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Click on an indicator to see county transportation information at the state level.


Hover over an indicator for its definition.


Click on a state for an individualized PDF profile on the role of counties in transportation (roads and bridges) in a specific state.


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for key terms used in the study.


The interactive provides individualized PDF profiles for 43 states where counties have authority over roads and/or bridges. Counties in four states (Delaware, North Carolina, Vermont and West Virginia) do not have authority over both roads and bridges. New Hampshire counties do not own roads and only one county (Belknap County) owns a bridge. Connecticut and Rhode Island do not have county governments and are not included in the study. They are marked in gray on the map.

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Transportation refers only to public roads and bridges for the purpose of this study. This report does not analyze funding and financing for county transit, air, rail or water transportation systems as these transportation assets often have different ownership and funding structures than roads and bridges.

Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) is the current federal surface transportation statute that was signed into law July 2012 and is set to expire September 30, 2014. The law authorizes the federal surface transportation programs at about $105 billion for both fiscal years (FY) 2013 and 2014.

The enhanced National Highway System (NHS) was created under MAP-21 and includes the Interstate System, all principal arterials (including some not previously designated as part of the NHS) and border crossings on those routes, highways that provide motor vehicle access between the NHS and major intermodal transportation facilities, the network of highways important to U.S. strategic defense and its connectors to major military installations.

Federal-aid highway system includes public roads functionally classified as rural and urban principal arterials, rural and urban minor arterials, all urban collectors and rural major collectors. It included the National Highway System and other federal-aid highways not on the NHS.

On-System bridges are located on a public road part of the federal-aid highway system.

Off-System bridges are located on a public road that is not a part of the federal-aid highway system. Most county owned bridges are off-system.

National Highway Performance Program (NHPP) is one of the core formula programs introduced in MAP-21 to support maintenance and construction of approximately 220,000 roadway miles part of the enhanced National Highway System (NHS) established by MAP-21. The program is authorized at about $21.8 billion annually for FY 2013 and 2014.

Surface Transportation Program (STP) is one of the core formula programs continued under MAP-21 that can be used by states and localities for projects on any federal-aid highway, any public road bridge projects, facilities for nonmotorized transportation, transit capital projects and public bus terminals and facilities. Half of STP funds a state receives must be distributed to areas based on population. Also an amount equal to 15 percent of the state’s FY2009 Highway Bridge Program apportionment must be dedicated to bridges not on the federal-aid highway system (off-system bridges). The program is authorized at about $10 billion annually for FY 2013 and 2014 with approximately $700 million a year dedicated to off-system bridges.

Structurally deficient bridges cannot carry high loads as a result of poor condition of some structural components of the bridge. Structurally deficient bridges are not unsafe and often remain open to traffic, with weight limitations that restrict the gross weight of vehicles travelling on the bridge to reduce further deterioration. They require significant maintenance and repair, and eventually need major rehabilitation or replacement to address deficiency.

Highway user revenues (HURs) are revenues generated by motor fuel taxes, vehicle registration and license fees, tolls and wheel taxes. They are usually collected to fund highway and bridge improvements, but in some states can be used for mass transit or non-highway purposes.

Motor fuel taxes are excise taxes imposed on the sale of motor fuels (gasoline, diesel and others). The gas tax can be imposed at a fixed rate per gallon (cents per gallon) or as a variable rate tax that is tied to inflation, often as a percentage of the price of gasoline. Fixed rate gas taxes are not tied to inflation and are only changed when lawmakers vote to change them.

Wheel Taxes are fees based on the number of wheels of the vehicle, usually as a fixed amount per wheel, collected at the time of vehicle registration renewals.

Local option gas tax is a tax collected by a local government on the sale of gasoline within their jurisdiction, if the local government is granted the authority by the state. The revenues from this tax are used for transportation purposes. Besides state authority, the local government needs a local law or voter approval to implement the local option gas tax. To be considered a local option gas tax in this study, the tax must be implemented and collected by a county; statewide and state collected gas taxes are considered state gas taxes.

Local option sales tax is a tax collected by a local government on the sale of any taxable goods within its jurisdiction, if the local government is granted the authority by the state. Besides state authority, the local government needs a local law or voter approval to implement the local option sales tax. To be considered a local option sales tax in this study, the tax must be implemented and collected by a county and used for transportation or for general purposes, including transportation. A local option sales tax differs from a local option gas tax through the tax base; the local gas tax only applies to the sale of gasoline, whereas a local option sales tax applies to the sale of any taxable goods within the county.

General funds are all funds that a government can use for any governmental purpose. In terms of county general funds, they often consist of broadly collected taxes such as property taxes, sales taxes, income taxes, charges and fees and state shared taxes that are not designated for a specific purpose

Land Value Capture mechanisms are a type of public financing used by local governments where increases in land values generated by transportation investments are “captured” to repay the cost of the public investment. Types of land value capture mechanisms include Tax Increment Financing, special assessments and development impact fees.

Impact fees are levied by counties and other public entities on a new or proposed land development project, with the goal of funding capital improvements required by that development.

Tax increment financing (TIF) is a financing method used for current infrastructure improvements using future gains in tax revenues expected from the infrastructure improvements in the tax incremental districts (TID) established under the TIF.

Public Private Partnerships (PPPs or P3s) are a financing arrangement that establishes a contractual agreement between a public agency and a private sector entity to collaborate on a transportation project. The format of the agreement can vary from the private party doing only the design and construction of the project to assuming financial and operational responsibilities. This is a financing method that requires a funding source for the project to reimburse the private party for its contractual obligations.

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Interactive by Nicholas Lyell
MAP-21 Profiles designed by Emily Star

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Notes: Transportation refers only to public roads and bridges for the purpose of this study. This report does not analyze funding and financing for county transit, air, rail or water transportation systems as these transportation assets often have different ownership and funding structures than roads and bridges.

The interactive provides individualized PDF profiles for 43 states where counties have authority over roads and/or bridges. Counties in four states (Delaware, North Carolina, Vermont and West Virginia) do not have authority over both roads and bridges. New Hampshire counties do not own roads and only one county (Belknap County) owns a bridge. Connecticut and Rhode Island do not have county governments and are not included in the study. They are marked in gray on the map.