The U.S. DOT this week announced it is seeking applicants for the FY 2021 round of the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) discretionary grant program.
The department says INFRA grants will fund transportation projects of national and regional significance that are in line with the Biden Administration’s priorities. The funding available for this year’s grants totals approximately $889 million.
The U.S. DOT said it recognizes the role that infrastructure investment plays in economic development and job creation, and the added urgency of this funding at time when the COVID-19 pandemic has put stress on state and local budgets.
“As we work to recover and emerge from this devastating pandemic stronger than before, now is the time to make lasting investments in our nation’s infrastructure,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement. “We are committed to not just rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, but building back in a way that positions American communities for success in the future—creating good paying jobs, boosting the economy, ensuring equity, and tackling our climate crisis. The INFRA grant program is a tremendous opportunity to help achieve these goals."
The U.S. DOT says projects will be evaluated on whether they were planned as part of a comprehensive strategy to address climate change and whether they support strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions such as deploying zero-emission vehicle infrastructure or encouraging modal shift and a reduction in vehicle-miles-traveled.
Racial equity will also be considered as a selection criterion, to the extent that project sponsors have completed equity-focused community outreach, and projects are designed to improve connections to underserved communities to reduce barriers to opportunity. The department will also consider whether the project is located in a federally designated community development zone, including qualified Opportunity Zones, Empowerment Zones, Promise Zones, or Choice Neighborhoods.
INFRA projects will also be rated on the extent that they apply innovative technology, delivery, or financing methods with proven outcomes to deliver projects in a cost-effective manner. More information can be found on the department's website.
SOURCE: U.S. DOT