The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) recently announced it published a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for $1.5 billion in grants through its 2023 Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainable and Equity (RAISE) discretionary grant program.
According to DOT, the objective of RAISE is to help United States communities carry out projects with significant local or regional impact, with the grants helping project sponsors at the state and local level, including municipalities, Tribal governments, counties, and others complete critical freight and passenger transportation infrastructure projects. And it added that RAISE’s eligibility requirements allow project sponsors to obtain funding for projects that are harder to support through other U.S. DOT grant programs.
“The historic investments the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing today will help communities across the country modernize their transportation,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in a statement. “After decades of underinvestment in America’s infrastructure, we are supporting projects that help people and goods get where they need to go more safely, efficiently, and affordably.”
In 2022, RAISE grants have provided funding for 166 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
DOT said that the RAISE grants funding will be allocated through:
The Washington-based Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors (CAGTC) gave a strong endorsement for the RAISE program.
“Competitive grant programs, such as the RAISE program, are critical for advancing complex freight projects and providing much-needed flexibility to invest in multimodal or cross jurisdictional projects,” said Elaine Nessle, CAGTC Executive Director. “While the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law presents a historic opportunity for infrastructure investment, rising inflation threatens its impact. We urge the Administration to utilize all of the tools at its disposal to minimize funding delays to awardees.”
DOT said that the deadline for applications is 11:59 PM ET on February 28, 2023, with selections to be announced by June 28, 2023.
Earlier this year, the White House and the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that $2.9 billion in funding was made available through a combined NOFO (notice of funding opportunity). DOT said that this NOFO meshes three discretionary grant programs into a single Multimodal Projects Discretionary Grant and reducing the burden for state and local applicants while also increasing the pipeline of what it calls “shovel-worthy” projects.
The three discretionary grant programs include: the National Infrastructure Project Assistance (MEGA) program; the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) program; and the Rural Surface Transportation Grant Program (RURAL) program.
Randy Mullett, president of Mullett Strategies, said in a March interview he thinks DOT combined the programs for a few reasons besides making it easier on the grant seekers.
“First, the new infrastructure law established several new grant programs for which DOT doesn’t have the bandwidth or personnel expertise,” he said. “Combining several programs helps with that. Second, depending on their definition or statute of what constitutes a significant project might mean it will be difficult for a small request to qualify. Finally, the administration is very focused on climate and their corresponding transit/rail preference. This may allow them to focus more in that area. My last thought is, if I was a rural state with fewer resources to chase grants, I would feel disadvantaged by this since funds originally carved out for rural projects are now co-mingled.”