THE US Department of Transportation (USDOT) will offer $US 2.9bn through three discretionary grant programmes to support major infrastructure projects and has issued a combined Notice of Funding Opportunity (Nofo) that will make it easier to apply to one or more programmes with a single application and common set of criteria.  

“Combining three major discretionary grant programmes into one multimodal projects discretionary grant opportunity reduces the burden for state and local applicants, and increases the pipeline of ‘shovel-worthy’ projects that are now possible because of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” says USDOT.  

The three programmes are: 

National Infrastructure Project Assistance programme (Mega). Created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), Mega will support major projects that are too large or complex for traditional funding programmes. Mega will provide grants on a competitive basis to support multi-jurisdictional or regional projects that may also cut across different modes of transport. Eligible projects could include highway, bridge, freight, port, passenger rail, and public transport schemes. These could be bridges or tunnels connecting two states; new rail and transit lines; and freight hubs integrating ship, train and lorry traffic. USDOT will award 50% of funding to projects valued at more than $US 100m. Mega is expected to receive up to $US 1bn in 2022 and will be able to provide multi-year funding to projects.   

Infrastructure for Rebuilding America programme (Infra). This existing programme will receive an increase in funding of more than 50% this year due to BIL. Grants will be available to fund highway, multimodal freight and rail projects that improve safety, generate economic benefits, reduce congestion, enhance resiliency, and hold the greatest promise to eliminate supply chain bottlenecks and improve critical freight movements. Last year, USDOT received over $US 10bn of project applications, but could only fund around $US 1bn of projects. BIL provides approximately $US 8bn for Infra over five years, of which approximately $US 1.55bn will be made available through this Nofo. 

Rural Surface Transportation Grant Programme (Rural): Created by BIL, Rural will support projects that improve and expand surface transport infrastructure in rural areas. Highway, bridge and tunnel projects will be eligible that help improve freight and safety, and provide or increase access to agricultural, commercial, energy or transport facilities that support the economy of a rural area. This year, USDOT will award up to $US 300m in grants through Rural, part of the $US 2bn included in BIL over five years.  

“President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fix our out-dated infrastructure and invest in major projects for the future of our economy,” says US transportation secretary, Mr Pete Buttigieg. “Until now, we had limited ability to make awards beyond a certain level, or to support projects with funding from multiple federal grant programmes. Under this approach and with a major infusion of new funding, we have the capacity to green-light more transformational projects that will create good-paying union jobs, grow the economy, and make our transport system safer and more resilient.”   

The application deadline is 23.59 EDT on May 23. For more information, visit Nofo on the USDOT website