Highway paving project

Engineering Services - Construction


The Rural Arterial Program is a road and bridge reconstruction funding program that counties compete for every two years within their respective regions. Taken from fuel tax revenues, the account generates approximately $40 million per biennium. Less than 3% is used for administration of the program. In 1983, the Washington State Legislature created the RAP to help finance (via the Rural Arterial Trust Account - RATA) the reconstruction of rural arterial roads, which faced severe deterioration in the wake of railroad abandonments. This huge arterial road system (12,605 miles) is owned by the counties and provides the initial transportation link of Washington State's harvested resources to the marketplace. RAP was so successful in addressing local haul road needs that the initial funding of 0.33 cents of the Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax (MVFT) was increased to 0.58 cents by the 1990 legislature. Contact Grant Programs for answers to your questions regarding RAP.

-- INSERT inline picture of bridge construction "Snohomish COUNTY - May Creek Bridge" ---

Eligibility Considerations

Snohomish COUNTY - May Creek Bridge
Snohomish COUNTY - May Creek Bridge


Eligible roads are granted RAP funds in consideration of the following:


  1. Structural ability to support loaded trucks.
  2. Ability to move traffic at reasonable speeds.
  3. Adequacy of alignment and related geometry.
  4. Accident and fatal accident experience.
  5. Local significance


Since its beginning in 1983, RAP has funded over 1,300 projects, 90% of which are complete. Most of the projects involve rehabilitation and reconstruction of existing rural roads and bridges to current and safer design standards.


The program has also remained flexible enough to meet the additional environmental and public involvement responsibilities county engineers have faced.


Some areas of flexibility


  1. All RAP projects are locally planned, designed, and administered.
  2. Priority rating procedures are developed in partnership with the county engineers to reflect regional diversity.
  3. Additional rating points are assigned for local public significance.
  4. Enough project funds are obligated so that design, right of way, environmental, and local concerns are fully addressed.
  5. CRAB staff review each proposed project site and design to assist the county in grant application


In addition to serving county wide commercial transport needs, RAP funds are often used to improve rural roads, which are primarily for residential or recreational use. This has been encouraged by Federal and State Growth Management requirements. Those statutes stress multi-modal transportation facilities and cooperation among the local groups that acquire road funding.


Counties are now facing many new and dynamic issues while trying to make road and bridge improvements. These include a growing population and additional planning, environmental and budget requirements. The CRABoard will therefore continue in close communication with the counties to ensure that funds go where the needs are, and the Rural Arterial Program will keep its focus on the road needs of local communities.


Refer to the Washington Administrative Code (WAC 136-100) for more details.


Contact Engineering@CRAB for more information.