TEA-21 - Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century
Moving Americans into the 21st Century
TEA-21 Home |
An Analysis by the
Federal Highway Administration
Update as of February 4, 2002
Are TEA-21 funds being used?
Yes! The funds are getting out to the States, and
they are using them. The Nation is reaping
the benefits of record-level funding for highways.
Some questions you may be asking:
(1) Are the funds getting to the States?
(2) Can the States use the additional funds?
(3) Overall, are the States using all of the obligational authority available
(4) What is RABA?
(5) What types of projects are States choosing to fund?
(6) Is the actual cash making its way to the construction industry?
The following pages will walk you through the answers to these questions
. . .
The following table provides a visual overview of the
funding situation. Please continue for more detailed explanations and analyses
on the subsequent pages.
-- Obligations, expenditures, and unobligated balances shown above include only
funds subject to the FAH obligation limitation.
-- Data derived from FHWA's Financial Management Information System (FMIS)
- Are the funds getting to the States?
- In total for the 6 years of the bill, the Transportation Equity Act
for the 21st Century (TEA-21) provides a 40% increase over the funding
authorized in ISTEA.
- States are receiving more money through apportionments and allocations,
but the 40% increase represents the change, in total, from one 6-year
Act to the next 6-year Act, not from one year to the next.
- TEA-21 funds authorized to date (through 2002) have been made available
- this totals over 80% of all TEA-21 funds.
- Can the States use the TEA-21 funds?
Overall, are the States using all available obligational authority
- TEA-21 provided corresponding levels of obligational authority to accompany
the authorizations. Appropriation actions to date (through FY 2002) have
fulfilled the levels set by the Authorizing committees.
- In a given year, States are free to obligate funds up to the limit of
available obligational authority.
- Although the obligational authority is lower each year than the total
amount of funds available, the funds are available for a 4 year period so
that States can obligate them in time to prevent lapse.
What is RABA?
- Yes, the States are using their obligational authority - no State has
allowed any obligation limitation to lapse.
- What is available?
- Prior to TEA-21, all obligational authority was available for only
one year, after which time it would expire permanently if unused.
- New in TEA-21 was a provision to allow obligation authority for certain
programs (High Priority Projects, Appalachia, Woodrow Wilson Bridge, Research
& Technology, and a portion of Minimum Guarantee) to be carried over
at the end of the year.
- Some obligational authority is being carried over.
- Carry over obligation limitation was a new concept for States in TEA-21,
and many States are taking advantage of it by first fully obligating the
limitation that expires
- Cumulatively, the carryover limitation built up to a total of $3.2
billion by the end of FY 2001, almost 75% of which was for High Priority
- Another adjustment to the total limitation available for obligation each
year, beginning in FY 2000, is Revenue Aligned Budget Authority (RABA).
See section 4 for explanation.
- The following chart illustrates the components
that make up the total limitation available for obligation each fiscal year:
Note: Transfers to transit are not reflected in the above figures.
- As States adjust their long-range transportation plans to accommodate
the promise of TEA-21 funding within the revenues accruing to the Highway
Trust Fund, most appear well-positioned to use the funding that becomes
- Obligations are increasing - States obligated almost 47% more Federal-aid
highway funds (subject to the obligation limitation) in 2001 than in 1998,
the first year of TEA-21 -
- Highway program funding levels are tied to estimates of Highway Trust
Fund (HTF) receipts made at the time of enactment of TEA-21, and these levels
are adjusted each year to reflect the latest information on HTF receipts.
- Revenue Aligned Budget Authority (RABA) is the annual calculation of this
adjustment, and is intended to ensure that highway funding is aligned with
actual and anticipated revenue to the Highway Account of the HTF
- RABA calculation is not driven by policy, but rather is determined by
- In total for FYs 2000-2002, RABA has provided an additional $9 billion
in highway funding.
- Due to the recent economic slowdown and current projections of future
HTF revenues, we will experience in FY 2003, for the first time, a downward
adjustment of TEA-21 projected funding levels.
- The following table illustrates the impact of RABA on
the Federal-aid highway program
What types of projects are the States choosing to fund?
Is the actual cash making its way to the construction industry?
- Over half of the TEA-21 funds authorized were for core Federal-aid Highway
(FAH) program catgories:
- National Highway System (NHS) $28.6 B
- Interstate Maintenance (IM) $23.8 B
- Surface Transportation Program (STP) $33.3 B
- Bridge Replacement & Rehabilitation $20.4 B
- Congestion Mitigation/Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) $ 8.1 B
- TEA-21 provides flexibility to fund a variety of activities, including
transfer provisions for transit. In 2001, States used about $1.3 billion
in FAH funds for transit alternatives.
- A total for FAH obligational authority is distributed to each State in
proportion to the amount of funds they receive. Within that total, the State
can use their obligational authority on the programs and projects that they
feel best meet their individual needs and priorities.
Exception - additional obligational authority that is distributed, as required
by law, specifically for certain programs (i.e., High Priority Projects, Appalachia,
Woodrow Wilson Bridge), can only be used for the intended purpose.
- All funds have been obligated in every program category by the end of
their period of availability - no funds have lapsed
- Obligations (of apportioned funds) for the first 4 years of TEA-21 (1998-2001)
indicate that States continue to focus on "core"
- Further, for new projects authorized in a given fiscal year, States are
using available funds for the following types of improvements
Note: "Other" in above charts includes
certain other FAH programs not otherwise included, such as Safety/Traffic
Operations/TSM, Environmentally Related, Highway Planning & Research,
Metropolitan Planning. Data from (Highway Statistics 2000 (Table FA-10)
- Yes - both obligations and expenditures have increased as a result of
- The payout of FAH funds (expenditures) increased by almost 50% from the
1998 level of $17.4 billion to a level of $25.9 billion in 2001.
- Actual spending, in the form of cash outlays, doesn't correspond directly
to the obligation of funds because of the slow (9 year) spendout rate for
FAH projects, as illustrated in the following table:
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