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Multimodal Transportation Project Grants (INFRA)

  • Granting Agency: U.S. Dept. of Transportation
  • Appropriation Amount: $1,550,000,000
  • Grant Amount:  Varies (Small Projects), >$100,000,000 (Large Projects), 9.03% Match
  • Announcement Date: March 23, 2022
  • Closing Date: May 23, 2022

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law established two new multimodal transportation programs (Mega, Rural) and reauthorized one preexisting program (INFRA) which are being announced in one NOFO for Multimodal Project Discretionary Grants (MPDG). Read the NOFO here.

Sponsors of multimodal projects with additional questions or interested in receiving additional assistance are invited to visit the Department’s Grants homepage: transportation.gov/grants and look for MPDG grants.

The Department has published a Guide to Benefit Cost Analysis and several recorded webinars.

A FAQ can be found here.

Purpose: The Nationally Significant Multimodal Freight and Highways Projects grants program (INFRA) is the central federal program funding multimodal transportation projects. At least 15% of the funds are reserved for small projects (<$100 million) and at least 25% of the funds are reserved for rural projects. The program also includes a leverage pilot, under which $150 million is set-aside to prioritize for projects with greater non-Federal share. Funds will be awarded on a competitive basis for surface transportation infrastructure projects – including highway and bridge, intercity passenger rail, railway-highway grade crossing or separation, wildlife crossing, public transportation, marine highway, and freight projects, or groups of such projects – with significant national or regional impact, or to improve and expand the surface transportation infrastructure in rural areas.

Eligible Expenditures:

1. A highway freight project on the National Highway Freight Network
2. A highway or bridge project on the National Highway System
3. A freight intermodal, freight rail, or freight project within the boundaries of a public or private freight rail, water (including ports), or intermodal facility and that is a surface transportation infrastructure project necessary to facilitate direct intermodal interchange, transfer, or access into or out of the facility*
4. A highway-railway grade crossing or grade separation project
5. A wildlife crossing project
6. A surface transportation project within the boundaries or functionally connected to an international border crossing that improves a facility owned by Fed/State/local government and increases throughput efficiency
7. A project for a marine highway corridor that is functionally connected to the NHFN and is likely to reduce road mobile source emissions
8. A highway, bridge, or freight project on the National Multimodal Freight Network

Eligible project costs include (1) development phase activities, including planning, feasibility analysis, revenue forecasting, environmental review, preliminary engineering, design, and other preconstruction activities, provided the project meets statutory requirements. (2)
Construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, or acquisition of property (including land related to the project and improvements to the land), environmental mitigation (including a project to replace or rehabilitate a culvert, or to reduce stormwater runoff for the purpose of improving habitat for aquatic species), construction contingencies, equipment acquisition, and operational improvements directly related to system performance. (3) INFRA grant recipients may use INFRA funds to pay for the subsidy and administrative costs necessary to receive TIFIA credit assistance.

Of the three programs in the MPDG opportunity, INFRA is the only program that existed in FY2021, while the Rural and Mega are new programs created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Applicants who are planning to reapply using materials prepared for prior competitions should ensure that their FY 2022 application fully addresses the criteria and considerations described in this notice and that all relevant information is up to date. The BIL expanded INFRA eligibility to include wildlife crossing projects; marine highway corridor projects; highway, bridge, or freight projects carried out on the National Multimodal Freight Network4; surface transportation projects located within or functionally connected to an international border crossing; and transportation facilities owned by a Federal, State, or local government entity.

$150 million of INFRA funding is dedicated for the INFRA Leverage Pilot program to fund projects that have >50% non-federal match.

Criteria:

For a small project (Less than $100M) to be selected, the Department must consider the cost-effectiveness of the proposed project, the effect of the proposed project on mobility in the State and region in which the project is carried out, and the effect of the proposed project on safety on freight corridors with significant hazards, such as high winds, heavy snowfall, flooding, rockslides, mudslides, wildfire, wildlife crossing onto the roadway, or steep grades.

For a large project (More than $100M) to be selected, the Department must determine that the project meets seven requirements described in 23 U.S.C. § 117(g) and below and further described in Section E.1.v.b. and Section D.2.b.vii. If your project consists of multiple components with independent utility, the Department must determine that each component meets each requirement to select it for an award. See Section E.1.v.b.:
Large Project Requirement #1: The project will generate national or regional economic, mobility, or safety benefits.
Large Project Requirement #2: The project will be cost-effective.
Large Project Requirement #3: The project will contribute to the accomplishment of one or more of the goals described in 23 U.S.C. § 150.
Large Project Requirement #4: The project is based on the results of preliminary engineering.
Large Project Requirement #5: With respect to related non-Federal financial commitments, one or more stable and dependable funding or financing sources are available to construct, maintain, and operate the project, and contingency amounts are available to cover unanticipated cost increases.
Large Project Requirement #6: The project cannot be easily and efficiently completed without other Federal funding or financial assistance available to the project sponsor.Large Project Requirement #7 The project is reasonably expected to begin construction no later than 18 months after the date of obligation of funds for the project.

The INFRA and Rural program statutes define a rural area as an area outside an Urbanized Area7 with a population of over 200,000.

While the MPDG grant opportunity consists of three separate programs, DOT will evaluate common applications for the programs using common merit criteria and considerations to provide a more streamlined and efficient application process for project sponsors. The common set of criteria include: safety; state of good repair; economic impacts, freight movement, and job creation; climate change, resiliency, and the environment; equity, multimodal options, and quality of life; and innovation. Additional considerations include cost effectiveness; demonstrated project readiness, which includes technical assessment, financial completeness, and environmental review and permitting risk; and geographic diversity among recipients, including a balance between the needs of urban and rural projects. Because of these shared characteristics, it is possible for many projects to be eligible and considered for multiple programs using a single application.

Eligible Applicants:

1. a State or a group of States;
2. a metropolitan planning organization;
3. a unit of local government;
4. a political subdivision of a State;
5. a special purpose district or public authority with a transportation function, including a port authority;
6. a Tribal government or a consortium of Tribal governments;
7. a partnership between Amtrak and 1 or more entities described in (1) through (6); and,
8. a group of entities described in any of (1) through (7).