$1.5 Billion Department of Transportation Grant Announced

Last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that it will be funding 91 transportation infrastructure projects through the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant program. U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao calls the $1.5 billion in funding “a down payment on this administration’s commitment to America’s infrastructure.”

BUILD started its life in 2009 as TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery), which was aimed at helping local governments fund road, rail, transit and port infrastructure projects that might otherwise have difficulty securing funding. The federal administration attempted to cut TIGER entirely at the beginning of 2018, but the U.S. House Representatives and Senate instead decided to increase the program’s budget. And the Trump administration changed the program’s focus to emphasize projects in rural areas, and private-public partnerships that share some of the cost with corporations. According to the DOT, this was done to “re-balance a ten-year, historical under investment in rural communities.”

This year, the program received 851 applications, nearly double the number of applications it received last year. These applications came from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several U.S. territories, and totalled $10.8 billion. In the pared-down list of finalists, Hawaii was the only state that did not receive a grant.

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