The Federal Highway Administration is seeking applications for $848 million worth of Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-Saving Transportation or PROTECT grants.
[Above image by the FHWA]
This is the first round of funding from this particular discretionary grant program; funding aimed at making the country’s surface transportation system – including highways, public transportation, pedestrian facilities, ports, and intercity passenger rail – more resilient while also reducing long-term infrastructure costs by minimizing demands for more expensive future maintenance and rebuilding.
Funded by the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or IIJA enacted in November 2021, the PROTECT grant program is complemented by the $7.3 billion PROTECT formula funding program, which also seeks to improve transportation system resiliency while lowering long-term infrastructure costs.
“Every community in America knows the impacts of climate change and extreme weather, whether that means record rainfall in California, flooding up and down the Mississippi River; hurricanes venturing as far south as Puerto Rico and as far north as Delaware; or wildfires not limited to a defined season and becoming instead a constant threat to more and more Americans,” noted FHWA Administrator Shailen Bhatt in a statement.
“This investment ensures our infrastructure is built to withstand more frequent and unpredictable extreme weather is critical for communities counting on a road or bridge to be open for first responders, and it is critical for a business that must get its essential goods to shelves,” he said.
By funding projects that improve resilience to natural hazards and climate change impacts, FHWA said the PROTECT grant program aims to reduce damage and disruption to the transportation system and improve the safety of the traveling public.
The program also aims to improve equity and further environmental justice by addressing the needs of disadvantaged communities that are often the most vulnerable to hazards, the agency said.
The FHWA added that it seeks applicants for the PROTECT program grants from across all levels of government – from municipalities and Native American tribes to state departments of transportation.