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Coordinated Border Infrastructure Program

II. Before the First Grant Solicitation

From ISTEA Through 1997

The NCPD/CBI Program originated in the ISTEA. This act included provisions related to corridors and separate provisions related to borders. These laid the foundation for what became the NCPD/CBI program.

The corridor provision of ISTEA was Section 1105. Subsection (a) of 1105 of the ISTEA contained findings encouraging development of transportation corridors. Subsection (b) defined purposes, e.g., identifying corridors of significance, allowing States to give priority to funding these corridors. Subsection (c) enumerated 21 corridors. Subsection (d) required their inclusion on the National Highway System. Subsection (e) encouraged long range planning to upgrade these corridors. Subsection (f) directed about $1.2 billion in funding to specific projects on these corridors. Subsection (g) established allocation rules for this funding. Subsection (h) established an $8M/year discretionary program for feasibility and design studies on the corridors named in subsection (c) and subsection (i) established rules for corridor revolving funds.

There were a number of amendments to subsection (c) of 1105 during implementation of ISTEA. The amendments were in Appropriations Acts as well as the National Highway System Designation Act of 1995. By the time of enactment of TEA-21 in 1998, the number of high priority corridors was 29 and increased to 44 by 2002. Also, beginning in 1995, there were a number of amendments to subsection (e) of 1105 that designated some of the corridors as future Interstates.

The CBI or border program began in Sections 1089 and 6015 of the ISTEA. Section 1089 required the Secretary of Transportation to study the advisability and feasibility of an international border highway discretionary program. Section 6015 required the Secretary of Transportation to identify existing and emerging trade corridors between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. A report addressing the requirements of both Sections 1089 and 6015 was completed in 1994. This report recommended that no such discretionary program be created.

In 1994, Congress directed the Secretary of Transportation to do a follow-up assessment of needs at the borders and develop program options. The report, completed in 1995, concluded that improvements were warranted at severely congested border communities and several international bridges.

The Roots of TEA-21

During the period immediately preceding TEA-21, a number of legislative proposals were made and debated. The US DOT proposal, the National Economic Crossroads Transportation Efficiency Act (NEXTEA), was made public in March 1997. The Senate proposal, ISTEA-II, was passed in March 1998. The House of Representatives proposal, Building Efficient Surface Transportation and Equity Act (BESTEA), was passed in April 1998.

A summary of these three proposals as they relate to NCPD/CBI is contained in the table below:

Table 1. Pre-TEA-21 Legislative Proposals





Corridor provisions

$18 million over six years for multistate planning

$18 million over six years in planning plus portion of $750 million capital improvement program

$1.25 billion over six years for planning through construction

Border provisions

$240 million over six years for border infrastructure

$8.4 million over six years in planning plus portion of $750 million capital improvement program

$570 million over six years for planning through construction

Other modifying provisions

Guaranteed at

least two grants per year for each border

  • Both corridor and border projects were eligible for the capital improvement program.
  • Up to $10 million per year could be transferred to GSA for transportation infrastructure for law enforcement
  • No more than 60% of border funds would go to either Canada or Mexico;
  • Up to $125 million available for State motor vehicle inspection facilities

TEA-21 Enactment Through the Post Authorization Outreach

TEA-21 was passed and signed in June 1998. It contained a mixture of provisions from the earlier proposals and created the NCPD/CBI Program in Sections 1118 and 1119. The statutory language is available on the FHWA program website at: and, respectively.

This statutory language is also contained in Appendix A.

The NCPD/CBI Program, as nominally defined in TEA-21, was a $700 million ($140 million each year for five years) program to fund planning through construction of corridor and border projects and to transfer funds to the GSA. The TEA-21 contains several other provisions affecting the funding of this program, in Sections 1102 and 1105. The former section contains provisions limiting obligations for all federal aid programs. The later section contains provisions making Revenue Aligned Budget Authority (RABA) funds available for federal aid programs when trust fund revenues exceed certain thresholds. The TEA-21 also increased the number of high priority corridors to 43 (some corridors overlap others and legislation subsequent to TEA-21 increased the number to 44).

Subsequent to passage of the TEA-21, the US DOT initiated a series of public meetings entitled, "Listening to America." Twenty-one meetings were held, of which three focused on the NCPD/CBI Program. The NCPD/CBI Program meetings were held: August 25, 1998 in San Diego, California; August 27, 1998 in Detroit, Michigan; and, October 8, 1998 in Houston, Texas . They attracted 100-200 people each (the other 18 meetings attracted 20-150 each). The comments received at these meetings covered numerous issues and many opinions and counter opinions.

There was, however, a substantial majority on the following points:

Key themes often repeated were:

Therefore, the FHWA decided to administer the two programs as one and to try to reflect these key themes in program decisions.

Updated: 10/20/2015
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