USDOT Opens $2.9 Billion NOFO for Three Common Application Programs

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The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has issued a Combined Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for three discretionary grant programs that have combined funding of $2.9 billion. USDOT explains that combining the trio of programs into a single discretionary grant opportunity for multimodal projects “reduces the burden on state and local applicants and increases the pipeline of ‘spin-worthy’ projects.”

“President [Joe] Biden’s bipartisan Infrastructure Act is a unique opportunity to fix our outdated infrastructure and invest in major projects for the future of our economy,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. “Until now, we had limited ability to award grants above a certain level or support projects funded by multiple federal grant programs. As part of this approach and with a significant infusion of new funding, we have the ability to greenlight more transformative projects that will create well-paying unionized jobs, grow the economy and make our transportation system safer. and more resilient.

The Multimodal Project Discretionary Grant combines applications from the National Infrastructure Project Assistance (Mega), Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) and Rural Surface Transportation Grant (Rural ) in a common request. The Common Application gives applicants the option of pursuing one, two or all three funding opportunities using a single application.

USDOT says it will award awards under the three grant programs in accordance with the statutory language of each grant program and will focus on supporting projects that improve security, economic competitiveness, equity, climate and durability.

Applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. EST on May 23, 2022. While the INFRA program existed before the passage of the bipartisan Infrastructure Act, the Mega and Rural programs are new under the law and the USDOT recommends applicants to review previous INFRA applications if resubmitting to ensure they adhere to the new Common Application.

The NOFO is accessible via this link.

Learn more about grant program funds

The Mega program will receive up to $1 billion in funding in FY22. The program was established under the bipartisan Infrastructure Act to fund large projects too large or too complex for funding programs traditional. The program will provide grants on a competitive basis to support major multi-jurisdictional or regional projects that may also span multiple modes of transportation. Eligible projects could include highway, bridge, freight, port, passenger rail, and public transportation projects of national and regional significance. These can be bridges or tunnels connecting two states; new rail and transit lines that improve equity and reduce emissions; and freight hubs integrating maritime, rail and road traffic while improving environmental justice. USDOT will provide 50% funding for projects costing more than $500 million and 50% for projects costing more than $100 million but less than $500 million.

The INFRA program has $1.55 billion available for FY22, which USDOT says represents a more than 50% increase in funding from FY21. These grants advance priorities administration to rebuild America’s infrastructure and create jobs by funding highway, multimodal freight and railroad projects that are positioning America to win the 21st century. The projects will improve safety, generate economic benefits, reduce congestion, build resilience, and hold the most promise for removing supply chain bottlenecks and improving critical freight movements. Last year, USDOT received more than $10 billion in project requests, but was only able to fund about $1 billion in projects. In FY21, four of the 24 projects funded under the INFRA program had transit components.

The rural program has up to $300 million for FY22. USDOT says the program supports projects to improve and expand surface transportation infrastructure in rural areas to increase connectivity, to improve the safety and reliability of the movement of people and goods, to generate regional economic growth and to improve the quality of life. Projects eligible for rural grants include highways, bridges, and tunnels 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.

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