The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) was signed into law on December 4, 2015. This federal transportation funding bill authorizes federal highway, highway safety, transit, and rail programs for five years from Federal Fiscal Years (FFY) 2016 through 2020. The FAST Act also establishes that planning organizations must publish a list of projects that have been obligated annually. The federal regulation states that:
“An annual listing of projects, including investments in pedestrian walkways and bicycle transportation facilities, for which federal funds have been obligated in the preceding program year shall be published or otherwise made available through the cooperative effort of the state, public transportation operator(s), and metropolitan planning organization. The listing shall be consistent with the categories identified in the TIP.”
The purpose of the report is to outline Federally funded obligations in the Southern Alleghenies Rural Planning Organization (RPO) region that transpired during the period of October 1, 2021, to September 30, 2022, or Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2022.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) defines “obligation” as a legal commitment by the Federal government “to pay or reimburse a State or other entity for the Federal share of a project’s eligible costs.” Obligation occurs when FHWA approves the project and executes the project agreement, not when cash (or an electronic payment) is transferred. The obligation of funds for projects does not necessarily mean that projects are initiated or completed during this year, but that the legal commitment was made to reimburse State DOT’s for eligible costs. Also, the obligated amounts reflected in this report may not be equal to the final or total project costs as federal funds are but only one source of funds and other funds such as State and Local funds may likely be involved as well.