The U.S. Department of Transportation is making $1.5 billion in grants available to help public-private partnerships with freight and passenger infrastructure projects that have traditionally been harder to fund.
The department this week published a notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) discretionary grant program for 2024. Project sponsors have through Feb. 28, 2024 to apply.
RAISE grants are easier to qualify for because the grants can be provided directly to any public entity – including municipalities, counties port authorities, tribal governments and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) – in contrast to traditional federal programs that provide funding to specific groups of applicants like state departments of transportation.
RAISE applicants are encouraged to consider how projects can address climate change, racial equity and remove barriers to opportunity, as well as cutting costs for households and creating well-paying jobs, the DOT said.
Projects funded through the program in 2023 include a grade separation project in Chula Vista, California, a new downtown transit center in New Orleans and reconstruction of Route 6 on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
Half of the funding will go to projects in rural areas.
At least $15 million in funding is guaranteed to go to projects located in areas of persistent poverty or historically disadvantaged communities. Projects in these areas will be eligible for up to 100% federal cost share, as directed in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Additionally, projects that did not receive the full funding amount requested during the FY 2023 Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods (RCN) program that are submitted for consideration under the FY 2024 RAISE NOFO will have a good opportunity for advancement, the DOT said.
In 2023, RAISE funding of $2.2 billion supported 162 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Those projects included:
- $17 million for a bridge to connect Douglas Island with the mainland in Juneau, Alaska.
- $25 million to rebuild Highway 5 in Bryant, Arkansas — a historically disadvantaged community. The project involves rebuilding 3.5 miles of roadway and adding sidewalks to make it safer for pedestrians and bicyclists.
- $25 million to build two intercity passenger rail stations connecting Hesperia and Victor Valley in rural San Bernardino County, California.