If this July 23 article is correct in reporting that MAP-21 has changed the ADHS funding formula so that ADHS projects now can be paid 100% with federal dollars, then I wonder if Virginia will now make a play for the "free money" and build its ten miles?:
... the legislation ... eliminat[es] the requirement that the state provide a 20 percent match for federal funding. Now Appalachian Development Highway System projects can be paid for 100 percent with federal dollars.
Not exactly. The devil is in the details.
As I understand it, the previous system was thus:
There was an "ARC" pot of money that would fund ARC Corridors and only ARC Corridors on an 80-20 basis. This was a seperate pot of money from "regular" DOT money. Esentually this was an "earmark", because a state could not tap the money for any other project. A state had a choice of spending its 20% match to tap the 80% or (the oppositon party would say) "gave back" the 80% money.
Now, if I have this correct, there is no ARC pot of money, nor are there really any "earmarks". Each state just gets $X and can spend them on any "core project" it wishes. The "core projects" include any uncompleted ARC Corridor and 1000s of other roads such as the "High Priority Corridors", and some new thing called the "National Freight System". And, new to MAP 21, each state must spend enough to meet a federal maintence standard (apparently if a state's roads fall to a certain level of disrepair, it has to spend some of its appropriation on that, and not new construction).
To continue with Corridor H, Virginia COULD build its part of Corridor H with 100% federal money, yes. But that would be out of the finite regular amount appropriated to Virginia as a whole, not "free money". Virginia could just as easily build a new road in NOVA, or the Tidewater or whatever from the list of dozens and dozens of "core projects".
The bill does, however, require each state to come up with a "plan" on how it will eventually finish each Corridor, but that that is little more that them saying where on the list of "core projects" they place a particular road.
This does seem to be a "brave new world" as, in the politics of each state (even WV, where although the entire state is in the ARC, all of the Corridors are finished save H) as Appalachian politicians can no longer say that if the state does not build a particular road, it is just walking away from 80% funding and can't spend the money elsewhere anyway. Now it can. The politics of each ARC state would thus come into play here.