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Federal Tolling Programs

Interstate System Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Pilot Program

The Interstate System Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Pilot Program (ISRRPP) was authorized under Section 1216(b) of TEA-21 to permit up to three existing Interstate facilities to be tolled to fund needed reconstruction or rehabilitation on Interstate corridors that could not otherwise be adequately maintained or functionally improved without the collection of tolls. Each of the three facilities must be in different states. There is no special funding authorized for this program. In order to receive tolling authority under the program, project sponsors are required to have their program application approved by FHWA and to execute a tolling agreement.

The FAST Act Section 1411 (c) amended the ISRRPP authorized under Section 1216(b) of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). First, the FAST Act adds the specific selection criterion that "a State has the authority required for the project to proceed." This acknowledges the key role that State legislative authority has in implementing the ISRRPP. Second, the FAST Act specifies timeframes under which States with provisional approvals must complete the program's requirements. Any State receiving a provisional approval will have three years from the date of the approval to fully satisfy the program criteria, complete environmental review under NEPA, and execute a toll agreement with the FHWA. Lastly, the FAST Act allows for a one-year extension of the three-year provisional approval if the State demonstrates material progress toward implementation of its pilot project. The FAST Act gave the States holding provisional approvals at the time the FAST Act was enacted one year to meet the program criteria or request an extension for an additional year.

FACT SHEET Interstate System Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Pilot Program PDF  HTML

Frequently Asked Questions (October 2018)

Does the State have 3 years from approval to complete NEPA/permitting?

Yes, unless otherwise extended as noted below. Section 1411(c)(3) of the FAST Act states: "An application provisionally approved by the Secretary shall expire 3 years after the date on which the application was provisionally approved if the State has not completed the environmental review and permitting process under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) for the pilot project. The Secretary may extend the provisional approval for not more than 1 additional year if the State demonstrates material progress toward implementation of the project as evidenced by substantial progress in completing the environmental review and permitting process for the pilot project under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969"

Does the project need to consider the impacts to Interstate travelers?

Yes. Section 1216(b)(4)(C) of TEA-21 requires the Secretary, as part of the selection criteria, to determine that "the State plan for implementing tolls on the facility takes into account the interests of local, regional, and interstate travelers." The FHWA would expect the State to provide opportunities for public involvement that are inclusive of interstate travelers. The FHWA would also expect the State to have provided opportunities for neighboring States and local governments that may be affected to express their opinion on the State's plan. The plan should reflect how these comments were addressed.

Will the FHWA Administrator receive information on all applications submitted as candidate projects to the ISRRPP?

Yes. The FHWA Headquarters evaluation team will submit all candidate project information, ratings, and recommendations to the FHWA Administrator. The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation and the FHWA Administrator will select projects to receive provisional approvals into the ISRRPP program. The program is limited to 3 projects. Applications will be considered on a first-come, first serve rolling basis until further notice.

Does MPO consultation require MPO concurrence?

No. Section 1216(b)(3) of TEA-21 requires: "To be eligible to participate in the pilot program, a State shall submit to the Secretary an application that contains, at a minimum, the following: "...(B) In the case of a facility that affects a metropolitan area, an assurance that the metropolitan planning organization established under 23 U.S.C. 134, for the area has been consulted concerning the placement and amount of tolls on the facility." FHWA expects the ISRRPP applicant to document the consultation and summarize the MPO response.

Are State DOTs the only applicants allowed under the ISRRPP?

No. There is no Federal statute that prohibits a turnpike authority, local entity, or other Interstate facility operators from submitting a candidate project for the ISRRPP. However, the toll agreement executed with FHWA under the ISRRPP must include the respective State DOT as well as any other entity (i.e. turnpike authority).

Is there a limit to how long tolls can be collected under this program?

No. There are no Federal statutory limitations on the period of time for toll collection under the ISRRPP.

Can tolling on the candidate project begin immediately after a project is selected for the ISRRPP program?

No. The FHWA is concerned that the initiation of new toll collection should not occur until it is evident to the traveling public that tolls will result in investment on the facility. The earliest the FHWA considers an ISRRPP project to be eligible for tolling is when the contract has been awarded for the physical construction activities. In the case where a design-build contract or public-private agreement has been awarded prior to the completion of the environmental process, the earliest the FHWA considers an ISRRPP project eligible for tolling is when a notice to proceed for the physical construction has been issued or where the design-builder otherwise becomes contractually obligated to accomplish the physical construction activities of the project.

Are there limitations on the use of toll revenues collected from the operation of an ISRRPP project?

Yes. Toll revenues received from an ISRRPP project must be used in accordance with the requirements set forth in Section 1216(b)(5) of TEA-21. This section requires that all toll revenues be used only for (1) debt service, (2) reasonable return on investment of any private person financing the project, and (3) any costs necessary for the improvement of and the proper operation and maintenance of the toll facility, including reconstruction, resurfacing, restoration and rehabilitation of the toll facility. It is important to note these conditions are more restrictive than those that apply to projects authorized under 23 U.S.C. 129 or 23 U.S.C. 166.

Are there advantages of an ISRRPP project over a mainstream tolling project authorized under 23 U.S.C. 129 or 23 U.S.C. 166?

Yes. Under the ISRRPP, a State may collect tolls on an existing Interstate facility to reconstruct or rehabilitate an Interstate highway corridor.

Under 23 U.S.C. 129, Interstate tolling is limited to new highways and new lanes added to existing Interstate highways, provided the number of toll-free lanes are maintained; to the reconstruction or replacement of toll-free bridges, tunnels; and to reconstruct and rehabilitate an Interstate highway provided the number of toll-free lanes are maintained Under 23 U.S.C. 166, existing HOV lanes may be converted to tolled operation provided that the public authority consult with the MPO concerning the placement and amount of tolls. To implement tolls on an existing HOV lane, project sponsors must demonstrate that the conditions on the facility are not already degraded and that the presence of paying vehicles will not cause conditions on facility to become degraded.

Is State enabling legislation an evaluation criteria?

Yes. Section 1411(c)(3) of the FAST Act added the following selection criteria to Section 1216(b)(4) of TEA-21: "The Secretary may approve the application of a State if the Secretary determines that the State has the authority required for the project." The FHWA will give priority consideration to States that already have enabling legislation to toll the candidate project or, lacking that, demonstrate the likelihood of obtaining the authority to toll the candidate project as evidenced by expressions of support for the project from State and local governments, community interests, and the public.

Can Federal-aid funds be used for initial construction or NEPA development?

Yes, with the exception of Interstate Maintenance (IM) funds, including Interstate Maintenance Discretionary (IMD) funds. Section 1216(b)(6) of TEA-21 prohibits the use of IM funds for facilities for which tolls are being collected under this program.

Can States use transportation asset management plans (which should include MPO coordination) to help meet application requirements?

Yes, if available. Section 1106 of MAP-21 requires each State to develop a risk-based asset management plan for the National Highway System (NHS) to improve or preserve the condition of the assets and the performance of the system. The minimum requirements for the development of an asset management plan are enumerated in 23 CFR 515. Several of the items included in such asset management plans could be used as supporting documentation for the ISRRPP candidate project application, such as:

  1. A summary listing of the pavement and bridge assets on the National Highway System in the State, including a description of the condition of those assets;
  2. Asset management objectives and measures;
  3. Performance gap identification,
  4. Lifecycle cost and risk management analysis,
  5. A financial plan, and
  6. Investment strategies.

Solicitation for Candidate Projects

On October 2, 2018, the FHWA published the Solicitation for Candidate Projects in the Interstate System Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Pilot Program (ISRRPP). The FHWA invites State transportation departments to submit applications for candidate projects in the ISRRPP, authorized in the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century and amended by the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. Under the ISRRPP, FHWA may permit three States to collect tolls on a facility on the Interstate System for the purpose of reconstructing or rehabilitating Interstate highway corridors that could not otherwise be adequately maintained or functionally improved without the collection of tolls. This notice describes general program provisions, eligibility and selection criteria, and the application submission and evaluation process.

Applications will be considered on a first-come, first serve rolling basis until further notice. The FHWA will review submissions in the order that they are received and award provisional approvals to States that will be expected to fully satisfy the ISRRPP criteria within three years. The FHWA will conduct regular information sessions regarding ISRRPP.

Webinar Information

The Office of Innovative Program Delivery conducted a webinar for external partners on November 13, 2017 to provide an overview of the ISRRPP. A recording of the webinar is provided below, together with the accompanying presentation.

Presentation: PDF  HTML
Webinar Recording: Audio

For more information on the Interstate System Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Pilot Program, please contact:

Cynthia L. Essenmacher
Tolling Program Manager
FHWA Center for Innovative Finance Support
Lansing, Michigan 48933
(202) 780-6178
Cynthia.Essenmacher@dot.gov

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