Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), also referred to as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), was signed into law on November 15, 2021. The $1.2 trillion IIJA reauthorizes the nation’s surface transportation and drinking water and wastewater legislation, and includes an additional $550 billion in funding for new programs in transportation, energy transmission, resilience, broadband, and others, approximately half of which goes to the U.S. Department of Transportation over the next five years.

The bill focuses on making investments that will address equity, sustainability, resilience, climate change, safety, and asset condition. IIJA expands eligibility and changes some policy requirements in legacy programs, and establishes several new formula-funded and discretionary programs. For more information, visit BUILD.GOV

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National Electric Vehicle Formula Program and Electric Vehicle Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Grants

Establishes a new formula and competitive grant program to “strategically deploy publicly accessible electric vehicle charging infrastructure and hydrogen fueling infrastructure, hydrogen fueling infrastructure, propane fueling infrastructure, and natural gas fueling infrastructure along designed alternative fuel corridors or in certain other locations that will be accessible to all drivers…”  

$5 billion dollars in formula funds will be awarded to the state DOTs for investment in designated and planned Alternative Fuel Corridors. $2.5 billion dollars will be available in a discretionary grant program open to state and local governments, MPOs, and Authorities.

Grant funds can be used for “fueling infrastructure, including certain development phase activities and the acquisition or installation of infrastructure that is directly related to vehicle charging or fueling”. This includes funding to upgrade electric facilities to power the chargers. Funds can be used as operating assistance to the private entity for the first five years of operation.    

Fifty percent of the discretionary grant funds must be spent in designated alternative fuel corridors and fifty percent of all funds must be reserved for community grants for projects expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to expand or fill gaps in access to alternative fueling, with priority given to rural areas, low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, and communities with a low ratio of private parking spaces to households or a high ratio of multi-unit dwellings to single family homes. 

Total funding: $7.5 billion over five years; $5 billion in formula funding and $2.5 billion in discretionary funding. Maximum individual grant amount is $15 million at 80% federal share, and up to 1% can be used to provide technical assistance to eligible entities, and 5% can be used on educational and community engagement activities.

Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-saving Transportation (PROTECT) Grant Program

Establishes a new PROTECT grant program to provide grants for resilience improvements. Funding is distributed both by formula and through competitive grants. Formula funds are provided to each state based on their share of the overall base apportionment.

Eligible projects include the use of natural infrastructure or construction or modification of storm surge, flood protection, or aquatic ecosystem restoration elements related to highway projects, public transportation facilities, intercity rail facilities or service, or port facilities.

Funding: $7.3 billion over five years by formula; $1.4 billion for competitive grants. Federal share is 80%; other Federal funds may be used for the other 20%.

Bridge Investment Program

Creates a new competitive “bridge investment program” to encourage bridge repair that will improve safety, efficiency, and reliability of people and freight movement, and leverages nonfederal contributions. Allows for bridge bundling and culvert work as well. Allows the awarding of grants. Large project ($100 million or more) grants will be $50 million or greater but not more than 50% of the project cost and may be carried out through a multiyear agreement; small project grants will be a minimum of $2.5 million, but not more than 80% of the project cost.

To be eligible, projects must begin within 18 months after funds are obligated and preliminary engineering must be complete. Eligible projects include development phase activities, construction, and bridge protection (such as seismic retrofits). The bill lays out in very specific detail how projects will be evaluated and chosen.

Funding: $12.5 billion over five years; including $3.265 billion in contract authority from the Highway Trust Fund, and $9.2 billion in advance appropriations from the General Fund.

Congestion Relief Program

Establishes a new competitive congestion relief program to provide discretionary grants to “advance innovative, integrated, and multimodal solutions to congestion relief in the most congested metropolitan areas…” The program’s goals are “to reduce highway congestion, reduce economic and environmental costs associated with that congestion – including transportation emissions, and optimize highway capacity and usage of highway and transit systems…” These goals would be accomplished through intermodal integration, shifts in travel patterns (time of day and mode), and pricing.

Eligible projects include: Integrated congestion management systems; HOV toll lanes, cordon pricing, parking pricing, or congestion pricing; mobility services such as commuter buses and vans; and incentive programs to encourage carpooling. Priority is given to urbanized areas experiencing a high degree of recurrent congestion. Projects must include analysis of potential effects on low-income drivers and may include mitigation measures to deal with adverse financial effects on low-income drivers.

Funding: $250 million over five years. Minimum grant award is $10 million, federal share is 80%.

Strengthening Mobility And Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) Grant Program

New competitive SMART grant program that builds upon the success of the Smart City Challenge “to conduct demonstration projects focused on advanced smart city or community technologies and systems in a variety of communities to improve transportation efficiency and safety.” Also allows for “regional partnerships” composed of two or more eligible entities located in jurisdictions with a combined population of 50,000-400,000. Selection criteria include: extent to which the applicant community has a public transportation system or other transit options; population density; continuity of committed leadership and functional capacity; open data commitment; likelihood of success, including through technical and financial commitments from the public and private sectors; extent to which the project will use advanced data, technology, and applications to provide significant benefits including congestion reduction; safety of bikes and pedestrians; access to opportunities, especially for underserved or disadvantaged populations; economic competitiveness; system reliability; connectivity between modes; private sector investments; pollution reduction; resilience; and emergency response.

Priority will be given to projects that would be scalable; encourage data sharing and best practices; encourage innovation; promote a skilled workforce; allow for measurement and validation of cost savings and performance improvements; encourage adoption of smart technologies by other communities; promote industry practices regarding cybersecurity; and safeguarding individual privacy. Projects should demonstrate at least one of: coordinated automation; connected vehicles; intelligent, sensor-based infrastructure; systems integration; commerce delivery and logistics; leveraging use of innovative aviation technology; smart grid; and smart technology traffic signals. Eligible uses include development phase and construction phase activities.

Funding: $500 million over five years.

Healthy Streets Program

Establishes a new discretionary grant program to expand the use of cool pavement and porous pavement, and expand tree cover. Goals of the program are to mitigate urban heat islands, improve air quality, reduce the extent of impervious surfaces, reduce stormwater run-off and flood risks, and reduce heat impacts to infrastructure and road users.

Funding: $500 million over five years. Federal share is 80% unless a community can prove a hardship that qualifies them for 100%. Maximum grant award is $15 million.

Active Transportation Infrastructure Investment Program

New competitive grant program to construct eligible projects to “provide safe and connected active transportation facilities in an active transportation network or active transportation spine.”

Eligible projects are active transportation projects (or groups of projects) that are regional in nature and that cost more than $15 million (or more than $100,000 in the case of planning and design costs).

Funding: Authorizes $1 billion over five years. Federal share: 80%; can be 100% for projects in areas with a poverty rate over 40%.

Safe Streets and Roads for All Grant Program

Creates a new competitive grant program for “Vision Zero” grants. Defines a Comprehensive Safety Action Plan as “a plan aimed at preventing transportation-related fatalities and serious injuries in a locality, commonly referred to as a “Vision Zero” or “Toward Zero Deaths” plan.” Elements of the plan include goals and timeline for eliminating fatalities and serious injuries; analyses of crash location and community input; a data driven approach to identify projects or strategies; and mechanisms for evaluating outcomes and effectiveness. 

Eligible projects include development of the plan itself; planning, design, and development activities to execute on projects and strategies; or to carry out the projects or strategies themselves. Projects will be chosen based on whether the proposed project: is likely to significantly reduce or eliminate  transportation-related fatalities and serious injuries involving various road users, including pedestrians, cyclists, public transportation users, motorists, and commercial operators, within the proposed time frame; demonstrates engagement with a variety of public and private stakeholders; seeks to adopt innovative technologies or strategies to promote safety; employs low-cost, high-impact strategies that improve safety over a wider geographical area; ensures, or will ensure, equitable investment in the safety needs of underserved communities in preventing transportation-related fatalities and injuries; includes evidence-based projects or strategies; and achieves such other conditions as the U.S. DOT Secretary considers to be necessary. 

Funding: $5 billion over five years. Federal share is 80%.

Applications expected to open in May 2022.

National Infrastructure Project Assistance Grants

New competitive grant program to support freight-related projects, including roads and bridges, intermodal facilities, grade separation or elimination, intercity passenger rail, public transportation, or a combination of these. 50% of the funding is for projects between $100 million and $500 million; 50% is for projects over $500 million. To be eligible, projects must: be likely to generate national or regional economic, mobility, or safety benefits; need significant federal funding; be cost-effective; have one or more stable sources of non-federal funding and financing to construct, operate, and maintain the project, and cover any cost increases; and project applicant must have sufficient legal, financial, and technical capacity.

Evaluation criteria includes: extent to which the project supports achieving a state of good repair; the level of benefits a project is expected to generate including avoided costs due to closure or reduction of asset use, reductions in maintenance costs, safety benefits, improved person or freight throughput, and environmental and health benefits; benefit-cost ratio; number of persons or volume of freight supported by the project; and national and regional economic benefits of the project. Other considerations include: how the projects contribute to geographical diversity and balance between rural and urban communities; multi-state benefit; the extent to which a project uses materials or approaches that reduce greenhouse gases or reduce the need for maintenance of other projects and technologies that will allow for future connectivity and automation; whether the project would benefit a historically disadvantaged community or population or area of persistent poverty; whether the project benefits users of multiple modes of transportation; and whether the project improves connectivity between modes of transportation.

Funding: $5 billion over five years. Federal share is 60%; other grants can be awarded to eligible projects through other programs, but total federal support cannot exceed 80%. Loans or finance repaid with local funds or revenues are part of the local share.

Carbon Reduction Program

Creates a new formula program to reduce transportation emissions. Formula funds are provided to each state based on their share of the overall base apportionment. Of those funds, 65% are suballocated to areas within the state by population. Requires coordination with MPOs and the commitment of obligation authority for all projects in areas with a population of 50,000 and above.

Eligible projects include: establishing or operating a traffic monitoring, management, and control facility; public transportation projects; bicycle and pedestrian facilities; advance transportation and congestion management technologies; ITS capital improvements and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications equipment; efficient street lighting and traffic control devices; congestion pricing, mode shift, and transportation demand management (TDM); projects to reduce environmental and community impacts of freight movement; alternative fuel vehicle deployment support; diesel retrofits; certain CMAQ-eligible projects; and port congestion reduction. Funds can be used for any Surface Transportation Block Grant-eligible use if a state can demonstrate a reduction in transportation emissions. Within two years, a state in consultation with any MPOs, must develop a carbon reduction strategy.

Funding: $6.4 billion over five years.

Reconnecting Communities

Establishes a new pilot program to study the feasibility and impacts of removing an existing transportation facility (including limited access highway, viaduct, and other principal arterial facility) that “creates a barrier to community activity” including mobility, access, economic development, and design factors such as high speeds or grade separations.

Funds can be used to conduct studies, planning, and construction. Planning grants can be awarded (up to $2 million per recipient and federal share of 80%, including to MPOs or other units of local government) to perform the necessary planning functions to establish the feasibility and impacts, and conduct public engagement. Allows for the provision of technical assistance to build organizational or community capacity for planning and innovative solution development. Gives priority consideration to communities that are “economically disadvantaged.” Owners of these facilities can also receive capital construction grants, up to $5 million per recipient and a federal share of 50%, to remove an eligible facility or replace it in a more context-sensitive manner.

Funding: $1 billion over five years; $500 million in contract authority from the Highway Trust Fund and $500 million in advance appropriations from the General Fund.

Applications expected to be open in the second quarter of 2022.