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

National Highway Freight Program

Fiscal year 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Authorization $1.150 B $1.100 B $1.200 B $1.350 B $1.500 B
Estimated funding* $1.140 B $1.091 B $1.190 B $1.339 B $1.487 B

*Represents net amount available after a portion of the authorized amount is set aside for Metropolitan Planning.

Program purpose

The FAST Act establishes a new National Highway Freight Program to improve the efficient movement of freight on the National Highway Freight Network (NHFN) and support several goals, including—

Statutory citation

FAST Act § 1116; 23 U.S.C. 167

Funding features

Type of budget authority

Contract authority from the Highway Account of the Highway Trust Fund, subject to the overall Federal-aid obligation limitation.

Apportionment of funds

As under MAP-21, the FAST Act directs FHWA to apportion funding as a lump sum for each State then divide that total among apportioned programs. A specified national amount for the NHFP is deducted from the States’ base apportionments proportional to each State’s share of total FY 2015 highway apportionments. (See “Apportionment” fact sheet for a description of this calculation)

Set-asides

A proportionate share of each State’s NHFP funds is set aside for the State’s Metropolitan Planning program. This occurs prior to apportionment, and the set-aside funds are combined with the State’s regular Metropolitan Planning program funds. (See “Apportionment” fact sheet for a description of this calculation)

2% of a State’s NHFP funding is set aside for State Planning & Research (SPR). [23 U.S.C. 505]

Transferability to Other Federal-aid Apportioned Programs

A State may transfer to the National Highway Performance Program, Surface Transportation Block Grant Program, Transportation Alternatives, Highway Safety Improvement Program, and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program up to 50% of NHFP funds made available each fiscal year. NHFP funds set-aside for Metropolitan Planning are not transferable to other apportioned programs. [23 USC 126]

Federal share

In accordance with 23 U.S.C. 120. Note that the FAST Act repealed section 1116 of MAP-21, which had offered an increased Federal share for certain projects that demonstrably improved freight movement. [FAST Act §1116(c)]

Eligible activities

Generally, NHFP funds must contribute to the efficient movement of freight on the NHFN and be identified in a freight investment plan included in the State’s freight plan (required in FY 2018 and beyond). [23 U.S.C. 167 (i)(5)(A)] In addition, a State may use not more than 10% of its total NHFP apportionment each year for freight intermodal or freight rail projects. [23 U.S.C. 167 (i)(5)(B)] Eligible uses of program funds are as follows:

Program features

National Highway Freight Network

The FAST Act requires the establishment of a National Highway Freight Network, which will consist of the following components:

The FAST Act designates the PHFS and requires FHWA to redesignate it every five years. It also provides for designation of Critical Rural Freight Corridors and Critical Urban Freight Corridors. [23 U.S.C. 167(d)-(f)]

Use of NHFP funds

The Federal Highway Administrator will determine the percentage of the national total of PHFS mileage that is located within each individual State.

State Freight Plan

Beginning on December 4, 2017 (two years after enactment of the FAST Act) a State may not obligate NHFP funds unless it has developed a freight plan that is consistent with 49 U.S.C. 70202—though the multimodal component of that plan need not be complete by that time. [23 U.S.C. 167(i)(4)]

Performance

If FHWA determines that a State has not met (or made significant progress toward meeting) its 23 U.S.C 150 performance targets related to freight movement by the date that is 2 years after the performance targets are established, the State must submit to FHWA a report that describes the actions it will take to meet these targets. [23 U.S.C. 167(j)]

Other requirements

Programming and expenditure of NHFP funds must be consistent with the requirements of 23 U.S.C. 134 and 135 (metropolitan and nonmetropolitan and statewide transportation planning). [23 U.S.C. 167(i)(7)]

A freight project carried out under the NHFP shall be treated as if the project were on a Federal-aid highway. [23 U.S.C. 167(l)]

February 2016

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