What is RAP?
The Rural Arterial Program (RAP) is a biennial road and bridge reconstruction funding program in which counties compete for Rural Arterial Trust Account (RATA) funds within their respective regions Taken from fuel tax revenues, the RATA account generates approximately $40 million per biennium. Less than 3% is used for administration of the program (WAC 136-100).
RAP Origin and Purpose
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. The nearly 13,000 mile rural arterial road system owned by the counties, 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.
In addition to serving county wide commercial transport needs, RAP funds are often used to improve rural roads which are primarily local use or recreational. 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. Refer to the Washington Administrative Code Title 136 (WAC 136-100 through 136-210) for answers to questions that CRAB receives regarding RAP.
The RAP competitive grant program requires consideration of the following:
- Structural ability to support loaded trucks
- Ability to move traffic at reasonable speeds
- Adequacy of alignment and related geometry
- Accident and fatal accident experience
- Local significance
The program remains flexible enough to meet the additional environmental and public involvement responsibilities county engineers have faced, including:
- All RAP projects are locally planned, designed and administered
- Priority rating procedures are developed in partnership with the county engineers to reflect regional diversity
- Additional rating points are assigned for local public significance
- CRAB staff review each proposed project site and scope to assist the county in grant application