• June 9th, 2023

In recent years, some localities have removed highways or built structures known as “highway caps” over sections of highways to repurpose the land for community or economic development. GAO identified 21 projects to remove or cap highways that received federal funding from fiscal years 2012 through 2021, the most current data available at the time of our review. Because there is no statutory or regulatory definition of a highway removal or highway cap, these projects can take many forms. For example, a highway removal project could downsize a highway to a boulevard or remove and rebuild a highway in another location. Officials from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) told GAO that, consistent with statute, these projects must have a transportation nexus to be eligible to use federal-aid highway formula grants. Further, officials said that FHWA makes eligibility decisions on a case-by-case basis according to project circumstances. These projects may also be eligible for certain DOT discretionary grants.

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