USDOT Launches Rural Infrastructure Pilot Program

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently launched a new $5 million demonstration program via a notice of funding opportunity that aims to establish several Regional Infrastructure Accelerators across the country.

[Above photo via the USDOT]

Those “accelerators,” to be managed by the USDOT’s Build America Bureau, are entities designed to help deliver transportation infrastructure projects more quickly to local communities by using “innovative” financing methods.

The agency added in a statement that those “accelerators” will also assist infrastructure project sponsors in project planning, evaluating innovative financing options, accessing technical assistance and best practices, and developing a pipeline of projects ready for investment.

The Regional Infrastructure Accelerators program is also the latest effort by the USDOT to focus more infrastructure investment in rural America.

In 2019, USDOT Secretary Elaine Chao unveiled the agency’s R.O.U.T.E.S. Initiative – short for “Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success” – at the annual meeting of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials to address the “disparities” in rural transportation infrastructure in order to “tangibly improve safety and economic competitiveness” in all parts of the country.

Additionally, a 48-page report unveiled by national transportation research nonprofit TRIP in May indicates that America’s rural road network suffers from a $211 billion backlog in funding for needed repairs and improvements.

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