The U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) is announcing the second round of the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) discretionary grant program through a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) in the Federal Register today.
The INFRA program is expected to make approximately $855-902.5 million, subject to funding provided by FY 2019 appropriations. In addition to providing direct federal funding, the INFRA program aims to increase the total investment by state, local and private partners.
In 2018, INFRA grants in the amount of nearly $1.5 billion were awarded to 26 projects.
INFRA advances a grant program established in the FAST Act of 2015 and utilizes criteria that let the U.S. DOT evaluate projects to align them with national and regional economic vitality goals and to leverage additional non-federal funding. The program will increase the impact of projects by leveraging federal grant funding and incentivizing project sponsors to pursue innovative strategies, including public-private partnerships. Additionally, the new program promotes the incorporation of innovative technology that could improve the nation's transportation system. INFRA also will hold recipients accountable for their performance in project delivery and operations.
U.S. DOT will make awards under the INFRA program to both large and small projects. For a large project, the INFRA grant must be at least $25 million, while for small projects, the grant must be at least $5 million. For each fiscal year of INFRA funds, 10% of available funds are reserved for small projects.
Under a statutory requirement in the FAST Act, the INFRA grant program must award at least 25% of funding for rural projects. The department says it will consider rural projects to the greatest extent possible. For rural communities in need of funding for highway and multimodal freight projects with national or regional economic significance, INFRA is an opportunity to apply directly for financial assistance from the federal government.
Eligible INFRA project costs may include: reconstruction, rehabilitation, acquisition of property (including land related to the project and improvements to the land), environmental mitigation, construction contingencies, equipment acquisition and operational improvements directly related to system performance.
Source: U.S. DOT