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The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) is soliciting applications for $900 million in fiscal-year 2019 funding through the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grants program, the department announced yesterday.The grants for surface transportation infrastructure work will be awarded on a competitive basis to projects that will have a significant local or regional impact, USDOT officials said in a press release. Grants can be used to support road, bridge, transit, rail, port or intermodal projects."These BUILD transportation grants will provide needed infrastructure investment to better connect rural and urban communities around our nation,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.Up to 50 percent of BUILD funding will allocated to rural area projects that align with selection criteria, department officials said. This includes projects that improve infrastructure condition, address public health and safety, promote regional connectivity, facilitate economic growth or competitiveness, deploy broadband as part of an eligible transportation project, or promote energy independence, they said.Selection criteria encompass safety, economic competitiveness, quality of life, state of good repair, innovation and partnerships with a broad range of stakeholders, according to the USDOT.The grant application deadline is July 15. The maximum award will be $25 million, and no more than $90 million can be awarded to a single state for this round of grants.USDOT will host a series of webinars offering technical assistance during the BUILD grant application process. To register, click on this link.