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Public Lands Highway Discretionary
PLHD Program Information (February 2010)
The Public Lands Highways (PLH) Program was originally established in 1930 by the Amendment Relative to Construction of Roads through Public Lands and Federal Reservations. Funding was provided from the General Fund of the Treasury. The intent of the program is to improve access to and within the Federal lands of the nation. The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1970 changed the funding source for the program from the General Fund to the Highway Trust Fund, effective in fiscal year (FY) 1972. The program has been continued with each highway or transportation act since then.
23 U.S.C. 202, 203 & 204; SAFETEA-LU, Section 1101(a)(9)(D)
For FY 2010, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2010 (Public Law (P.L.) 111-118) extended the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU, P.L. 109-59) through February 28, 2010 at the FY 2009 fund levels. Therefore, at this time, the full amount of FY 2010 PLHD Program funding is not yet available. Under the provisions of Section 186 of Division A of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010 (P.L. 111-117), Congress designated a total of $83,021,930 of the FY 2010 PLHD funds for specific projects listed in the Conference Report accompanying the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010. In addition, under the provisions of Section 120(e), Redistribution of Certain Authorized Funds, of Division A of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010, any authorized funds, which are not available for obligation due to the imposition of an obligation limitation, are not available for the PLHD program, but are redistributed to the States.
In accordance with 23 U.S.C. 204(b), the Federal share of the costs for any project eligible under this program is 100 percent.
The PLHD funds are subject to obligation limitation; however, 100 percent obligation authority is provided with the allocation of funds for the selected projects. The obligation limitation reduces the available funding for the program under the provisions of SAFETEA-LU Section 1102(f). Because the Federal Highway Administration is currently operating under an extension of SAFETEA-LU as provided by the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2010 (Public Law (P.L.) 111-118), the obligation limitation for FY 2010 has not yet been calculated.
Under the provisions of 23 U.S.C. 202(b)(1)(A), the funds shall be allocated “among those States having unappropriated or unreserved public lands, nontaxable Indian lands or other Federal reservations, on the basis of need in such States.” Since all of the States have some Federal lands, all are eligible to apply for PLHD funding.
In accordance with 23 U.S.C. 204(b)(5), the PLH funds are available for “any kind of transportation project eligible for assistance under Title 23, United States Code, that is within, adjacent to, or provides access to” Federal lands or facilities. Under the provisions of 23 U.S.C. 204(b)(1)(A), the PLH funds are available for transportation planning, research, engineering, and construction of the highways, roads, and parkways, and of transit facilities within the Federal public lands. Under the provisions of 23 U.S.C. 204(b)(1)(B), the PLH funds are also available for operation and maintenance of transit facilities located on Federal public lands.
Under 23 U.S.C. 204(h), eligible projects under the PLH program may also include the following:
For FY 2010, the designated projects listed in the Conference Report accompanying the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010, must meet the above statutory eligibility criteria, because Congress did not include any “notwithstanding any other provision of law” eligibility provision this year.
The only statutory criterion is found in 23 U.S.C. 202(b)(1)(B): “The Secretary shall give preference to those projects which are significantly impacted by Federal land and resource management activities that are proposed by a State that contains at least 3 percent of the total public land in the United States.” The following eleven States have at least 3 percent of the Federal public lands in the United States: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming.
Under the provisions of Section 186 of Division A of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010, Congress has statutorily designated the PLHD funds for FY 2010 for specific projects listed in the accompanying Conference Report. Therefore, the above selection criteria, under 23 U.S.C. 202(b)(1)(B), does not apply for FY 2010 PLHD funding.
Also, because of the statutory designation of FY 2010 PLHD funds, previously developed administrative selection criteria for the PLHD program, such as equitable distribution of funding, leveraging of private or other public funding, State priorities, expeditious completion of a project, or the transportation benefits of the project, will also not be considered.
For FY 2010, since PLHD funding has been designated by Congress for specific projects, applications will only be solicited for those projects. As indicated previously, these designated projects must still meet the eligibility requirements under Sections 202 and 204 of Title 23.
A memorandum is issued by the FHWA Headquarters Office of Federal Lands Highway to the FHWA division offices requesting submission of applications. The division offices send the memo to the State DOTs, who are responsible for submitting the applications to FHWA.
Only State DOTs may submit applications for funding under this program. Because Congress designated the projects to be funded in FY 2010, a short application form will be used. The application for each project must include the following information (13 items). Those applications that do not include these items are considered incomplete and funding will not be available for those projects until an acceptable application is submitted. The application for each project must be submitted electronically in MS Word format, and be limited to two pages.
Announcement of Awards / Allocation of Funds
After the applications are received, it is required that Congress be notified before the funds are allocated to the States. When this Congressional notification process is completed, the Federal Lands Highway Office will issue an announcement by email to all FHWA division offices, announcing the PLHD projects that will be funded and the amount of funding for each project.
At that time, States may request that funds be allocated for any projects for which the funds are ready to be obligated. The State transportation agency shall send an email to the FHWA division office indicating the project, the amount requested for allocation, and the date by which the funds will be obligated. The Federal Lands Highway Office will issue the allocation memorandum within a few days of receiving the allocation request.
State Transportation Agency Responsibilities:
FHWA Federal-Aid Division Office Responsibilities:
FHWA Headquarters Program Office Responsibilities:
FHWA Headquarters Program Office Contact: