Funding Transportation in Washtenaw County

Spring is the time of the year where flowers bloom, the weather warms, and road agencies can get back to keeping our roads in good repair. 


At WATS this means finalizing our 2017-2020 Transportation Improvement Program, which outlines the projects that will be using federal funds throughout the county for the next 4 years.

As a reminder, WATS is known as a transportation management area and has an urbanized population over 200,000 and therefore receives federal transportation funds to program.  We have developed a 2017-2020 draft TIP program, this is awaiting final approval from the Policy Committee on April 20, 2016.

WATS is responsible for annually programming the following funding sources:

  1. Surface Transportation Program Urban Funds - $4.3 million/year

  2. National Highway Performance Program Funds - $359,000/year

  3. Surface Transportation Program Rural Funds  - $529,000/year

  4. Transportation Economic Development Funds Category D - $265,000/year

Washtenaw County communities also have the opportunity to receive funding that comes to the Southeast Michigan region:

  1. Congestion Mitigation Funds - $16 million (divided between transit and non-transit)

  2. Transportation Alternative Program Funds - $6.4 million

Agencies can also apply for funds directly appropriated from the state such as safety funds, bridge funds, economic development funds, and small urban funds.


Federal transit funding is now passed through the Regional Transit Agency (RTA) to the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (AAATA) or more commonly known as The Ride.  TheRide is the designation recipient for transit funds in the Ann Arbor urban area. TheRide is able to capture the following funding sources:

  1. 5310 Funds - Funds the capital and operations expenses of agencies with the specific purpose of serving those with disabilities and the elderly  - $580,000/year

  2. 5307 - Funds the capital and operations for agencies - $8.3 million/year

  3. 5311- Funds the rural transit providers such as People’s Express and the Western Washtenaw Area Value Express - $670,000/year

Transit funding works very differently than road funding.  Road funding has to be secured during the current fiscal year that the project is programmed in the WATS TIP or the federal funds are no longer available to the agency, this process is called obligation.  Transit has up to 3 years to spend their federal funds.  

WATS publishes an annual report that reviews all the federal funding sources that Washtenaw County has received during the fiscal year (October - September). 

If you want to learn more about road funding, WATS created a Funding Transportation in Washtenaw County document.  This document outlines existing funding sources, funding issues, existing local funding solutions, and alternative funding sources currently not used in Michigan.

For more details about funding, please contact Suzann Flowers at or 734-994-3127.