The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) is responsible for the federally required urban transportation planning process in the Washington region. As the designated metropolitan planning organization (MPO) for the region, the TPB in cooperation with the transportation implementing agencies in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) develops two important documents
the Financially-Constrained Long-Range Transportation Plan (CLRP), which is a comprehensive plan of transportation projects and strategies that the TPB anticipates can be implemented over the next 25 years
the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), which details the projects in the CLRP that will be implemented over the next six-year period
The current CLRP, which was adopted in November 2011, is usually amended each year, and must be updated every four years. The current FY 2011-2016 TIP, was adopted on November 17, 2010 and is updated on a two-year cycle. The TIP documents the cost, implementation phasing, sources and types of funds, and describes each project. The TIP establishes eligibility for federal funding for those projects selected for implementation.
An Annual Listing of Projects with Federal Funding Obligations
The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) which became law in June 1998, introduced a new requirement for the TPB as follows:
“An annual listing of projects for which Federal funds have been obligated in the preceding year shall be published or otherwise made available by the metropolitan planning organization for public review. The listing shall be consistent with the categories identified in the transportation improvement program.”
By providing public access to information on the obligation of federal funds each year, the report will be helpful in following the progress of the projects in the CLRP and TIP.
The listings of projects and financial data are provided by the transportation implementing agencies in the region, including the District of Columbia Department of Transportation (DDOT), Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA).
While the inclusion of a project in the region’s adopted TIP ensures its eligibility for federal funding, the responsible transportation agency such as DDOT, MDOT, VDOT or WMATA must follow federal-aid financing procedures to obtain the federal funds to implement it. The Federal Highway Administration or Federal Transit Administration first must approve a project and execute a project agreement which “commits” or gives the federal government’s promise to pay for the federal share of a project’s eligible cost. Obligated funds are considered “used” even though no cash is “spent.” Thus, while the projects listed in this report have received federal obligations of funds during the reporting period, work on them may not have begun. Once the agency begins work on a project it applies to the federal funding agency for reimbursement.