Rail, Rail, Rail: The DOT Gives $2.9 Billion for Infrastructure Projects
The Biden Administration has just announced on March 23 a plan to put $2.9 billion into freight projects that are going to combine three different grant programs. The plan was authorized by the infrastructure bill signed into effect last year.
The three grants being used are:
- National Infrastructure Project Assistance (MEGA) Program ($1 billion)
- Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) Program ($1.55 billion)
- Rural Surface Transportation Grant Program (RURAL) ($300 million)
The primary reason for combining all three grants into one is to make the application process much simpler for state and local applicants. By combining all three, applicants will only be required to fill out a single application for all three major discretionary grants.
In reference to the infrastructure law signed into effect combining all grants, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said, “Under this approach and with a major infusion of new funding, we have the capacity to greenlight more transformational projects that will create good-paying union jobs, grow the economy, and make our transportation system safer and more resilient.”
The following is information on each of the grant programs.
The MEGA program is really focused on multimodal transportation and a meta view of supplying infrastructure that will affect the overall accessibility and efficiency of transportation—regardless of mode.
These multijurisdictional projects will include highways, bridges, freight, and port projects. These could include building bridges or tunnels that run between state lines or freight hubs that integrate ship, train, and truck activity.
In other words, the MEGA Program is taking a high-level approach to freight movement interconnectivity locally and across state lines to improve efficiency in multimodal transportation on both regional and national levels.
The INFRA Program actually received a 50 percent boost in budget in 2021 before the infrastructure bill was signed into effect. It aims primarily to reduce the major bottlenecks in supply chain and to improve critical freight movements.
The money in the RURAL Program will be used to improve transportation efficiency and accessibility in more rural areas of the United States. Rural areas have experienced the greatest delays as a result of the compounded bottlenecks at ports and on freight journeys inland.
These projects could include a variety of infrastructure improvements, such as new highways, bridges, and tunnel projects, that would increase access to agricultural, commercial, energy, or transportation facilities in rural areas.
The new grants are currently available for applicants, but the application deadline is May 23rd. Application information can be found here.
If you would like more information regarding this topic, contact our team at InterlogUSA and we will be happy to assist you on any questions or comments you may have! In addition, we have our weekly market updates that provide relevant freight news, updates, and developments across the industry.