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Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU)

Fact Sheets on Highway Provisions


Program Purpose

The statewide planning process establishes a cooperative, continuous, and comprehensive framework for making transportation investment decisions throughout the State and is administered jointly by the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration.

Statutory References

SAFETEA-LU Section(s): 6001
Other: 23 USC 135


The State Planning and Research program is funded by a 2 percent setaside from each State's apportionments for the Interstate Maintenance, National Highway System (NHS) , Surface Transportation Program (STP), Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement, and Bridge programs plus the new Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) and a portion of funds so set aside may be used for planning activities.

Statewide planning is an eligible activity for additional funding under the STP and NHS programs.

Continuing Provisions

Significant continuing provisions include:

  • Federal reliance on the statewide transportation planning process as the primary mechanism for cooperative transportation decision making throughout the State.
  • Coordination of statewide planning with metropolitan planning
  • Emphasis on fiscal constraint and public involvement in the development of the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).
  • Emphasis on involving and considering the concerns of Tribal governments in planning.
  • State development of statewide transportation plans and programs.
  • Plan and program shall be developed in consultation with affected local officials with responsibility for transportation in non-metropolitan areas, but this process will not be reviewed or approved by the Secretary.

Key Modifications

Modifications to the statewide planning process include the following:

Statewide Planning in General

  • Will be coordinated with metropolitan planning and with statewide trade and economic development planning activities and related multi-state planning efforts.
  • Two or more States may enter into planning agreements or compacts and the right to alter, amend or repeal these compacts is reserved.
  • Will consider and implement projects, strategies and services that support the economic vitality of non-metropolitan areas.
  • Safety and security of the transportation system are separate planning factors that are to be considered during the statewide planning process.
  • Will promote consistency between transportation improvements and State and local planned growth and economic development patterns.
  • Should consider coordination of planning activities between States

Long Range Statewide Plan

  • Will be developed in consultation with State, tribal, and local agencies responsible for land use management, natural resources, environmental protection, conservation, and historic preservation. Consultation will involve comparison of transportation plans to State and tribal conservation plans or maps, and to inventories of natural or historic resources (if available).
  • Include a discussion of potential environmental mitigation activities along with potential sites to carry out the activities to be included. The discussion is to be developed in consultation with Federal, State, and tribal wildlife, land management, and regulatory agencies
  • Should include capital, operations and management strategies, investments, procedures, and other measures to ensure the preservation and most efficient use of the existing transportation system.
  • Representatives of users of pedestrian walkways, bicycle transportation facilities, the disabled are specifically added as parties to be provided with the opportunity to participate in the statewide planning process
  • To enhance the public participation process, the State should: conduct public meetings at convenient and accessible locations at convenient times; employ visualization techniques to describe plans; and make public information available in an electronically accessible format, such as the Web
  • Should be published or made available electronically, such as on the Web

State Transportation Improvement Program

  • Shall cover a period of 4 years and be updated every 4 years (more frequently if the governor elects to do so).
  • Representatives of users of pedestrian walkways, bicycle transportation facilities, the disabled are specifically added as parties to be provided with the opportunity to participate in the planning process.
  • Shall include an annual list of project for which funds have been obligated in the preceding year, the list will be published or made available through the cooperative effort of the State, transit operators and MPO for public review, and the list is to be consistent with the funding categories identified in each MPO TIP.
  • Shall be reviewed and approved every 4 years if based on a current planning finding.


Implementation of the modifications to statewide and metropolitan planning processes will be in accordance with the following:

  • The Secretary will issue guidance on a schedule for implementation of the changes made to the transportation planning process.
  • State and MPOs will not be required to deviate from their established plan and program update cycles to implement these changes.
  • State or MPO plan or program updates shall reflect the changes beginning July 1, 2007.

Federal Share

Federal share remains at 80 percent.

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