Federalism Issues in Surface Transportation Policy: Past and Present [February 27, 2014] [open pdf - 517KB]
" P.L. 112-141, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) was signed into law by President Obama on July 6, 2012. It reauthorizes federal highway and mass transit programs through the end of FY2014 (27 months) and authorizes to be appropriated $105.2 billion for these programs in FY2013 and FY2014 (about $118 billion including already appropriated funding for FY2012). MAP-21 followed 10 short-term reauthorizations of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act of 2005: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA; P.L. 109-59), and lengthy consideration of federalism issues in surface transportation policy. Although the federal presence, and influence, on surface transportation policy remains significant, MAP-21 represents a continuation of previous reauthorizations' emphasis on increasing the decision-making authority of state governments. For example, MAP-21 provides states greater flexibility in the use of federal highway assistance by eliminating 60 federal highway programs, a two-thirds reduction. While many existing federal highway programs are discontinued as separate entities, states are authorized, but not required, to spend their federal highway funds for many of the same purposes. MAP-21 also made several changes to the project delivery approval process in an effort to reduce the anticipated average project delivery time for highway and mass transit construction projects. It also provides states additional flexibility by expanding the activities eligible for funds set-aside for non-highway related enhancements, such as landscaping, environmental mitigation, conversion of rails to trails, bikeways, and historic preservation. States were also provided expanded authority to transfer a portion of those funds, under specified circumstances, to other federal highway and safety programs. This report provides a historical perspective on contemporary federalism issues in surface transportation policy, from the beginning of the nation through MAP-21. This analysis may prove useful as Congress debates legislation reauthorizing surface transportation programs during the 113th Congress."
CRS Report for Congress, R40431