Coming on the heels of the White House last week issuing its proposed Fiscal Year 2020 budget, which had a sharp focus on transportation infrastructure, the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) this week sent out a call for infrastructure funding, albeit in a different way.
DOT said it published a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) in order to apply for $1 billion in FY 2020 discretionary grant funding through the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation Discretionary Grants program.
Introduced in 2018, BUILD is the successor to the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program. TIGER was established under the Obama administration in 2009. And it largely delivered, providing around $5.5 billion to 421 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands and tribal communities. These federal funds leverage money from private sector partners, states, local governments, metropolitan planning organizations and transit agencies. Funding for TIGER grants ensured that economic funding is made available for transportation infrastructure projects, specifically road, rail transit, and port, and that project spending is monitored and transparent.
But in April 2018, the DOT issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity to apply for $1.5 billion in discretionary funding through the BUILD program. Funding for BUILD comes from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, which has made available $1.5 billion for National Infrastructure Investments through September 30, 2020.
Regarding this week’s announcement, DOT said this round of BUILD Transportation grants are geared towards planning and capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure and are to be awarded on a competitive basis for projects that will have a significant local or regional impact, adding that BUILD funding is focused on roads, bridges, transit rail, ports, or intermodal transportation. And DOT added that BUILD projects will be evaluated on a merit-based criteria, including safety, economic competiveness, quality of life, environmental sustainability, state of good repair, innovation, and partnership.
“BUILD grants will upgrade infrastructure across America, making our transportation systems safer and more efficient,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao in a statement.
DOT noted that in keeping in line with the White House’s initiatives focused on “rebalancing past under-investment in rural America,” it plans to award up to 50% of BUILD Transportation grant funding to projects in rural areas that deliver positive benefits for these communities that are consistent with the DOT’s R.O.U.T.E.S. initiative. DOT said that for this round of funding, the maximum grant award is $25 million, with no more than $100 million awarded to a single state, as per the appropriations act.
When BUILD Transportation grants were first introduced in 2018, the Washington, D.C.-based Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors said that competitive grant programs provide a funding opportunity for projects that are difficult to fund or do not qualify through traditional funding programs due to their complexity, size, or cost.
“These programs, such as BUILD, provide an invaluable tool for critical freight infrastructure projects, which are often large in scale, crossing multiple jurisdictions and modes,” said Elaine Nessle, CAGTC executive director. “We applaud Congress’ recognition of these important programs…and USDOT’s commitment to making vital freight investments.”
Get news, papers, media & research, delivered.
Stay up-to-date with news and resources you need to do your job. Research industry trends, compare companies and get market intelligence every week with Supply Chain 24/7.
Subscribe to our email newsletter and we’ll keep you up-to-date.