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September 10, 2020 11:30 AM, EDT

PennDOT Accepting Applications for Multimodal Transportation Fund

Road in PIttsburghA view in Pittsburgh. PennDOT will accept applications through Nov. 6 and grant recipients will be announced next year. (clu/Getty Images)

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The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is accepting applications from those seeking to finance projects through the Multimodal Transportation Fund.

Enacted in 2013, the fund supports transit, aviation, ports, rail freight, pedestrian and bicycle initiatives. PennDOT will accept applications through Nov. 6.

Municipalities, councils of governments, economic development groups, ports, businesses, rail entities and public transportation agencies are eligible to apply.

“The Multimodal Transportation Fund enhances connectivity in our state and allows local projects to benefit all regions,” PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian said.

Yassmin Gramian

Gramian

According to PennDOT, projects submitted for consideration should coordinate local land use with transportation assets, enhance streetscape facilities such as lighting and sidewalks, advance transit-oriented development or improve connectivity. Eligible projects may include efforts to improve the productivity and efficiency of goods movement to and from Pennsylvania ports.

This round of funding is designed to support projects that will be underway for fiscal 2021-22. According to PennDOT, grant recipients will be announced next year, and funding will be available in July 2021.

Funding may be directed toward activities related to acquisition of land and buildings, construction work, equipment, land clearing, building demolition, environmental studies and administrative costs. Ineligible costs include fees for securing other funds, refinancing of existing debt, lobbying or fines.

Grants are available for projects that cost at least $100,000. Under the Multimodal Transportation Fund, financial assistance must be matched by local funding in an amount that is not less than 30% of the amount awarded. In general, grants will not exceed $3 million for any project. However, PennDOT’s Office of Multimodal Transportation will consider grant requests exceeding $3 million for projects “that will significantly impact PennDOT’s goal to leverage private investment and create jobs in the commonwealth,” according to the agency’s guidelines about the fund.

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Project selection is made through a committee consisting of PennDOT staff members. However, the department also may consult with planning organizations and other industry representatives.

Awards for fiscal 2020-21 funding through the program were announced July 16. These awards supported 27 projects in 23 counties and represented $30.2 million in funding.

Highlights from the round of funding announced in July include $4.6 million that was awarded to Philadelphia County for projects including safety improvements along Market Street near the Liberty Bell and trail construction for the Bridesburg Riverfront Park, as well as $1.9 million to correct a dangerous curve on a street in Pittson, a city 12 miles southwest of Scranton.

“Projects are selected based on safety benefits, regional economic conditions, technical and financial feasibility, job creation, energy efficiency and operational sustainability,” Gramian said.

Infrastructure and economic development are important to Pennsylvania; according to Gov. Tom Wolf’s office, nearly $500 billion in goods and services moves through the state every year.

Pennsylvania also is important for freight movement, and trucking activity is expected to grow in the coming years. According to PennDOT’s Comprehensive Freight Movement Plan, the state’s infrastructure network carries 1.1 billion tons of freight, a figure that is expected to increase to 1.9 billion by 2040.

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