May 17, 2017 11:00 AM, EDT

FASTLANE Freight Grants to Be Announced Shortly, Secretary Chao Says

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News

WASHINGTON — The recipients of federal grants designed to assist states to pay for large-scale freight projects will be announced soon, the country’s top transportation officer told a Senate panel  May 17.

“The department is set to award a number of FASTLANE grants very shortly,” Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao told senators on the Environment and Public Works Committee.

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Transportation agencies in Rhode Island, Maryland, Virginia and Idaho are among the applicants seeking grants under the Fostering Advancements in Shipping and Transportation for the Long-term Achievement of National Efficiencies (FASTLANE) program.

Chao explained that the grant program established in the 2015 FAST Act highway law is meant to provide financial assistance to projects that seek to improve safety, efficiency and reliability of the movement of freight and people, as well as reduce highway congestion and bottlenecks.

In July, DOT selected 18 projects to split $759 million in fiscal 2016 for freight programs. The Florida Department of Transportation won a $10.7 million FASTLANE grant in July to help pay for a $23 million truck parking project. The project would deploy a real-time information system about commercial vehicle parking availability to help truckers find parking.