Funding combines three major discretionary grant programs into one Multimodal Projects Discretionary Grant opportunity.
The U.S. Department of Transportation on March 23rd announced $2.9 billion of funding for major infrastructure projects now available through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).
The funding represents three major discretionary grant programs that will be combined into one Multimodal Projects Discretionary Grant opportunity.
“President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fix our outdated infrastructure and invest in major projects for the future of our economy,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement. “Until now, we had limited ability to make awards beyond a certain level, or to support projects with funding from multiple federal grant programs. Under this approach and with a major infusion of new funding, we have the capacity to green-light more transformational projects that will create good-paying union jobs, grow the economy, and make our transportation system safer and more resilient.”
The funding includes the National Infrastructure Project Assistance (MEGA) program, which was created in the new infrastructure law to fund major projects that are too large or complex for traditional funding programs. According to a news release from U.S. DOT, the MEGA program will provide grants on a competitive basis to support multi-jurisdictional or regional projects of significance that may also include multiple modes of transportation.
Eligible projects for the MEGA project could include highway, bridge, freight, port, passenger rail, and public transportation projects of national and regional significance. U.S. DOT says these projects, for example, could be bridges or tunnels connecting two states or new rail and transit lines that improve equity and reduce emissions. U.S. DOT will award 50% of funding to projects greater than $500 million in cost, and 50% to projects between $100 million and $500 million in cost. The program will receive up to $1 billion this year alone and be able to provide multi-year funding to projects.
The other programs included in this grant opportunity include the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) program and the Rural Surface Transportation Grant Program (RURAL).
INFRA is an existing competitive program that will see a more than 50% increase in this year’s funding due to the IIJA. The new infrastructure law provides approximately $8 billion for INFRA over 5 years, of which approximately $1.55 billion will be made available through this round of funding.
RURAL was created under the IIJA and will support projects to improve and expand surface transportation infrastructure in rural areas to increase connectivity and improve transportation safety and reliability. This year, U.S. DOT will award up to $300 million in grants through the rural program—part of the $2 billion included in the IIJA over five years.
Source: Roadsbridges.com / U.S. DOT