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January 31, 2022 10:22 AM, EST

Guidebook Aims to Help Communities Tap Infrastructure Funds

Mitch LandrieuMitch Landrieu by Evan Vucci/AP

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The White House released a guidebook meant to assist state transportation agencies with navigating the provisions of a $1 trillion law enacted in November.

The guidebook, as the White House asserted, would serve as a “road map” for the law’s myriad elements ranging from freight mobility options to climate change and sustainability. “After decades of talk on rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure, President [Joe] Biden delivered the bipartisan Infrastructure Law — a historic investment in America that will change people’s lives for the better and get America moving again,” the White House noted.

Specifically, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is meant to provide agencies in every corner of the country with access to funds for major connectivity improvement programs and comprehensive climate change initiatives, among other provisions. White House infrastructure implementation coordinator Mitch Landrieu and members of the president’s Cabinet are leading outreach efforts to states.

Building a Better America F... by Transport Topics

“Building a better America is a shared endeavor no one can do alone, and investing infrastructure dollars will require significant coordination between the federal government, cities, states, tribal governments, community members and other key partners,” said Landrieu, former mayor of New Orleans. “Our primary goal is to empower people across the country with information, so they know what to apply for, who to contact, and how to get ready to rebuild.”

The guidebook highlights $432.5 million for a high-priority activities grant program at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. It also emphasizes $400 million for a program meant to reduce truck emissions at port facilities and $16.5 million for the Commercial Motor Vehicle Operator Safety Training grant program.

“The purpose of this discretionary grant program is to train individuals in the safe operation of commercial motor vehicles and prioritize grant applications for programs to train former members of the armed forces and eligible family members,” the guidebook noted about the safety training program, adding that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will issue a notification of funding availability this month.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Transportation is accepting applications for a new round of grants meant to assist agencies with freight and commuter projects.

In a notice of funding opportunity, the department pointed to $1.5 billion for the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grants. The grants are designed to assist communities with projects of regional significance.

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April 14 is the deadline to apply for a RAISE grant. Recipients will be announced no later than August. RAISE grants previously were known as Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants.

“The RAISE program helps communities large and small fix and modernize their infrastructure,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “This year, thanks to the president’s bipartisan infrastructure law, we can support more projects than ever, and help make our transportation system safer, more accessible and more sustainable for people across the country.”

According to background DOT provided, “RAISE projects are rigorously reviewed and selected based on merit. Projects will be evaluated on statutory criteria of safety, environmental sustainability, quality of life, economic competitiveness and opportunity, state of good repair, partnership and innovation.”

Per DOT, “The department will assess projects for universal design and accessibility for travelers, as well as consider how proposals increase mobility for freight and supply chain efficiency.”