DOT Supports Early-Stage Development of Projects Through New Pilot Program
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today announced it is advancing vital transportation projects in underserved communities across the United States by awarding 13 grants totaling $3.4 million through the new Rural and Tribal Assistance Pilot Program (RTA). Administered by the Build America Bureau, the RTA grant program supports early-stage development of transportation solutions in rural and Tribal communities with grants funding technical, legal, and financial assistance. The Bureau received 406 applications requesting more than $127 million in funding. Of those, 70 applications totaling $19 million were submitted from Tribal applicants.
The sheer number of applications received, and amount of funding requested demonstrates the tremendous need for funding communities that have historically been left out of federal investment opportunities,” said Deputy U.S. Transportation Secretary Polly Trottenberg. “This is great progress in our mission to help our rural and Tribal partners realize their visions for safer and more efficient transportation options.”
The selected awardees are:
|City of Independence (Oregon)
|Design and engineering of Chestnut Street Bridge Replacement
|City of Elkhorn (Wisconsin)
|Design of Centralia Street Reconstruction and Bicycle Lane Addition
|Roosevelt City (Utah)
|Design, permitting, and estimating of 500 W. Roadway
|Contra Costa County (California)
|Design and estimating of Vasco Road Corridor Safety Improvements
|Douglas County (Oregon)
|Green Unincorporated Area Traffic Analysis and RAISE Grant Preparation
|City of Blair (Nebraska)
|Design of Missouri River Barge and Rail Expansion
|Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation (California)
|Design of separated pedestrian pathway and lighting for Connected Communities
|Nulato Village (Alaska)
|Design, permitting, and estimates for Nulato Small Port Development
|Bois Forte Reservation Tribal Government (Minnesota)
|Feasibility study for secondary evacuation route for Nett Lake
|Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (Minnesota)
|Environmental study for Willard Munger State Trail Connection
|Karuk Tribe (California)
|Tribal Transit Feasibility Study and Design for improved transit services
|Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians (Michigan)
|Design and permitting for new road and trail (Wi-Zhewébzet Ė-Zhyaygo: We Are Going Into the Future)
|Igiugig Village Council (Alaska)
|Design and permitting for Diamond Point integrated breakwater and barge landing
“The Bureau is excited to work with these new partners to jump-start local projects and better position them to compete for DOT grants and explore innovative funding, financing, and delivery solutions,” said Bureau Executive Director Morteza Farajian. “The response to this funding opportunity was astounding and has highlighted how impactful the Program will be for our rural and Tribal communities. This is just the beginning.”
“As most of Indian Country is rural, we are happy to use these opportunities to work with them and ensure these historic opportunities under the BIL are accessible for all Americans,” said Assistant Secretary for Tribal Affairs Arlando Teller.
The RTA program, created by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in November 2021, allocates $10 million over five years to provide technical assistance for projects in rural and Tribal communities. The grants, which require no local match, may be used to hire staff or advisors to assist with early development-phase activities, including feasibility studies, preliminary engineering and design, environmental review, revenue forecasting, financial feasibility analysis, statutory and regulatory analysis, and drafting and negotiation of agreements.
The Bureau used a streamlined, simple application form and reviewed applications on a first-come, first-served basis. This approach reduced the burden on applicants new to or inexperienced with the Federal grant process and the numerous forms traditionally required for Federal grants. As part of the Administration’s commitment to advancing equity and opportunity for all American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Hawaiian Home Lands, the Transportation Secretary set a goal to increase engagement with Tribes on a government-to-government basis that respects the principles of Tribal self-governance. To ensure equitable opportunity for Tribal governments to access the RTA grants, the Bureau reserved up to $1.6 million for Tribal applicants under this solicitation.
The RTA joins the Thriving Communities Program, the Regional Infrastructure Accelerators, and other new technical assistance opportunities that seek to ensure communities have the tools to access federal funding and financing for transformative infrastructure projects. Find additional DOT technical assistance resources on the DOT Navigator at www.transportation.gov/dot-navigator. For updates, subscribe to the Bureau newsletter and announcements here.
The Build America Bureau advances investments in transportation infrastructure by lending Federal funds to qualified borrowers; clearing roadblocks for credit-worthy projects; and encouraging best practices in project planning, financing, delivery, and operations. The Bureau draws on expertise across DOT to serve as the point of coordination for states, municipalities, private partners, and other project sponsors seeking Federal financing. DOT provides support for rural communities through the Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success (ROUTES) Initiative, including user-friendly tools and information for communities interested in DOT’s grants and loans. More information can be found at the ROUTES Initiative website: https://www.transportation.gov/rural.