U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

Skip to content U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway AdministrationU.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration

Major Projects

Subject: Issuance Major Project Guidance Date: January 19, 2007
From: /s/ Original signed by:
J. Richard Capka Administrator
In Reply Refer to: HIPA-40
To: To: Division Administrators


On August 10, 2005, the President signed into law the new surface transportation act, the "Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users" (SAFETEA-LU) (Pub.L. 109-59, 119 Stat. 1144). The requirement for the Project Management Plan and an Annual Financial Plan are contained in Section 1904(a) of SAFETEA-LU. This provision amends 23 U.S.C. 106(h), as follows:

    1. "IN GENERAL.-Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, a recipient of Federal financial assistance for a project under this title with an estimated total cost of $500,000,000 or more, and recipients for such other projects as may be identified by the Secretary, shall submit to the Secretary for each project-
      1. "a project management plan; and
      2. "an annual financial plan.
    2. "PROJECT MANAGEMENT PLAN.-A project management plan shall document-
      1. "the procedures and processes that are in effect to provide timely information to the project decisionmakers to effectively manage the scope, costs, schedules, and quality of, and the Federal requirements applicable to, the project; and
      2. "the role of the agency leadership and management team in the delivery of the project.
    3. "FINANCIAL PLAN.-A financial plan shall-
      1. "be based on detailed estimates of the cost to complete the project; and
      2. "provide for the annual submission of updates to the Secretary that are based on reasonable assumptions, as determined by the Secretary, of future increases in the cost to complete the project.
  2. "OTHER PROJECTS.- A recipient of Federal financial assistance for a project under this title with an estimated total cost of $100,000,000 or more that is not covered by subsection (h) shall prepare an annual financial plan. Annual financial plans prepared under this subsection shall be made available to the Secretary for review upon the request of the Secretary."

Issuance of Final Guidance

The FHWA issued Interim Major Project Guidance on January 27, 2006. In response to feedback received on the interim guidance, we have revised and reformatted the guidance to address the issues and concerns that were expressed. This final guidance was developed in close consultation with several FHWA Division Offices and States to ensure it was informed by the knowledge and experience of those who are most familiar with these day-to-day responsibilities. This material is intended to be a tool to assist FHWA field offices in fulfilling current law.

We appreciate the feedback that many of you provided. It has assisted FHWA to expand our role beyond the traditional oversight to ensure that the organization is well positioned to make certain Major Projects are delivered in a manner that captures the public's trust and confidence in the State and Federal transportation agencies' ability to effectively and efficiently deliver a quality product. The public must perceive that the finished product was a wise investment of the very substantial amount of public resources.

One significant change that is made with this final guidance is moving the requirement for submission of a project management plan from the beginning of the NEPA phase to the end of the NEPA phase. This was done to allow time for the project to be better defined through the NEPA decisionmaking process before a formal document was prepared. However, this change does not suggest that there is a decreased emphasis on good management of the project during the planning and environmental phases. In order to ensure proper attention to project management during these early phases, the FHWA Division Offices are asked to utilize the attached document, Risk Management Tool for Managing the Planning/Environmental Phases of Prospective Major Projects, to engage the State Transportation Agencies in project management discussions. The divisions should prepare an analysis similar to the example prior to the beginning of the NEPA phase of each anticipated Major Project.

This guidance references several other documents that are posted on the Major Projects Web site. These are Project Management Plan Guidance, Finance Plan Guidance and Cost Estimating Guidance. We encourage you to review this guidance, as well as these other documents carefully, and then meet with your States to discuss it.

Again, we hope this information is helpful. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact Dwight Horne (202-366-5530), Rodney Barry (202-366-1561), or Gloria Shepherd (202-366-0106).



  • Associate Administrators
  • Directors of Field Services
Updated: 05/04/2023
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000