The U.S.  Dept. of Transportation has awarded more than $2.2 billion to an array of 166 infrastructure projects ranging from bicycle paths to bridges, in the latest, and largest, round of its popular RAISE grants.

The 2022 batch of the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity grants, which U.S. DOT announced on Aug. 11, was spread among projects in every state, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

The record amount awarded was due largely to $1.2 billion from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). That allocation represents Year One of a five-year, $7.5-billion IIJA commitment to RAISE.

Another $775 million this year comes from regular 2022 appropriations.

Mitch Landrieu, White House infrastructure coordinator, said that half of the total funding went to projects in rural areas and half in urban areas. That split was mandated by Congress.

“These projects are happening in every corner of this country because the President said they’re not going to leave anybody behind,” Landrieu, a former New Orleans mayor, told reporters in an Aug. 10 preview briefing on Zoom.

The RAISE awards reflect Biden administration priorities.

Landrieu said 56% of the program's 2022 dollars will go to projects in "areas of persistent poverty." A significant number of projects selected have features related to bicycles or pedestrians.

Program 'Oversubscribed' Again

Demand for the grants historically has exceeded the amount DOT has had available to award and this year was no exception. 

DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in the briefing that the 2022 RAISE “was still an oversubscribed program, but wasn’t quite the 10-to-1 ratio that we had last year in terms of applications to successful awards."

But Buttigieg added, "We still had many more good ideas come in than we had dollars available.” He said the latest RAISE competition drew $13 billion in applications for the $2.2 billion-plus DOT had to distribute. 

By ENR's count, 18 projects received the maximum grant of $25 million. Among them is a Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) project to rehabilitate the above-ground elements at its Five Points Station downtown. 

A fact sheet distributed by U.S. DOT says the plan aims to rebuild "an aging and confusing station," and provide greater access for nearby residents—half of whom, MARTA says, are living at poverty levels—tojobs at big and busy Hartsfield Jackson International Airport.

Plans include removing the aging station canopy, as well as improving bus bays and the station plaza area. 

Top States in Number of Grants

California received the largest number of RAISE grants among states, with eight, followed by Washington, with seven. 

Four states each received six grants: Minnesota, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia. Another four got five grants: Florida, Louisiana, Missouri and New York. 

The figures count any winning applicant located in those states, not just the state governments themselves.

Besides state agencies, applicants included territories, local governments, public agencies or authorities and Indian tribes.

By ENR's count, California also won the largest amount of RAISE funds, with $119.6 million. Texas ranked second, with $101.6 million, and Minnesota was third, with $99.4 million.

The types of winning projects spanned a wide range of transportation modes. Buttigieg also noted that some winning entries had multiple modal aspects, such as roadway projects that also had components related to bicycles or pedestrians. 

Christopher Coes, DOT assistant secretary, said about 52% of the new round's funding went to roadway projects, though he said many of those also included Complete Streets features.

Coes said about 17% of the 2022 dollars were awarded for projects with elements related to bicycling or pedestrian use. He said about 7% went to maritime projects, 4% to the rail sector and 1% to aviation, which Congress made eligible for the program for the first time this year.

In all, since 2009 about $12.2 billion has been awarded through the program's 13 rounds. 

In its early days, the program was known as the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER, grants.

The Trump administration later renamed the program BUILD grants, and the Biden administration re-re-named it RAISE.