Surface Transportation Bill FAST Act Update

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.