With the first year of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding underway, cities, towns and villages are beginning to see award announcements for the first and second rounds of projects supported by federal grant funds, with more rounds to come. News of winning applications keep arriving, but few are as widely anticipated as the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grants.
The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded more than $2.2 billion dollars from the RAISE program this round to help infrastructure projects start moving across the country. USDOT awarded 50 percent of the grants to RAISE projects in urban areas, and 50 percent to projects in rural areas. Nearly two-thirds of awarded projects are in areas of persistent poverty or historically disadvantaged communities. Eleven of the selected projects included a local hire provision. Members can access NLC’s Ready to Rebuild webinar on adding local hire for transportation here – Advancing Infrastructure Jobs in Federally Funded Transportation Projects.
Cities, towns and villages actively advanced applications, and NLC is proud to see that local governments were the lead applicant on 80 of the 166 total RAISE 2022 grants. Of these applications, 52 percent were from urban areas and 48 percent were from rural areas.
We are proud to support so many outstanding infrastructure projects in communities large and small, modernizing America’s transportation systems to make them safer, more affordable, more accessible, and more sustainable.Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg
Cities Winning Federal Grants
The region of Boise, ID, won two RAISE grants totaling almost $13.5 million. One RAISE grant will be used to construct transit, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure along a six and a one-half mile section. This section will connect downtown Boise with the Bogart Lane and include bus stops, bus efficiency such as real-time display and route changing. It will also construct a multi-use path along the roadway.
The second RAISE grant will be used to plan for twelve multimodal transportation projects over 10.5 miles. Multimodal projects will include filling in sidewalk gaps, signalizing crossings, implementing ADA access, building multiuse paths, upgrading bus stops, and evaluating green stormwater infrastructure. This second project will result in lower transportation cost and increase access to transit solutions to residents without a vehicle.
City of Boise Mayor Lauren McLean commented on the RAISE award saying, “Getting people moving more easily on State Street has been one of our top priorities so we’ve made it a key focal point in our work with local and federal partners… This investment in one of our city’s major transportation corridors is a great example of what we can accomplish by working together.”
The city of Portsmouth, VA, was awarded an urban RAISE grant totaling $19.3 million to transform an approximately one mile four-lane road to a two-lane road. The old lanes will be reworked to allow for more modes of transit including walking and cycling. To ensure the safety of mobility users using this corridor, the Complete High Street Innovation Corridor will also include street calming measures. As the area is vulnerable to tidal flooding, the project will use stormwater management to reduce water pollution and increase resiliency.
Mayor Shannon Glover spoke on the impact of the awarded project in the Portsmouth Community: “This project will provide a multi-modal, complete streets roadway improvement project along High Street between Martin Luther King Expressway to Chestnut Street. This Project serves as a key component in our efforts to revitalize an important corridor between Midtown and Downtown Portsmouth.”
Mansfield, OH, was awarded a $7.3 million rural RAISE grant to help Mansfield Rising complete their Main Street Revitalization project. This five-block revitalization will update and connect the sidewalks of downtown and central park. Upgrades will include LED street lighting, ADA compliant curbs ramps and the replacement of water and sewer lines. The overall revitalization will improve road and sidewalk safety as uses move about downtown Mansfield.
Mayor Tim Theaker had this to say about winning a RAISE grant: “We are extremely surprised and excited to be awarded the RAISE Grant. Since this grant is so competitive, we didn’t expect to get it the first time we applied. However, we had a fantastic team that did their homework… This support and team help make Mansfield a place where people want to live, work, worship and raise a family.”
Transportation Grants Due Soon
In September alone, USDOT’s application window closed the “Safe Streets and Roads for All” grants, bridge grants, and the Tribal Transportation Program Safety Fund.
With so many new Bipartisan Infrastructure Law programs, USDOT has several outstanding notices of funding opportunity (NOFO) due soon. For transit and disability advocates, special attention is being given to the Federal Transit Administration’s All Stations Accessibility Program. The open application period ends on September 30.
Notices are also due from USDOT back to applicants. Traditionally, there is a short window between the closing of a NOFO and the awarding of applications as USDOT determines the most competitive applications. Later this year, local governments can expect announcements from USDOT on who will be recipients to the first-ever National Infrastructure Project Assistance (MEGA) Program, the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) Program and the Rural Surface Transportation Grant Program (RURAL). This cycle of awards was combined into one application and was incredibly popular with local governments due to the streamlined process and range of opportunities with these grants.
Transportation Grants Coming This Fall
If your city has rail problems, the Federal Railroad Administration’s Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) program just opened up a new round of funding. This includes eligibility for rail workforce training for communities.
Many local governments are also keeping an eye out for the September release of the NOFO for the Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) grant program, which will build on the legacy of USDOT’s Smart City Challenge and allow communities to partner with technology and community partners to bring new “Smart City” solutions to their challenges. The new Local Infrastructure Hub will host a training cohort of cities for the SMART grant program where cities can sign up for free to learn how to be competitive in the SMART application process.
Quick Guide: BIL Grants Overview Chart
With so many opportunities, your city may want to take stock of what’s out and what’s coming. NLC’s Federal Advocacy team compiled a quick chart below of several upcoming BIL opportunities for local governments. The chart demonstrates local government eligibility in terms of how they may apply to these programs. While many of these programs designate local governments as directly eligible to apply, there are also many programs where partnerships with other entities may strengthen an application or help local governments staff the grant application process. As awards are announced, local governments should continue to look for upcoming opportunities and the best way to compete for these funds, including through partnerships.
|Program Name||Local||State||MPO||Tribe||Public Authority||Can Locals apply alone?||Can Locals apply with other eligible partners?||Anticipated NOFO release date|
|Bridge Program (formula)||✔||✔||No||No|
|National Electric Vehicle Formula Program||✔||No||No||Out|
|Safe Streets and Roads for All Program||✔||✔||✔||Yes||Yes||Out|
|PROTECT Program (discretionary)||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||Yes||Yes|
|Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Program||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||Yes||Yes|
|Congestion Relief Program||✔||✔||✔||Yes||Yes|
|Bridge investment Program (discretionary)||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||Yes||Yes||Out|
|Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program||✔||✔||✔||Yes||Yes||Out|
|Rural Surface Transportation Grants||✔||✔||✔||✔||Yes||Yes||Out|
|National Infrastructure Project Assistance (Mega-projects)||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||Yes||Yes||Out|
|Local and Regional Project Assistance (RAISE)||✔||✔||✔||✔||Yes||Yes||Out|
|Distance Learning, Telemedicine, And Broadband Program: Reconnect Program||✔||✔||✔||✔||Yes||Yes||Out|
|Middle Mile Grants Program||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||Yes||Yes||Out|
|Broadband Equity, Access, And Deployment Program||✔||No||No|
|State Digital Equity Competitive Grant||✔||✔||✔||✔||No||No|
|Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program||✔||✔||✔||Yes||Yes||Q4 2022|
|Charging & Fueling Infrastructure Grants (Corridor Charging)||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||Yes||Yes|
|Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Grants (Community Charging)||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||Yes||Yes|
|Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement Grants CRISI||✔||✔||✔||✔||Yes||Yes||Out|
|Railroad Crossing Elimination Program||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||Yes||Yes||Out|
|Pilot Program for Transit Oriented Development||✔||✔||Yes||Yes||Out|
|Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) Grants||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||Yes||Yes||Out|
|Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (Robert T Stafford Act Section 203(i))||✔||✔||✔||Yes||Yes||Out|
|Flood Mitigation Assistance Grants (National Flood Insurance Act Sec 1366)||✔||✔||✔||Yes||Yes||Out|
|Community Wildfire Defense Grants||✔||✔||✔||Yes||Yes||Out|
|Clean Water State Revolving Fund||✔||No||No|
|Clean Water State Revolving Fund-Emerging Contaminants||✔|
|Drinking Water State Revolving Fund||✔||No||No|
|Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Emerging Contaminants (incl. PFAS)||✔||No||No|
|Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Lead Service Lines Replacement||✔||No||No|