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Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU)

Fact Sheets on Highway Provisions


Year 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Authorization* $7,428 M $6,873 M $8,327 M $9,175 M $9,093 M
* Such sums as may be necessary are authorized. Amounts shown are estimates.

Program Purpose

The Equity Bonus provides funding to States based on equity considerations. These include a minimum rate of return on contributions to the Highway Account of the Highway Trust Fund, and a minimum increase relative to the average dollar amount of apportionments under TEA-21. Selected States are guaranteed a share of apportionments and High Priority Projects not less than the State's average annual share under TEA-21. This program replaces TEA-21's Minimum Guarantee program.

Statutory References

SAFETEA-LU Section(s): 1104, 1102


Funded by contract authority, to remain available for 4 years.

Each State's share of apportionments from the Interstate Maintenance (IM), National Highway System (NHS), Bridge, Surface Transportation (STP), Highway Safety Improvement (HSIP), Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ), Metropolitan Planning, Appalachian Development Highway System, Recreational Trails, Safe Routes to School, Rail-Highway Grade Crossing, Coordinated Border Infrastructure programs, the Equity Bonus itself, along with High Priority Projects will be at least a specified percentage of that State's contributions to the Highway Account of the Highway Trust Fund. The specified percentage, referred to as a relative rate of return, is 90.5% for 2005 and 2006, 91.5% for 2007, and 92% for 2008 and 2009.

States with certain characteristics will receive a share of apportionments and High Priority Projects that is the greater of the relative rate of return approach described above or their average annual share of total apportionments and High Priority Projects under TEA-21. This applies to States with:

  • a population density of less than 40 persons per square mile and of which at least 1.25% of the total acreage is under Federal jurisdiction; or
  • a total population less than 1 million; or
  • a median household income of less than $35,000; or
  • a 2002 Interstate fatality rate greater than 1 per 100M VMT; or
  • a State with an indexed State motor fuel tax rate higher than 150% of the Federal motor fuel excise tax rate as of the date of enactment of SAFETEA-LU

In any given year, no State is to receive less than a specified percentage of its average annual apportionments and High Priority Projects under TEA-21. These percentage floors are 117% for 2005, 118% for 2006, 119% for 2007, 120% for 2008, and 121% for 2009.

All but $2,639,000,000 per year is programmatically distributed to the IM, NHS, Bridge, STP, HSIP, and CMAQ programs. Of the remainder, $639,000,000 is exempt from the obligation limitation and $2 billion receives special no year limitation. [1104, 1102]

Eligible Use of Funds

Amounts programmatically distributed to other programs take on the eligibilities of those programs. The remaining $2,639,000,000 has the same eligibilities as STP funds, but is not subject to the STP safety setaside, the transportation enhancement setaside or the suballocations to sub-State areas.

Federal Share

The Federal share for the funds programmatically distributed to other programs have the same Federal share as those programs. For the remainder of the funds ($2,639 million per year), the Federal share is determined under 23 USC 120, that is, the Federal share is generally 80 percent, subject to the sliding scale adjustment. When the funds are used for Interstate projects to add high occupancy vehicle or auxiliary lanes, but not other lanes, the Federal share may be 90 percent, also subject to the sliding scale adjustment. Certain safety improvements listed in 23 USC 120(c) have a Federal share of 100 percent.

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