USDOT Launching Infrastructure Grant Program and New Funding Opportunities
The money is intended to fund projects for rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure
The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has announced a new discretionary grant program meant to fund projects that will rebuild the nation's infrastructure.
INFRA and the Fast Act
The Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) will grant roughly $1.5 billion to infrastructure projects. It intends to raise the total investment by state, local, and private partners as well as providing direct federal funds.
The Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act of 2015 first established a grant program for this purpose. According to the department, INFRA advances this program and updates its criteria in order to evaluate projects, making sure they align with regional and national economic vitality goals, as well as to leverage more non-federal funding. The USDOT claims that it will make the impact of projects greater by leveraging capital and allowing for innovation in the processes of project delivery and permitting, including public-private partnerships.
INFRA will also promote innovative solutions to safety problems that will make the nation's transportation system better, says the department. In addition, it will target performance and accountability in project operations and delivery.
Funds for Projects Large and Small
"The President and the Department are committed to revitalizing, repairing and rebuilding America's aging infrastructure," said Secretary Elaine L. Chao. "By ensuring the right incentives, projects selected under this program will be better able to make significant, long-term improvements to America's transportation infrastructure."
Both large and small projects will receive funding awards under this program. The grant will have to be at least $25 million for large projects and $5 million for small projects. Ten percent of available money will be reserved for small projects for every fiscal year of INFRA funds. INFRA will keep the FAST Act's requirement of awarding at least 25 percent of available funding to rural projects.
Though program grants can be used to fund many parts of an infrastructure project, the USDOT is focused particularly on those projects in which the local sponsor is invested significantly and positioned to begin construction quickly. Eligible project costs can include:
- Acquisition of property
- Environmental mitigation
- Construction contingencies
- Equipment acquisition
- Operational Improvements related directly to system performance