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Saturday, December 3, 2022

DOT Announces Over $900 Million in Surface Transportation and Safety Grants

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao has announced the Trump Administration intends to invest $906 million in America’s infrastructure through the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) discretionary grant program. The proposed funding will be awarded to 20 projects in 20 states.

INFRA discretionary grants support the Administration’s commitment to fixing U.S. infrastructure by creating opportunities for all levels of government and the private sector to fund infrastructure, using innovative approaches to improve the processes for building significant projects, and increasing accountability for the projects that are built. In addition to providing direct federal funding, the INFRA discretionary grant program aims to increase the total investment by state, local, and private partners.

INFRA advances a grant program established in the 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. Project applications were evaluated by a team of more than two dozen career staff in the Department and selected based on established criteria to align them with national and regional economic vitality goals. The program increases the impact of projects by leveraging federal grant funding and incentivizing project sponsors to pursue innovative strategies, including public-private partnerships.

Additionally, the program promotes the incorporation of innovative technology that will improve the United States’ transportation system. The Department will also hold INFRA grant recipients accountable for their performance in project delivery and operations.

Consistent with the Administration’s ongoing effort to rebalance historic underinvestment in rural America, 53 percent of proposed funding will be awarded to rural projects. Six awards totaling $293 million are being made to projects that are at least partially located in an Opportunity Zone, while several other projects are located in areas near Opportunity Zones.

Demand for INFRA grants far exceeded available funds. DOT evaluated 173 eligible applications from 47 states, as well as U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, who collectively requested approximately $7.4 billion in grant funds—more than eight times the funding available.

As required under the FAST Act, Congress will have 60 days to review the Department’s proposed project awardees. After the 60-day review period, the Department is free to begin obligating funding.

The proposed awards are:

  • The Arkansas Department of Transportation will be awarded $40 million to reconstruct and improve two sections of U.S. 67 northeast of Little Rock.
  • The Colorado Department of Transportation will be awarded $60.7 million to implement a series of safety improvements to I-70 between mile post 180 and 190 in Eagle County.
  • The Delaware Department of Transportation will be awarded more than $56.8 million to construct a redesigned interchange at I-95 and State Route 896 in New Castle County.
  • Port Tampa Bay in Florida will be awarded more than $19.8 million to improve capacity at Port Tampa Bay’s Hooker’s Point container facility to accommodate an additional 150,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) annually.
  • The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet will be awarded $55.15 million to widen 11 miles of the Mountain Parkway from two to four lanes between the KY 191 overpass and the KY 205 interchange.
  • The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development will be awarded $135 million to construct 8.3 miles of elevated highway from Leeville Bridge to Golden Meadow.
  • The Maine Department of Transportation will be awarded more than $38 million to replace seven structurally deficient bridges and make related improvements in five locations in four counties.
  • The Michigan Department of Transportation will be awarded $25 million to replace and expand an existing land port of entry at the U.S.-Canada border.
  • Anoka County, Minnesota will be awarded $40 million to construct two new grade-separated county highway overpasses of U.S. Highway 10/169 and the parallel freight and commuter rail line.
  • The Mississippi Department of Transportation will be awarded more than $71.4 million to complete the construction of the 15.6-mile Greenville Bypass, which will carry US 82 from near the Greenville Bridge over the Mississippi River to Leland, east of Greenville.
  • The Nevada Department of Transportation will be awarded $50 million to reconstruct the Tropicana Avenue and I-15 interchange with a longer and wider overpass over I-15, and construct a high-occupancy-vehicle ramp at Harmon Avenue, approximately ½ mile to the north.
  • The North Carolina Department of Transportation will be awarded $25 million to complete a series of highway improvements on the U.S. 74 corridor in southern North Carolina between Asheville and I-40 near Wilmington.
  • The City of Tulsa-Rogers County Port Authority will be awarded more than $6.1 million to upgrade an industrial park in Inola, Oklahoma with new structures and rail, and construct a three-mile rail spur connecting the park to the freight mainline
  • The Rhode Island Department of Transportation will be awarded $65 million to complete multiple safety and state of good repair improvements to the RI-246 corridor.
  • The South Carolina Department of Transportation will be awarded more than $34.5 million to construct a new interchange on I-77 near mile marker 81 to facilitate access to a 234-acre development site.
  • The Tennessee Department of Transportation will be awarded $11.2 million to install approximately 143 miles of fiber optic communications and deploy ITS devices on I-40 between Memphis and Nashville.
  • The Port of Houston Authority in Texas will be awarded more than $79.4 million to restore and strengthen approximately 2,700 linear feet of wharf and upgrade approximately 84 acres of yard space at the Barbours Cut Container Terminal.
  • The Washington State Department of Transportation will be awarded more than $73.6 million to complete 12 miles of highway projects in the Puget Sound region, including the SR 509 Completion Project, the SR 167 Completion Project, improvements to I-5, and improved connectivity to I-90
  • The West Virginia Department of Transportation will be awarded $12 million to construct 3.1 miles of grade and drain pavement improvements on Corridor H from US 219 to the WV 72 interchange.
  • The Wisconsin Department of Transportation will be awarded $6.75 million to complete the last phase of the Merrimac Bridge rehabilitation to accommodate 286,000 lbs. railcars at 25 miles per hour on the Wisconsin and Southern Railroad’s freight rail bridge over Lake Wisconsin.

The announcement follows Chao’s June 10 declaration of $3.3 million in cooperative funding agreements through the Safety Data Initiative to state, local, and tribal governments to develop and deploy innovative data tools and information to improve roadway safety.

“This $3.3 million in federal funding will help these communities implement innovative ways to improve roadway safety,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

The Department’s Safety Data Initiative helps communities devise policies to reduce roadway fatalities. This funding advances the Department’s efforts to develop, refine, and deploy safety tools that address specific roadway safety problems. Selected Safety Data Initiative projects include:

  • The City of New Orleans, Louisiana will receive $402,791 to refine and expand USDOT’s existing Pedestrian Fatality Risk Map to include risk to bicyclists, which will help the City make defined, targeted decisions around small-area and corridor-level investments with the greatest potential to prevent serious injuries and fatalities for vulnerable road users.
  • The Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation Department of Natural Resources in Washington State will receive $430,000 to build on an existing roadway safety analysis tool, and develop a comprehensive roadway safety data visualization and evaluation platform to support decision-making about where to invest in roadway safety countermeasures.
  • The Connecticut Department of Transportation will receive $453,000 to develop a tool to improve the State’s behavioral safety decision-making by integrating crash and roadway information with data on citations, toxicology, and hospital injury data. It will also quantify the costs and benefits of behavioral safety countermeasures to inform decision-making.
  • The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration will receive $358,500 to develop and implement a data analytics and visualization dashboard using mobile device location data and electric scooter trip data available from the City of Baltimore to better understand pedestrian, bicycle, and electric scooter travel volumes and their exposure to risk.
  • The Massachusetts Department of Transportation will receive $429,100 to expand an existing crash data portal to help transportation practitioners identify higher risk roadways and risk factors to target roadway safety improvements and develop publicly available analytic tools and data visualizations.
  • MetroPlan Orlando, the metropolitan planning organization for metropolitan Orlando, Florida, will receive $294,942 to build on the University of Central Florida’s safety data visualization tool – winner of USDOT’s Solving for Safety Visualization Challenge – which uses real-time traffic conditions to estimate the likelihood of a crash at specific locations and help system operators target monitoring of video feeds to identify crashes, deploy first responders, and clear crash scenes more quickly, reducing the probability of secondary crashes occurring at those locations.
  • The North Carolina Department of Transportation will receive $384,500 to develop an artificial intelligence tool for automated analysis of existing video log data that would extract roadside hazards – such as trees, embankments, and steep slopes – on all rural roads in the state, to help identify roadway segments in need of infrastructure safety improvements.
  • The Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County, the metropolitan planning organization for metropolitan Reno, Nevada, will receive $298,600 to automatically extract highly accurate road geometric features from mobile light-detection-and-ranging (LiDAR) data collected on area roadways, and use artificial intelligence to create a dataset that would be incorporated into GIS software for roadway safety analysis.
  • The Virginia Department of Transportation will receive $232,500 to develop a systemic safety analysis tool, which would identify and visualize locations with higher levels of risk that would benefit from eight low-cost roadway safety countermeasures, allowing for the implementation of these countermeasures at many sites with similar roadway features.

The funding complements existing safety data improvement programs at the Federal Highway Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration by focusing on improving data tools practitioners use to inform their policy and decision-making. 

DOT issued the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the Safety Data Initiative in November 2019. In response to the NOFO, the Department received 40 eligible project proposals totaling nearly $15 million. 

Read more at DOT

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