August 2017

 

INFRA Program will Make About $1.5 Billion Available

The Department of Transportation (DOT) announced the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) discretionary grant program on June 29. The Department and the President are deeply committed to revitalizing, repairing, and rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure.

The INFRA program will make approximately $1.5 billion available to projects that are in line with the Administration’s principles to help rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure which is a top priority for the Trump Administration.

INFRA improves a pre-existing grant program established in the FAST Act of 2015 and utilizes updated criteria to evaluate projects that align national and regional economic vitality and leverage more non-federal funding. The new program will grow the impact of projects by leveraging more capital and allowing innovation in the project delivery and permitting process. INFRA will also target performance and accountability in project execution.

The new INFRA program preserves the statutory requirement to award at least 25% of funding for rural projects. 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. For these communities, DOT will consider an applicant’s resource constraints when assessing the leverage criterion.

Evidence has shown that, in the past, when State and local governments receive and spend federal funding for infrastructure, they divert future funding away from key infrastructure needs towards other uses – leading to little or no net benefit to infrastructure. With nearly $9.8 billion in funding requested in FY 2016 for FASTLANE, we need to take steps to get more bang for the buck. By getting more of our partners to use federal funding as a supplement — not a substitute — we seek to increase the amount of overall funding that goes to infrastructure.

The Department believes that we can’t afford to continue making these mistakes. This NOFO represents a new, better way of doing business For too long, Washington defined infrastructure problems for local communities but stood in the way of the solutions. This Administration’s approach is to let states and local communities define their own challenges and prescribe their own solutions. We want communities to invest in themselves, and we will meet their investment with important federal resources. This plan provides the right incentives for project sponsors across the country to make dramatic, long-term improvements in the way we deliver and maintain our transportation infrastructure.

The INFRA Grant program ensures that all awarded funds will be spent directly on the specific projects they were awarded to; underscoring the Administration’s commitment to leverage federal dollars and streamline projects to ensure these projects are on-time and on-budget. The INFRA Grant program introduces incentives — in the form of funding and assistance with permitting — for project sponsors across the country to make dramatic, long-term improvements in the way we deliver and maintain our transportation infrastructure.

Lastly, DOT wants to ensure that project sponsors are accounting for the long-term costs associated with these projects. The time is now to make these transformative changes in these programs.  Reports indicate that the U.S. economy could lose nearly $4 trillion in GDP between 2016-2025 if investment isn't in infrastructure. Each American household will lose $3,400 every year due to infrastructure deficiencies. The severe economic impact will also cost some 2.5 million jobs by 2025.

Applicants may resubmit their previous FASTLANE application, but must explain how the project competitively addresses the improved INFRA Grant criteria. This NOFO will remain open for 120 days.

USDOT will host webinars and direct outreach to explain changes in the INFRA program criteria and assist applicants on how to submit new or updated applications. 

If you have questions, please feel free to contact the INFRA grant program team via e-mail at INFRAgrants@dot.gov.

Read more on INFRAgrants.

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