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Federal-aid Surface Transportation Block Grant (STBG) Program

Intent of program

This program was established to:

  • Assist public road jurisdictions with funding for roads on Federal-aid routes
  • Assist public road jurisdictions with funding for bridges on any public road
  • Provide funding for transit capital improvements
  • Provide funding for eligible transportation planning activities for MPOs and RPAs

How to Apply

Application forms can be obtained from the appropriate Regional Planning Affiliation or Metropolitan Planning Organization (RPA/MPO). See this link: The application amounts and deadlines vary according to RPA/MPO guidelines.

What types of projects are eligible?

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), also referred to as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), allow many types of eligible projects that can be found in 23 United States Code 133. 23 U.S.C. Section 133 provides for the use of federal funds to preserve and improve the condition and performance of any Federal-aid highway, bridge or tunnel project on any public road. (A Federal-aid Highway includes routes classified as a rural major collector or a collector street or any higher classification.) Surface Transportation Block Grant funds may also be used on pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure and transit capital projects including intercity bus terminals. However, an RPA or MPO may have a more restrictive list of eligible projects, and they may approve only specific uses on an individual project basis.

Federal-aid Swap Program

The Iowa Transportation Commission adopted a Federal-aid swap policy in 2018.  This Federal-aid Swap Policy was amended on July 12, 2022, following passage of IIJA.  761 Iowa Administrative Code 162 allows for Swap funds to be utilized for this program, for only the items listed in the Federal-aid Swap Policy, including STBG funding awarded to cities from RPAs.  All other STBG funding awarded by MPOs and RPAs shall be Federal-aid.

Project Administration

Iowa DOT does not allow Federal-aid participation in consultant or right-of-way costs for STBG projects administered by the Local Systems Bureau. LPA projects administered by the Systems Planning Bureau will be allowed to request participation in these costs.

Type of submittal required

Application forms can be obtained from the appropriate Regional Planning Affiliation or Metropolitan Planning Organization (RPA/MPO).

Application amount – minimum/maximum

Varies according to RPA/MPO guidelines

Application deadline

RPAs/MPOs may have different deadlines for applications.

Special project requirements

Highway Projects ** Denotes also relevant for Federal-aid Swap

  • Project contracts must be let by the DOT.**
  • FHWA environmental concurrence is required.
  • Right-of-way activities must comply with applicable state laws** and federal laws. Refer to I.M. 3.600 for additional information.
  • Plans and specifications must be prepared by an Iowa licensed professional engineer.**
  • If Federal-aid dollars are used for a consulting engineer, the Federal-aid Consultant Selection Process must be followed. Only certain types of projects allow this activity to be eligible; refer to I.M. 3.310 for additional information.
  • Design criteria for the appropriate road classification should be used.**
  • DOT approval of plans and specifications is required.**
  • Compliance with regulations regarding the following is required:

    • federal equal employment opportunity;
    • use of disadvantaged business enterprises;
    • Occupational Safety and Health Administration provisions**; and
    • federal (Davis-Bacon) wage rates.

For general requirements of STBG projects, and Administering Bureau information, refer to I.M. 1.000. These general requirements include requirements related to Programming Projects, Project Development Information, Submittals to the Iowa DOT, Contract Letting, Construction Administration, and Final Acceptance and Form Distribution.

Materials testing, construction inspection and final project acceptance must be completed according to DOT procedures.

Transit projects 

  • Capital improvements require adherence to approved transit procurement procedures and equipment specifications.
  • Federally funded projects must comply with requirements regarding:

    • civil rights protections;
    • use of disadvantaged business enterprises;
    • competitive procurement;
    • bus testing;
    • pre- and post-procurement audits; and
    • Buy America; and
    • drug and alcohol testing.

Type of approval required

  • Projects are selected through the process of adopting an RPA/MPO Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).
  • The DOT reviews and compiles all RPA/MPO TIPs as part of the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).
  • The DOT adopts the STIP.
  • Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) give final approval of the STIP.
  • FHWA must authorize highway/street/trail projects prior to proceeding with work on or advertisement of the project for receipt of bids.

Transit projects must be approved by FTA, either as part of a direct grant or a statewide grant.

Program’s annual funding level

The annual amount available to RPAs/MPOs is approximately $97 million. 

More information/applications

The appropriate RPA/MPO


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