Bureau of Local Projects

Understanding Federal Funding

The City and County Five-year Federal Aid Construction Programs are funded by a combination of federal and local funds. The total federal aid portion (generally 80%) comes from five years of estimated federal funding available to the City or County through a federal transportation act.


Authorizations – the federal funding levels as contained in a federal transportation act. The current act is the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users SAFETEA-LU.

Appropriations Act – the annual congressional act that makes authorized funds available in the form of apportionments with specific obligation limitations (i.e., apportionments limited by an obligation limitation equals obligation authority).

Obligation Authority – the limited (by the appropriations act) funds available for projects.

The Concept

The concept of Federal Funding assistance for surface transportation facilities derives from the need to meet the ever-increasing demand of the traveling public for safe, smooth roads. Also, the traveling public expects the road appearance, signing, pavement marking, safety features, etc., to be the same wherever they go. To meet this demand across a country of diverse state and local economies, a federal program to assist in this effort is in place.

How It Works

  • The City and County Federal Funding assistance for their surface transportation system is developed as follows.
    1. Federal Transportation Act
    1. SAFETEA-LU is the present federal act that legislates funding for the County’s federal aid assistance for their roads and bridges. It went into effect beginning October 1, 2005 and extends to September 30, 2009.

    2. SAFETEA-LU funding provisions:

    1. Provides for the Surface Transportation Program (STP), which is funding for improvements to the County’s federal aid routes functionally classified as either major or minor collectors. Every county has received a functional classification map from KDOT which shows these federal aid routes. Please note that the County’s federal aid routes extend through cities of less than 5,000 population and are the County’s responsibility unless an agreement with the city indicates otherwise.

    2. Provides for the Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Program (BR) which is funding for deficient bridges on any road in the County. See Section Five entitled "Bridge Inspection Program" for the definition of a deficient bridge. The sufficiency rating (SF) of a bridge shall be below 50 to qualify for replacement and below 80 to qualify for rehabilitation, except if it can be shown that it is more expensive to rehabilitate a bridge than replace it. A bridge could be replaced if the SF is between 80 and 50.

    3. Provides for other programs available to Counties (see Five-Year Program Development).

    1. Funding Levels

    1. SAFETEA-LU authorized $244.1 billion for FFY 2005-2009.

    2. Compared to ISTEA – average yearly obligation authority for counties during ISTEA was $18 million.

    1. Distribution

    1. STP – funding category originally offered in TEA-21 and continues in SAFETEA-LU. STP funding in the form of obligation authority (OA) is distributed to each county by the same percentage as the county receives Special City and County Highway Fund distributions.

    2. BRBR funding in the form of OA is distributed to each county by the percentage of square feet (deck area) of deficient bridges the county has to the total square feet of deficient bridges in all the counties. This BR OA is combined with the distributed STP OA as an estimated yearly amount that the County may use to fund the projects on their approved five-year plan at an 80% federal, 20% local prorata.

People to Contact about Funding