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MAP-21 - Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century


Note: This document was superseded on 5/27/2016 by: Final Planning Rule



The purpose of Metropolitan Planning funds is to carry out the requirements of 23 U.S.C. 134 and provide for a continuing, comprehensive, and cooperative (3-C) metropolitan transportation planning process. In accordance with 23 U.S.C. 104 generally, Metropolitan Planning funds shall be made available to each Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) designated for an urbanized area with a population of more than 50,000 individuals and responsible for carrying out the 3-C metropolitan planning process.

The effective date of this MAP-21 Metropolitan Planning eligibility guidance is October 1, 2012. The Metropolitan Planning requirements in effect on October 1, 2012 will apply to all related funding obligated on or after that date, whether carryover or new.


Section 1201 of the MAP-21 established requirements for metropolitan transportation planning in 23 U.S.C. 134. Section 1105 of the MAP-21 provides for the apportionment of Metropolitan Planning funds in 23 U.S.C. 104.

The following are sections of Title 23 applicable to Metropolitan Planning.

  1. 23 U.S.C. 104 Apportionment
  2. 23 U.S.C. 120 Federal share payable
  3. 23 U.S.C. 134 Metropolitan transportation planning
  4. 23 U.S.C. 135 Statewide transportation planning
  5. 23 U.S.C. 150 National goals and performance management measures
  6. 23 U.S.C. 168 Integration of planning and environment
  7. 23 U.S.C. 169 Development of programmatic mitigation plans


Authorization Levels under MAP 21: Section 1101 of MAP-21 authorizes funds for Metropolitan Planning and Section 1105 amends 23 U.S.C. 104 and provides for the apportionment of funds.

MAP-21's approach to the distribution of formula funds is based on the amount of formula funds each State received in FY 2012. Once each State's total Federal-aid apportionment is calculated, an amount is set aside for the State's Metropolitan Planning through a calculation based on the size of the State's Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 Metropolitan Planning apportionment relative to the State's total FY 2009 apportionment. Previously under SAFETEA-LU, Metropolitan Planning was funded by a 1 ¼ percent takedown from the amounts authorized for the core apportioned programs (except for the Highway Safety Improvement Program). The total amount of the takedown was apportioned to the States based on urbanized area population, and each State received no less than a minimum of ½ of 1 percent of the total apportionment.

The following amounts are the total estimated apportionments for the Metropolitan Planning Program:

FY 2013 $311.7 million
FY 2014 $314.3 million
TOTAL $626.0 million

Amounts for the Transportation Alternatives Program are set aside from each State's Metropolitan Planning apportionment.

The Fiscal Management Information System (FMIS) program codes will be provided in a memorandum to the FHWA Division Offices and States once the program codes are finalized.

Period of Availability: Metropolitan Planning funds are contract authority from the Highway Account of the Highway Trust Fund. They are available for obligation for a period of 3 years after the last day of the fiscal year for which the funds are authorized.

Obligation Limitation: Metropolitan Planning funds are subject to the annual obligation limitation imposed on the Federal-aid highway program.

Federal share: The Federal share for Metropolitan Planning funds is governed by 23 U.S.C. 120.


Generally, funds apportioned to a State to carry out Metropolitan Transportation Planning shall be obligated for planning activities to carry out the requirements of 23 U.S.C. 134. See 23 U.S.C. 104(b)(5) and 104(d). Each State shall make the Metropolitan Planning Funds available to the MPOs for use on metropolitan transportation planning activities within the State, by establishing a formula to allocate Metropolitan Planning funds within the State to the MPOs based on the following factors, at a minimum:

The distribution formula for Metropolitan Planning funds within the State shall be developed by the State, and reviewed and approved by the Secretary. See 23 U.S.C. 104(d)(2)(A).

The State shall reimburse MPOs not later than 15 business days after the date of receipt by the State of a request for reimbursement of expenditures made by a MPO for carrying out section 134. 23 U.S.C. 104(d)(2)(B).

Subject to approval of the Secretary, a State that received a minimum apportionment for carrying out 23 U.S.C. 134 for FY 2009 may use the funds apportioned for Metropolitan Planning to fund transportation planning outside of urbanized areas. 23 U.S.C. 104(d)(2)(A)(ii).

Any funds that are not used to carry out section 134 may be made available by a metropolitan planning organization to the State to fund activities under section 135 (Statewide and nonmetropolitan transportation planning).

Eligible Activities:

Metropolitan Planning funds are available for MPOs to carry out the metropolitan transportation planning process required by 23 U.S.C. 134,.Under certain circumstances described above and in 23 U.S.C. 104(d)(1), a State may utilize the funds to carry out statewide transportation planning activities under 23 U.S.C. 135, including statewide transportation planning activities outside of urbanized areas.


These provisions are effective October 1, 2012.

Page last modified on February 13, 2017
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