The U.S. Dept. of Transportation has awarded nearly $1 billion in infrastructure funding in the latest round of its long-popular RAISE grant program.
The new round for the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity program, which DOT formally announced on Nov. 19, will go to 90 surface transportation projects in 47 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Guam.
By ENR’s count, the new RAISE round includes 63 capital grants, totaling about $953 million; and 27 planning grants, totaling $30 million.
DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement, “As in past years, we received far more applications than we could fund: this cycle saw about a ten-to-one ratio of requests to available dollars.
Buttigieg noted that the newly enacted Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides an increase for RAISE, which should allow future rounds to award more grants. The new infrastructure statute boosts RAISE's funding to $1.5 billion per year for the next five years, up 50% from the 2021 level of $1 billion, according to figures compiled by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
This year's winning projects represent a wide range of surface transportation categories, including highways, bridges, freight and passenger rail, intermodal facilities and ports. There are several trails, and other pedestrian-related improvement on the list, too.
DOT said the program focuses on projects that are significant for a locality or region.
RAISE is the program's third name since Congress created it in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Obama administration dubbed it TIGER and the Trump administration renamed it BUILD.
As the grant program’s new title indicates, the Biden administration wants it to be in synch with its overall priorities of addressing climate change and environmental justice.
In the new round, two projects each received the largest individual capital grants, $25 million, which is the maximum allowable by statute.
One $25-million-grant recipient is the city of Manchester, N.H., which will receive $25 million toward a $30-million, four-part plan to reconnect its South Millyard district to nearby neighborhoods and to downtown Manchester.
The plan involves two street extensions, reconfiguring an intersection and improvements for pedestrians.
Also receiving a $25-million grant is the New Mexico DOT to rebuild about 21 miles of U.S. Route 64 in the northwest part of the state.
The project, whose total cost is an estimated $80.7 million, involves replacing four bridges and upgrades to the roadway, including wider shoulders and lanes and new pavement.
States, cities or other entities that receive RAISE grants typically supplement those dollars with state, local or other types of federal funding. RAISE grants can account for no more than 80% of a project's cost.
With the latest funding, RAISE and its predecessors have received about $10.1 billion in funding, according to DOT. This new round is the program’s 13th.
DOT had given earlier notice to senators and House members about RAISE-winning projects in their states or districts and some of those lawmakers had issued the news before DOT's official announcement.