USDOT Offering Over $5B in Multimodal Project Grants

The U.S. Department of Transportation has issued a notice of funding opportunity or NOFO for up to $5.6 billion in funding for infrastructure projects of “regional or national significance” via its Multimodal Project Discretionary Grant program, which supports three major discretionary grant programs that involve surface transportation projects designed to strengthen supply chains and spur economic development while improving safety and daily life. The deadline for applications is August 21.

[Above photo by Caltrans]

In 2022, the USDOT tested using a single combined NOFO for those three infrastructure funding programs to make it easier for communities to apply to one, two, or three major discretionary grant programs with a single application and a common set of criteria.

Following the overwhelmingly positive feedback from that process, USDOT decided to continue with a combined NOFO for the 2023 application cycle, noting that the combined application also helps the USDOT proactively assist project sponsors match projects with the most appropriate grant program. 

“From fixing rural roads that would otherwise have trouble getting federal funding, to addressing some of the largest and most recognizable bridges and tunnels in the country, the funds in these three programs are supporting transformational infrastructure projects across the nation,” noted USDOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg in a statement.

“Using a combined process to reduce paperwork, we are pleased to open this new round of funding for applications and look forward to hearing from project sponsors around the country seeking funds to help strengthen their communities through infrastructure,” he said. Available funding includes:

  • $1.8 billion for the National Infrastructure Project Assistance (Mega) program: The Mega program supports large, complex projects that are difficult to fund by other means and are likely to generate national or regional economic, mobility, or safety benefits. Eligible projects could include highway, bridge, freight, port, passenger rail, and public transportation projects of national or regional significance.  Per the law, 50 percent of funds are available for projects above $500 million in total cost, and 50 percent are available for projects between $100 million and $500 million in total cost. 
  • $3.1 billion for the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) program: The INFRA program awards competitive grants to multimodal freight and highway projects of national or regional significance to improve the safety, accessibility, efficiency, and reliability of the movement of freight and people in and across rural and urban areas.  Eligible projects will improve safety, generate economic benefits, reduce congestion, enhance resiliency, and hold the greatest promise to eliminate supply chain bottlenecks and improve critical freight movements. 
  • $675 million for the Rural Surface Transportation Grant (Rural) program: The Rural program supports projects that improve and expand our nation’s surface transportation infrastructure in rural areas in order to increase connectivity, improve the safety and reliability of the movement of people and freight, and generate regional economic growth and improve quality of life. Eligible projects for those “Rural” grants include highway, bridge, and tunnel projects that help improve freight, safety, and provide or increase access to agricultural, commercial, energy, or transportation facilities that support the economy of a rural area. Roughly 90 percent of that rural funding must be awarded in $25 million or greater amounts.

In 2022, USDOT noted that it awarded nearly $1.2 billion from the Mega Program for nine projects across the country, roughly $274 million for 12 projects through the Rural grant program, and $1.5 billion for 26 projects through the INFRA program.

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