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Transportation Department

Federal Highway Administration

The Federal Highway Administration became a component of the DOT in 1967. It administers the highway transportation programs of the DOT under Title 23 U.S.C.A., and other pertinent legislation. The administration oversees highway transportation in its broadest scope, seeking to coordinate highways with other modes of transportation to achieve the most effective balance of transportation systems and facilities.

The administration administers the federal aid highway program, which provides funding to the states to assist in constructing highways and making highway and traffic operations more efficient. This program provides for the improvement of approximately 159,000 miles of the National Highway System, which includes the 43,000-mile DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER system of interstate and defense highways and other public roads. The federal government generally provides 90 percent of the funding for the construction and preservation of the interstate system, and the relevant states provide 10 percent. For projects not on the interstate system and most projects on other roads, 80 percent of the funding comes from the federal government and 20 percent from the states.

The administration is also responsible for the Highway Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Program, which assists in the inspection, analysis, and rehabilitation or replacement of bridges on public roads. In addition, it administers an emergency program to assist in the repair or reconstruction of federal aid highways and certain federal roads that have suffered serious damage over a wide area from natural disasters or catastrophic failures.

The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program provides funding to reduce AIR POLLUTION. Transportation improvement projects and programs that reduce transportation-related emissions are eligible for funding. Funds can be used for highway, transit, and other transportation purposes.

The administration is responsible for several highway-related safety programs, including a state and community safety program jointly administered with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and a highway safety construction program to eliminate road hazards and improve rail-highway crossing safety. These safety construction programs fund activities that remove, relocate, or shield roadside obstacles; identify and correct hazardous locations; eliminate or reduce hazards at railroad crossings; and improve signs, pavement markings, and signals.

Under the provisions of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 (23 U.S.C.A. § 101), the administration is authorized to establish and maintain a national network for trucks, review state programs regulating truck size and weight, and assist in obtaining uniformity among the states in commercial motor carrier registration and taxation reporting. The administration works cooperatively with states and private industry to achieve uniform safety regulations, inspections and fines, licensing, registration and taxation, and accident data for motor carriers.

The agency also exercises federal regulatory jurisdiction over the safety performance of all commercial motor carriers engaged in interstate or foreign commerce. It deals with more than 330,000 carriers and approximately 36,000 shippers of hazardous materials. The administration conducts reviews at the carrier's facilities to determine the safety of the carrier's over-the-road operations. These reviews may lead to prosecution or other sanctions against violators of the federal motor carrier safety regulations or the hazardous materials transportation regulations.

The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 (49 U.S.C.A. § 2701) authorizes the administration to establish national standards for a single commercial vehicle driver's license for state issuance, a national information system clearinghouse for commercial driver's license information, knowledge and skills tests for licensing commercial vehicle drivers, and disqualification of drivers for serious traffic offenses, including alcohol and drug abuse. The agency administers the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program, a partnership between the federal government and the states, under the provisions of sections 401–404 of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 (49 U.S.C.A. §§ 2301–2304).

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationFree Legal Encyclopedia: Tonnage tax to UmpireTransportation Department - Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Highway Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration - Office of the Secretary of Transportation