Public Lands Highways (PLH)

The Public Lands Highways (PLH) Program provided funding for transportation planning, research, and engineering and construction of, highways, roads, parkways, and transit facilities that are within, adjacent to, or provide access to Indian reservations and Federal public lands, including national parks, refuges, forests, recreation areas, and grasslands.  PLH funds could be used for any type of Title 23 transportation project providing access to or within Federal or Indian lands and may be used for the State/local matching share for apportioned Federal-aid Highway Funds, as described in 23 USC 120(l).  The program is administered by the Federal Highway Administration’s Federals Lands Highway Office.

The PLH Program was comprised of three sub-programs: the Forest Highways (FH) Program, the Public Lands Highways – Discretionary (PLHD) Program, and funding for planning and administration for Federal agencies without a dedicated program.  Section 1101(a)(9)(D) of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: a Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU, Public Law 109-59) authorized the following funding levels for the PLH Program:

  • $260,000,000 for fiscal year 2005
  • $280,000,000 for fiscal year 2006
  • $280,000,000 for fiscal year 2007
  • $290,000,000 for fiscal year 2008
  • $300,000,000 for fiscal year 2009
  • $300,000,000 for fiscal year 2010
  • $300,000,000 for fiscal year 2011
  • $300,000,000 for fiscal year 2012

After any rescissions or other takedowns required by yearly Appropriations Acts, and the reduction required by Section 1102(f) of SAFETEA-LU (often referred to as “lopoff”), a small portion of the funds available to the PLH program was set aside to cover appropriate planning and administration costs related to public lands highways of Federal Land Management Agencies, if those agencies do not otherwise have a dedicated highway program, as authorized in 23 USC 204(i). Then, 34% of the remaining funds are allocated to the PLHD Program and 66% are allocated to the FH Program, as described in 23 USC 202(b).

PLH Sub-Programs