By a vote of 373-52 in the House and 74-19 in the Senate, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21stCentury Act (MAP-21) transportation reauthorization bill has been approved. Although the vote was overwhelmingly bipartisan, all 52 House members and 19 Senators who opposed the bill were Republican. The President is expected to sign the bill very soon. A one week extension of program authorization was approved to allow time for the legislation to be put in its proper format.
Provisions in MAP-21 that Impact Highway and Transportation Construction
- Provides funding certainty through FY 2014 (Sept. 30, 2014)
- The bill provides current funding levels plus inflation. Obligation limit for the Federal-aid highway program is $39.7 billion in FY 2013 and $40.25 billion in FY 2014. Federal transit programs are provided $10.6 billion in FY2013 and $10.7 billion in FY 2014.
- Eliminates equity bonus program and, instead, distributes highway formula funds to states based on each state’s share of total highway funds distributed in FY 2012. Every state is guaranteed a minimum return of 95 percent of its payments into the HTF.
- Increases funding for and expands the Transportation Infrastructure Finance & Innovation Act (TIFIA) program
- Increases available TIFIA resources from $122 million per year (total $244 million for two years) to $1.75 billion for this two year period – an amount more than 14 times larger than previous amounts.
- Enables TIFIA loans to be applied to related groups of projects, rather than a single project.
- Allows TIFIA to pay for a larger share of project costs (increased from 33 percent to 49 percent)
- Expands opportunities for rural projects
- Does not penalize states pursuing Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) involving leasing of road facilities to private companies.
- New capacity can be tolled on all existing Federal-aid (road, bridge) facilities (this eliminates the cap on slots in the Interstate Tolling and Value Pricing pilot programs). No existing untolled lanes can be tolled, and there have to be as many toll-free lanes as tolled lanes on the facility.
- Supports PPPs for public transportation projects, requiring FTA to provide technical assistance and best practice information to federal transit grant recipients on PPP models and methods to use private providers for public transit.
Consolidation of Federal Highway Programs
- Reduces the number of highway programs by two-thirds
- Four “core” programs are:
- National Highway Performance Program – to improve condition and performance of the National Highway System (NHS). Consolidation of NHS and IM, and aspects of the Bridge program.
- Surface Transportation Program – with broad eligibility for any public road suballocated to local governments based on population. Can also be used for bridges off of the Federal-aid system.
- Highway Safety Improvement Program – for road infrastructure safety, Includes a set-aside for rail grade crossings.
- Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program
Renames enhancements as transportation alternatives and lifts the requirement that a state must spend 10 percent of their Surface Transportation Program funding for these types of projects.
- Sets aside 2 percent of each state’s apportionments to be used on eligible transportation alternative projects
- Transportation alternative funding will be split, with 50 percent provided to local governments and 50 percent to states
- States cannot opt out of the transportation alternative set-aside entirely and use funds for transportation improvements