The MPO is funded through a federal transportation grant which is administered by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). The federal funding is established through a transportation authorization bill drafted by congress and approved by the president. Since the early 1990’s, five bills have been authorized covering specific time periods.
- 1992 – 1997 Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA)
- 1998 – 2005 Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21)
- 2006 – 2012 Safe Accountable Flexible Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU)
- 2013 – 2015 Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21)
- 2016 – 2020 Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act)
The current transportation bill, the FAST Act, authorizes $305 billion over fiscal years 2016 through 2020 for the Department's highway, highway and motor vehicle safety, public transportation, motor carrier safety, hazardous materials safety, rail, and research, technology and statistics programs.
The FAST Act increases the focus on roadway safety infrastructure and on the safety needs of pedestrians. The act also continues the focus on accelerating project delivery, adds a new freight formula, expands the freight network, and adds a new discretionary program for nationally significant freight and highway projects. This is the first time that Federal funding, approximately $1.2 billion per year, is dedicated to freight projects, including multimodal projects. For more information on the FAST Act, please click here.
Congress is currently drafting a replacement bill for the FAST Act which is currently being called America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA). It is expected that congress will issue extensions to the FAST Act should ATIA not be ready for authorization at the end of 2020.
On November 4, 2014, Texas voters overwhelmingly approved the ballot measure known as Proposition 1 (Prop 1), authorizing a constitutional amendment for transportation funding. Under the amendment, a portion of oil and gas tax revenues that typically go into the Economic Stabilization Fund will be deposited to the State Highway Fund. The amendment did not create any new taxes or fees.
On November 3, 2015, Texans voted on and approved Proposition 7 (Prop. 7), a constitutional amendment to dedicate portions of revenue from the state’s general sales and use tax as well as from the motor vehicle sales and rental tax to the State Highway Fund for non-tolled projects. These funds can only be used to purchase right of way for, and build, maintain, and rehabilitate non-tolled public roads and to pay down certain transportation-related debt.
Once funding is authorized at the state or federal level, it is distributed to each MPO through two formulas. One formula determines how federal funding will be allocated to the states. This formula is established as part of the federal authorization bill. The second formula determines how state and federal funding is distributed to the MPOs within the state. This formula is determined by the Texas Transportation Commission.