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Coordinated Border Infrastructure Program

VI. A Summary of Results and Program Trends

The FHWA is not able to determine the degree to which the overall NCPD/CBI program was a success for a number of reasons. This is because of the difficulty of defining success objectively and because many projects have not been complete for long enough to evaluate. In addition, the NCPD/CBI statutory language does not allow use of NCPD/CBI funds for an FHWA evaluation of the NCPD/CBI program. However, there are a number of significant program results. These are:

Demand Outpaced Dollar Availability

The amount of funding available was significantly less than that desired by applicants. This was the case in each of the four years FY 1999-2002 for which the FHWA solicited either grant applications or "intent to apply" statements. In FY 2003, the FHWA did not solicit either applications or "intent to apply" statements.

Table 2. Dollars Requested vs. Dollars Awarded by Year

(See Appendix B for more details)


Dollars Requested

Dollars Awarded

FY 1999 $2 billion requested in applications $123.6 million awarded
FY 2000 $2 billion requested in applications $121.8 million awarded
FY 2001 $2 billion requested in applications $123.1 million awarded
FY 2002 $3 billion in "intent to apply" statements $478 million awarded
FY 2003 No "intent to apply" statements solicited $255 million awarded

Awards were frequently much less than requested and may not have covered the project phases or elements intended or desired by the applicants.

Table 3. Dollar Requested vs. Dollars Awarded for Three Highest Awards in FY 1999

Project Dollars Requested Dollars Awarded
Ambassador Bridge Gateway Michigan $55 million requested in application $10.6 million awarded
FAST Corridor Washington State $30 million requested in application $10 million awarded
I-69 Environmental Studies, Arkansas as lead State $44 million requested in application $10 million awarded

In the last two fiscal years, Congress directed an increase in dollars available for the program.

Table 4. Congressional Additions


FY 2002

FY 2003

TEA-21 authorized amount

$126 million

$140 million

Added by special Congressional action

$352 million

$115 million


$478 million

$255 million

"Earmarked[7]" Project Selection

The US DOT made all award selections in the first year of the program (FY 1999). By FY 2002, all awards were based on Congressional designation.

Table 5. Percentage of Dollars Awarded: US DOT Selection vs. Congressional Designation

(See Appendix C for more details)

Year US DOT Congressional Designation
FY 1999 100% per US DOT selection None
FY 2000 50% per US DOT selection 50% per Congressional designation
FY 2001 35% per US DOT selection, 65% per Congressional designation
FY 2002 None 100% per Congressional designation
FY 2003 None 100% per Congressional designation

In some cases, the US DOT selections and Congressional designations were to some of the same corridors, such as I-69 and I-5 that received the highest dollar total awards. The totals do not include projects for gateways that serve other corridors (e.g., the Ambassador Bridge Gateway award is not counted in the I-69 figure). As noted elsewhere in this report, the NCPD/CBI Program is not the only source for Congressional designation of funds. Substantial Congressional designation of funds for these two (I-5 and I-69) corridors has come from Section 1602 of TEA-21, Section 378 of the US DOT 2001 Appropriations Act and Section 330 of Division I of the 2003 Consolidated Appropriations Act.

Table 6. Dollars Awarded: US DOT Selection vs. Congressional Designation for the NCPD/CBI for Two Corridors FY 1999 - FY 2003

Corridor Award Summary
I-69 (Nine States) $28.3 million per US DOT selection and $44.5 million per Congressional designation
I-5 ( Washington State, Oregon and California,
including SR 905, the FAST corridor and the Cascadia Gateway
$34.2 million per US DOT selection and $34.5 million per Congressional designation

Limited Help for Borders

Over the life of the NCPD/CBI, much concern for border projects with both Canada and Mexico was expressed. Dollars awarded for borders, however, declined over the years. In the first year of the program, about 40% of the funding was for projects with clear eligibility under the CBI[8]. By FY 2002, about 10% of funding was for such projects.

More NCPD/CBI funds went to the southern border than the northern border. Additional funding was for projects, portions of which were eligible under the CBI and portions of which were not. Several multistate projects had portions eligible under the CBI for both the northern and southern border (e.g. I-69 environmental studies, I-35 ITS studies) and are not included in the table below. Finally, in both FY 2002 and FY 2003, Congress, in the two appropriation acts, provided additional funds ($56 million and $47 million respectively) for vehicle inspection related projects near the US border with Mexico. These are also not included in the table below.

Table 7. Funding for Southern vs. Northern Border (See Appendix D for details)


Total Awards

CBI Eligible North

CBI Eligible South

FY 1999




FY 2000




FY 2001




FY 2002




FY 2003




Shrinking Multistate Assistance

NCPD/CBI is cited as a way to encourage multistate project efforts. It offers a mechanism to fund multistate efforts that does not compete with individual State investments of their Highway Trust Fund allocations. Over the life of the program the number of multistate awards tended to decrease because projects designated by Congress were less likely to be multistate than US DOT selected projects. The number of such projects was eleven in both FY 1999 and FY 2000, decreasing to two in FY 2001, one in FY 2002, and two in FY 2003.

Table 8. Funding for Multistate Projects

Year Total Multistate
FY 1999 $123,603,000 $23,100,000
FY 2000 $121,796,751 $20,006,500
FY 2001 $123,081,300 $6,318,500
FY 2002 $477,980,576 $971,000
FY 2003 $255,000,000 $3,000,000

Geographic Distribution

Over the life of the NCPD/CBI program almost every state received allocations. The District of Columbia , Delaware , and Hawaii were the exceptions. (See Appendix E). In addition, the five States with the highest dollar award and allocation totals were similar but not identical throughout the program. Arkansas had one of the highest dollar award totals. However, many of the dollars awarded to Arkansas were for multistate projects and the funding was sub-allocated. Similarly, Kentucky and Texas received suballocations-allocations from multistate awards to Arkansas and their allocated total is higher than their award total. The allocation totals assume that awarded projects, other than multistate projects will eventually be allocated to the same State to which they were awarded. For example, the assumption for FY 2003 is either that the States will all provide FHWA with allocation information before the end of the fiscal year or that future authorizations/appropriations bills will contain language allowing funds not allocated in FY 2003 to be allocated in future years. The States with the highest award and allocation totals were:

Table 9. Five States with Most Dollars Awarded

(See Appendix E for details)

State Total Awards
West Virginia $94,791,000
Texas $84,409,725
Kentucky $80,693,620
Arkansas $75,123,250
California $61,641,125

Table 10. Five States with Most Dollars Allocated

(See Appendix F for details)


Total Allocations

West Virginia










The $390M allocated to West Virginia , Texas , Kentucky , California and Washington represents almost 40% of total allocations over the five years, FY 99-03.

Many Challenges

There are many challenges to projects funded under the NCPD/CBI program (e.g., insufficient funding to complete a project phase, length of the environmental clearance process). These are similar to challenges to projects funded under the various formula programs (e.g., NHS, STP, Bridge). Samples of such challenges include:

Table 11. Sample Challenges in the NCPD/CBI Program



Construction for a North- South route in the northeast

It took several years to resolve issues preventing adoption of a Record of Decision. Obligation authority had to be withdrawn and reissued several times.

Environmental studies for a new North- South route in the central US

Awarded funds in FY 1999 were insufficient to complete the environmental studies needed. Applications for additional funds for essentially the same work were received in FY 2000 and FY 2001.

Electronic international commerce software

After the award, negotiations with another federal agency failed to resolve administrative problems. The funds were withdrawn and reallocated to other projects serving international commerce.

Improvement of a regionally important route in the east

After award (based on Congressional designation), the State realized that funds had been committed to the project from another source. Concurrence by the U.S. House of Representatives was required to change the scope of work to allow improvement of a connecting highway.

Help for Corridors

Most NCPD/CBI funding was awarded to corridor projects. In fact, 90% of the funds were awarded to corridor projects. These were either to projects related to high priority corridors enumerated in Section 1105(c) of ISTEA, as amended, or to "other regionally significant" projects. Eligibility for these latter projects was established by Section 1118 (b) (2) of TEA-21. The FHWA estimated how many of these awards were for projects ineligible under the CBI provisions (Section 1119 of TEA-21) and also not consistent with descriptions of any of the high priority corridors designated by Congress under Section 1105 (c) of ISTEA, as amended. There was a tendency for more emphasis on 1118 (b) (2) corridors after the first year of the program.

Table 12. Percentage of Dollars Awarded for Non High Priority Corridors


Awards for Paragraph 1118 (b) (2) Corridors

FY 1999

4% of awards for 1118(b)(2) corridors

FY 2000

14% of awards for 1118(b)(2) corridors

FY 2001

34% of awards for 1118(b)(2) corridors

FY 2002

51% of awards for 1118(b)(2) corridors

FY 2003

59% of awards for 1118(b)(2) corridors

Many Awards for Economic Development

The FHWA qualitatively assessed some project awards to get perspective on whether projects were more focused toward mobility/safety objectives or toward economic development objectives. To do so, the five highest dollar awards, were examined. Only high dollar awards can reasonably be assessed because the smaller dollar awards typically fund a low cost phase of a larger project. Identifying the primary objectives for these high dollar award projects was fairly straightforward, even though most NCPD/CBI projects have multiple objectives.

For example, the FAST project in Washington State has obvious benefits to economic development. However, existing mobility/safety problems at highway/rail grade crossing that are to be made grade separations will benefit mobility and safety immediately upon completion. Thus, the mobility/safety designation was the more appropriate primary objective. For another example, the future I-69 project will, when opened to traffic, have the safety benefit of taking some vehicles from two-lane undivided highways to four-lane divided highways. However, the motivation of the advocates of future I-69 is unquestionably economic development. The identification of projects as mobility/safety or economic development (see appendix L) was based on discussions with division offices, information from websites, etc. Discussions were not held on this with State transportation agencies because different States have different definitions of economic development. Notwithstanding the subjectivity of the identification, there was an obvious tendency within this sample for more emphasis on economic development after the first year of the program.

Table 13. Percentage of Dollars Awarded for Mobility/Safety vs. Economic Development

(See Appendix L for details)

Year Mobility/Safety vs. Economic Development
FY 1999 77% mobility/safety 23% economic development
FY 2000 30% mobility/safety 70% economic development
FY 2001 15% mobility/safety 85% economic development
FY 2002 17% mobility/safety 83% economic development
FY 2003 17% mobility/safety 83% economic development

A number of breakdowns and analyses of program awards cannot be made. For example, the FHWA is unable to determine the amount of awarded funding that went to construction vs. right-of-way vs. design vs. environmental studies vs. planning. The FHWA did not require project implementation personnel to track such information. This was primarily because such tracking would be an administrative burden and because some contracts let by the implementing agencies were for several elements (e.g., design/construction, planning/environmental studies). Thus, even had these costs had been tracked; analysis based on the data would not necessarily be meaningful.

[7] "earmark" is used here in a colloquial sense, the Congressional actions were generally made in non statutory Congressional report language which has a different legal status than an action made within the statute itself.

[8] Section 1119 of TEA-21 makes CBI funds available in the "border region". Based on previous international treaties, FHWA administratively defined the border region to be the area within 100 km (62 miles) of the Canada or Mexico border. About 2% of the US is in the area within 100 km of the Mexico border. About 4% of the US is in the area within 100 km of the Canada border (excluding Alaska ).

Updated: 10/20/2015
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