INFRA Program Will Replace FASTLANE Grants

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) will announce changes in tomorrow’s Federal Register to the FASTLANE freight grant program that was created in the FAST Act reauthorization. The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) will contain the changes, including the program’s new name.

The Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) program, with a new set of criteria for project selection, will have $1.5 billion available for its first round of awards (this is most of the funding for fiscal year 2017 and all of the funding for 2018). Applications submitted at the end of 2016 under the Obama Administration’s FASTLANE program will have to be modified and resubmitted to respond to the new criteria. USDOT has indicated it will work with applicants to port over their applications for this purpose. New applications will also be accepted at this time. This will be a 120-day application period.

USDOT will proceed, however, with FY17 awards under the small projects portion of the program. The $79 million available for that portion of the program will be announced soon. New applications for FY18 small projects funding can apply as part of tomorrow’s NOFO announcement.

On a call with USDOT today, staff indicated the new criteria would focus less on actual project outcomes, and more on developing process improvements and innovations. While the national or regional economic vitality the project will create is still important, applications will also be rewarded for the amount of local effort exhibited in a project, including the amount of funding a local sponsor will provide, the availability of ongoing operations and maintenance funding to support a project, and performance and accountability assurances as to project budget and timing. Streamlining and other project delivery innovations will also be considered.

A brief discussion of these differences is included in the fact sheet provided by USDOT:

USDOT will conduct webinars and hold an outreach summit to discuss these program changes. They are also willing to do follow up calls with applicants. In addition, the Build America Bureau is prepared to assist directly with the development of applications for the INFRA program.

For more information:
A factsheet comparing the new INFRA program to the FASTLANE program
An INFRA program FAQ
An overview of the Build America Bureau’s resources specifically related to the INFRA program

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