On June 5, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced $1.5 billion in Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) discretionary grants. As outlined by the FAST Act, Congress now has 60 days to review the recently submitted projects. If Congress does not pass a resolution disapproving of the grant recipients within the 60-day timeline, the funds will be released to each awardee.
INFRA discretionary grants award competitive grant funding for eligible infrastructure projects in two different sized awards: large and small scale projects. To qualify for a grant, the project must be at least $25 million in scope for large scale projects and at least $5 million for smaller scale projects. This grant program is a continuation of FASTLANE, a pre-existing grant program established in the FAST Act. Eligible infrastructure projects that may receive funding include the reconstruction and rehabilitation of freight and highway infrastructure projects aligning with INFRA program goals, such as reducing highway congestion and bottlenecks.
A unique aspect of this round of INFRA discretionary grants is the implementation of the administration’s “One Federal Decision,” which will accelerate the environmental review process of these projects to reduce unnecessary delays. The new INFRA grants also include rural infrastructure projects, preserving the statutory requirement to award at least 25 percent of funding for rural projects.
Some counties are included in the initial list of awardees from DOT, which can be viewed here. Investing more than $122 billion annually in infrastructure, counties utilize these and other federal grants to provide funding for both large and small scale infrastructure projects. NACo will continue working with the administration and Congress to help direct investment in our local and national infrastructure.