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Fact Sheet
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Program Purpose

The High Priority Projects Program provides designated funding for specific projects (commonly referred to as demonstration projects) identified by Congress, and is now included in 23 U.S.C. 117. TEA-21 includes 1850 of these projects, each with a specified amount of funding over the 6 years of TEA-21. The designated funding can only be used for the project as described in the law. [1601(a)]

Allocation of Funds

TEA-21 establishes 23 U.S.C. 117(b), which requires that the funds authorized for each project be made available for obligation over the 6-year period as follows: 11% in FY 1998, 15% in FY 1999, 18% in FY 2000, 18% in FY 2001, 19% in FY 2002, and 19% in FY 2003. [1601(a)]

Also establishes 23 U.S.C. 117(e), Advance Construction, which permits States to construct a high priority project under this section without the aid of Federal funds, and then be reimbursed as the Federal funds become available in accordance with the above distribution schedule. [1601(a)]


Authorizes $9,359,850,000 for these projects, which is a 54% increase over the $6,083,000,000 provided for demonstration projects in ISTEA. [1101(a)(13)]

The Federal share for these projects is 80%, with the exception of the project for construction on the Baltimore Washington Parkway (Project 1020), which has a Federal share of 100%, and for projects in American Samoa and the Virgin Islands which have a Federal share of 100%. [1212(n), 1601(a), 23USC120(h)]

The High Priority Projects Program is subject to an obligation limitation which is set aside specifically for this program and may not be used elsewhere, does not expire if not used by the end of the fiscal year but carries over until obligated, and is made available at the same pro rata share as limitation provided to core highway programs. [1102(c)]


The funds are available only for the activities described for each project in Section 1602 of TEA-21. Some of the projects are described as "high priority highway and bridge projects," or "State priority projects." For these projects the funds authorized could be used for any project eligible for Federal funds under Title 23, or for any of the other designated high priority projects within a State. [1602]

Program Administration

Administration of these projects would depend on the Federal-aid highway on which the project is located. See the fact sheet on Program Administration for important changes in program delivery and project oversight that may affect the high priority projects.

September 14, 1998

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