Funding & Finance

Funds are allocated to the Federal Lands Highway Program (FLHP) annually from the federal Highway Trust Fund, supported by the federal motor vehicle gas tax and certain excise taxes. These funds may be used only on roads and transportation facilities open to the public (as opposed to administrative and residential roads). As well, these funds may not be used for routine maintenance activities such as snow plowing, patching, and re-striping. All operational and routine maintenance costs remain the responsibility of the National Park Service (NPS).

Under the auspices of the Federal Lands Transportation Program (FLTP), the two agencies maintain and improve the quality and condition of some 9,600 miles of public roads (paved and unpaved) and 1,505 bridges and tunnels. Since 1999, alternative transportation projects, such as transit services, also have been supported with FLTP funds.
There are two main sources of funding for transportation projects in the NPS. Transportation projects can be funded through money appropriated by Congress. Projects can also be funded by the money that comes from the entrance fees that visitors pay at entrance fee-charging NPS sites across the country.

External Transportation Funding Opportunities

In order to address growing transportation challenges, improve multi-modal connections, and help pursue key priorities, the NPS must look beyond its own internal funding sources. NPS units can partner with state, regional, and local governments to access external transportation funding opportunities. These funding opportunities do not typically provide funding to parks directly. Instead, they often require close coordination with local partners.

The best way to learn about external transportation funding opportunities is through the state or regional transportation planning process. Participation in the local planning process can help park staff build relationships with other transportation stakeholders, align park transportation needs and activities with state and regional priorities, and ensure important projects are included in transportation plans to become eligible for additional federal funding.

The fact sheets linked below provide an overview of five external transportation funding programs that may be relevant for NPS staff and partners.
FLAP Fact Sheet
The Federal Lands Access Program (FLAP) provides funds for projects to improve transportation facilities that provide access to, are adjacent to, or are locationed within federal lands.
CMAQ Fact Sheet
The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program provides funding for transportation projects, programs, and operational strategies that reduce vehicle congestion and air pollutants.
TA RTP Fact Sheet Thumbnail
The Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside (TA Set-Aside) and Recreational Trails Program (RTP) are two important Federal Highway Administration Program that benefit NPS units and their partners. NPS units typically utilize the TA Set-Aside to fund the construction and rehabilitationof paved, multiuse trails and historic transportation facilities like bridges. The NPS typically uses the RTP to fund the development, maintenance, and restoration of recreational trails.
FTA Funding Fact Sheet Thumbnail
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) offers several funding programs for transit projects, including funding for transit capital, planning, and operating assistance in urban and rural areas, and funding for buses and bus facilities.
Ferry Boat Program Fact Sheet
The Ferry Boats and Ferry Terminal Facilities Program (FBP) provides funding for the purchase, lease, or construction of new ferries and ferry facilities, or for construction and preventative maintenance activities for existing ferries and facilities.

Last updated: June 5, 2024