The federal highway department announced Tuesday (Oct. 11) it has released $771.3 million in fiscal 2023 funding to Arkansas for infrastructure projects, including roads, bridges and tunnels. The money will come from the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Nationwide, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) sent $59.9 billion in fiscal 2023 funding to states, an increase of $15.4 billion compared to fiscal 2021, which was the last fiscal year before the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law was to be implemented, according to a news release. Fiscal 2023 started Oct. 1.
“America’s roads and bridges are the vital arteries of our transportation system, connecting people and goods across the country,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Because of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, today we are sending historic levels of funding to every state to help modernize the roads and bridges Americans rely on every day.”
Following are the programs the 2023 funding will go toward in Arkansas:
- National Highway Performance Program, $393.07 million
- Surface Transportation Block Grant, $191.22 million
- Highway Safety Improvement Program, $40.48 million
- Railway-Highway Crossings Program, $4.09 million
- Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program, $13.68 million
- Metropolitan Planning, $2.31 million
- National Highway Freight Program, $18.31 million
- Carbon Reduction Program, $17.05 million
- Protect Formula Program, $19.38 million
- National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program, $11.52 million
- Bridge Formula Program, $60.16 million
According to the release, the bridge funding is available to improve the condition of about 675 bridges in poor condition and to preserve and improve about 6,145 bridges in fair condition in the state.
The FHWA distributes infrastructure funding annually based on Congressionally mandated formulas.
“Formula programs give states the flexibility they need to determine how to allocate funds in order to replace deficient bridges, improve safety for all road users, and reduce carbon emissions by improving transportation infrastructure for communities throughout each state,” said Acting Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack. “This funding we are announcing today will allow states to continue the important work of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that will make our infrastructure safer and more efficient for the 10s of millions of American families that count on it to get to school, work and critical medical care every day.”
Asked how the state will use the funding, Dave Parker with the Arkansas Department of Transportation provided the following statement:
“While the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) did increase funding for Arkansas, it is important to note that not all of it is new funding. In federal fiscal year (FFY) 2023, the amount of increased funding is approximately $150 million above the last year of the FAST Act, which was FFY 2021. This amount is combined with the reauthorization of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or FAST Act, which was the previous transportation funding bill. The combination of these two amounts determines how much federal funding Arkansas will receive in FFY 2023.
Additionally, all of our federal funding must be allocated to projects that meet the federal requirements for the category or program of funding as established by Congress. This means we are constrained in how we use all of these funds by the federal guidance for each category or program of funding.
The department has recently published our Draft 2023-2026 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) for public comments which identifies all of the projects that will be constructed with this funding. The 2023-2026 STIP is available from our website, www.ardot.gov.”