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USDOT offering $5.1B in ‘bundled’ discretionary grants

News | April 15, 2024 | By:

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT)  is now accepting applications for approximately $5.1 billion in funding for infrastructure projects of regional or national significance for three major discretionary grant programs. The agency noted that the project application process for those three programs has been “streamlined” into the single Multimodal Project Discretionary Grant Program.

The available funding broken down by respective grant programs is as follows:

$1.7 billion for the National Infrastructure Project Assistance or “Mega” program: The “Mega” program invests in large, complex projects that are difficult to fund by other means and are likely to generate national or regional economic, mobility, or safety benefits, USDOT said. Eligible projects include highway, bridge, freight, port, passenger rail, and public transportation projects of national or regional significance. By law, 50 percent of “Mega” grant funds are available for projects above $500 million in total cost with the other 50 percent available for projects between $100 million and $500 million in total cost.  

$2.7 billion for the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America or “INFRA” program: The “INFRA” program awards competitive grants to multimodal freight and highway projects of national or regional significance to improve the safety, accessibility, efficiency, and reliability of the movement of freight and people in and across rural and urban areas. USDOT said projects eligible for these grants aim to improve safety, generate economic benefits, reduce congestion, enhance resiliency, and “hold the greatest promise” to eliminate supply chain bottlenecks and improve critical freight movements.

$780 million for the Rural Surface Transportation Grant or “Rural” program: While smaller communities receive grants from a wide number of programs, the “Rural” program is dedicated specifically to projects in rural areas. Eligible projects for “Rural” grants include highway, bridge, and tunnel projects that help improve freight, safety, and provide or increase access to agricultural, commercial, energy, or transportation facilities that support the economy of a rural area.

USDOT noted that applications for this round of discretionary grant funding will be evaluated based on how well they advance outcomes including safety, economic impact, job creation, innovation, climate benefit, and equity.

In January, the USDOT awarded $4.9 billion in funding to 37 projects through the “Mega” and “INFRA” grant programs, with 21 of them state department of transportation-led projects.

In December 2023, USDOT awarded $645.3 million in “Rural” program grants to projects that plan to improve highways, bridges, and tunnels; address highway safety; increase access to agricultural, commercial, energy, or freight facilities; and bring flexible transit services to rural and tribal areas. Learn more about the USDOT here. Information courtesy of AASHTO. Learn more here.

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