USDOT Issues $645M in Rural Transportation Grants

The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded $645.3 million from the Rural Surface Transportation Grant or RSTG program to help communities complete transportation projects that will increase mobility, improve safety, and generate regional economic growth in rural areas of the country. 

[Above photo by WVDOT]

This is the second year of RSTG funding, which offers roughly $2 billion through 2026 for projects that improve highways, bridges, and tunnels; address highway safety; increase access to agricultural, commercial, energy, or freight facilities; and bring flexible transit services to rural and tribal areas.

The agency added in a statement that this second round of RSTG funding is part of a total of $44 billion made available by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or IIJA to help rural communities repair and improve their roads, bridges, airports, ports, and transit systems. 

USDOT noted it evaluated RSTG funding applications based on multiple criteria, including project readiness, cost-effectiveness, and whether the project supported critical goals like enhancing safety, increasing mobility and reliability, improving resiliency and restoring infrastructure to a state of good repair.  

State departments of transportation are involved in a variety of efforts to specifically support rural transportation initiatives.

For example, the Nebraska Department of Transportation recently highlighted its “Faces of Transit in Nebraska” video series, originally unveiled in April, as it spotlights the statewide efforts of rural transit agencies.

The Nebraska DOT worked with the University of Nebraska at Omaha Center for Public Affairs Research or CPAR, the University of Nebraska at Kearney Nebraska Safety Center, White Shutter Media, and numerous rural transit agencies to produce this unique series of videos – produced with the intent of showing how public transit is helping prevent community members, especially in rural parts of the state, from being “left behind.”

Meanwhile, in November, the West Virginia Department of Transportation and Governor Jim Justice (R) highlighted the number of roadway projects completed via the $2.8 billion “Roads to Prosperity” program passed by the state legislature in 2017 – a program that largely focuses on the transportation connections in rural parts of the state.

At a press briefing, Gov. Justice and WVDOT noted that out of the 1,263 bridge and highway projects undertaken through the “Roads to Prosperity” program, roughly 1,200 are now complete – with WVDOT also paving approximately 9,000 miles of road, more than at any time in the state’s history, over the last six years via that program.

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