The Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) program provides dedicated, discretionary funding for projects that address critical issues facing our nation's highways and bridges. INFRA grants will support the Administration's commitment to fixing our nation's crumbling infrastructure by creating opportunities for all levels of government and the private sector to fund infrastructure, using innovative approaches to improve the necessary processes for building significant projects, and increasing accountability for the projects that are built.
Eligible projects for INFRA grants are:
- Highway freight projects carried out on the National Highway Freight Network
- Highway or bridge projects carried out on the National Highway System (NHS), including projects that add capacity on the Interstate System to improve mobility or projects in a national scenic area;
- Railway-highway grade crossing or grade separation projects;
- Freight projects that are (1) an intermodal or rail project, or (2) within the boundaries of a public or private freight rail, water (including ports), or intermodal facility.
To maximize the value of FY 2020 INFRA funds for all Americans, the Department is focusing the competition on transportation infrastructure projects that support four key objectives:
- Supporting economic vitality at the national and regional level - The INFRA program seeks infrastructure projects that address congestion in major urban areas, particularly those that do so through the use of congestion pricing or the deployment of advanced technology, projects that bridge gaps in service in our rural areas, and projects that attract private economic development, all support national or regional economic vitality.
- Leveraging Federal funding to attract other, non-Federal sources of infrastructure investment - The INFRA program will give priority consideration to projects that use all available non-Federal resources for development, construction, operations, and maintenance. These projects include projects that maximize State, local, and private sector funding, projects that raise revenue directly, projects that benefit from local self-help, and projects that pair INFRA grants with broader-scale innovative financing, including Federal credit assistance such as Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) and Railroad Rehabilitation Improvement Financing (RRIF) loans.
- Innovation - This includes (1) The deployment of innovative technology and expanded access to broadband; (2) use of innovative permitting, contracting, and other project delivery practices; and (3) innovative financing. DOT anticipates INFRA projects will support the integration of new technology and facilitate increased public and private sector collaboration.
- Innovation in technology includes the following types of projects:
- Conflict detection and mitigation technologies (e.g., intersection alerts, signal prioritization, or smart traffic signals);
- Dynamic signaling or pricing systems to reduce congestion;
- Signage and design features that facilitate autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicle technologies;
- Applications to automatically capture and report safety-related issues (e.g., identifying and documenting near-miss incidents);
- V2X Technologies (e.g. technology which facilitates passing of information between a vehicle and any entity which may affect the vehicle);
- Cybersecurity elements to protect safety critical systems;
- Technology at land and sea ports of entry that reduces congestion, wait times, and delays, while maintaining or enhancing the integrity of our border;
- Other Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) which directly benefit the project's users.
- Holding grant recipients accountable for their performance - To maximize public benefits from INFRA funds and promote local activity that will provide benefits beyond the INFRA-funded projects, the Department seeks projects that allow it to condition funding on specific, measurable outcomes. For appropriate projects, the Department may use one or more of the following types of events to trigger availability of some or all INFRA funds: (1) Reaching project delivery milestones in a timely manner; (2) making specific State or local policy changes that advance desirable transportation outcomes; and (3) achieving transportation performance objectives that support economic vitality or improve safety.
INFRA 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.
Statutorily, INFRA grants may also fund development phase activities, including planning, feasibility analysis, revenue forecasting, environmental review, preliminary engineering, design, and other preconstruction activities, provided the project meets statutory requirements. However, the Department is seeking to use INFRA funding on projects that result in construction. Public-private partnership assessments for projects in the development phase are also eligible costs.
The FAST Act specifies that not more than $500 million of the $4.5 billion authorized for INFRA grants over fiscal years 2016 to 2020 may be used for grants to freight rail, water (including ports), or other freight intermodal projects that make significant improvements to freight movement on the National Highway Freight Network. After accounting for FY 2016–2018 INFRA selections, approximately $200 million within this constraint remains available.