DOT Will Award Additional $2.9 Billion in Major Infrastructure Grants 

DOT launches major grants for intermodal transport projects, ports and hubs
Port of Long Beach received a grant for its intermodal rail link with similar large projects to be included in the new round of grants (Port of Long Beack photo)

Published Mar 24, 2022 7:09 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Department of Transportation announced a new combined funding program from the bipartisan infrastructure bill designed to provide grants for large projects. The new process seeks to simplify the application process, combining existing and new programs specifically to target regional or national programs including intermodal ports and freight hubs as well as rail and transit lines or tunnels and bridges.

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fix our outdated infrastructure and invest in major projects for the future of our economy,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “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.”   

Last year, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported it received over $10 billion of project applications, but could only fund around $1 billion of projects. The infrastructure law passed in 2021 however provides approximately $8 billion for the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America program over the five years, of which approximately $1.55 billion will be made available through the combined Notice of Funding Opportunity. Buttigieg said they plan to award $2.9 billion of funding through this effort for major infrastructure projects. Combining three major discretionary grant programs into one Multimodal Projects Discretionary Grant opportunity will reduce the burden for state and local applicants and increases the pipeline of “shovel-worthy” projects. Applications are being accepted through late May 2022.

The National Infrastructure Project Assistance program was created in the infrastructure law specifically to fund major projects that are too large or complex for traditional funding programs. The program will provide grants on a competitive basis to support multi-jurisdictional or regional projects of significance that may also cut across multiple modes of transportation. DOT will award 50 percent of funding to projects greater than $500 million in cost, and 50 percent to projects greater than $100 million but less than $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 Infrastructure for Rebuilding America program will see a more than 50 percent increase in this year’s funding. At the same time, the Rural Surface Transportation Grant Program is newly created to improve and expand the surface transportation infrastructure in rural areas to increase connectivity, improve the safety and reliability of the movement of people and freight, and generate regional economic growth. This year, DOT will award up to $300 million in grants through the rural program.

These efforts are in addition to increased funding for DOT grant programs that also target ports and infrastructure as well as the Marine Highway System and increased funding to the Army Corp of Engineers. According to many analysts, it represents the single largest investment by the government in U.S. infrastructure since the 1950s.