House-Passed Extension Gives Highway Funding Increase to Texas and Colorado – And No One Else

House-Passed Extension Gives Highway Funding Increase to Texas and Colorado – And No One Else

September 25, 2020  | Jeff Davis

As predicted earlier this week by ETW with 99.999 percent accuracy, the Federal Highway Administration has confirmed to Congress that the one-year extension of the FAST Act passed by the House of Representatives this week will give Texas a $239 million increase in its highway formula funding apportionment in 2021 over its 2020 levels, and Colorado will get a $3.0 million increase. Every other state will see its funding level decrease slightly so that the upwards adjustments for Texas and Colorado won’t increase the overall apportioned funding total, which will be frozen at $43.37 billion.

The “clean” one-year extension of the FAST Act (H.R. 8337) requires all apportionment calculations to be run anew for fiscal year 2021. As the Eno Center noted at length in its 2019 report Refreshing the Status Quo: Federal Highway Programs and Funding Distribution, under the FAST Act (as under MAP-21), there is only one variable in each year’s apportionment of highway formula funding totals to states– the estimated amount of excise taxes paid in each state into the Highway Account of the Highway Trust Fund during most recent for which estimates are available. All other variables that used to be in the “formula” for highway funding are still frozen at their 2007 levels. (See this article for more information.)

The state Highway Account tax payments are used to enforce subsection (c)(1)(B) of 23 U.S.C. §104, which guarantees that “each State receives an aggregate apportionment equal to at least 95 percent of the estimated tax payments attributable to highway users in the State” deposited in the Highway Account in the most recent year.

That requirement was first effective for fiscal year 2014 apportionments (the final year of MAP-21) and has been effective in every year since. In all those years, the only state that has periodically triggered this 95 percent adjustment has been Texas. Its frozen-in-time formula entitlement is 8.8142 percent of total annual highway apportionments, but that has to be translated into dollar amounts, because the calculation of the 95 percent minimum is based on dollars, not percentages.

In fiscal 2019 (the most recent year for which estimates are available), Texas’s tax contributions to the Highway Account increased by $251.8 million, to $4,495.5 million, and 95 percent of that is $4,270.7 million.

HTF-HA Tax
Receipts Times Equals
FY 2018 4,243.7 95.0% 4,031.5
FY 2019 4,495.5 95.0% 4,270.7

The Lone Star State’s base entitlement for each year of the FAST Act (and now under the extension) is 8.8142 percent of the annual total, which for 2020 (and for 2021 under the extension) is $43,369,794,311. That comes out to $3,823.0 million, which has been less than Texas’s 95 percent adjustment for several years now. In 2020, Texas’s upwards adjustment to get to 95 percent was $208.5 million, but this year, that will balloon to $447.4 million.

Base Plus 95%
Apportionment Adjust. Equals
FY 2020 3,823.0 +208.5 4,031.5
FY 2021 3,823.0 +447.4 4,270.4

Meanwhile, Colorado’s base entitlement is 1.3655 percent of the national total. For 2020 and 2021, that comes out to $592.1 million, and that initial apportionment would have just barely been more than Colorado’s 95 percent guarantee ($118,224 over the minimum). But forcing Colorado to eat its pro-rated share of a reduction so that Texas could have its $447.4 million increase would have pushed Colorado under its own 95 percent minimum, so they are almost completely held harmless in 2021 from having their share reduced to make room for Texas. In 2020, they were not immune from paying for Texas’s increase, so their 2021 apportionment will be $3.0 million higher than their 2020 apportionment.

Every non-Texas, non-Colorado state’s fiscal 2021 highway formula funding will be reduced by 0.625 percent, from 2020 levels, so that Texas’s apportionment can be increased by 5.93 percent, and Colorado’s by 0.51 percent, over 2020 levels.

We should note that having all of the real-world formula factors (VMT, lane-miles, air quality, population, etc.) frozen in 2007, while Highway Account tax payments remain the only real-world variable, makes absolutely zero sense from a policy perspective. But the politics of writing a sane formula are so difficult that both the House and Senate FAST Act reauthorization bills (H.R. 2 and S. 2302) left the existing “formula” in place and would have kept on using the 2007 population, VMT, lane-miles, air quality, safety, etc. numbers through fiscal year 2025. (Ed. Note: On the bright side, at least a messed-up 2020 Census won’t affect federal highway funding.)

Below are two tables taken from estimates that FHWA gave to Congress. The first shows, to the dollar, total state apportionments for 2020 and the FHWA estimate for 2021. The second table shows, rounded to the million dollars, estimated 2021 apportionments for each individual highway program, by state. Both tables are before post-apportionment set-asides and takedowns, and before the small amount of NHPP sequestration, but are after the $3.5 million takedown to fund the SAFETEA-LU legacy allocated safety programs.

Official FHWA Estimate – FY 2021 Highway Apportionments Under H.R. 8337 vs Actual FY 2020 Apportionments

FY 2020 Actual Apportionments
Estimated FY 2021 Apportionments FY 2021 Estimated
per FHWA Notice N4510.844 Under H.R. 8337 vs. FY 2020 Actual
Dollars Share Dollars Share ∆ (Dollars) ∆ (Pct.)
Alabama $835,773,498 1.9271% $830,548,801 1.9150% -$5,224,697 -0.625%
Alaska $552,367,435 1.2736% $548,914,404 1.2657% -$3,453,031 -0.625%
Arizona $806,010,109 1.8585% $800,971,474 1.8468% -$5,038,635 -0.625%
Arkansas $570,352,636 1.3151% $566,787,174 1.3069% -$3,565,462 -0.625%
California $4,043,264,681 9.3228% $4,017,988,894 9.2645% -$25,275,787 -0.625%
Colorado $589,072,823 1.3583% $592,076,009 1.3652% $3,003,186 0.510%
Connecticut $553,300,279 1.2758% $549,841,415 1.2678% -$3,458,864 -0.625%
Delaware $186,348,026 0.4297% $185,183,103 0.4270% -$1,164,923 -0.625%
Dist. of Col. $175,772,928 0.4053% $174,674,112 0.4028% -$1,098,816 -0.625%
Florida $2,087,186,638 4.8125% $2,074,138,944 4.7825% -$13,047,694 -0.625%
Georgia $1,422,408,300 3.2797% $1,413,516,355 3.2592% -$8,891,945 -0.625%
Hawaii $186,320,764 0.4296% $185,156,012 0.4269% -$1,164,752 -0.625%
Idaho $315,085,357 0.7265% $313,115,654 0.7220% -$1,969,703 -0.625%
Illinois $1,566,215,656 3.6113% $1,556,424,723 3.5887% -$9,790,933 -0.625%
Indiana $1,049,673,875 2.4203% $1,043,112,016 2.4052% -$6,561,859 -0.625%
Iowa $541,397,851 1.2483% $538,013,395 1.2405% -$3,384,456 -0.625%
Kansas $416,296,079 0.9599% $413,693,675 0.9539% -$2,602,404 -0.625%
Kentucky $731,943,941 1.6877% $727,368,318 1.6771% -$4,575,623 -0.625%
Louisiana $773,170,264 1.7827% $768,336,921 1.7716% -$4,833,343 -0.625%
Maine $203,351,344 0.4689% $202,080,128 0.4659% -$1,271,216 -0.625%
Maryland $662,000,198 1.5264% $657,861,816 1.5169% -$4,138,382 -0.625%
Massachusetts $669,060,028 1.5427% $664,877,512 1.5330% -$4,182,516 -0.625%
Michigan $1,159,861,954 2.6744% $1,152,611,274 2.6576% -$7,250,680 -0.625%
Minnesota $718,341,491 1.6563% $713,850,900 1.6460% -$4,490,591 -0.625%
Mississippi $532,790,130 1.2285% $529,459,483 1.2208% -$3,330,647 -0.625%
Missouri $1,042,881,411 2.4046% $1,036,362,014 2.3896% -$6,519,397 -0.625%
Montana $451,986,737 1.0422% $449,161,220 1.0357% -$2,825,517 -0.625%
Nebraska $318,412,580 0.7342% $316,422,078 0.7296% -$1,990,502 -0.625%
Nevada $400,017,124 0.9223% $397,516,484 0.9166% -$2,500,640 -0.625%
New Hampshire $182,012,876 0.4197% $180,875,053 0.4171% -$1,137,823 -0.625%
New Jersey $1,099,915,502 2.5361% $1,093,039,566 2.5203% -$6,875,936 -0.625%
New Mexico $404,542,676 0.9328% $402,013,746 0.9269% -$2,528,930 -0.625%
New York $1,849,116,555 4.2636% $1,837,557,115 4.2370% -$11,559,440 -0.625%
North Carolina $1,148,928,308 2.6491% $1,141,745,978 2.6326% -$7,182,330 -0.625%
North Dakota $273,494,740 0.6306% $271,785,034 0.6267% -$1,709,706 -0.625%
Ohio $1,476,626,048 3.4047% $1,467,395,169 3.3834% -$9,230,879 -0.625%
Oklahoma $698,656,538 1.6109% $694,289,004 1.6009% -$4,367,534 -0.625%
Oregon $550,618,730 1.2696% $547,176,629 1.2617% -$3,442,101 -0.625%
Pennsylvania $1,807,465,072 4.1676% $1,796,166,011 4.1415% -$11,299,061 -0.625%
Rhode Island $240,920,619 0.5555% $239,414,545 0.5520% -$1,506,074 -0.625%
South Carolina $737,667,142 1.7009% $733,055,741 1.6902% -$4,611,401 -0.625%
South Dakota $310,667,712 0.7163% $308,725,625 0.7118% -$1,942,087 -0.625%
Tennessee $930,899,296 2.1464% $925,079,936 2.1330% -$5,819,360 -0.625%
Texas $4,031,150,868 9.2948% $4,270,384,067 9.8464% +$239,233,199 +5.935%
Utah $382,525,114 0.8820% $380,133,823 0.8765% -$2,391,291 -0.625%
Vermont $223,577,785 0.5155% $222,180,126 0.5123% -$1,397,659 -0.625%
Virginia $1,121,022,241 2.5848% $1,114,014,360 2.5686% -$7,007,881 -0.625%
Washington $746,798,588 1.7219% $742,130,103 1.7112% -$4,668,485 -0.625%
West Virginia $481,422,307 1.1100% $478,412,776 1.1031% -$3,009,531 -0.625%
Wisconsin $828,885,848 1.9112% $823,704,210 1.8993% -$5,181,638 -0.625%
Wyoming $282,215,609 0.6507% $280,451,386 0.6467% -$1,764,223 -0.625%
Total $43,369,794,311 100.00% $43,369,794,311 100.00% $0 0.000%

FHWA Estimate of FY 2021 Federal-Aid Highways Apportionments, by State and Program (Million Dollars)

NHPP STBGP HSIP R-HCP CMAQ MP NHFP Total
Alabama $489.1 $243.9 $48.5 $5.0 $12.2 $3.3 $28.6 $830.5
Alaska $309.5 $154.9 $32.6 $1.2 $29.3 $2.4 $18.9 $548.9
Arizona $442.0 $221.6 $45.4 $3.0 $55.3 $6.3 $27.5 $801.0
Arkansas $330.9 $165.1 $32.2 $4.0 $13.1 $1.8 $19.5 $566.8
California $2,065.2 $1,041.6 $209.2 $16.7 $494.5 $53.6 $137.1 $4,018.0
Colorado $323.0 $162.1 $31.7 $3.7 $45.6 $5.7 $20.3 $592.1
Connecticut $297.2 $149.2 $31.1 $1.4 $47.1 $4.9 $18.8 $549.8
Delaware $102.1 $51.2 $10.0 $1.2 $12.4 $1.9 $6.3 $185.2
Dist. of Col. $96.9 $48.5 $9.4 $1.2 $10.8 $1.9 $6.0 $174.7
Florida $1,222.9 $609.8 $124.1 $9.7 $14.5 $22.2 $70.9 $2,074.1
Georgia $797.7 $399.2 $78.5 $8.8 $72.4 $8.3 $48.6 $1,413.5
Hawaii $103.0 $51.6 $10.0 $1.2 $11.0 $1.9 $6.3 $185.2
Idaho $178.3 $89.2 $17.6 $1.9 $13.7 $1.7 $10.8 $313.1
Illinois $848.8 $425.9 $81.5 $11.4 $117.3 $18.3 $53.2 $1,556.4
Indiana $591.1 $295.7 $56.8 $7.9 $50.2 $5.6 $35.9 $1,043.1
Iowa $314.2 $156.8 $28.7 $5.7 $12.0 $2.1 $18.5 $538.0
Kansas $240.7 $120.2 $19.8 $6.5 $10.1 $2.1 $14.2 $413.7
Kentucky $425.9 $212.5 $42.7 $3.9 $14.6 $2.7 $25.1 $727.4
Louisiana $450.9 $224.9 $44.9 $4.4 $12.2 $4.6 $26.4 $768.3
Maine $113.2 $56.7 $11.1 $1.3 $11.0 $2.0 $6.9 $202.1
Maryland $354.1 $177.9 $36.3 $2.5 $57.2 $7.4 $22.5 $657.9
Massachusetts $350.3 $176.3 $35.6 $2.7 $67.6 $9.6 $22.7 $664.9
Michigan $635.2 $318.5 $61.3 $8.2 $78.9 $11.1 $39.5 $1,152.6
Minnesota $403.8 $202.0 $37.6 $6.6 $34.3 $4.9 $24.5 $713.9
Mississippi $309.3 $154.3 $30.1 $3.8 $12.0 $1.8 $18.2 $529.5
Missouri $603.0 $301.0 $60.0 $6.0 $25.1 $5.6 $35.6 $1,036.4
Montana $258.5 $129.1 $26.2 $2.1 $15.9 $1.9 $15.5 $449.2
Nebraska $182.0 $90.9 $16.0 $3.9 $11.0 $1.8 $10.9 $316.4
Nevada $214.5 $107.7 $22.2 $1.3 $34.7 $3.5 $13.6 $397.5
New Hampshire $100.6 $50.4 $9.8 $1.2 $11.0 $1.7 $6.2 $180.9
New Jersey $577.6 $290.6 $59.2 $4.0 $110.9 $13.3 $37.3 $1,093.0
New Mexico $232.6 $116.2 $23.6 $1.9 $12.2 $1.7 $13.8 $402.0
New York $962.8 $484.8 $98.6 $6.7 $195.2 $26.8 $62.6 $1,837.6
North Carolina $647.1 $323.7 $63.6 $7.2 $54.6 $6.2 $39.3 $1,141.7
North Dakota $155.0 $77.5 $13.0 $4.0 $11.2 $1.8 $9.3 $271.8
Ohio $808.7 $405.4 $79.0 $9.5 $102.0 $12.4 $50.3 $1,467.4
Oklahoma $407.3 $203.2 $38.8 $5.7 $12.5 $2.8 $23.9 $694.3
Oregon $313.1 $156.5 $31.0 $3.3 $20.7 $3.9 $18.8 $547.2
Pennsylvania $999.3 $500.6 $102.2 $7.1 $111.4 $13.9 $61.6 $1,796.2
Rhode Island $135.5 $67.8 $13.6 $1.2 $11.1 $2.0 $8.2 $239.4
South Carolina $429.3 $214.2 $42.2 $4.8 $14.0 $3.4 $25.2 $733.1
South Dakota $175.9 $88.0 $16.7 $2.6 $13.1 $1.9 $10.6 $308.7
Tennessee $527.3 $263.6 $52.4 $5.3 $39.5 $5.2 $31.8 $925.1
Texas $2,420.3 $1,210.7 $244.1 $20.8 $198.3 $29.6 $146.6 $4,270.4
Utah $217.4 $108.7 $21.9 $1.9 $13.8 $3.5 $13.0 $380.1
Vermont $124.0 $62.1 $12.3 $1.2 $12.6 $2.2 $7.6 $222.2
Virginia $626.8 $313.7 $63.7 $4.9 $58.5 $8.1 $38.2 $1,114.0
Washington $415.8 $208.2 $41.0 $4.5 $39.4 $7.8 $25.4 $742.1
West Virginia $276.5 $138.1 $28.1 $2.2 $15.3 $1.8 $16.5 $478.4
Wisconsin $473.1 $236.4 $45.5 $6.3 $29.2 $4.9 $28.3 $823.7
Wyoming $160.3 $80.1 $16.3 $1.2 $11.1 $1.7 $9.6 $280.5
Total $24,239.4 $12,138.7 $2,407.8 $245.0 $2,493.6 $357.9 $1,487.3 $43,369.8
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