USDOT controls $200+ billion in competitive grants for states and cities

USDOT manages $200+ billion in competitive grants for states and cities

While the bulk of the $643 billion for surface area transport in the facilities costs heads out to state DOTs, more than $200 billion stays with USDOT to be granted by means of competitive grants to states, city locations, and tribal federal governments– through lots of freshly developed, upgraded, and existing competitive grant programs.

Bag of money
Via pxhere

We’ve been following the cash because the facilities expense passed back in November 2021, highlighting the most essential things you require to understand about the offer, actions the administration might require to achieve their wider objectives, a few of the positives included in the costs, and after that specifically just how much cash there is for transport in this unmatched windfall.

In this post, we wish to supply a quick top-level introduction of just how much competitive financing there is, why it matters that USDOT has some control over which tasks get financing, and a couple of significant programs to take note of for numerous factors– great and bad alike. (We’ll be offering a more in-depth take a look at the complete series of programs in the coming weeks.)

First, what are competitive grant programs, and why does it matter that USDOT has some control over them?

Unlike the much bigger formula programs that administer a repaired quantity of cash to states or city locations based upon elements like population and miles driven, jobs are picked for financing by USDOT in competitive grant programs based upon how they will carry out in concern locations, and USDOT frequently has large discretion for developing those requirements. As one example, President Trump’s USDOT considerably moved the BUILD (previously TIGER) program from more ingenious, multimodal jobs to one focused mainly on structure and broadening roadways. (This program still exists and is now called RAISE.)

For the Biden administration to satisfy their enthusiastic promises to enhance state of repair work and security, remove injustices, and decrease emissions from transport that are sustaining environment modification, they will need to utilize every bit of discretion at their disposal within these competitive programs to make sure the jobs they money add to those concern objectives.

A high level take a look at general financing for the offer’s competitive grant programs

The facilities law includes moneying for several competitive grant programs. Some are brand-new to this expense, attending to emerging and poignant concerns in transport. Within these USDOT-administered programs, simply north of $103 billion is reserved for the Federal Highway Administration, $30 billion is for the Federal Transit Administration, $59 billion is for the Federal Railroad Administration, and $6 billion is for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. This financing breakdown is significant since each modal administration runs within parallel however frequently various policy structures, which affects how the grant programs get administered.

To assist you finest use them, T4America has actually arranged a top-level list of the different competitive grant programs by subject location. 2 cautions: These numerous programs overlap in function, and lots of are produced to move the needle in several locations. I.e., TIGER was a multimodal program, a freight program, a security program, a bike/ped program– all crushed into one. This list is not extensive by any stretch, though we are producing a total list like that for our T4America members to equip them to take benefit of the financing that finest fulfills the difficulties and context of their neighborhoods.

The lion’s share goes to multimodal grant programs

Approximately $116 billion of the $200 billion designated to competitive grant programs is intended towards preparing for, advancing, structure, and carrying out multimodal connections in our neighborhoods. This broad classification is normally extremely competitive, thinking about that it usually funds significant however ignored regional or local concerns that chose authorities enjoy to cut the ribbons on. More particularly, this classification consists of:

$3125 billion towards bigger nationwide, state, and regional job support programs

  • RAISE grants: $30 billion over 5 years for a competitive grant procedure towards roadways, rail, transit, and port tasks that assist attain nationwide, state, and/or local goals. (For contrast’s sake the old TIGER/BUILD program it changed invested just $4 billion because 2009.) Similar to the program it changes, the requirements USDOT composes and how they administer the choice procedure will have a massive effect on whether these jobs advance the administration’s objectives.
  • TIFIA: $1.25 billion over 5 years to assist fund big transport jobs with direct loans, loan assurances, and credit danger help. It’s first-come, first-serve, though some make an engaging case we ‘d get far much better tasks if it was discretionary.

$275 billion in transit grants

  • Capital Investment Grants: $23 billion over 5 years for broadening or developing brand-new transit,
  • Bus and bus centers grants: $2 billion over 5 years to acquire, fix, and/or improve buses in addition to construct, improve, and/or give a state of repair work bus-related centers, and
  • Ferry grants: $2.5 billion over 5 years, of which $0.5 billion is for the procurement, repair work, and/or improvement of ferryboats to low to no emissions, and $2 billion is for rural important ferryboat services.

$54 billion for rail-focused programs

  • Consolidated Railroad Infrastructure Safety Improvement(CRISI) ($10 billion over 5 years), which focuses to enhance the security, performance, and dependability of intercity guest and freight rail,
  • The brand-new Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail($435 billion) which enables the growth of or building on brand-new intercity guest rail paths in addition to capital tasks that attend to state-of-good repair work, and
  • Railroad Improvement Financing (RRIF) program ($600 million) which assists to fund railway tasks with direct loans, loan assurances, and credit threat help.

However, there are a couple of programs in this broad classification that are brand-new however unfunded and for that reason based on yearly appropriations. That consists of the Active Transportation Infrastructure Investment Program, licensing $1 billion towards active transport networks in neighborhoods, in addition to the Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation grant program, licensing $1 billion towards piloting ingenious innovations that enhances security and system operation effectiveness.


Approximately $50 billion worth of competitive programs are intended towards focusing on the state of repair work in our neighborhoods. The bulk of that (~$43 billion) is directed towards the brand-new Bridge Investment Program, which is a program to fix, fix up, change or secure bridges that remain in disrepair. (Not to be puzzled with financing for bridge repair work streaming through a brand-new formula program revealed simply today.) There is likewise simply shy of $2.5 billion directed towards transit state of excellent repair work grants that targets heavy rail transit and a station retrofits program for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Furthermore, $250 million is directed towards rail Restoration and Enhancement grants for guest rail facilities repair work.

While it’s admirable for the facilities law to have discretionary grant programs devoted to numerous elements of the state of transport repair work, the truth that repair work concerns are not main to the much bigger, enormous state-controlled formula programs (besides a strong support memo from FHWA) leaves much to be preferred.


Approximately $12 billion of the competitive grant programs are mainly intended towards focusing on security. Of that cash, $6 billion is concentrated on the brand-new Safe Streets and Roads for All grant program. That significant brand-new program concentrates on enhancing street security and reorienting it towards individuals focus and is specifically planned for non-state federal government entities (believe counties, cities, towns, tribal neighborhoods, local companies like MPOs). Furthermore, $5 billion in grant financing is concentrated on getting rid of rail crossings.

However, there’s likewise a clear, stated focus on enhancing security woven through most of lots of competitive grant programs– consisting of huge ticket programs like RAISE– so the administration has a genuine chance to make security a concrete top priority in how they stand the jobs and run the choice procedures.

Climate and ecological mitigation

Approximately $15 billion of the competitive grant programs are intended towards making an influence on environment modification and the environment, believed the greatest single pot under this umbrella is for amazing the transport system (i.e, electrical automobiles and trucks), which is a high concern for Biden’s USDOT, which is currently looking for application assistance. Within this classification, there is:

  • $ 7.5 billion intended towards electrification of our transport system (focused thoroughly however not solely on cars and trucks and roadways).
  • Complementary to an associated $7.3 billion formula grant program, the brand-new $1.4 billion PROTECT competitive grant program has actually tiered layers of financing chances concentrated on preparation, capability structure, and targeted environment mitigation and/or resiliency facilities financing.
  • $ 5 billion is reserved for culvert remediation, elimination, or replacement, so regarding decrease the influence on wetland environments and fishery.
  • $400 million in grants are intended to suppress freight emissions at ports.
  • $500 million licensed (however unfunded) for Healthy Streets, which takes a look at streetscape treatments to decrease the metropolitan heat island result in neighborhoods.


One of the most interesting additions in the facilities costs is the $1 billion for the brand-new Reconnecting Communities program concentrated on taking down or bridging transport facilities that divides neighborhoods and promoting neighborhood connections that are individuals- versus vehicle-focused. The program is noteworthy in working to redress the socioeconomic damage to marginalized neighborhoods, though the financing in the facilities law is just seed cash towards a considerable requirement in the United States. Furthermore, the Healthy Streets program, kept in mind above, would bring various ecological advantages, and might be released to target the city heat island results that disproportionately effect marginalized neighborhoods.

Rural requirements

While there is $3.25 billion reserved for rural surface area transport grants, T4America is dissatisfied that $1.5 billion of that is focused on simply constructing more highways in Appalachia, as if highways were the sole treatment to all rural transport requirements. Rural America frantically is worthy of a more total vision for transport. (We have some concepts.)

Positioning for competitive grant application success

With about 5 lots competitive, surface area transport grant programs to administer, USDOT deals with a heavy lift to get these programs off the ground, on top of administering the tradition programs that currently existed. That does not suggest neighborhoods can’t begin to place themselves for success. There’s chance to think of not just what jobs to pursue, however likewise ponder recognizing and leveraging additional financing sources.

Source: USDOT manages $200+ billion in competitive grants for states and cities

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