DoT Announces Second Round of Infrastructure for Rebuilding America Grants
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) has announced the second round of the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) discretionary grant program through a Notice of Funding Opportunity in the Federal Register.
The INFRA program is expected to make approximately $855 million to $902.5 million, subject to funding provided by fiscal year (FY) 2019 appropriations, available to projects that are in line with the administration’s principles to help rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure. In addition to providing direct federal funding, the INFRA program aims to increase the total investment by state, local, and private partners.
INFRA advances a grant program established in the FAST Act of 2015 and utilizes criteria that let DoT evaluate projects to align them with national and regional economic vitality goals and to leverage additional non-federal funding. The program will increase the impact of projects by leveraging federal grant funding and incentivizing project sponsors to pursue innovative strategies, including public-private partnerships.
Additionally, the new program promotes the incorporation of innovative technology that will improve our transportation system. INFRA will also hold recipients accountable for their performance in project delivery and operations.
“This administration is committed to revitalizing, repairing and rebuilding America’s aging infrastructure,” said Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao. “By creating the right incentives, this program will be better able to make significant, long-term improvements to America’s transportation infrastructure.”
The department will make awards under the INFRA program to both large and small projects. For a large project, the INFRA grant must be at least $25 million. For a small project, the grant must be at least $5 million. For each fiscal year of INFRA funds, 10 percent of available funds are reserved for small projects.
Under a statutory requirement in the FAST Act, the INFRA grant program must award at least 25 percent of funding for rural projects. The administration understands that rural needs may well exceed this limit, and the department will consider rural projects to the greatest extent possible. For rural communities in need of funding for highway and multimodal freight projects with national or regional economic significance, INFRA is an opportunity to apply directly for financial assistance from the federal government.
INFRA grants may be used to fund a variety of components of an infrastructure project, however, the department is specifically focused on projects in which the local sponsor is significantly invested and is positioned to proceed rapidly to construction. Eligible INFRA project costs may include: reconstruction, rehabilitation, acquisition of property (including land related to the project and improvements to the land), environmental mitigation, construction contingencies, equipment acquisition, and operational improvements directly related to system performance.