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Transportation Enhancement Activities and the Recovery Act

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act or ARRA) provides significant new funding for transportation infrastructure, including Transportation Enhancement (TE) Activities.

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The Recovery Act transportation funds that are provided to the States are apportioned as Surface Transportation Program (STP) funds. See STP eligibility under 23 U.S.C. 133(b) (HTML / PDF). The STP has broad eligibility for many kinds of projects. Section 133(b)(8) lists Transportation Enhancement (TE) activities as eligible projects, therefore TE-like projects are eligible for all Recovery Act funds apportioned to the States.

The Recovery Act provides: "That 3 percent of the funds apportioned to a State under this heading shall be set aside for the purposes described in subsection 133(d)(2) of title 23, United States Code (without regard to the comparison to fiscal year 2005)." Below are some explanations related to the TE Activities.

Distribution to the States

Federal Share
The Federal share payable on account of any project or activity carried out with funds made available by the ARRA shall be at the option of the recipient [the State], up to 100% of the total project cost. ARRA funds cannot be used as the non-Federal match for other Federal funds. See Section I.C. of FHWA's Implementing Guidance.

Recovery Act funds are not transferable to other Federal-aid highway program categories under the provisions of 23 U.S.C. 126. For example, the State cannot transfer Recovery Act TE funds to other Federal-aid Highway program categories, such as the Recreational Trails Program (RTP). However, if the State uses Recovery Act funds for TE projects, that could free up regular TE funds and the State may transfer regular TE (or other §104 or §144 funds) under the provisions of 23 U.S.C. 126. See Transferability of TE Funds for more information about the transferability of regular TE funds.

TE Projects Eligible for All STP funds
The list of eligible projects for STP funds under 23 U.S.C. 133(b) includes TE activities (§133(b)(8)). Although the 3 percent set aside for TE is a minimum, there is no maximum for TE-like projects. In theory, TE-like projects are eligible for all Recovery Act funds apportioned to the States.

Project Location
TE Projects may be located anywhere. See FHWA's Questions and Answers: Issues Raised by State DOTs; look for Q&A PC-12. See also the Request for Approval of Exceptions from July 28, 1999.

Prevailing Wage Rates
Prevailing wage rate requirements apply to all ARRA funded construction projects regardless of location (including projects on local roads or rural minor collectors, and TE projects outside the highway right-of-way). See Section VI.F. of FHWA's Implementing Guidance.

Additional Information

Updated: 3/20/2015
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