Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act

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Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991
Great Seal of the United States
Long titleAn act to develop a national intermodal surface transportation system, to authorize funds for construction of highways, for highway safety programs, and for mass transit programs, and for other purposes
Acronyms (colloquial)ISTEA
Enacted bythe 102nd United States Congress
Public lawPub. L.Tooltip w:Public Law (United States) 102–240
Statutes at Large105 Stat. 1914
Titles amended
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the House as H.R. 2950 by Norman Mineta (D-CA) on July 18, 1991
  • Passed the House on October 23, 1991 (343-83)
  • Passed the Senate on October 31, 1991 (unanimous consent, in lieu of S. 1204 passed June 19, 1991 91-7)
  • Reported by the joint conference committee on November 27, 1991; agreed to by the House on November 27, 1991 (372-47) and by the Senate on November 27, 1991 (79-8)
  • Signed into law by President George H. W. Bush on December 18, 1991

The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA, /sˈti/) is a United States federal law that posed a major change to transportation planning and policy, as the first U.S. federal legislation on the subject in the post-Interstate Highway System era.


The act presented an overall intermodal approach to highway and transit funding with collaborative planning requirements, giving significant additional powers to metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs). The act was signed into law on December 18, 1991, by President George H. W. Bush and codified as Pub. L.Tooltip w:Public Law (United States) 102–240 and 105 Stat. 1914. The bill was preceded by the Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation Assistance Act in 1987 and followed by the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) in 1998, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) in 2005, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) in 2012, the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST) in 2015, and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in 2021.

ISTEA also provided funds for the conversion of dormant railroad corridors into rail trails; the first rail trail to be funded was the Cedar Lake Regional Rail Trail, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

High priority corridors

Section 1105 of the act also defines a number of High Priority Corridors, to be part of the National Highway System.[a][3][4] After various amendments in subsequent transportation bills and other legislation, this is a list of the corridors:

List of High Priority Corridors[3]
Corridor # Name Location Notes
1 North-South Corridor Kansas City, Missouri to Shreveport, Louisiana Interstate 49
2 Avenue of the Saints Corridor St. Louis, Missouri to St. Paul, Minnesota
3 East-West Transamerica Corridor Hampton Roads, Virginia to southern Kansas Interstate 66 (Kansas–Kentucky)
4 Hoosier Heartland Industrial Corridor Lafayette, Indiana to Toledo, Ohio
5 I-73/74 North-South Corridor Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to Cincinnati, Ohio, Detroit, Michigan and Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
6 United States Route 80 Corridor Meridian, Mississippi to Savannah, Georgia
7 East-West Corridor Memphis, Tennessee to Atlanta, Georgia and Chattanooga, Tennessee
8 Highway 412 East-West Corridor Tulsa, Oklahoma to Nashville, Tennessee
9 United States Route 220 and the Appalachian Thruway Corridor Bedford, Pennsylvania to Corning, New York Interstate 99
10 Appalachian Regional Corridor X Fulton, Mississippi to Birmingham, Alabama[5][6][7] See corridor 45
11 Appalachian Regional Corridor V From Interstate 55 in northern Mississippi in the west to Interstate 24 in East Tennessee Route is from Batesville, Mississippi, and via Tupelo, Mississippi, Russellville, Alabama, and Huntsville, Alabama, ending just west of Chattanooga, Tennessee[6][7] See also corridor 42.
12 United States Route 25E Corridor Corbin, Kentucky to Morristown, Tennessee
13 Raleigh-Norfolk Corridor Raleigh, North Carolina to Norfolk, Virginia Interstate 87 (North Carolina-Virginia)
14 Heartland Expressway Denver, Colorado to Rapid City, South Dakota
15 Urban Highway Corridor M-59 in Michigan
16 Economic Lifeline Corridor I-15 and I-40 in California, Arizona, and Nevada
17 Route 29 Corridor Greensboro, North Carolina to Washington, D.C.
18 Port Huron, Michigan to Chicago, Illinois, Corpus Christi, Texas and Victoria, Texas Interstate 69 (see Corridor 20)
19 United States Route 395 Corridor Canada–US border to Reno, Nevada
20 United States Route 59 Corridor Laredo, Texas to Texarkana, Texas Interstate 69 (see Corridor 18)
21 United States Route 219 Corridor Buffalo, New York to Interstate 80
22 Alameda Transportation Corridor Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to Interstate 10 (See Corridor 34)
23 Interstate Route 35 Corridor Laredo, Texas to Duluth, Minnesota and the Canada–US border (via Interstate 29)
24 Dalton Highway Deadhorse, Alaska to Fairbanks, Alaska
25 State Route 168 (South Battlefield Boulevard) Great Bridge, Virginia Bypass to the North Carolina state line
26 CANAMEX Corridor Nogales, Arizona to the Canada–US border
27 Camino Real Corridor El Paso, Texas to the Canada–US border
28 Birmingham Northern Beltline Birmingham, Alabama Appalachian Highway Development System Corridor X-1[5]
29 Coalfields Expressway Beckley, West Virginia to Pound, Virginia
30 Interstate Route 5 California, Oregon and Washington
31 Mon–Fayette Expressway and Southern Beltway Pennsylvania and West Virginia
32 Wisconsin Development Corridor Dubuque, Iowa to Eau Claire, Wisconsin Consists of three different corridors in the state of Wisconsin
33 Capital Gateway Corridor Washington, D.C. to the Baltimore-Washington Parkway in Maryland U.S. Route 50
34 Alameda Corridor-East and Southwest Passage East Los Angeles, California to Barstow, California and Coachella, California, and San Bernardino, California to Arizona (See Corridor 22)
35 Everett-Tacoma FAST Corridor Everett, Washington to Tacoma, Washington
36 NY-17 Harriman, New York to I-90 in Pennsylvania ISTEA mandates that route be Interstate 86
37 United States Route 90 Lafayette, Louisiana to New Orleans, Louisiana Interstate 49
38 Ports to Plains Corridor Laredo, Texas to Denver, Colorado Interstate 27 (Lubbock, Texas to Amarillo, Texas)
39 United States Route 63 Marked Tree, Arkansas to Interstate 55 Interstate 555
40 Greensboro Corridor Danville, Virginia to Greensboro, North Carolina Interstate 785
41 Falls-to-Falls Corridor International Falls, Minnesota to Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
42 Batesville to Fulton, Mississippi formed from portions of ADHS corridors V and X; law designates highway as a future Interstate highway (route number not specified in law)
43 United States Route 95 Corridor Eastport, Idaho to Oregon
44 Louisiana Highway 1 Corridor Grand Isle, Louisiana to U.S. Route 90
45 United States Route 78 Corridor Memphis, Tennessee to Birmingham, Alabama Interstate 22
46 Interstate Route 710 Long Beach, California to California State Route 60
47 Interstate Route 87 Quebec to New York City
48 Route 50 High Plains Corridor Newton, Kansas to Pueblo, Colorado
49 Atlantic Commerce Corridor Jacksonville, Florida to Miami, Florida
50 East-West Corridor Watertown, New York to Calais, Maine
51 SPIRIT Corridor El Paso, Texas to Wichita, Kansas
52 Swifton, Arkansas to Jonesboro, Arkansas
53 United States Highway Route 6 Interstate 70 to Interstate 15
54 California Farm-to-Market Corridor south of Bakersfield, California to Sacramento, California California State Route 99
55 Dallas, Texas to Memphis, Tennessee
56 La Entrada al Pacifico Corridor Lamesa, Texas to Presidio, Texas
57 United States Route 41 corridor Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Green Bay, Wisconsin Interstate 41
58 Theodore Roosevelt Expressway Rapid City, South Dakota to Raymond, Montana
59 Central North American Trade Corridor border between North Dakota and South Dakota to the Canada–US border
60 Providence Beltline Corridor Hope Valley, Rhode Island to Massachusetts
61 various corridors in Missouri
62 Georgia Developmental Highway System Corridors various corridors in Georgia
63 Liberty Corridor various corridors in northern New Jersey
64 various corridors in southern New Jersey
65 Interstate Route 95 Corridor Connecticut
66 Interstate Route 91 Corridor Connecticut
67 Fairbanks-Yukon International Corridor Canada–US border to Fairbanks, Alaska
68 Washoe County corridor Reno, Nevada to Las Vegas, Nevada
69 Cross Valley Connector Interstate 5 to State Route 14, Santa Clarita Valley, California
70 Economic Lifeline corridor I-15, I-40 and other roads in California, Arizona and Nevada
71 High Desert Corridor Los Angeles, California to Las Vegas, Nevada
72 North-South corridor Kansas City, Missouri to Shreveport, Louisiana Interstate 49
73 Louisiana Highway corridor Grand Isle, Louisiana to U.S. Route 90
74 Lafayette, Louisiana to New Orleans, Louisiana Interstate 49
75 Louisiana 28 corridor Fort Polk, Louisiana to Alexandria, Louisiana
76 Toledo, Ohio to Cincinnati, Ohio
77 Indiana to Toledo, Ohio
78 Cincinnati, Ohio to Cleveland, Ohio
79 Interstate Route 376 Monroeville, Pennsylvania to Sharon, Pennsylvania
80 Intercounty Connector Interstate 270 to Interstate 95/U.S. Route 1 in Maryland
81 Interstate 795 Goldsboro, North Carolina to Interstate 40 west of Faison, North Carolina
82 U.S. Route 70 U.S. 70 from Interstate 40 at Garner, North Carolina to the port of Morehead City, North Carolina law designates highway as a future Interstate highway (route number not specified in law). Assigned Interstate 42 by AASHTO[8]
83 Sonoran Corridor (State Rte. 410) A new highway from Interstate 19 to Interstate 10 south of Tucson International Airport, Arizona law designates highway as a future Interstate highway (route number not specified in law)
84 Central Texas Corridor Two routes from Interstate 10 (Pecos County) and Interstate 20 (Midland–Odessa), joining in Brady and continuing east to the Sabine River, passing in or near Fort Hood; College Station; Huntsville; and Livingston; all in Texas (paragraphs A–C)

Also designates spurs from I-14 North in Eden to I-10 near Junction following U.S. 83 (paragraph D), from I-14 in Woodville to I-10 in Beaumont via U.S. 69 (paragraph E), from I-14 in Jasper to I-10 in Beaumont via U.S. 96 (paragraph F), and from I-20 in Odessa to I-10 in Pecos County via U.S. 385, RM 305, and U.S. 190 (paragraph G).

FAST mandates that route be Interstate 14; IIJA designates Bryan–College Station loop as Interstate 214, the spur from Brady to I-10 as Interstate 14 South, and the spur from Brady to I-20 as Interstate 14 North. Routes in paragraphs D–G are designated as future Interstate highways (route number not specified in law)

See also corridors 93 and 99–102

85 Interstate 81 From Interstate 86 to the Canada–United States border
86 Interstate 70 from Salt Lake City, Utah to Denver, Colorado[b] Utah and Colorado
87 Newberg-Dundee Bypass route From Newberg, Oregon to Dayton, Oregon[c]
88 Interstate 205 Interstate 205 in Oregon
89 I-57 Corridor Extension Extending Interstate 57 from its southern terminus at I-55 in southeastern Missouri to I-40 in North Little Rock, Arkansas ISTEA mandates that route be Interstate 57
90 Pennyrile Parkway From Interstate 69 near Nortonville, Kentucky in the north, to Interstate 24 south of Hopkinsville, Kentucky ISTEA mandates that route be Interstate 169
91 Western Kentucky Parkway The portion of the Western Kentucky Parkway between Interstate 69 in the west (near Nortonville, Kentucky) to Interstate 165 (formerly the William H. Natcher Parkway) in the east ISTEA mandates that route be Interstate 569
92 U.S. 421 from I-85 in Greensboro to I-95 in Dunn, North Carolina IIJA designates as future Interstate highway (route number not specified in law)
93 South Mississippi Corridor U.S. 84 from Natchez to Laurel, Mississippi, I-59 from Laurel to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and U.S. 49 and MS 601 from Hattiesburg to Gulfport, Mississippi Largely identical to Central Mississippi Corridor (Corridor 100). IIJA designates the U.S. 84 and I-59 portions as a future Interstate highway (indirectly mandating it to be I-14); see also Corridor 94
94 Kosciusko to Gulf Coast Corridor Starting at I-55 near Vaiden, Mississippi, running south and passing east of the vicinity of the Jackson Urbanized Area, connecting to U.S. 49 north of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and generally following U.S. 49 to I-10 near Gulfport, Mississippi. Overlaps with corridors 93 and 100 south of Hattiesburg; IIJA designates as future Interstate highway (route number not specified in law)
95 Interstate 22 Spur U.S. 45 from I-22 in Tupelo south to near Shannon, Mississippi. IIJA designates as future Interstate highway (route number not specified in law)
96 U.S. 412 from I-35 in Noble County, Oklahoma via Tulsa, to its intersection with I-49 in Springdale, Arkansas IIJA designates as future Interstate highway (route number not specified in law)
97 Louie B. Nunn Cumberland Expressway (sic) Cumberland Parkway from I-65 in Barren County to U.S. 27 in Somerset, Kentucky Part of the cancelled East-West Transamerica Corridor route (Corridor 3); IIJA mandates this route be Interstate 365
98 MS 7 from I-55 in Grenada via Oxford to I-22 in Holly Springs, Mississippi
99 Central Louisiana Corridor From the Sabine River, follows LA 8 and LA 28 to Alexandria, continuing east to join U.S. 84 and cross the Mississippi River near Natchez, Mississippi IIJA mandates this route be Interstate 14

See corridors 84, 93, and 100–102

100 Central Mississippi Corridor U.S. 84 east from Natchez to Laurel, Mississippi, then follows I-59 northeast through Meridian to the Mississippi–Alabama state line near Cuba, Alabama;

also includes a spur following I-59 south to Hattiesburg, then U.S. 49 and proposed MS 601 to Gulfport

IIJA mandates the route from Natchez to the Alabama state line be Interstate 14

See corridors 84, 93, 99, and 101–102

101 Middle Alabama Corridor U.S. 80 east from I-20/59 near Cuba to Montgomery, then follows the partially-completed Montgomery Outer Loop (AL 108) to I-85, continuing east from Tuskegee via either U.S. 80 or I-85 and U.S. 280 to the Alabama–Georgia border in Phenix City IIJA mandates this route be Interstate 14

See corridors 84, 93, 99–100, and 102

102 Middle Georgia Corridor Fall Line Freeway (GA 540) from Columbus via Warner Robins and Macon to Augusta, Georgia IIJA mandates this route be Interstate 14

See corridors 84, 93, and 99–101

High-speed rail corridors

The high-speed corridors designated under ISTEA closely correspond with grants given under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act—seventeen years later.

The legislation also called for the designation of up to five high-speed rail corridors. The options were studied for several months, and announced in October 1992. The first four were announced by United States Secretary of Transportation Andrew Card, while the last was announced by Federal Railroad Administration head Gil Carmichael.[11]

However, there was not significant funding attached to these announcements: $30 million had been allocated to several states by 1997 to improve grade crossings,[12] but that was a very tiny amount in comparison to the billions required for a true high-speed network. Aside from a few places in California and the Chicago–Detroit Line, most areas outside the Northeast Corridor continued to be limited to 79 mph (127 km/h) until $8 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was distributed in January 2010.[13]

Jeff Morales one of the principal drafters of this bill, is currently serving as CEO of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, which is currently constructing a high-speed rail line along the route originally proposed in this bill.[14]


The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 also mandated that passenger automobiles and light trucks built after September 1, 1998, to have airbags installed as standard equipment for the driver and the right front passenger.[15][16]


  1. ^ Section 1105 did not amend the U.S. Code, nor is it editorially classified as part of the U.S. Code, or set out as a statutory note to a section of the U.S. Code. However, an up-to-date version of ISTEA as amended can be found at[1][2]
  2. ^ I-70 does not come near Salt Lake City; instead terminating 173 miles (278 km) south of such city at I-15. Regardless, the law states "Interstate Route 70 from Denver, Colorado, to Salt Lake City, Utah"[3]
  3. ^ The law's text states, "The Oregon 99W Newberg-Dundee Bypass Route between Newberg, Oregon and Dayton, Oregon;"[3] however, the actual route number is Oregon Route 18. The bypass runs east of Oregon Rte. 99W. The southern portion, Phase 1, between Rte. 99W at Dundee and Rte. 219 is finished. Sufficient funding for the northern portion, Phase 2, which is from Rte. 219 to Rte. 99W, has not yet been identified.[9][10]


  1. ^ "United States Code". Office of the Law Revision Counsel. Retrieved December 30, 2021.
  2. ^ "Statute Compilations". Government Printing Office. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d "Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, as Amended, §1105". U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved December 30, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ "High Priority Corridors - National Highway System - Planning". Federal Highway Administration. October 2012. Retrieved October 31, 2021.
  5. ^ a b Appalachian Regional Commission. "Status of the Appalachian Development Highway System as of September 30, 2019" (PDF). Appalachian Regional Commission. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  6. ^ a b Appalachian Regional Commission. "Status of the Appalachian Development Highway System as of September 30, 2017" (PDF). Appalachian Regional Commission. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 4, 2020. Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  7. ^ a b Appalachian Regional Commission. "ADHS Approved Corridors and Termini as of 2018" (PDF). Appalachian Regional Commission. Archived from the original on January 24, 2020. Retrieved July 3, 2020. {{cite web}}: |archive-date= / |archive-url= timestamp mismatch; June 10, 2016 suggested (help)
  8. ^ "AASHTO Electronic Balloting System - View Ballot - Agenda and List of Applications SM-2016" (PDF). AASHTO. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 10, 2016. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
  9. ^ "OR 18: Newberg Dundee Bypass Phase 2 Design Phase". Oregon Department of Transportation. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  10. ^ Oregon Department of Transportation. "Bypass Opened January 6, 2018". Oregon Department of Transportation. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  11. ^ "Chronology of High-Speed Rail Corridors". Federal Railroad Administration, Department of Transportation. July 7, 2007. Archived from the original on November 30, 2009. Retrieved March 16, 2014.
  12. ^ "High Speed Ground Transportation for America - CFS Report To Congress". Federal Railroad Administration. September 1997. Archived from the original on August 25, 2009. Retrieved March 16, 2014.
  13. ^ Rosenberg, Zach (February 1, 2010). "At Long Last, Clear Messages for High-Speed Rail". Wired Blogs. Retrieved March 16, 2014.
  14. ^ The Registry-San Francisco (May 29, 2012). "California High-Speed Rail Authority Hires World Recognized CEO". Retrieved October 31, 2021.
  15. ^ Office of Research and Development (June 21, 2001). "Air Bag Technology in Light Passenger Vehicles" (PDF). U.S. NHTSA. p. 1. Retrieved March 16, 2014.
  16. ^ "Sep 1, 1998: Federal legislation makes airbags mandatory". Retrieved March 16, 2014.

External links