The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Build America Bureau recently issued a notice of funding opportunity or NOFO for the new Rural and Tribal Assistance Pilot Program, which will offer $10 million worth of technical assistance grants to rural and tribal communities over the next five years.
[Above photo by USDOT]
USDOT noted that those grants may be used to hire staff or advisors to assist with early development-phase activities including, but not limited to, feasibility studies; preliminary engineering and design; environmental review; revenue forecasting; financial feasibility analysis; statutory and regulatory analysis and drafting and negotiation of agreements.
This NOFO combines two years of funding – fiscal years 2022 and 2023 – to offer a total of $3.4 million worth of grants to eligible applicants on a first-come, first-served basis. Individual awards will range in value up to the statutory limit of $360,000 and there is no local funding match required to participate in this program.
“Many communities are already benefitting from funding and financing programs that the Bureau administers. However, tribal and rural communities represent a smaller share in our pipeline,” said Bureau Executive Director Morteza Farajian in a statement.
“[We are] committed to providing technical assistance, through this pilot program and other tools, and to creating capacity at local levels that can lead to better utilization of innovative funding and financing solutions in delivery of critical projects,” he added.
The Bureau has created a four-page funding application, available at https://www.transportation.gov/buildamerica/RuralandTribalGrants, for this grant funding and will begin accepting submissions on August 14.
Eligible applicants for this new pilot program’s grants include local governments or political subdivisions with projects located outside of an urbanized area with a population of more than 150,000 residents as determined by the Census; state governments applying on behalf of a project in an area outside an urbanized area of more than 150,000 residents; federally recognized Indian Tribes; and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.
To help tribal nations overcome the challenges created by insufficient infrastructure, the new Rural and Tribal Assistance Pilot Program will set aside up to $800,000 for each fiscal year for tribal applicants.