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Center for Accelerating Innovation

FHWA Home / OIPD / Accelerating Innovation / Resources / Increased Federal-share for Project-level Innovation

Increased Federal-share for Project-level Innovation
Questions & Answers

Issued August 15, 2016

Section 120(c)(3) of title 23, United States Code (U.S.C.) provides the option of an increased Federal share for projects using innovative project delivery methods.  This provision, first established by MAP-21 and amended by the FAST Act, builds off the Every Day Counts initiative (EDC). The EDC initiative is designed to identify and deploy innovation aimed at shortening project delivery, enhancing the safety of our roadways, and protecting the environment. The increased Federal share for innovative techniques will incentivize use of such innovation to help deliver projects more efficiently and to deploy rapidly proven solutions that make a difference.

The questions and answers below provide additional information about the provision.

Question 1: What is the purpose of this provision?

Answer 1: The purpose of the innovative project delivery methods provision, incorporated into 23 U.S.C. 120(c)(3),  is to promote the use of innovative technologies and practices that increase the efficiency of construction, accelerate construction, improve the safety and quality of highway infrastructure, reduce congestion from construction, and extend the service life of highways and bridges.

Question 2: What constitutes innovative technologies and practices?

Answer 2: Innovative technologies and practices are:

  • innovative project delivery methods that improve work zone safety for motorists or workers and the quality of the facility;
  • innovative technologies, engineering or design approaches, manufacturing processes, financing, or contracting or project delivery methods that improve the quality of, extend the service life of, or decrease the long-term costs of maintaining highways and bridges;
  • technologies and practices that accelerate project delivery while complying with other applicable Federal laws (including regulations) and not causing any significant adverse environmental impact; or
  • technologies and practices that reduce congestion related to highway construction.

To qualify for an increased Federal share, technologies and practices should be truly innovative to the state or local agency. The innovations should be technologies or practices that are new or have only rarely been used for unique or special applications and represent significant improvement to the state or local agency’s conventional practice.

Under the FHWA Center for Accelerating Innovation website (https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/innovation), FHWA maintains a resource of innovative techniques and practices showcased under various programs, which include: the EDC initiative, the Accelerated Innovation Deployment (AID) grant program, and the State Transportation Innovation Council (STIC) annual Incentive Funded Projects.  This resource is not inclusive of all potential innovations.  FHWA recognizes a technique or a practice may be widely used in one State and not considered innovative, but not widely used in another.  Therefore, it is the role of the local Federal Division Office to make a determination if a proposed technique or practices is innovative to the requesting agency.

Question 3: What are examples of innovative technologies and practices?

Answer 3: Examples of innovative technologies and practices include, but are not limited to:

  • prefabricated bridge elements and systems and other technologies to reduce bridge construction time, such as Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil Integrated Bridge Systems and Slide-in Bridges;
  • innovative construction equipment, materials, or techniques, including the use of in-place recycling technology, Warm-mix Asphalt, intelligent compaction equipment, and digital 3-dimensional modeling technologies;
  • innovative contracting methods, including design-build, construction manager-general contractor, alternative bidding, and Alternative Technical Concepts;
  • intelligent compaction equipment;
  • innovative pavement materials that have a demonstrated life cycle of 75 or more years, are manufactured with reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce constructions-related congestion by rapidly curing;
  • contract provisions that offer a contractor an incentive payment for early completion of the project, program, or activity, subject to the condition that the incentives are accounted for in the financial plan of the project, when applicable; or
  • innovative safety strategies including high friction surfaces to reduce crashes, and the Safety Edge, and intersection and interchange geometrics.

Additional information on these innovations or more examples of innovations may be found at the Center for Accelerating Innovation (http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/innovation) website. This list of examples is not meant to be exhaustive. If you have questions about whether a technology or practice is innovative and would qualify for the increased Federal share under 23 U.S.C. 120(c)(3), please contact the Division Office in your State.

Question 4: What projects are eligible for this provision?

Answer 4: Under 23 U.S.C. 120(c)(3), the increased federal share is available only for projects using funds from the National Highway Performance Program (NHPP), Surface Transportation Block Grant (STBG) Program, National Highway Freight Program (NHFP) or Metropolitan Planning (PL) and must propose to use one or more innovative technologies and practices.

Question 5: Is there a limitation on the amount of Federal-aid highway funds that are available for the increased Federal share?

Answer 5: Yes, there is a limitation. In each fiscal year, a State may apply up to 10 percent of its combined apportionments under the NHPP, STBG Program, NHFP or Metropolitan Planning (PL) (funds apportioned under 23 U.S.C. 104(b)(1), (2) ,(5)(D) and (6)) for this provision.

Question 6: What incentives are provided by this provision?

Answer 6: The Federal share payable may be increased by up to 5 percent of the total project cost, not to exceed 100 percent, for projects determined to meet the requirements specified in 23 U.S.C. 120(c)(3).

Question 7: How will this provision be administered?

Answer 7: FHWA Division Offices will administer the provision. State DOTs may submit an application for the increased Federal share provided 23 U.S.C. 120(c)(3). Applications should:

  • identify the innovative technology or practice;
  • describe how the innovative technology or practice increases the efficiency of construction, accelerates the construction, improves the safety, improves the quality, reduces congestion from construction, and/ or extends the service life of highways and bridges; and
  • show that the technology or practice is innovative and meets the eligibility requirements.

The Division Office will review the application and determine if the project is eligible.

Question 8: How did the FAST Act change the provision for increased Federal share?

Answer 8: The FAST Act added the National Highway Freight Program (NHFP) as an additional funding stream that can be used for the increased Federal Share and added new examples of innovations that may be included.

Page last modified on March 7, 2017
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