Skip to content U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway AdministrationU.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration

Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)
PlanningEnvironmentReal Estate

HEP Events Guidance Publications Awards Contacts

Synthesize Division Interagency Real Estate Agreements and Identify Practices for Improved Interagency Support

Appendix B: Federal Lands Highways and Other Related USC Provisions

A. 23 USC Chapter 1 – Federal-aid Highways
§ 101. Definitions and declaration of policy

(Excerpt from section of select terms relevant to Federal Lands Highways)

(a) As used in this title, unless the context requires otherwise the term "Federal lands highways" means forest highways, public lands highways, park roads, parkways, and Indian reservation roads which are public roads.

The term "forest road or trail" means a road or trail wholly or partly within, or adjacent to, and serving the National Forest system and which is necessary for the protection, administration, and utilization of the National Forest system and the use and development of its resources.

The term "forest development roads and trails" means a forest road or trail under the jurisdiction of the Forest Service.

The term "forest highway" means a forest road under the jurisdiction of, and maintained by, a public authority and open to public travel.

The term "highway" includes roads, streets, and parkways, and also includes rights-of-way, bridges, railroad-highway crossings, tunnels, drainage structures, signs, guardrails, and protective structures, in connection with highways. It further includes that portion of any interstate or international bridge or tunnel and the approaches thereto, the cost of which is assumed by a State highway department including such facilities as may be required by the United States Customs and Immigration Services in connection with the operation of an international bridge or tunnel.

The term "Federal-aid highways" means highways eligible for assistance under this chapter other than highways classified as local roads or rural minor collectors.

The term "Indian reservation roads" means public roads that are located within or provide access to an Indian reservation or Indian trust land or restricted Indian land which is not subject to fee title alienation without the approval of the Federal Government, or Indian and Alaska Native villages, groups, or communities in which Indians and Alaskan Natives reside, whom the Secretary of the Interior has determined are eligible for services generally available to Indians under Federal laws specifically applicable to Indians.

The term "maintenance" means the preservation of the entire highway, including surface, shoulders, roadsides, structures and such traffic-control devices as are necessary for its safe and efficient utilization.

The term "park road" means a public road, including a bridge built primarily for pedestrian use, but with capacity for use by emergency vehicles, that is located within, or provides access to, an area in the national park system with title and maintenance responsibilities vested in the United States.

The term "parkway" as used in chapter 2 of this title, means a parkway authorized by an Act of Congress on lands to which title is vested in the United States.

The term "project" means an undertaking to construct a particular portion of a highway, or if the context so implies, the particular portion of a highway so constructed or any other undertaking eligible for assistance under this title.

The term "project agreement" means the formal instrument to be executed by the State highway department and the Secretary as required by the provisions of subsection (a) of section 110 of this title.

The term "public lands development roads and trails" means those roads or trails which the Secretary of the Interior determines are of primary importance for the development, protection, administration, and utilization of public lands and resources under his control.

The term "public lands highways" means those main highways through unappropriated or unreserved public lands, nontaxable Indian lands, or other Federal reservations, which are on the Federal-aid systems.

The term "public road" means any road or street under the jurisdiction of and maintained by a public authority and open to public travel.

The term "Federal-aid system" means any one of the Federal-aid highway systems described in section 103 of this title.

The term "public authority" means a Federal, State, county, town, or township, Indian tribe, municipal or other local government or instrumentality with authority to finance, build, operate, or maintain toll or toll-free facilities.

The term "public lands highway" means a forest road under the jurisdiction of and maintained by a public authority and open to public travel or any highway through unappropriated or unreserved public lands, nontaxable Indian lands, or other Federal reservations under the jurisdiction of and maintained by a public authority and open to public travel.

B. 23 USC Chapter 2 – Other Highways

Text from related sections of the above Chapter are provided for reference and are current as August 2005.

§ 204. Federal Lands Highways Program

(a) Establishment.-

(1) In general. - Recognizing the need for all Federal roads that are public roads to be treated under uniform policies similar to the policies that apply to Federal-aid highways, there is established a coordinated Federal lands highways program that shall apply to public lands highways, park roads and parkways, and Indian reservation roads and bridges.

(2) Transportation planning procedures. - In consultation with the Secretary of each appropriate Federal land management agency, the Secretary shall develop, by rule, transportation planning procedures that are consistent with the metropolitan and statewide planning processes required under sections 134 and 135.

(3) Approval of transportation improvement program. - The transportation improvement program developed as a part of the transportation planning process under this section shall be approved by the Secretary.

(4) Inclusion in other plans. - All regionally significant Federal lands highways program projects-

(A) shall be developed in cooperation with States and metropolitan planning organizations; and
(B) shall be included in appropriate Federal lands highways program, State, and metropolitan plans and transportation improvement programs.

(5) Inclusion in state programs. - The approved Federal lands highways program transportation improvement program shall be included in appropriate State and metropolitan planning organization plans and programs without further action on the transportation improvement program.

(6) Development of systems. - The Secretary and the Secretary of each appropriate Federal land management agency shall, to the extent appropriate, develop by rule safety, bridge, pavement, and congestion management systems for roads funded under the Federal lands highways program.

(b) Funds available for public lands highways, park roads and parkways, and Indian reservation roads shall be used by the Secretary and the Secretary of the appropriate Federal land management agency to pay for the cost of transportation planning, research, engineering, and construction of the highways, roads, and parkways, or of transit facilities within public lands, national parks, and Indian reservations. In connection with activities under the preceding sentence, the Secretary and the Secretary of the appropriate Federal land management agency may enter into construction contracts and other appropriate contracts with a State or civil subdivision of a State or Indian tribe. In the case of Indian reservation roads, Indian labor may be employed in such construction and improvement under such rules and regulations as may be prescribed by the Secretary of the Interior. No ceiling on Federal employment shall be applicable to construction or improvement of Indian reservation roads. Funds available for each class of Federal lands highways shall be available for any kind of transportation project eligible for assistance under this title that is within or adjacent to or provides access to the areas served by the particular class of Federal lands highways. The Secretary of Interior may reserve funds from the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ administrative funds associated with the Indian reservation roads program to finance the Indian technical centers authorized under section 504 (b).

(c) Before approving as a project on an Indian reservation road any project eligible for funds apportioned under section 104 or section 144 of this title in a State, the Secretary must determine that the obligation of funds for such project is supplementary to and not in lieu of the obligation, for projects on Indian reservation roads, of a fair and equitable share of funds apportioned to such State under section 104 of this title. Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, Indian reservation roads under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Indian Affairs of the Department of the Interior shall be eligible to expend not more than 15 percent funds apportioned for Indian reservation roads from the Highway Trust Fund for the purpose of road sealing projects. The Bureau of Indian Affairs shall continue to retain responsibility, including annual funding request responsibility, for road maintenance programs on Indian reservations.

(d) Cooperation of States, counties, or other local subdivisions may be accepted in construction and improvement, and any funds received from a State, county, or local subdivision shall be credited to appropriations available for the class of Federal lands highways to which such funds were contributed.

(e) Construction of each project shall be performed by contract awarded by competitive bidding, unless the Secretary or the Secretary of the appropriate Federal land management agency shall affirmatively find that, under the circumstances relating to such project, some other method is in the public interest. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the provisions of section 23 of the "Buy Indian" Act of June 25, 1910 (36 Stat. 891), and the provisions of section 7(b) of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (88 Stat. 2205) shall apply to all funds administered by the Secretary of the Interior which are appropriated for the construction and improvement of Indian reservation roads.

(f) All appropriations for the construction and improvement of each class of Federal lands highways shall be administered in conformity with regulations and agreements jointly approved by the Secretary and the Secretary of the appropriate Federal land managing agency.

(g) The Secretary shall transfer to the Secretary of Agriculture from appropriations for forest highways such amounts as may be needed to cover necessary administrative expenses of the Forest Service in connection with forest highways.

(h) Eligible Projects. - Funds available for each class of Federal lands highways may be available for the following:

(1) Transportation planning for tourism and recreational travel including the National Forest Scenic Byways Program, Bureau of Land Management Back Country Byways Program, National Trail System Program, and other similar Federal programs that benefit recreational development.

(2) Adjacent vehicular parking areas.

(3) Interpretive signage.

(4) Acquisition of necessary scenic easements and scenic or historic sites.

(5) Provision for pedestrians and bicycles.

(6) Construction and reconstruction of roadside rest areas including sanitary and water facilities.

(7) Other appropriate public road facilities such as visitor centers as determined by the Secretary.

(8) A project to build a replacement of the federally owned bridge over the Hoover Dam in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area between Nevada and Arizona.

(i) Transfers of Costs to Secretaries of Federal Land Management Agencies. -

(1) Administrative costs.- The Secretary shall transfer to the appropriate Federal land management agency from amounts made available for public lands highways such amounts as are necessary to pay necessary administrative costs of the agency in connection with public lands highways.

(2) Transportation planning costs.- The Secretary shall transfer to the appropriate Federal land management agency from amounts made available for public lands highways such amounts as are necessary to pay the cost to the agency to conduct necessary transportation planning for Federal lands, if funding for the planning is not otherwise provided under this section.

(j) Indian Reservation Roads Planning.- Up to 2 percent of funds made available for Indian reservation roads for each fiscal year shall be allocated to those Indian tribal governments applying for transportation planning pursuant to the provisions of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act. The Indian tribal government, in cooperation with the Secretary of the Interior, and as appropriate, with a State, local government, or metropolitan planning organization, shall carry out a transportation planning process in accordance with subsection (a). Projects shall be selected by the Indian tribal government from the transportation improvement program and shall be subject to the approval of the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary.

(k) Refuge Roads.-

(1) In general.- Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, funds made available for refuge roads shall be used by the Secretary and the Secretary of the Interior only to pay the cost of-

(A) maintenance and improvements of refuge roads;
(B) maintenance and improvements of eligible projects described in paragraphs (2), (5), and (6) of subsection (h) that are located in or adjacent to wildlife refuges; and
(C) administrative costs associated with such maintenance and improvements.

(2) Contracts~- In carrying out paragraph (1), the Secretary and the Secretary of the Interior, as appropriate, may enter into contracts with a State or civil subdivision of a State or Indian tribe as is determined advisable.

(3) Compliance with other Law~- Funds made available for refuge roads shall be used only for projects that are in compliance with the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (16 U.S.C. 668dd et seq.).

§ 205. Forest development roads and trails

(a) Funds available for forest development roads and trails shall be used by the Secretary of Agriculture to pay for the costs of construction and maintenance thereof, including roads and trails on experimental and other areas under Forest Service administration. In connection therewith, the Secretary of Agriculture may enter into contracts with a State or civil subdivision thereof, and issue such regulations as he deems advisable.

(b) Cooperation of States, counties, or other local subdivisions may be accepted but shall not be required by the Secretary of Agriculture.

(c) Construction estimated to cost $50,000 or more per mile or $50,000 or more per project for projects with a length of less than one mile, exclusive of bridges and engineering, shall be advertised and let to contract. If such estimated cost is less than $50,000 per mile or $50,000 per project for projects with a length of less than one mile or if, after proper advertising, no acceptable bid is received or the bids are deemed excessive, the work may be done by the Secretary of Agriculture on his own account.

(d) Funds available for forest development roads and trails shall be available for adjacent vehicular parking areas and for sanitary, water, and fire control facilities.

§ 214. Public lands development roads and trails

(a) Funds available for public lands development roads and trails shall be used to pay the cost of construction and improvement of such roads and trails.

(b) Funds available for public lands development roads and trails shall be available for adjacent vehicular parking areas and for sanitary, water, and fire control facilities.

Updated: 04/02/2013
HEP Home Planning Environment Real Estate
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000