December Newsletter

TDA staff wish you and your family a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season!
Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Updates
FHWA Releases Federal-Aid Highway Apportionments
On December 14, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) officially notified state departments of transportation of their FY 2022 federal-aid highway apportionments (contract authority) under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). The $52.5 billion is the first of five years’ worth of funding provided by the BIL and represents an increase of 21% over FY 2021.

However, not all this money is available for use now. Currently, the amount that states can obligate via project agreements is limited to $14.1 billion until Congress passes and the president signs a full-year FY 2022 appropriations bill. This amount is a proration of the FY 2021 obligation limitation provided by the current continuing resolution (CR), less set-asides for allocated programs and various penalties. The current CR expires on February 18.

Note, the announcement of apportionments covers programs with Highway Trust Fund contract authority allocated by formula. The BIL also provides more than $6 billion in FY 2022 advance appropriations to be distributed via formula for the new bridge and electric vehicle charging programs.

FHWA Guidance on the Use of BIL Resources
In a policy memo, the FHWA provided guidance to “serve as an overarching framework to prioritize the use of BIL resources.” The policy prioritizes maintaining existing roads and highways and incorporating “safety, accessibility, multimodal, and resilience features.” While the memo says states and other recipients ultimately select the projects, “this policy will inform decision-making.” The FHWA seeks stakeholder input on implementing the Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act.

The FHWA website has a new BIL section, including an overview of highway provisions, funding, technical assistance, fact sheets, and guidance.
FAA Announces First-Year BIL Funding
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently announced the first round of funding $2.89 billion – made available by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) to over 3,000 airports around the nation. This money comes from the Airport Infrastructure Grant Program, providing $15 billion over five years. 

Wisconsin airports were allocated $39.8 million in the first year. See an interactive map and funding for individual airports here.

Airports are to submit proposals to the FAA for review. According to the announcement, “The FAA encourages applicants to prioritize projects that increase airport safety, equity and sustainability.”

This week, the FAA hosted a webinar giving an overview of the BIL and answering questions. 
Federal Transit Administration Webinar Jan. 7
On January 7, Federal Transit Administration (FTA) staff will review programmatic changes authorized under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), including four new programs. They will also cover how FTA will put funding to work to support transit systems across the nation and answer questions.

Webinar Details
Friday, January 7
1 pm Central Time (2 pm EST)

The FTA has also announced its BIL priorities of safety, modernization, climate, and equity and provided more than a dozen fact sheets to explain how the new law supports transit programs.
USDOT Bill Resources
The major USDOT administration websites now have BIL sections with program information:

Other Wisconsin Transportation News
TPC Meets, Revives La Crosse Corridor Project
The Transportation Projects Commission (TPC) met to review Major Highway and Southeast Mega programs and projects earlier this month.

At the meeting, the TPC unanimously voted to approve the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) moving forward with a new study of the La Crosse Corridor Project (USH 53, Wis 35, and Wis 16). This study will focus on existing routes, pavement and structure needs, safety, operational improvements, and bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

The La Crosse project was originally enumerated and studied in 1997. However, the project never moved forward because of local opposition to including a new road through wetlands and existing neighbors.

The TPC is chaired by the governor and includes five state senators, five assembly representatives and three citizen members. The committee reviews, approves, and makes recommendations regarding Major Highway projects.
I-94 East-West Public Involvement Meetings
At the December I-94 East-West public involvement meetings, WisDOT presented two main alternatives for reconstructing the I-94 East-West Corridor between 70th and 16th streets. Both options include modernizing the freeway to current safety and design standards. But one maintains the existing six lanes, and the other adds a lane each way to address congestion and the resulting safety issues.

WisDOT presented almost 50 exhibits to update the public on its Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement work. Key findings include that traffic on the corridor has returned to near pre-pandemic levels, and the cost of the two options – six lanes versus eight – varies by only three to six percent.

The department posted all the materials and exhibits on the project’s website. In addition, WisDOT is requesting feedback by December 31 and has an online portal, making it easy to submit a comment. 
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