Transportation Department opens applications for $5.1 billion in grants

March 29, 2024

The U.S. Department of Transportation is now accepting applications for three major discretionary grant programs that will provide $5.1 billion to projects of regional or national significance.

The three grant programs have also been streamlined into one, the Multimodal Project Discretionary Grant Program (MPDG). The deadline to submit applications is May 6, 2024.

Over the past two years, the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has provided $8 billion in grants to communities to rebuild infrastructure, increase manufacturing capacity and innovation, and create a clean-energy economy to combat climate change.

“This will support major infrastructure projects that are so large, complex, and ambitious that they could not get funded under the infrastructure programs that existed prior to this administration,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a press release.

The MPDG provides $1.7 billion for the National Infrastructure Project Assistance (Mega) program, which supports large, complex projects that are difficult to fund by other means but could generate national or regional economic, mobility, or safety benefits.

Highway, bridge, freight, port, passenger rail, and public transportation projects of national or regional significance are eligible. Under the law, 50% of funds are available for projects with a total cost over $500 million and 50% for those with a total cost between $100 million and $500 million.

Recent Mega projects include $1 billion to replace the Blatnik Bridge in Duluth, Minnesota, and Superior, Wisconsin. The new bridge will help prevent fatalities and serious injuries that are 7 to 10 times higher than Minnesota averages. The MPDG also awarded a $600 million grant to replace the Interstate Bridge between Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington. The project will update Interstate 5 — a critically important north-south route — with a seismically resilient replacement of the I-5 bridge over the Columbia River.

The Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) program will allocate $2.7 billion to multimodal freight and highway projects of national or regional significance in rural and urban areas.  Eligible projects must improve safety, generate economic benefits, reduce congestion and increase resiliency while removing supply chain bottlenecks.

In early 2024, the Port of New Orleans was awarded $300 million in total from the INFRA and Mega programs to build an international container terminal as an alternative to terminals located farther inland on the Mississippi River, which cannot accommodate larger vessels. In Montana, Mineral County received $66.4 million in INFRA and Mega funds to rehabilitate aging infrastructure on I-90 between the Idaho-Montana state border and the town of Alberton.

The Rural Surface Transportation Grant (Rural) program has $780 million for projects specifically for rural areas.  Eligible projects for grants include highway, bridge and tunnel projects that help improve freight and safety or increase access to agricultural, commercial, energy and transportation facilities.

In December 2023, San Juan County, New Mexico, was awarded $59.8 million in Rural funds to widen and rehabilitate about 21 miles of the U.S. 64 Corridor, which runs almost entirely through the traditional lands of the Navajo Nation. In Aroostook County, Maine, $27.7 million in Rural funds was awarded to reconstruct two sections of U.S. 1 near Frenchville to improve access to the regional hospital and university in Fort Kent.

Photo courtesy of the Texas Department of Transportation

Don't Miss

Massive support, funding now available to improve supply-chain networks

New opportunities for multimodal freight, rail, and port projects are
A hospital hallway.

New hospitals greenlit for Amarillo, Wichita Falls

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is searching