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Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act or "FAST Act"

Highway Research and Development

Fiscal year 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Authorization $125 M $125 M $125 M $125 M $125 M

Program purpose

The FAST Act continues the HRD program, which funds strategic investment in research activities that address current and emerging highway transportation needs.

Statutory citations

FAST Act § 6002; 23 U.S.C. 502-503

Funding features

Type of budget authority

Funded by contract authority from the Highway Account of the Highway Trust Fund. Funds are available until expended. The funds may not be transferred except that, at the request of a State, the Secretary may transfer funds apportioned or allocated to that State to another State or to FHWA to fund research, development and technology transfer activities of mutual interest on a pooled fund basis. Funds are subject to the overall Federal-aid obligation limitation and the obligation limitation associated with these funds is available for four fiscal years.


Of the total authorized for the HRD Program, the FAST Act requires DOT to set aside—

Federal share

The Federal share of a project or activity carried out with funds authorized under section 6002 of the FAST Act shall be 80% unless expressly provided by the Act or otherwise determined by the Secretary. [FAST Act § 6002(c)(1)]

Eligible activities

The FAST Act continues without change the broad range of activities eligible under HRD, including—

The FAST Act also continues to require DOT to report to Congress every two years on estimates of the Nation’s future highway and bridge needs and backlog of current highway and bridge needs (often referred to as the “Conditions and Performance” report). This report remains an eligible use of HRD funding. [23 U.S.C. 503(b)(8)]

Program features

Future Interstate Study

The FAST Act requires DOT to contract with the Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies, not later than 180 days after the date of enactment, for a study on the actions needed to upgrade and restore the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways to its role as a premier system that meets the growing and shifting demands of the 21st century. TRB will convene and consult a panel of national experts, including operators and users of the Interstate System and private sector stakeholders. Not later than three years after the date of enactment, the TRB will report on the results of the study, including recommendations regarding—

Performance Management Data Support

The FAST Act requires FHWA to develop, use, and maintain data sets and data analysis tools to assist metropolitan planning organizations, States, and the Agency itself in carrying out performance management analyses. These activities may include—

February 2016

Page last modified on February 8, 2017
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000