Transportation funding continues to stream out from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act as the $1.2-trillion, five-year bill nears its halfway mark. The latest major development came on Jan. 25 with the U.S. Dept. of Transportation’s announcement of $4.9 billion for major highway, bridge and other types of projects.

In the latest round of the programs, DOT awarded 39 grants to 37 projects, with two projects receiving two grants each. Eleven projects fall under the Mega category and 28 are INFRA projects.

The funding comes from two programs, Mega, created in the IIJA, and Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA), established in 2015 and greatly expanded by IIJA. INFRA's total funding for fiscal years 2022 through 2026 is $8 billion 

Mega's formal name is the National Infrastructure Project Assistance program. Its funding totals $5 billion for the fiscal 2022-2026 period.

View list of winning Mega grant projects here.

View selected INFRA grant projects here

DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a Jan. 24 media briefing to preview the awards the grants aim to help construct "projects of regional and national significance that are uniquely large, complex and difficult to fund through traditional grants or other means."

Largest Grants

The largest grant, $1 billion, went to an INFRA project, a replacement for the Blatnik Bridge, which links Duluth, Minn., and Superior, Wis.

The largest Mega grant totaled $600 million to the Washington State DOT—which is partnered with the Oregon DOT—for a "seismically resilient" new Interstate-5 bridge between Vancouver, Wash., and Portland, Ore., according to a DOT background document.

Natalie Quillian, deputy White House chief of staff, said in the briefing that he bridge "is in poor condition and cannot safely support heavy trucks." Quillian, who leads the administration's IIJA implementation team, added, "Without major investment the bridge is predicted to close by 2030."

Great Demand

As with other competitively awarded DOT grant programs, demand for the new Mega and INFRA funds greatly outran the funds available. 

Buttigieg said that DOT received 117 applications for the Mega dollars, requesting a total of $24.7 billion. There were 190 applications for the INFRA funds, seeking $24.8 billion.