Since 2009, Congress has dedicated nearly $8.9 billion for twelve rounds of National Infrastructure Investments to fund projects that have a significant local or regional impact. Previously known as the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) and Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Discretionary Grants, the US DOT has rebranded these grants to the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity, or RAISE Discretionary Grant program.
This program provides a unique opportunity for the DOT to invest in road, rail, transit and port projects that promise to achieve national objectives. This week, the US DOT published a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) to apply for $1 billion in Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 discretionary grant funding through RAISE grants.
“In communities across the country, there is tremendous need for transportation projects that create high-quality jobs, improve safety, protect our environment, and generate equitable economic opportunity for all Americans,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. “With RAISE grants, we are making those needed investments in our communities' future.”
Projects for RAISE funding will be evaluated based on merit criteria that include safety, environmental sustainability, quality of life, economic competitiveness, state of good repair, innovation, and partnership. Within these criteria, the Department will prioritize projects that can demonstrate improvements to racial equity, reduce impacts of climate change and create good-paying jobs.
For this round of RAISE grants, the maximum grant award is $25 million, and no more than $100 million can be awarded to a single State, as specified in the appropriations act. Up to $30 million will be awarded to planning grants, including at least $10 million to Areas of Persistent Poverty.
To ensure that the benefits of infrastructure investments benefit communities large and small the Department will award an equitable amount, not to exceed half of funding, to projects located in urban and rural areas respectively.
The program is highly competitive with 680 projects funded out of over 9700 applications. It is one of the few DOT discretionary programs for which regional and local governments can directly compete for multimodal transportation funding.
To provide technical assistance to prospective applicants, DOT is hosting a series of webinars during the FY 2021 RAISE grant application process. To register for the webinars visit www.transportation.gov/RAISEgrants/outreach. The deadline to submit an application is July 12, 2021 at 5pm Eastern.