- Granting Agency: U.S. Dept. of Transportation
- Appropriation Amount: $300,000,000
- Grant Amount: >$25,000,000 w/ exceptions, 0-20% 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.
Purpose: The Rural Surface Transportation Grant program, also known as Rural, is reserved for surface transportation projects in rural areas, with a minimum of 90% of all projects having a minimum $25 million Rural grant award. The Rural program will focus on rural needs, such as improving highway safety and expanding access to rural transit service. Set asides for projects on the Appalachian Development Highway System and projects located in states with above average rural lane departure fatality rates. 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.
1. A highway, bridge, or tunnel project eligible under National Highway Performance Program1
2. A highway, bridge, or tunnel project eligible under Surface Transportation Block Grant
3. A highway, bridge, or tunnel project eligible under Tribal Transportation Program
4. A highway freight project eligible under National Highway Freight Program
5. A highway safety improvement project, including a project to improve a high risk rural road as defined by the Highway Safety Improvement Program
6. A project on a publicly-owned highway or bridge that provides or increases access to an agricultural, commercial, energy, or intermodal facility that supports the economy of a rural area
7. A project to develop, establish, or maintain an integrated mobility management system, a transportation demand management system, or on-demand mobility services
Eligible project costs include (1) development phase activities, including planning, feasibility analysis, revenue forecasting, environmental review, preliminary engineering and design work, and other preconstruction activities; (2) and, Construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, acquisition of real property (including land related to the project and improvements to the land), environmental mitigation, construction contingencies, acquisition of equipment, and operational improvements.
For a Rural project to be selected, the Department must determine that the project meets five requirements described in 23 U.S.C. § 173(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 D.2.VIII.
Rural Project Requirement #1: will generate regional economic, mobility, or safety benefits.
Rural Project Requirement #2: The project will be cost-effective.
Rural Project Requirement #3: The project will contribute to the accomplishment of 1 or more of the national goals under 23 U.S.C. § 150.
Rural Project Requirement #4: The project is based on the results of preliminary engineering.
Rural Project Requirement #5: The project is reasonably expected to begin construction not 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 Area 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.
1. a State;
2. a regional transportation planning organization;
3. a unit of local government;
4. a tribal government or a consortium of tribal governments; or
5. a multijurisdictional group of entities above