USDOT Becomes First to Make Funds Available from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

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Mark Evans

Funding Specialist

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) recently announced the first opportunity for local governments, counties, states, authorities, districts, and others to access the funds under the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).

According to a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) released by the USDOT, the program—also referred to as RAISE (Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity) grants or the Local and Regional Project Assistance Program within the BIL – will provide $1.5 billion in funding for “capital investments in surface transportation that will have a significant local and regional impact.” This represents an approximate 50% increase in compared to the FY 2021 program and will have the ability to fund not only capital projects but also planning activities. The USDOT plans to announce awards under this program by August 12, 2022.

Highlights of the program:

  • Maximum Federal Grant Share – 80% unless the project is located in a rural area, a historically disadvantaged community, or an area of persistent poverty (as defined in the NOFO)
  • Minimum Grant Awards – $5 million for projects in urbanized areas; $1 million for projects in rural areas
  • Maximum Grant Award – $25 million
  • Total Amount Available for Planning – up to $75 million
  • Maximum Grant Investment for Projects in a Single State – $225 million
  • Availability of Funds – Funds must be obligated by September 30, 2026 and expended by September 30, 2031

Previously, RAISE funded projects to address issues in American bridges, roads, ports and rail systems. The FY 2022 RAISE grant program, according to the NOFO, is designed to “invest efficiently and equitably, promote the competitiveness of the U.S. economy, improve job opportunities by focusing on high labor standards, strengthen infrastructure resilience to all hazards including climate change, and to effectively coordinate with State, local, Tribal, and territorial government partners.” The agency aims to accomplish these goals in several ways, including:

  • At least $15 million will be directed to projects located in areas of persistent poverty and/or historically disadvantaged communities
  • Only 50%, $750 million, may be used for urban projects, the other half must be used for rural projects
  • Promote projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Promote energy efficiency
  • Support fiscally responsible land use and transportation efficient design
  • Increase use of lower-carbon travel modes such as transit and active transportation
  • Incorporate electrification or zero emission vehicle infrastructure
  • Increase climate resilience
  • Support domestic manufacturing
  • Incorporate lower-carbon pavement and construction materials
  • Reduce pollution, and recycle or redevelop brownfield sites

For more information, please reach out to Mark Evans, Travis Kelly, or your current Freese and Nichols contacts.

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Mark Evans is a Funding Specialist based in San Marcos, Texas.