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September 16, 2020 12:15 PM, EDT

DOT Announces $1 Billion in BUILD Grants

The Funding Will Support 70 Projects in 44 States
Erie, Pa.A view of Erie, Pa., which lies along Lake Erie. About $21 million was directed to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for the Erie Bayfront Parkway Mobility and Freight Improvement Program. (zrfphoto/Getty Images)

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Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced that $1 billion in funding has been awarded through the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development program to support infrastructure projects nationwide.

The grant funding, announced Sept. 16, will support 70 projects in 44 states. The BUILD program, which helps fund road, bridge, transit, rail, port and intermodal transportation projects, is meant as a replacement for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program.

“This administration is making significant investments in infrastructure, and this $1 billion in BUILD grants will repair, rebuild and revitalize transportation systems across America,” Chao said.

In Georgia, an award of $22 million will be directed to the state Route 96 improvement project. State Route 96 is an east-west route that serves as a connector between interstates 16 and 75 south of Macon. Specifically, the Georgia Department of Transportation will use the funding to widen the route to four lanes and incorporate several wildlife crossings. The project is meant to help traffic navigate around farm equipment and heavy trucks and reduce the number of collisions with bears and other wild animals.

Some $21 million was directed to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for the Erie Bayfront Parkway Mobility and Freight Improvement Program. Work will involve reconstructing intersections and building a multimodal bridge to help connect Erie’s business district to its waterfront. According to PennDOT’s Bayfront Parkway Study, congestion is a main concern that is projected to grow worse as the area continues to develop.

BUILD 2020 Fact Sheets by Transport Topics on Scribd

Wichita, Kan., was awarded $21 million to construct a collector-distributor system to connect interstates 135 and 235 and state Route 96, as well as replace outdated ramps and resurface bridges. The improvements are meant to reduce the risk of accidents involving trucks loaded with hazardous materials that are traveling from nearby industrial facilities.

The North Dakota Department of Transportation will use a $22 million grant to raise the grades of roadways at 13 locations throughout the state in order to reduce the need for road closures caused by seasonal water accumulation and flooding. These rural roads are important for freight movement and, when closed, can force truckers to use routes that aren’t designed for heavy trucks.

Colorado was awarded two grants. One, for $13 million, will assist with upgrades to the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority’s regional transit hub. The second grant, for $5.4 million, will support pre-construction and acquisition activities associated with the Crystal Valley Parkway Interchange project in Castle Rock, a town that straddles I-25 south of Denver.

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“Castle Rock has seen significant growth in recent years, and this BUILD grant will help advance the project,” said Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.). “With Colorado’s population growing at one of the fastest rates in the country, I will continue to work with communities across our state to support their infrastructure priorities to ensure safety and efficiency for Coloradans.”

Since 2017, some $4 billion has been distributed through the BUILD program. Projects are selected based on a number of factors, including safety, economic competitiveness, environmental sustainability, innovation and partnerships with industry representatives.

No individual grant was more than $25 million, and no state was awarded more than $100 million. In keeping with the Trump administration’s emphasis on boosting rural infrastructure, some 50% of the funding will be devoted to projects in rural areas.

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