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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

USDOT to provide $2.9B in transportation project grants through three major programs

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg
Photo – transportation.gov


U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg yesterday announced $2.9 billion in federal funding is now available for major infrastructure projects through a combined notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

The NOFO combines three major U.S. Department of Transportation grant programs — Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA), National Infrastructure Project Assistance (MEGA) and Rural Surface Transportation Grant (RURAL) — into one multimodal projects discretionary grant opportunity.

The combined NOFO reduces burdens for state and local applicants, and increases the pipeline of "shovel-worthy" projects that now can advance because of the infrastructure law, Buttigieg said in a press release.

“[The law] is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fix our outdated infrastructure and invest in major projects for the future of our economy,” he said. “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 transportation system safer and more resilient.”  

INFRA grants target highway, multimodal freight and rail projects. Last year, the USDOT received INFRA program applications seeking more than $10 billion in funding, but the department could only provide about $1 billion in grants. The law now provides about $8 billion for INFRA over five years, of which approximately $1.55 billion will be made available through the combined NOFO. 

Meanwhile, MEGA grants aim to fund major projects that are too large or complex for traditional funding programs, and RURAL grants support projects designed to improve and expand surface transportation infrastructure in rural areas. This year, the MEGA program will receive up to $1 billion and the RURAL program will award up to $300 million in grants.  

The deadline for NOFO applications involving all three grant programs is May 23.