FHWA Gives Final $4 Billion in FY19 Highway Obligation Authority to States

FHWA Gives Final $4 Billion in FY19 Highway Obligation Authority to States

September 05, 2019  | Jeff Davis

The Federal Highway Administration has given an additional $4.0 billion in use-it-or-lose-it highway funding authority to state DOTs for fiscal year 2019, which they must obligate by September 30. This brings the total new usable spending authority given to states via formula in 2019 to $44.4 billion. ($36.6 billion in obligation limitation after the 2019 appropriations act was signed, plus $599 million in funding exempt from limitation given out earlier, plus the new $4.0 billion – all from the Highway Trust Fund – plus an additional $3.2 billion in appropriations from the general fund of the Treasury.)

States (and by this measure, this includes the District of Columbia) were apportioned $42.4 billion in new highway contract authority via formula earlier this year. $41.8 billion was subject to annual obligation limitations and $599 million was outside the limitations. The new contract authority subject to limitation was immediately made fungible with any unobligated balances of formula contract authority that a state had left over from prior years. Any carryover or new formula contract authority that a state wants to obligate (by having an agreement for a particular project approved by FHWA) must fit under that state’s annual formula obligation limitation.

The final, year-long formula obligation limitation was distributed to states on March 11 after the enactment of the omnibus appropriations act for 2019. Of the $45.3 billion total obligation limitation, $7.7 billion was reserved for allocated (non-formula programs) like federal lands highways, TIFIA, INFRA, research, and administrative overhead – some of it to cover new contract authority for those programs, and some of it for unobligated balances from prior years. Every August, FHWA calculates how much of that administrative reserve they won’t need by September 30, asks states how much more money they could obligate my September 30 (with a high degree of certainty), and then redistributes some of that allocated reserve to states.

The backlog of unobligated TIFIA funding, and the slow start to the large INFRA program, have meant that the initial allocated reserve has ballooned under the FAST Act, as has the size of the August redistribution. But while the initial allocated reserve grew again this year, the August redistribution is actually $211 million smaller than last year, indicating that FHWA did a better job in 2019 of obligating their allocated funding (probably by executing a bunch of INFRA project agreements).

Initial Allocated Reserve Redistributed to States  in August
FY 2019 $7,669,024,204 $3,972,743,240
FY 2018 $6,805,433,470 $4,183,936,196
FY 2017 $6,204,969,464 $3,137,048,104
FY 2016 $5,250,644,793 $2,832,803,208
FY 2015 $5,220,715,435 $1,906,572,178
FY 2014 $4,995,844,093 $2,117,694,862
FY 2013 $4,367,010,516 $1,595,648,530
FY 2012 $4,141,848,975 $1,400,464,387
FY 2011 $4,396,226,930 $1,182,665,012
FY 2010 $4,119,915,573 $1,336,569,692
FY 2009 $3,712,993,860 $1,028,541,567
FY 2008 $4,220,845,303 $1,160,367,604
FY 2007 $3,932,076,883 $1,223,675,007

The state-by-state table showing how much total highway formula obligation authority, from all sources, was given to states in fiscal year 2019 is below.

Full-Year Exempt General Fund August Redist.  Total
Ob. Limit C.A. Appropriations Ob. Limit Usable
N4520.259 N4510.829 N4510.835 N4520.261 Funding
ALABAMA $722.7 $12.2 $52.8 $65.5 $853.3
ALASKA $459.1 $7.7 $54.5 $39.7 $561.1
ARIZONA $701.7 $11.0 $50.9 $35.8 $799.5
ARKANSAS $496.1 $8.3 $36.0 $45.6 $586.0
CALIFORNIA $3,454.4 $51.6 $255.8 $330.5 $4,092.3
COLORADO $499.4 $8.0 $37.2 $50.7 $595.3
CONNECTICUT $391.1 $7.4 $66.4 $52.9 $517.9
DELAWARE $158.8 $2.6 $11.8 $23.1 $196.2
DIST. OF COL. $153.0 $2.4 $11.1 $16.0 $182.5
FLORIDA $1,815.2 $30.5 $131.8 $178.2 $2,155.7
GEORGIA $1,231.6 $19.9 $89.9 $155.6 $1,497.0
HAWAII $155.3 $2.6 $11.8 $10.0 $179.6
IDAHO $272.9 $4.5 $19.9 $25.6 $322.9
ILLINOIS $1,284.7 $21.2 $123.4 $139.9 $1,569.2
INDIANA $893.7 $14.8 $66.3 $82.5 $1,057.3
IOWA $470.9 $7.8 $59.5 $34.9 $573.1
KANSAS $362.1 $6.0 $26.3 $60.0 $454.4
KENTUCKY $633.8 $10.6 $46.2 $57.8 $748.4
LOUISIANA $639.2 $11.3 $67.9 $76.3 $794.7
MAINE $161.1 $2.8 $30.5 $17.6 $212.0
MARYLAND $576.5 $8.8 $41.9 $61.8 $689.1
MASSACHUSETTS $488.0 $8.8 $76.4 $50.0 $623.2
MICHIGAN $1,009.8 $15.9 $93.5 $94.9 $1,214.1
MINNESOTA $611.6 $10.1 $45.4 $59.0 $726.1
MISSISSIPPI $453.1 $7.7 $33.6 $43.8 $538.2
MISSOURI $887.0 $15.1 $85.8 $116.2 $1,104.1
MONTANA $383.2 $6.5 $48.3 $40.9 $478.9
NEBRASKA $277.0 $4.5 $20.1 $34.4 $336.1
NEVADA $346.9 $5.4 $25.3 $26.6 $404.1
NEW HAMPSHIRE $158.4 $2.5 $30.6 $13.7 $205.3
NEW JERSEY $958.2 $14.4 $87.5 $100.0 $1,160.1
NEW MEXICO $342.3 $5.8 $25.5 $42.5 $416.1
NEW YORK $1,372.0 $24.1 $142.0 $223.4 $1,761.4
NORTH CAROLINA $999.8 $16.2 $95.0 $115.5 $1,226.5
NORTH DAKOTA $238.0 $3.9 $17.3 $22.9 $282.0
OHIO $1,231.4 $20.2 $93.3 $119.0 $1,463.9
OKLAHOMA $607.7 $10.2 $44.1 $60.7 $722.6
OREGON $466.2 $7.8 $34.8 $39.2 $548.0
PENNSYLVANIA $1,567.6 $25.0 $137.5 $176.6 $1,906.7
RHODE ISLAND $170.1 $3.4 $69.7 $19.6 $262.8
SOUTH CAROLINA $627.3 $10.7 $46.6 $72.3 $756.9
SOUTH DAKOTA $262.9 $4.4 $40.4 $30.7 $338.4
TENNESSEE $792.4 $13.2 $58.8 $134.1 $998.5
TEXAS $3,364.4 $54.4 $244.2 $497.7 $4,160.8
UTAH $331.5 $5.4 $24.2 $34.1 $395.2
VERMONT $190.5 $3.1 $14.1 $23.3 $231.0
VIRGINIA $950.2 $15.7 $70.8 $62.6 $1,099.3
WASHINGTON $632.9 $10.4 $47.2 $58.4 $748.9
WEST VIRGINIA $418.8 $6.9 $62.6 $50.0 $538.3
WISCONSIN $721.2 $11.8 $52.4 $27.0 $812.3
WYOMING $234.8 $4.0 $45.0 $23.6 $307.5
TOTAL $36,628.8 $599.4 $3,204.0 $3,972.7 $44,404.9

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