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MAP-21 - Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century

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Federal Lands Access Program Questions & Answers

Updated 12/1/2014


1. Where under Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century, or MAP-21, is the Federal Lands Access Program established?

The Access Program is established under Section 1119, along with the rest of the Federal Lands and Tribal Transportation Program (FLTTP). See http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/map21/

2. Is this program a continuation or expansion of the Forest Highway Program?

No. Although the Access Program is based on many of the same principles as the Forest Highway Program, it is a unique program.

3. Are projects or facilities that were previously eligible under the Public Lands Highway Discretionary (PLHD) Program now eligible for the Access Program? The eligibility criteria seem to be very similar.

The criteria are similar, so many projects or facilities funded previously with PLHD funds may be eligible for Access Program funding. One important difference is that facilities owned by a Federal agency are not eligible under the Access Program [1].

4. How much funding does this program receive each year?

Under section 1101(a) of MAP-21, the Access Program is authorized at $250,000,000 annually for each year of MAP-21 and it is distributed to each State, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico according to a formula.

5. How is the amount for each State determined?

The funds will be distributed according to a formula established in MAP-21. Eighty percent of the funds will be distributed to "preference States," which are States that contain at least 1.5% of the total public land in the United States. The 12 States that meet this definition are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

The remaining 20% of funds will be distributed to the other 38 States, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.[2]

The distribution of funds to the 12 "preference States" will be distributed based on a formula which compares the following characteristics of each preference State to those of the other preference States:

30% on recreational visitation
5% on Federal land area
55% on the Federal public road miles
10% on the number of Federal public bridges [3]

The distribution of funds to the remaining States will be distributed according to a similar formula.[4]

Data for these characteristics will be provided by the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the USDA Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.[5]

6. What reductions or rescissions will be applied before allocating the funds to each State?

Like other allocated programs, this program is subject to obligation limitation and lop-off.[6] In previous years, this has reduced the amount available by 5 to 10 percent from the authorized amount. In addition, MAP-21 authorizes the Secretary to set aside up to 5 percent of the Access Program to be used for transportation planning, data collection, and bridge inspections for all Federal transportation facilities.[7] Other rescissions may apply, but this information is generally unknown until our respective appropriations act is passed each year. Reductions, rescissions, and set-aside amounts will be subtracted from the total amount of funding authorized. Therefore, the amount to be allocated in each State will usually be less than the annual amount authorized in MAP-21.

7. Access facilities are defined as being owned or maintained by a State, tribal, or local government. How about if it is owned and maintained by a Federal agency now, but a county or State DOT agrees to take over ownership once a project is completed with Access Program funds?

No, the Federal agency would have to transfer ownership to the county or State DOT prior to the project being programmed.[8]

8. Are non-profit organizations and foundations eligible to apply for FLAP funding directly?


9. MAP-21 requires that Federal Land Access facilities have title or maintenance responsibility vested in a State, Tribe or local government. Is a Federally-owned road eligible for Access Program funding if a State, Tribe, or local government is providing maintenance under an agreement with the Federal Agency?

It depends. A Federally-owned road for which a State, Tribe, or local government has obtained an easement, license, permit, agreement or other written instrument which assumes responsibility for maintenance is eligible for Access Program funding. However, if a Federal agency retains maintenance responsibility or pays for the majority of the cost of maintenance activities performed by the State, Tribe, or local government, the road is not eligible for Access Program funding.

10. Are Tribes eligible to apply for Federal Lands Access Program funding?

Yes. Tribes may apply for Federal Lands Access Program funding if the road or facility being proposed for funding is owned or operated by the Tribe and provides access to a Federally-owned land (not a Tribal land). For example, a Tribally-owned road (as opposed to a BIA-owned road) that provides access to a national park or national forest is eligible for the Federal Lands Access Program.

11. Several forest highways were damaged prior to October 1, 2012. We understand the forest highways may be eligible under the ER program or FEMA after October 1, 2012. However, forest highways are no longer eligible for 100% Federal share under the ERFO program as revised by MAP-21. Are Program of Projects (POPs) that were approved prior to October 1, 2012, eligible for 100% Federal share under the ERFO program?

Yes. Repairs for POPs approved prior to October 1, 2012, may be reimbursed using pre-MAP-21 ERFO funding subject to the terms and requirements under the related SAFETEA-LU provisions. If MAP-21 ERFO funding is used to reimburse costs associated with a POP approved prior to October 1, 2012, MAP-21 requirements apply (i.e., the MAP-21 ERFO funding is not available for a 100% Federal share). MAP-21 ERFO funding and requirements must be applied to all POPs approved on or after October 1, 2012.

Federal Share (Local Match)

12. What is the Federal share of the Access Program?

Section 1119 of MAP-21 requires the Federal share of a project to be determined in accordance with 23 U.S.C. 120. Nominally, this means that the Federal share is 80%. This percentage can be higher (sliding scale), depending on the amount of publicly owned land in the State.

13. Does the guidance issued by the Office of Infrastructure's Director of Program Administration, subject, "Increased Federal Share under 23 USC 120(c)(1)" apply to the Federal Lands Access Program (FLAP) cost share requirement?

FLAP funds may be used to fund 100% of the cost of activities identified in the statute. The 10 percent cap on apportioned programs does not apply to the FLAP. Accordingly, all FLAP program funds are available for projects identified in 23 USC 120(c)(1).

14. Can we use Access Program funds to match other Federal Aid programs that require a match?


15. Under SAFETEA-LU, we were able to use Federal Lands Highway Program funds as the local match for other Federal-aid programs. Can carryover funding from the Federal Lands Highway Program be used toward the local match required for projects under the Access Program?

No. For programs that were consolidated within a new program, such as the Federal Lands Highway Program, the carryover funding continues to be available for the original purpose under the rules that applied under the old program. Accordingly, carryover Federal Lands Highway Program funds could not be used toward the local match for a new program and new purpose such as the Access Program. See FHWA Treatment of Carryover Highway Program Funding table.

16. Are Access facilities subject to the same asset management and management system requirements as Federal lands and tribal transportation facilities funded under Title 23?

No, these are not specified requirements under the statute for this program. However, these facilities may be subject to some or all of these requirements under other Federal-aid programs.

17. Are Access facilities eligible for Emergency Relief on Federally-Owned (ERFO) funding?

Access facilities are not eligible for ERFO funding, since they are not federally owned transportation facilities. However, they are eligible under Emergency Relief, and their federal share are 100 percent as per Section 1508, MAP-21.

18. When will in-kind contributions begin to count towards the non-Federal share required under the Federal Lands Access Program?

In-kind donations of services or materials count towards the non-Federal share after the obligation of Federal funds to the project, whether that occurs when FHWA executes a reimbursable agreement with a State or local government, FHWA awards a task order to perform engineering work, or the payment of the salary of a Federal employee working on the project.

Programming Decisions Committee

19. How will the third member of the PDC be determined?

The State DOT and the FHWA will jointly determine the third member in each State.

20. Can we use Access Program funds for contract modifications on ongoing Forest Highway construction projects? How about to pay for construction engineering? Or preliminary engineering costs on Forest Highway projects that are in the pipeline and currently being designed?

These may be eligible activities, but it depends whether the Forest Highway facility is owned or maintained by a State, tribal, or local entity. Although Forest Highway projects may be advanced using Access Program funding, the decision ultimately must be made by the Programming Decisions Committee.

[1] 23 U.S.C. 101(a)(7)
[2] 23 U.S.C. 204(b)
[3] 23 U.S.C. 204(b)(1)(A)
[4] 23 U.S.C. 204(b)(1)(B)
[5] 23 U.S.C. 204(b)(2)
[6] Section 1102 of MAP-21
[7] 23 U.S.C. 201(c)(7)
[8] 23 U.S.C. 101(a)(7)
[9] 23 U.S.C. 120(j)
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