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AASHTO Journal

FHWA Distributes More Highway Funds, Plans Job Contract Changes

The Federal Highway Administration began formally distributing some $1.98 billion in highway infrastructure funding to the states on April 25 for the construction of highways, bridges, and tunnels – part of monies allocated by Congress via its fiscal year 2018 DOT appropriations act.

This $1.98 billion of formula-based highway funds for states is in addition to the monies authorized in the 2015 Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act level as part of the fiscal 2018 omnibus spending bill.

Congress specified that the FHWA make that extra money available as block grants that give DOTs wide discretion on how they target the funds for their road system needs. construction3.jpg

A staff analysis by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials said this now-authorized funding can be used for construction projects that are eligible under the FHWA's Surface Transportation Block Grant Program, and that 53 percent of the total is to be "suballocated" to projects based on population.

That suballocation means localities will control how those dollars are to be obligated for projects in urban areas, but state agencies will carry out the work.

FHWA also posted a notice in the Federal Register that same day that seeks to allow the indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity or "ID/IQ" method for low-cost construction contracts to become an ongoing feature of the Federal-aid highway program.

The agency added in its filing that it evaluated the use of such ID/IQ contracts over the last decade with 16 different state departments of transportation and six local public agencies and believes they are now "suitable for operationalization" on a regular basis for "small value contracts" and preventive maintenance programs.

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