The House and Senate have reached a conference agreement on a 5-year reauthorization package for highway and transit funding. The $305 billion package includes $230 billion for highways, $60 billion for public transportation, $10 billion for passenger rail and $5 billion for highway safety programs. Over the life of the bill, funding is approximately $10 billion higher than previous MAP-21 levels. Approval is expected as soon as the first week of December, 2015, with the White House already committed to signing the bill.
FAST Act 2015 Highlights
- A new grant program for large-scale projects will be created: The Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects (NSFHP) program
- The National Highway Freight Network created by MAP-21 will require re-designation every 5 years
- The set-aside for off-system bridges will be continued and funding for on-system bridges located off the National Highway System will be expanded
- The Surface Transportation Program (STP) will be converted to a block grant program with increases in STP suballocation to local governments from 50 to 55 percent
- A competitive grant program for bus and bus facilities funds will continue with a 10 percent set-aside for rural projects
- TAP funds will be capped annually at $850 million
- Transit-oriented development projects will be eligible for the low-interest TIFIA and RRIF federal financing programs
- Funding for passenger rail projects can now be authorized through a separate, yearly general appropriation process
- TIFIA loan threshold will be lowered to $10 million from $50 million
- $70 billion of total funding comes from outside the Highway Trust Fund
To read a summary of the bill from NADO click here.