouri. Federal funding of highway projects is an essential part of planning, design, construction, and preventive maintenance activities undertaken by MoDOT. The FHWA is one of the agencies under the U.S. Department of Transportation and is responsible for administering the Federal-Aid Highway Program nationwide. In addition to the Washington Headquarters office and Resource Centers, the FHWA has a division office in each state to provide direct assistance and guidance to the individual state highway departments. The primary sources of guidance on the Federal-Aid Program are available in Title 23, United States Code - Highways, 23 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), the current federal highway act,and the Federal-Aid Policy Guide (FAPG). These documents provide current regulations, policies and procedural guidance.

To ensure projects qualify for federal funding and obtain the maximum participation, compliance with federal laws, regulations and FHWA policies and procedures is necessary. This is accomplished through a close partnership arrangement with MoDOT and has included innovative methods and practices to enhance program implementation. FHWA and MoDOT have entered into an oversight agreement that allows MoDOT to discharge some responsibilities traditionally performed by FHWA for projects not on the Interstate highway system. This agreement documents the roles and responsibilities of both FHWA and MoDOT in carrying out the Federal-Aid Highway Program. This includes identification of the type of projects that will require full oversight by FHWA, or are exempt from FHWA oversight. All Federal-Aid projects, regardless of whether MoDOT has responsibility for administration, must comply with all applicable federal regulations in order to receive federal-aid funding. Specific guidance and assistance in implementing the Federal-Aid Program is available from the FHWA Missouri Division office in Jefferson City.

To further reinforce this close partnership, FHWA will be given the opportunity to participate in task forces and other quality improvement teams established to review existing processes and procedures to improve implementation of the MoDOT transportation program.

123.1.1 FHWA Oversight - National Highway System

The National Highway System (NHS) includes the entire interstate system and other urban and

Missouri Routes in the National Highway System

rural principal arterials along with major highway network connectors. The FHWA has the responsibility to ensure the safety, appropriate design, and national continuity of the NHS. This is accomplished through the oversight agreement. The following briefly describes the oversight role of FHWA:

Full Oversight Projects. Individual projects that require approval by FHWA for all project actions (full oversight) are:

  • All interstate system projects with estimated construction cost equal to or greater than $1 million including traffic control plans.
  • All Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) projects. ITS projects are those that provide for development of ITS software, implementation of ITS features or any project that utilizes ITS technology including traffic signal integration.
  • All major bridge projects on the NHS. FHWA defines major bridges as new, complex designs involving unique design or operational features, unusual geotechnical features or unusual hydraulic features. This includes major structures with span lengths greater than 200 ft. (60 m) or a total length greater than 1000 ft. (300 m).

123.1.2 Federal Appropriations

Current legislation provides for the appropriation of federal funds from the Highway Trust Fund for the purposes of carrying out the provisions of Title 23, U.S.C. Funds are divided among the various states by an apportionment process. These funds are subject to mandatory limitations established by the U.S. Congress each fiscal year to help control spending and drawdown of the Highway Trust Fund. A certain percentage of the apportioned funds are directly allocated to urbanized areas with a population over 200,000 and are subject to the control of a metropolitan planning organization (MPO). In Missouri, the urbanized areas over 200,000 in population are St. Louis, Kansas City and Springfield. The cities of St. Joseph, Joplin, Columbia, and the City of Jefferson also have MPO's but do not receive a direct allocation of funds. Other major funding categories are:

Interstate Maintenance (IM). IM funds can be used for resurfacing, restoration, and rehabilitation, but not for the construction of new travel lanes unless they are high occupancy vehicle (HOV) or auxiliary lanes.
National Highway System (NHS). NHS funds may be used for a variety of projects on the NHS including construction, reconstruction, resurfacing, restoration, and rehabilitation, operational and safety improvements, start-up costs for traffic management and control systems, fringe and corridor parking facilities, carpool and vanpool projects, and bicycle and pedestrian facilities.
Surface Transportation Program (STP). These funds may be used for any highways, including the NHS, that are not functionally classified as local or rural minor collectors. Eligible items of work are similar to those under the NHS. However, 10% must be used for transportation enhancements and 62.5% of the remaining funds are sub-allocated to areas of the state based on population.
Highway Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Program (HBRRP). Eligible projects for HBRRP funding include replacement or rehabilitation of a structurally deficient or functionally obsolete highway bridge, replacement of ferryboat operations and low water crossings, bridge painting, calcium magnesium acetate applications, and seismic retrofitting. Additionally, not less than 15% will be spent on off-system bridges.

123.1.3 Programming

To insure coordination of intergovernmental planning and before any federal-aid programs are approved by FHWA, all projects must be cleared under the Missouri State and Local Review System. Briefly, this is described as:

State Clearinghouse The State Clearinghouse, after notifying other state agencies, certifies to MoDOT that these agencies have been informed of the project and have indicated whether the proposed work conflicts with their programs.
Regional and Metropolitan Clearinghouses Similar clearance must be received from regional and metropolitan clearinghouses who notify appropriate local governments and other regional agencies in the area. These clearinghouses provide comments to the MoDOT on proposed projects. Any adverse comments received from the clearinghouses must be resolved. In order for any proposed project to be eligible for federal funding, it must be included on the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). Before any work is performed for which federal reimbursement is expected, FHWA must provide approval. MoDOT district offices will notify the Design Division as soon as possible if any proposed work is identified that is not on the approved STIP. For projects to be constructed in stages, a separate item will be shown on the STIP for each stage.

123.1.4 Federal Authorization

Authorization to proceed with a federal-aid project can be given only after applicable requirements of federal laws and regulations have been satisfied, including the planning and programming items noted above. For construction projects, additional requirements must be completed such as an approved environmental document, right-of-way clearance, and submission of a request to FHWA by MoDOT to authorize construction with the obligation of funds. Authorization to proceed is considered a contractual obligation of the Federal Government under 23 U.S.C. 106 and federal funds will not participate in costs incurred prior to the date of authorization.