USDOT Outlines Infrastructure Funding Availability
Federal funds to enhance safety and connectivity across the country’s mobility networks will become available over the next few months to help state agencies make improvements to freight corridors, and also propel adoption of new technologies throughout the transportation landscape.
Managed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the bulk of the funds stems from the recently enacted $1 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
“We’ve been busy,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg recently told a congressional panel. “We have already announced nearly $84 billion in grant funding from across the department. Every few days we have another great announcement: Bridge repair programs that will help us move goods more affordably and people more safely; a national electric vehicle-charging network with the potential to bring cost-saving technology to rural communities and help fight the climate crisis; and safety initiatives that will reduce crashes and save lives.”
Buttigieg, emphasizing the Biden administration’s focus on supply chains and climate change, continued, “From safety to reliability to affordability, name a dimension of transportation that you deal with in your daily life, and chances are, we’ve got a program for it. All this will help people get to where they need to go, while creating jobs and economic opportunity across the country.”
The infrastructure funds will seek to improve highway safety, neighborhood equity opportunities, access to electric vehicles, climate change resilience, access to rail and transit, supply chain connectivity, active transportation corridors, and workforce development and training, according to background outlined by the department.
Specifically, upcoming USDOT funding availability for agencies include $1 billion for an annual competitive grant program to replace, remove and repair culverts. There will be $500 million for grants to advance smart city or community technologies focusing on efficiency and safety. Per USDOT, the grants “may be used to carry out a project that demonstrates … automation, connected vehicles, intelligent, sensor-based infrastructure.”
Separately, $25 million will be dedicated for launching an economic development program.
Most recently the Federal Transit Administration announced $1.75 billion to improve access to public transportation systems.
“Using funds from President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law, we are modernizing some of our oldest public rail stations and ensuring that more Americans count on our transit systems to get where they need to go,” Buttigieg said.
“Equity depends on accessibility. FTA is committed to ensuring transit systems nationwide are available to people with disabilities and that they are able to use transit systems with the same ease and reliability as any other user,” FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez said.
As part of the administration’s trucking action plan, USDOT announced $44 million in grants meant to enhance safety and improve ways of obtaining a commercial driver license. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will have jurisdiction of the grants.
“The Biden-Harris administration has made it a priority not only to retain truck drivers in their important careers but also to get more qualified truck drivers on the road,” Buttigieg said.
“FMCSA’s core mission is safety, and we’re proud to make investments that support the U.S. Department of Transportation’s ambitious goal of zero fatalities on our roadways,” FMCSA Deputy Administrator Robin Hutcheson said in July. She added that the grants are an “important tool for reducing large-truck crashes and supporting critical safety programs in every state.”
Shortly after the infrastructure law’s enactment Nov. 15, the White House established a task force designed to ensure the implementation of its programs and funds. As the White House noted, “This task force will be committed to break down barriers and drive implementation of infrastructure investments across all levels of government to realize the president’s vision of rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure and positioning the U.S. to compete and win in the 21st century.”
By: Eugene Mulero / Transport Topics