Consideration of Use of Flexible Funding Provisions Under 23 USC and 49 USC in Multimodal Transportation Planning


The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) provided flexibility for states and local areas to determine the most appropriate use of federal transportation funds to support transit or highway projects based on local planning priorities. This flexibility provision was continued in the successor legislation, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century of 1998 (TEA-21) and continues under the current authorization, Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users of 2005 (SAFETEA-LU). The flexible funds under the transportation legislation include those from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Surface Transportation Program (STP), Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement program (CMAQ), National Highway System (NHS), Transportation and Community and System Preservation Pilot (TCSP), and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Urban Formula (Section 5307) grants.

This study effort explored the processes, successes, and issues in metropolitan planning that affect decision-making associated with utilization of the program funding flexibilities enacted in ISTEA and continued through TEA-21. This involves flexing funds between FHWA and FTA programs, as well as use of the considerable program flexibility through multimodal eligibility. Flexible funding, in this context, includes all flexing of program dollars between FTA and FHWA (in either direction) from any eligible funding source. It is comprised of formal transfers of FHWA funds to FTA for transit purposes, formal transfers from FTA funds to FHWA for highway purposes, and direct use by FHWA or its grantees for transit purposes.

For more information about this report, contact Darin Allan, Community Planner in the Office of Planning and Environment, at 202.366.2996 or .

Flexible Funding Final Report (PDF)

More information about flexible funding opportunities for highways and transit.