MAP-21 Transportation Bill

Recent legislation allows for 'autonomy' in infrastructure pipe selection


Culvert Language in Map-21 Transportation Bill

The new MAP-21 highway bill, effective October 1, 2012, streamlines many programs and provides numerous changes from the expiring SAFETEA-LU legislation. Identifying and understanding those changes can be rather tedious and time consuming. One new provision, however, is crystal clear. Section 1525 of the law provides states with complete autonomy in the selection of culvert material types for use on federal aid projects.
In posting the initial guidance documents for MAP-21, the FHWA addressed Section 1525 on its website. To learn more, go to  The language is also included here:
The FHWA’s policy for culvert and storm sewer material type selection is that State transportation departments and direct recipients of Federal-aid Highway construction funds shall have the autonomy to determine culvert and storm sewer material types to be included in Federal-aid highway construction projects. 
On the website, there is a link to a memorandum that provides further guidance that states:

What is the significance of the word "autonomy" in Section 1525 of MAP-21?
The use of the word "autonomy" in this section gives the State departments of transportation (State DOTs) and other direct recipients the sole authority and discretion to make a decision regarding culvert and storm sewer material types without any input or approval from the FHWA.

How does Section 1525 apply to projects administered by local public agencies (LPAs)?
Local public agencies (LPAs), with the approval of their State DOT, will have the authority to determine culvert and storm sewer material types to be included in their Federal-aid highway construction projects.
This is good news for agencies that have experienced problems with less durable pipe or pipe lacking the strength to be used under roadways or deep fills.  Many engineers have tried materials other than concrete pipe and paid the price.  An engineer can now use a proven pipe material based on his own experience. The memorandum also stipulates that federal projects must continue to comply with all applicable Federal requirements, including Buy America, culvert design standards in
23 CFR Part 625, and the restriction against the use of patented and proprietary products. 
We, the American Concrete Pipe Association enthusiastically support this change. It puts the selection process, an engineering decision, back in the hands of the state DOT engineers where it belongs.

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