Glossary Close


Actual Vehicle Miles/Hours: The miles/hours a vehicle travels while in revenue service (actual vehicle revenue miles/hours) plus deadhead miles/hours. For rail vehicles, vehicle miles/hours refer to passenger car miles/hours. Actual vehicle miles/hours exclude miles and hours for charter services, school bus service, operator training and maintenance testing.

Administrative Costs/Charges: Additional costs incurred in processing and handling a debt because it has become delinquent. Costs should be based on actual costs incurred or cost analyses which estimate the average of actual additional costs incurred for particular types of debt at similar stages of delinquency. Administrative costs should be accrued and assessed from the date of delinquency.

Administrative Offset: Withholding money payable by the federal government to a person or held by the government for a person or entity in order to satisfy a debt that the person or entity owes the government.

Advance Construction: States or local governments independently raise upfront capital required for a federally approved project and preserve eligibility for future federal-aid reimbursement for that project. At a later date, the state can obligate federal-aid highway funds for reimbursement of the federal share. This tool allows states to take advantage of access to a variety of capital sources, including its own funds, local funds, anticipation notes, revenue bonds, bank loans, etc., to speed project completion.

Allocation: An administrative distribution of funds for programs that do not have statutory distribution formulas.

Allowance For Depreciation: Asset valuation account which includes the balance of the offsetting credit to be capitalized asset value-to represent the loss and deterioration in value of the asset over time, so that the asset is amortized over its useful life, and provisions are made for replacement of the asset at the end of its productive life.

Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA): The legislation defining the responsibilities of and requirements for transportation providers to make transportation accessible to individuals with disabilities.

Amortization: Provision made in advance for the gradual reduction of an amount owed over time.

Amtrak: Operated by the National Railroad Passenger Corporation of Washington, DC. This rail system was created by President Nixon in 1970, and was given the responsibility for the operation of intercity, as distinct from suburban, passenger trains between points designated by the Secretary of Transportation.

Apportionment: The distribution of funds as prescribed by a statutory formula.

Appropriated Budget Authority (ABA): A form of Budget Authority that requires both an authorization act and an appropriations act before any funds can be obligated.

Appropriations Act: Action of a legislative body that makes funds available for expenditure with specific limitations as to amount, purpose, and duration. In most cases, it permits money previously authorized to be obligated and payments made, but for the highway program operating under contract authority, the appropriations act specifies amounts of funds that Congress will make available for the fiscal year to liquidate obligations.

Appraisal: Formal valuation of property, made by a competent authority.

Asphalt: A dark-brown-to-black cement-like material containing bitumens as the predominant constituents obtained by petroleum processing. The definition includes crude asphalt as well as the following finished products: cements, fluxes, the asphalt content of emulsions (exclusive of water), and petroleum distillates blended with asphalt to make cutback asphalts.

Asset: Any item of economic value, either physical in nature (such as land) or a right to ownership, expressed in cost or some other value, which an individual or entity owns.

Asset Management: Asset management is a business process and a decision-making framework that covers an extended time horizon, draws from economics as well as engineering, and considers a broad range of assets. The asset management approach incorporates the economic assessment of trade-offs among alternative investment options and uses this information to help make cost-effective investment decisions.

Automobile: (also Bus, Car, Minivan, Motor Vehicle, Taxi, Vehicle) Any 4-wheeled vehicle propelled by fuel which is manufactured primarily for use on public streets, roads, and highways (except any vehicle operated exclusively on a rail or rails), and that either 1) Is rated at 6,000 pounds gross vehicle weight or less; or 2) Which a) is rated more than 6,000 pound gross vehicle weight, but less than 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight; b) is a type of vehicle for which the [National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)] Administrator determines, under paragraph b) of 49 CFR 523, average fuel economy standards are feasible; and c) is a type of vehicle for which the Administrator determines, under paragraph b) of 49 CFR 523, average fuel economy standards will result in significant energy conservation, or is a type of vehicle which the Administrator determines, under paragraph b) of 49 CFR 523, is substantially used for the same purposes as vehicles described in 1) above.

Authorization Act: Basic substantive legislation that establishes or continues Federal programs or agencies and establishes an upper limit on the amount of funds for the program(s). The current authorization act for surface transportation programs is the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21).

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Barge: A non-motorized water vessel. usually flat-bottomed and towed or pushed by other craft, used for transporting freight.; Shallow, nonself-propelled vessels used to carry bulk commodities on the rivers and the Great Lakes.

Bicycle: A vehicle having two tandem wheels, propelled solely by human power, upon which any person or persons may ride.

Book Value: Net amount at which an asset or liability is carried on the books of account (also referred to as carrying value or amount). It equals the gross nominal amount of any asset or liability minus any allowance or valuation amount.

Bridge: A structure including supports erected over a depression or an obstruction, such as water, highway, or railway, and having a track or passageway for carrying traffic or other moving loads, and having an opening measured along the center of the roadway of more than 20 feet between undercopings of abutments or spring lines of arches, or extreme ends of openings for multiple boxes; it may also include multiple pipes, where the clear distance between openings is less than half of the smaller contiguous opening.

Build/Operate/Transfer: Public-private partnership arrangement involving private construction, private operation for given period of time, and eventual transfer to public ownership.

Budget Authority: Empowerment by Congress that allows Federal agencies to incur obligations that will result in the outlay of funds. This empowerment is generally in the form of appropriations. However, for most of the highway programs, it is in the form of contract authority.

Budget Resolution: A concurrent resolution passed by Congress presenting the Congressional Budget for each of the succeeding 5 years. A concurrent resolution does not require the signature of the President.

Bus: Any of several types of self-propelled vehicles, generally rubber-tired, intended for use on city streets, highways, and busways, including but not limited to minibuses, forty and thirty-foot buses, articulated buses, double-deck buses, and electrically powered trolley buses, used by public entities to provide designated public transportation service and by private entities to provide transportation service including, but not limited to, specified public transportation services. Self-propelled, rubber-tired vehicles designed to look like antique or vintage trolleys are considered buses.

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Capitalization: Process of depositing various funds as seed capital into a lending institution to enable financial services. This pool of money is distributed, through loans and credit enhancements, in such a way to ensure that payments are made back to preserve the corpus.

Commute: Regular travel between home and a fixed location (e.g., work, school).

Commuter Rail Transportation: Short-haul rail passenger service operating in metropolitan and suburban areas, whether within or across the geographical boundaries of a state, usually characterized by reduced fare, multiple ride, and commutation tickets and by morning and evening peak period operations. This term does not include light or rapid rail transportation.

Constant Dollars: A dollar value adjusted for charges in the average price level. A constant dollar is derived by dividing a current dollar amount by a price index. The resulting constant dollar value is that which would exist if prices had remained at the same average level as in the base period.

Container: A large standard size metal box into which cargo is packed for shipment aboard specially configured oceangoing containerships and designed to be moved with common handling equipment enabling high-speed intermodal transfers in economically large units between ships, railcars, truck chassis, and barges using a minimum of labor. The container, therefore, serves as the transfer unit rather than the cargo contained therein.

Contingencies: Existing conditions, situations, or circumstances which involve uncertainty and which could result in gains or losses. For example, guaranteed loans represent contingent liabilities which, in the event of default by the borrowers, the federal government would be liable to cover the losses of the guarantors, and thereby sustain the loss itself.

Contract Authority (CA): A form of Budget Authority that permits obligations to be made in advance of appropriations. Most of the programs under the Federal-Aid Highway Program operate under Contract Authority.

Cooperative Agreement: Written consent between two parties to define the basic structure and purpose of a financial transaction, including the roles the parties involved and the way in which funds will be administered.

Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards: CAFE standards were originally established by Congress for new automobiles, and later for light trucks, in Title V of the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act (15 U.S.C. 1901, et seq.) with subsequent amendments. Under CAFE, automobile manufacturers are required by law to produce vehicle fleets with a composite sales-weighted fuel economy which cannot be lower than the CAFE standards in a given year, or for every vehicle which does not meet the standard, a fine of $5.00 is paid for every one-tenth of a mpg below the standard.

Current Dollars: The dollar value of a good or service in terms of prices current at the time the good or service is sold. This contrasts with the value of the good or service measured in constant dollars.

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Department of Transportation (DOT): Establishes the nation's overall transportation policy. Under its umbrella there are ten administrations whose jurisdictions include highway planning, development and construction; urban mass transit; railroads; aviation; and the safety of waterways, ports, highways, and oil and gas pipelines. The Department of Transportation (DOT) was established by act of October 15, 1966, as amended (49 U.S.C. 102 and 102 note), "to assure the coordinated, effective administration of the transportation programs of the Federal Government" and to develop "national transportation policies and programs conducive to the provision of fast, safe, efficient, and convenient transportation at the lowest cost consistent therewith."

Deregulation: Revisions or complete elimination of economic regulations controlling transportation. For example, the Motor Carrier Act of 1980 and the Staggers Act of 1980 revised the economic controls over motor carriers and railroads.

Dock: (also Marina, Pier, Wharf) For ships, a cargo handling area parallel to the shoreline; for land transportation, a loading or unloading platform at an industrial location or carrier terminal.

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Emission Standards: Standards for the levels of pollutants emitted from automobiles and trucks. Congress established the first standards in the Clean Air Act of 1963. Currently, standards are set for four vehicle classes - automobiles, light trucks, heavy duty gasoline trucks, and heavy-duty diesel trucks.

Expenditures: (See "Outlays")

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Federal-aid Highway Program (FAHP): An umbrella term for most of the Federal programs providing highway funds to the States. This is not a term defined in law. FAHP is comprised of those programs authorized in Titles I and V of TEA-21 that are administered by FHWA.

Federal Highway Administration (FHWA): Became a component of the Department of Transportation in 1967 pursuant to the Department of Transportation Act (49 U.S.C. app. 1651 note). It administers the highway transportation programs of the Department of Transportation under pertinent legislation and the provisions of law cited in section 6a) of the act (49 U.S.C. 104) The Administration encompasses highway transportation in its broadest scope seeking to coordinate highways with other modes of transportation to achieve the most effective balance of transportation systems and facilities under cohesive Federal transportation policies pursuant to the act. The Administration administers the Federal-Aid Highway Program; is responsible for several highway-related safety programs; is authorized to establish and maintain a National Network for trucks; administers a coordinated Federal lands program; coordinates varied research, development and technology transfer activities; supports and participates in efforts to find research and technology abroad; plus a few additional programs.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA): Established as a separate administration within the U.S. Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000, pursuant to the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999, FMCSA’s mission is to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses. FMCSA is headquartered in Washington.

Federal Railroad Administration (FRA): The purpose of the Federal Railroad Administration is to promulgate and enforce rail safety regulations, administer railroad financial assistance programs, conduct research and development in support of improved railroad safety and national rail transportation policy, provide for the rehabilitation of Northeast corridor rail passenger service, and consolidate government support of rail transportation activities. The FRA was created pursuant to section 3(e)(1) of the Department of Transportation Act of 1966 (49 U.S.C. app. 1652).

Federal Transit Administration (FTA): (Formerly the Urban Mass Transportation Administration) operates under the authority of the Federal Transit Act, as amended (49 U.S.C. app. 1601 et seq.). The Federal Transit Act was repealed on July 5, 1994, and the Federal transit laws were codified and re-enacted as chapter 53 of Title 49, United States Code. The Federal Transit Administration was established as a component of the Department of Transportation by section 3 of Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1968 (5 U.S.C. app.), effective July 1, 1968. The missions of the Administration are 1) to assist in the development of improved mass transportation facilities, equipment, techniques, and methods, with the cooperation of mass transportation companies both public and private. 2) to encourage the planning and establishment of areawide urban mass transportation systems needed for economical and desirable urban development, with the cooperation of mass transportation companies both public and private. and 3) to provide assistance to State and local governments and their instrumentalities in financing such systems, to be operated by public or private mass transportation companies as determined by local needs; and 4) to provide financial assistance to State and local governments to help implement national goals relating to mobility for elderly persons, persons with disabilities, and economically disadvantaged persons.

Ferry Vessel: A vessel which is limited in its use to the carriage of deck passengers or vehicles or both, operates on a short run on a frequent schedule between two points over the most direct water route, other than in ocean or coastwise service, and is offered as a public service of a type normally attributed to a bridge or tunnel.

Firewall: A budgetary device separating certain Federal spending within the discretionary spending category from other spending in the discretionary category. Spending for programs with firewalls may not be reduced in order to increase spending for other discretionary programs. The TEA-21 establishes, for fiscal years 1999-2003, a firewall to protect highway and highway safety spending and a firewall to protect transit spending.

Fiscal Year (FY): The accounting period for the budget. The Federal fiscal year is from October 1 until September 30. The fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends. For example, FY 1999 runs from October 1, 1998 until September 30, 1999.

Fuel Tax: A fuel tax is a sales tax imposed on the sale of fuel. In the United States, funds are often dedicated to roads, so that the fuel tax is considered by many a user fee. In other countries, the fuel tax is a source of general revenue. In the United States, the federal fuel tax is currently 18.4 cents per gallon.

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Gasohol: (also Ethanol) A blend of finished motor gasoline (leaded or unleaded) and alcohol (generally ethanol but sometimes methanol) limited to 10 percent by volume of alcohol. Gasohol is included in finished leaded and unleaded motor gasoline.

Geographical Information System (GIS): A system of hardware, software, and data for collecting, storing, analyzing, and disseminating information about areas of the Earth. For Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS) purposes, Geographical Information System (GIS) is defined as a highway network (spatial data which graphically represents the geometry of the highways, an electronic map) and its geographically referenced component attributes (HPMS section data, bridge data, and other data including socioeconomic data) that are integrated through GIS technology to perform analyses. From this, GIS can display attributes and analyze results electronically in map form.

Global Positioning System (GPS): A space base radio positioning, navigation, and time transfer system being developed by the Department of Defense. When fully deployed, the system is intended to provide highly accurate position and velocity information, and precise time, on a continuous global basis, to an unlimited number of properly equipped users. The system will be unaffected by weather, and will provide a worldwide common grid reference system. The Global Positioning System (GPS) concept is predicated upon accurate and continuous knowledge of the spatial position of each satellite in the system with respect to time and distance from a transmitting satellite to the user. The GPS receiver automatically selects appropriate signals from the satellites in view and translates these into a three-dimensional position, velocity, and time. Predictable system accuracy for civil users is projected to be 100 meters horizontally. Performance standards and certification criteria have not yet been established.

Grants: A federal financial assistance award making payment in cash or in kind for a specified purpose. The federal government is not expected to have substantial involvement with the state or local government or other recipient while the contemplated activity is being performed. The term "grants-in-aid" is commonly restricted to grants to states and local governments.

Guaranteed Funding: Highway, highway safety, and transit spending protected by firewalls, plus highway funds that are classified as mandatory spending, i.e., exempt from the obligation limitation.

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Harbor: An area of water where ships, planes, or other watercraft can anchor or dock.

Hazardous Material (HAZMAT): (also Highly Volatile Liquid, Marine Pollutant) A substance or material which has been determined by the Secretary of Transportation to be capable of posing an unreasonable risk to health, safety, and property when transported in commerce, and which has been so designated. The term includes hazardous substances, hazardous wastes, marine pollutants, and elevated temperature materials as defined in this section, materials designated as hazardous under the provisions of 49 CFR 172.101 and 172.102, and materials that meet the defining criteria for hazard classes and divisions in 49 CFR 173.

High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lane: Exclusive road or traffic lane limited to buses, vanpools, carpools, and emergency vehicles.

High Speed Rail: A rail service having the characteristics of intercity rail service which operates primarily on a dedicated guideway or track not used, for the most part, by freight, including, but not limited to, trains on welded rail, magnetically levitated (MAGLEV) vehicles on a special guideway, or other advanced technology vehicles, designed to travel at speeds of 124 miles per hour and greater.

Highway: Is any road, street, parkway, or freeway/expressway that includes rights-of-way, bridges, railroad-highway crossings, tunnels, drainage structures, signs, guardrail, and protective structures in connection with highways. The highway further includes that portion of any interstate or international bridge or tunnel and the approaches thereto (23 U.S.C. 101a).

Highway-Rail Crossing: (also At Grade, Grade Crossings) A location where one or more railroad tracks intersect a public or private thoroughfare, a sidewalk, or a pathway.

Highway Trust Fund (HTF): An account established by law to hold Federal highway-user taxes that are dedicated for highway and transit related purposes. The HTF has two accounts: the Highway Account, and the Mass Transit Account.

Highway User Fee or Tax: A charge levied on persons or organizations based on the use of public roads. Funds collected are usually applied toward highway construction, reconstruction and maintenance. Examples include vehicle registration fees, fuel taxes, and weight-distance taxes.

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Innovative Finance: Though broadly defined as a combination of special funding initiatives, in the transportation industry the term “innovative finance” has become synonymous with techniques that are specifically designed to supplement the traditional methods used to finance highways.

Intermodalism: A concept that involves more than one mode of transportation. For passengers, intermodalism means connecting transportation systems (such as highways, railroads, public transit, bicycling paths, aviation and water facilities) to improve mobility and expand freedom of choice for travelers. Freight intermodalism involves linking goods from origin to destination along different networks.

Intermodal terminal: A location where links between different transportation modes and networks connect. Using more than one mode of transportation in moving persons and goods. For example, a shipment moved over 1000 miles could travel by truck for one portion of the trip, and then transfer to rail at a designated terminal.

Interstate Highway System: This system is part of the Federal Aid Primary system. It is a system of freeways connecting and serving the principal cities of the continental United States.

ISTEA: Formally known as the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (Public Law 102-240), this legislation authorized most federal surface transportation spending from Fiscal Year 1992 through Fiscal Year 1997. It represented a major change to transportation planning and policy. Among its provisions, ISTEA promoted intermodalism and collaborative planning requirements, giving significant additional powers to metropolitan planning organizations. It was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush on December 18, 1991.

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Just In Time: In this method of inventory control, warehousing is minimal or non-existent; the container is the movable warehouse and must arrive "just in time", that is not too early nor too late.

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There are no "K" terms at this time.

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Lease: Acquisition of a vehicle by an agency from a commercial firm, in lieu of government ownership, for a period of 60 continuous days or more.

Level of Service: 1) A set of characteristics that indicate the quality and quantity of transportation service provided, including characteristics that are quantifiable and those that are difficult to quantify. 2) For highway systems, a qualitative rating of the effectiveness of a highway or highway facility in serving traffic, in terms of operating conditions. 3) For paratransit, a variety of measures meant to denote the quality of service provided, generally in terms of total travel time or a specific component of total travel time. 4) For pedestrians, sets of area occupancy classifications to connect the design of pedestrian facilities with levels of service.

Leverage: A financial mechanism used to increase available funds usually by issuing debt (typically bonds) or by guaranteeing or otherwise assuming liability for others' debt in an amount greater than cash balances.

Light Rail: Lightweight passenger rail cars operating singly (or in short, usually two-car, trains) on fixed rails in right-of-way that is not separated from other traffic for much of the way. Light rail vehicles are driven electrically with power being drawn from an overhead electric line via a trolley or a pantograph.

Loan Guarantee: Contingent liability created when the federal government assures a private lender who has made a commitment to disburse funds to a borrower that the lender will be repaid to the extent of a guarantee in the event of default by the debtor.

Longer Combination Vehicles (LCV): Any combination of truck tractor and two or more trailers or semitrailers that operates on the Interstate System at a gross vehicle weight greater than 80,000 pounds.

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Mandatory Spending: Outlays generally not controllable through the congressional appropriation process. Mandatory amounts are budget authority or outlays that cannot be increased or decreased in a given year without a change in substantive law. Entitlement programs (e.g., food stamps, Medicare, veterans' pensions) are chief examples of mandatory programs, whereby Congress controls spending indirectly, by defining eligibility and setting benefit payment rules, rather than directly through the appropriation process. With regard to the federal-aid highway program, mandatory spending refers to outlays resulting from obligations of contract authority programs not subject to annual obligation limitations, such as Minimum Allocation, Emergency Relief, and Demonstration Project spending.

Marine Cargo Handling: Establishments primarily engaged in activities directly related to marine cargo handling from the time cargo, for or from a vessel, arrives at shipside, dock, pier, terminal, staging area, or in-transit area until cargo loading or unloading operations are completed. Included in this industry are establishments primarily engaged in the transfer of cargo between ship and barges, trucks, trains, pipelines, and wharfs. Cargo handling operations carried on by transportation companies and separately reported are classified here. This industry includes the operation and maintenance of piers, docks, and associated buildings and facilities.

Maritime Administration (MARAD): The Maritime Administration was established by Reorganization Plan No. 21 of 1950 (5 U.S.C. app.) effective May 24, 1950. The Maritime Act of 1981 (46 U.S.C. 1601) transferred the Maritime Administration to the Department of Transportation, effective August 6, 1981. The Administration administers programs to aid in the development, promotion, and operation of the U.S. Merchant Marine. It is also charged with organizing and directing emergency merchant ship operations. It administers subsidy programs, provides financing guarantees for the construction, reconstruction, and reconditioning of ships; and enters into capital construction fund agreements that grant tax deferrals on moneys to be used for the acquisition, construction, or reconstruction of ships. The Administration constructs or supervises the construction of merchant type ships for the Federal Government, helps industry generate increased business for U.S. ships and conducts programs to develop ports, facilities, and intermodal transport, and to promote domestic shipping. The Administration conducts program and technical studies and administers a War Risk Insurance Program, and under emergency conditions the Maritime Administration charters Government-owned ships to U.S. operators, requisitions or procures ships owned by U.S. citizens, and allocates them to meet defense needs. It maintains a National Defense Reserve Fleet of Government-owned ships, regulates sales to aliens and transfers to foreign registry of ships that are fully or partially owned by U.S. citizens.

Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO): Formed in cooperation with the state, develops transportation plans and programs for the metropolitan area. For each urbanized area, a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) must be designated by agreement between the Governor and local units of government representing 75% of the affected population (in the metropolitan area), including the central cities or cities as defined by the Bureau of the Census, or in accordance with procedures established by applicable State or local law (23 U.S.C. 134(b)(1)/Federal Transit Act of 1991 Sec. 8(b)(1)).

Motor Carrier: 1) A for-hire motor carrier or a private motor carrier of property. The term "motor carrier" includes a motor carrier's agents, officers and representatives as well as employees responsible for hiring, supervising, training, assigning, or dispatching of drivers and employees concerned with the installation, inspection, and maintenance of motor vehicle equipment and/or accessories. 2) An employer firm that is primarily engaged in providing commercial motor freight or long distance trucking or transfer services.

Motorcycle: All two or three wheeled motorized vehicles. Typical vehicles in this category have saddle type seats and are steered by handle bars rather than a wheel. This category includes motorcycles, motor scooters, mopeds, motor powered bicycles, and three wheeled motorcycles.

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National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA): The Administration was established by the Highway Safety Act of 1970 (23 U.S.C. 401 note). The Administration was established to carry out a congressional mandate to reduce the mounting number of deaths, injuries, and economic losses resulting from motor vehicle crashes on the Nation's highways and to provide motor vehicle damage susceptibility and ease of repair information, motor vehicle inspection demonstrations and protection of purchasers of motor vehicles having altered odometers, and to provide average standards for greater vehicle mileage per gallon of fuel for vehicles under 10,000 pounds (gross vehicle weight).

National Inland Waterways Transport: Inland waterways transport between two places (a place of IWT loading/embarkment and a place of unloading/disembarking) located in the same country irrespective of the country in which the IWT vessel is registered. It may involve transit through a second country.

National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA): The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) established a national environmental policy intentionally focused on Federal activities and the desire for a sustainable environment balanced with other essential needs of present and future generations of Americans.

NEPA established a supplemental mandate for Federal agencies to consider the potential environmental consequences of their proposals, document the analysis, and make this information available to the public for comment prior to implementation. The environmental protection policy established in NEPA, Section 101, is supported by a set of "action forcing" provisions in Section 102 that form the basic framework for Federal decision making and the NEPA process.

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Obligational Authority (OA): The total amount of funds that may be obligated in a year. For the Federal-aid Highway Program this is comprised of the obligation limitation amount plus amounts for programs exempt from the limitation.

Obligation Ceiling: Identical to obligation limitation.

Obligation Limitation: A restriction, or "ceiling" on the amount of Federal assistance that may be promised (obligated) during a specified time period. This is a statutory budgetary control that does not affect the apportionment or allocation of funds. Rather, it controls the rate at which these funds may be used.

Obligation: The Federal government’s legal commitment (promise) to pay or reimburse the States or other entities for the Federal share of a project’s eligible costs.

Outlays: Actual cash (or electronic transfer) payments made to the States or other entities. Outlays are provided as reimbursement for the Federal share for approved highway program activities.

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Penalty: An action taken by Federal agencies when the grant recipient does not comply with provisions of the law. For the highway program the imposition of penalties, which are defined in law, may prevent a State from using or receiving its full apportionment or may force a transfer from one program to another.

President’s Budget: A document submitted annually (due by the first Monday in February) by the President to Congress. It sets forth the Administration’s recommendations for the Federal budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Public Transportation: Transportation by bus, rail, or other conveyance, either publicly or privately owned, which provides to the public general or special service on a regular and continuing basis. Also known as "mass transit" and "transit."

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There are no "Q" terms at this time.

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Railroad: All forms of non-highway ground transportation that run on rails or electro-magnetic guideways, including; 1) Commuter or other short-haul rail passenger service in a metropolitan or suburban area, and 2) High speed ground transportation systems that connect metropolitan areas, without regard to whether they use new technologies not associated with traditional railroads. Such term does not include rapid transit operations within an urban area that are not connected to the general railroad system of transportation.

Revenue Aligned Budget Authority (RABA): The adjustment in funding made annually to the highway program, beginning in FY 2000, as a result of the adjustment in the firewall level for highways. The firewall level is adjusted to reflect revised receipt estimates for the Highway Account of the Highway Trust Fund. Then, adjustments—equal to the firewall adjustment—are made to Federal-aid highway authorizations and obligation limitation for the fiscal year.

Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA): The Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) coordinates the U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) research programs and is charged with advancing the deployment of cross-cutting technologies to improve our Nation’s transportation system. RITA leads DOT in: 1) Coordinating, facilitating and reviewing the Department’s research and development programs and activities; 2) Advancing innovative technologies, including intelligent transportation systems; 3) Performing comprehensive transportation statistics research, analysis and reporting; and 4) Providing education and training in transportation and transportation-related fields.

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SAFETEA-LU: Formally known as the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (Public Law 109-59), this legislation authorizes most federal surface transportation spending through for Fiscal Year 2005 through Fiscal Year 2009. It was signed into law by President George W. Bush on August 10, 2005.

Short-sea Shipping: Also known as coastal or coastwise shipping, describes marine shipping operations between ports along a single coast or involving a short sea crossing.

State: As defined in chapter 1 of Title 23 of the United States Code, any of the 50 States, comprising the United States, plus the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. However, for some purposes (e.g., highway safety programs under 23 U.S.C. 402), the term may also include the Territories (the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands) and the Secretary of the Interior (for Indian Reservations). For the purposes of apportioning funds under sections 104, 105, 144, and 206 of Title 23, United States Code, the term "State" is defined by section 1103(n) of the TEA-21 to mean any of the 50 States and the District of Columbia.

State Infrastructure Bank: A state or multi-state revolving fund that provides loans, credit enhancement, and other forms of financial assistance to surface transportation projects.

Strategic Highway Network (STRAHNET): A network of highways which are important to the United States' strategic defense policy and which provide defense access, continuity, and emergency capabilities for defense purposes.

Strategic Rail Corridor Network (STRACNET): An interconnected and continuous rail line network consisting of over 38,000 miles of track serving over 170 defense installations.

Subway: 1) That portion of a transportation system that is constructed beneath the ground surface, regardless of its method of construction. 2) An underground rail rapid transit system or the tunnel through which it runs. 3) In local usage, sometimes used for the entire rail rapid transit system, even if it is not all beneath the ground surface. 4) A pedestrian underpass.

Surface Transportation: The transportation sector consisting of private and public vehicles that move people and commodities, including automobiles, trucks, buses, motorcycles, and railroads.

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TEA-21: Formally known as the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (Public Law 105-178), this legislation authorized most federal surface transportation spending from Fiscal Year 1998 through Fiscal Year 2003. It was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on June 9, 1998.

TIFIA Credit Program: As part of its 1998 enactment of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA 21), Congress established a Federal credit program for large transportation projects. Sections 1501 to 1504 of TEA 21, collectively the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 1998 (TIFIA), authorize the Department of Transportation (DOT) to provide three forms of credit assistance - secured (direct) loans, loan guarantees and standby lines of credit - to surface transportation projects of national or regional significance. A specific goal of TIFIA is to leverage private co-investment. Because the program offers credit assistance, rather than grant funding, potential projects must be capable of generating revenue streams via user charges or other dedicated funding sources. In general, a project's eligible costs must be reasonably anticipated to total at least $100 million. Credit assistance is available to highway, transit, passenger rail and multi-modal projects. Other types of eligible projects include intercity passenger rail or bus projects, publicly owned intermodal facilities on or adjacent to the National Highway System, projects that provide ground access to airports or seaports, and surface transportation projects principally involving the installation of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), for which the cost threshold is $30 million. The TIFIA credit assistance is limited to 33 percent of eligible project costs.

Truck: A motor vehicle designed to carry an entire load. It may consist of a chassis and body; a chassis, cab and body; or it may be of integral construction so that the body and chassis form a single unit.

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There are no "U" terms at this time.

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Vehicle Mile of Travel (VMT): A unit to measure vehicle travel made by a private vehicle, such as an automobile, van, pickup truck, or motorcycle. Each mile traveled is counted as one vehicle mile regardless of the number of persons in the vehicle.

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There are no "W" terms at this time.

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There are no "X" terms at this time.

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There are no "Y" terms at this time.

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There are no "Z" terms at this time.

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