WASHINGTON - The Department of Transportation (DOT) is announcing the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) discretionary grant program through a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) in the Federal Register today. The INFRA program will make approximately $1.5 billion available to projects that are in line with the Administration's principles to help rebuild America's crumbling infrastructure — a priority for this Administration. In addition to providing direct federal funding, the INFRA program aims to increase the total investment by state, local, and private partners.
INFRA advances a pre-existing grant program established in the FAST Act of 2015 and utilizes updated criteria to evaluate projects to align them with national and regional economic vitality goals and to leverage additional non-federal funding. The new program will increase the impact of projects by leveraging capital and allowing innovation in the project delivery and permitting processes, including public-private partnerships.
Additionally, the new program promotes innovative safety solutions that will improve our transportation system. INFRA will also target performance and accountability in project delivery and operations.
“The President and the Department are committed to revitalizing, repairing and rebuilding America's aging infrastructure,” said Secretary Elaine L. Chao. “By ensuring the right incentives, projects selected under this program will be better able to make significant, long-term improvements to America's transportation infrastructure.”
The Department 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. For a small project, the grant must be at least $5 million. For each fiscal year of INFRA funds, 10 percent of available funds are reserved for small projects.
The INFRA grant program preserves the statutory requirement in the FAST Act to award at least 25 percent of funding for rural projects. The Administration understands that rural needs may well exceed this limit, and the Department 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. For these communities, DOT will consider an applicant's resource constraints when assessing the leverage criterion.
INFRA grants may be used to fund a variety of components of an infrastructure project, however, the Department is specifically focused on projects in which the local sponsor is significantly invested and is positioned to proceed rapidly to construction. 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: Transportation.gov https://www.transportation.gov/briefing-room/dot5217)