Legislation, Reauthorization and Policy


The National Park Service (NPS) Federal Lands Transportation Program (FLTP) is authorized through the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) legislation rather than included in NPS statutes. The Surface Transportation Assistance Act, which was first passed in 1982, provides the principal source of funding for NPS roads and bridges through the Federal Highway Trust Fund. Legislative intent for the Act is reviewed and refreshed through new Trust Fund authorizations, which occur every four to six years, and affect the operational aspects of the FLTP.

The following table indicates past authorizations and average NPS FLTP allocations:

NPS FLTP Funding Allocation Summary
*Annual average funding for the life of the bill
Surface Transportation Assistance Act 1983-91 | 9 Yrs $75 M $ 675 M
ISTEA 1992-97 | 6 Yrs $84 M $ 504 M
TEA-21 1998-2004 | 7 Yrs $158 M $1,105 B
SAFETEA-LU 2005-12 | 8 Yrs $221 M $1,770 B
MAP-21 2013-15 | 3 Yrs $240 M $ 720 M
FAST ACT 2016-20 | 5 Yrs $284 M $1,420 B
$6,194 B

The DOT Federal Lands Transportaton Program Fact Sheet provides the total authorization, the NPS set-aside, the program purpose, statutory citations and other features of the current Surface Transportation Assistance Act


For each reauthorization of the Act, the NPS prepares a Resource Paper that summarizes the overall condition of the NPS transportation system. The document presents several funding options that allow the NPS to continue to improve the condition of the transportation system. Legislative and administrative changes for improving the NPS FLTP are suggested.


The order of precedence in policies is called the "cascade of authority". Higher levels of authority contain broad statements and lower level policies focus on specific tasks or issues. Lower level policies acquire their authority from higher ones and cannot contradict the higher authority. The NPS uses a three-level directives systems. In addition, as the NPS develops transportation policy, it cannot contradict policy set by FHWA.

The NPS Federal Lands Transportation Program relies on Chapter 9, Park Facilities, in NPS Management Policies (2006), a Level 1 directive, as its foundation for giving direction and setting limits for making management decisions.

In October 2016, the NPS Associate Director, Park Planning, Facilities, and Lands issued Interim Policy for Implementing the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act, a Level 3 directive, until more comprehensive policy is developed.

Last updated: June 8, 2018