DOT Soliciting Freight Projects Grant Applications
Department of Transportation’s recently issues a notice is to solicit applications for grants for the
Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects program for fiscal year 2016.
The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) established the Nationally Significant
Freight and Highway Projects (NSFHP) program to provide federal financial assistance to projects of national or regional significance and authorized the program at $4.5 billion for fiscal years 2016 through 2020, including $800 million for fiscal year 2016 to be awarded by the Secretary of Transportation. Applications must be submitted by April 14, 2016 www.grants.gov.
According to the DOT notice, the NSFHP program, for the first time in the U.S. Department of
Transportation’s 50-year history, establishes broad, multiyear eligibilities for freight infrastructure.
“To better adapt to population growth, compete in the global economy, and meet the needs of consumers and industry, the United States needs a strong multimodal transportation system,” the notice stated.
Beyond Traffic 2045: Trends and Choices, the department’s 30-year framework for the future, outlines changing local and global patterns, including population and employment growth in burgeoning
megaregions and significant growth in freight movement by ton and value. The report affirms the need to address freight bottlenecks that severely constrain system performance and capacity.
The Department’s draft National Freight Strategic Plan, released in October 2015, further explores these challenges for freight transportation and identifies strategies to address impediments to the flow of goods throughout the nation.
NSFHP grants may be used for the construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, acquisition of property, environmental mitigation, construction contingencies, equipment acquisition, and operational improvements directly related to system performance. NSFHP grants may also fund developmental phase activities, including planning, feasibility analysis, revenue forecasting, environmental review, preliminary engineering, design, and other preconstruction activities, provided the project meets statutory requirements.
The Department will divide grants under the NSFHP program into large and small projects.
For large projects, the FAST Act specifies that NSFHP grants must be at least $25 million. For small projects, the grants must be at least $5 million. For both large and small projects, maximum NSFHP awards may not exceed 60 percent of future eligible project costs. Ten percent of available funds, approximately $76 million in fiscal year 2016, are reserved for small projects.
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