Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Department of Transportation’

Loan to Help Finance West Lake Corridor

June 20, 2022

The U.S. Department of Transportation has provided a $203.3 million Rehabilitation and Improvement Program loan to help fund the West Lake Corridor Project in Northwest Indiana.

The agency is building an 8-mile extension of the South Shore Line from Hammond to Dyer, Indiana.

The loan will be used to pay for about a third of the the $852 million in eligible project costs. It was issued by USDOT’s Build America Bureau to the Indiana Finance Authority on behalf of South Shore parent agency the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District.

The West Lake Corridor is being built on and along a former Monon Railroad right of way and is slated to open in 2025. It will have four new stations.

Other federal funding of the project includes a $354.6 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration.

Groups Want USDOT to Use IIJA Funds to Help Ease Supply Chain Congestion Problems

May 15, 2022

Organizations representing the transportation, manufacturing and construction industries have asked U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to use funding in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to help untangle supply chain congestion.

They sent a letter to Buttigieg requesting that USDOT “dedicate as much as allowable by law in discretionary grants for FY 2022 to support projects that will facilitate and ease the movement of goods.”

The groups want USDOT to use $18 billion for various grant programs over the next five years.

Among the signers of the letter were the Association of American Railroads, and the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.

During a Senate hearing earlier this month Buttigieg said the proposed federal year 2023 budget for USDOT includes $36.8 billion in advance appropriations provided by the infrastructure law.

U.S. DOT HQ Named for Coleman, Mineta

May 15, 2022

President Joseph Biden has signed legislation to name the U.S. Department of Transportation’s headquarters in Washington the “William T. Coleman, Jr. and Norman Y. Mineta Federal Building.”

The naming honors two former secretaries of transportation. The building is located at 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE

Coleman served between 1975 and 1977 and was the first first African American to run the agency. He died on March 31, 2017.

Mineta, who served between 2001 and 2006, was the first Asian American to head USDOT. He died on May 3 shortly before Biden signed the bill.

Former Transportation Secretary Mineta Dies

May 5, 2022

Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta died of heart failure on Tuesday at his home in Maryland. He was 90.

A former congressman from California and the mayor of San Jose, California, Mineta was appointed as secretary of commerce during the final month of the Clinton administration.

After the election of George W. Bush as president, Mineta was named secretary of transportation and was the only Democrat to serve in Bush’s cabinet.

He went on to become the longest serving secretary of transportation in the history of the position. When he stepped down in 2006, he had served as secretary of transportation for five and a half years.

During his time as head of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Mineta promoted private investment in roads and bridges, and pushed for passage of a $286 billion highway spending plan after almost two years of wrangling with Congress.

During his time at USDOT, Mineta supervised the launch of the Transportation Security Administration, which in 2003 was moved to the Department of Homeland Security.

The first Japanese-American to serve in a federal cabinet position, Mineta during his time in Congress was a co-founder of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

He also helped to win passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which required the U.S. government to apologize to and compensate the 120,000 Japanese Americans forced to live in wartime internment camps. Mineta himself spent two years of his childhood in one of those camps.

Bush awarded Mineta the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

DOT Building May be Named for 2 Leaders

April 8, 2022

The U.S. Department of Transportation headquarters building in Washington may be named for two former transportation secretaries.

The U.S. Senate on April 6 passed a bill calling for the naming of the DOT building the “William T. Coleman, Jr. and Norman Y. Mineta Federal Building.”

The legislation has been sent to President Joesph Biden for his consideration. The DOT headquarters is located at 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE

Coleman served as secretary of transportation between 1975 and 19877 and was the first African American to hold the position.

Mineta was transportation secretary between 2001 and 2006 and was first Asian American to serve in the post.

The bill had bipartisan support from the chairs and ranking members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation; and the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Coleman, who died on March 31, 2017, at one time served as legal counsel for the cities of Cincinnati and Philadelphia, and as a special counsel for Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.

Mineta, a Democrat from California who served in the U.S. House from 1975 to 1995, was the longest-serving leader in USDOT history and the first cabinet member to switch directly from a Democratic Cabinet (as Secretary of Commerce under President Bill Clinton) to a Republican Cabinet (as Secretary of Transportation under President George W. Bush).

Biden Wants Increased Transportation Spending

March 30, 2022

The Biden administration has proposed increasing funding on railroad and public transit programs in federal fiscal year 2023 in a $5.79 trillion budget proposal.

The administration sent its budget recommendations to Congress this week.

Biden proposed spending $105 billion for the U.S. Department of Transportation with another $37 billion in advance appropriations provided for by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

The budget calls for $4.66 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration. The agency received $2.86 billion in the past two fiscal years.

Amtrak would get $3 billion, including $1.8 billion for the national network and $1.2 billion for the Northeast Corridor.

The Federal Transit Administration would receive $16.87 billion, which includes $300 million for rail car replacement.

Some funding in the proposed FTA budget would cover work on the Portal North Bridge replacement project in Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, and $100 for engineering work on the Hudson Tunnels project between New York City and New Jersey.

Other notable transportation funding includes $2.85 billion for Capital Investment Grants, $500 million for the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements grants, $555 million for the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail program, $245 million for the Railroad Crossing Elimination program, and $1.5 billion for Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity grants and the new National Infrastructure Project Assistance Grant program,

The figures for those programs do not include funding authorized by the infrastructure act approved last year. All funding proposals are subject to congressional approval.

USDOT Announces Grant Opportunities

March 25, 2022

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced on Thursday a $2.9 billion federal grant program for infrastructure projects.

In a news release, USDOT said the program will combine three existing programs, including the  Infrastructure for Rebuilding America,  National Infrastructure Project Assistance  and Rural Surface Transportation Grant into one multimodal discretionary grant opportunity.

USDOT said this will reduce the burden on state and local government applicants and increase the number of “shovel-worthy” projects being funded by money from the Investment in Infrastructure and Jobs Act.

INFRA grants target highway, multimodal freight and rail projects. Last year, USDOT awarded $1 billion in grants from this program but will have $1.55 billion this year.

MEGA grants fund major projects that are too large or complex for traditional funding programs, while RURAL grants support projects designed to improve and expand surface transportation infrastructure in rural areas.

This year the MEGA program will receive up to $1 billion and the RURAL program will award up to $300 million in grants.  

The deadline for applications involving all three grant programs is May 23.

USDOT Taking RAISE Grant Applications

January 29, 2022

The U.S. Department of Transportation is taking applications for Rebuilding American Infrastructure With Sustainability and Equity grants.

The agency said $1.5 billion is available in RAISE grants for federal fiscal year 2022.

Funding is available for projects involving rail, transit, road and port infrastructure projects.

The application deadline is April 14 with grant winner to be announced no later than Aug. 12.

The RAISE program is the first discretionary funding program to accept applications as directed by the infrastructure program approved by Congress last year.

In a news release, USDOT said the funding for RAISE grants is 50 percent higher than it was for FY 2021.

At least $75 million will be awarded to planning projects and at least $15 million in funding is guaranteed for projects located in areas of persistent poverty or historically disadvantaged communities.

Port of Cleveland Wins $3M USDOT Grant

December 29, 2021

The Port of Cleveland will receive a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

A USDOT fact sheet said the port will use the funding to conduct a comprehensive planning study that will address cargo handling, environmental, and economic development needs, in addition to regional-level planning goals.

The six components of the study will include a market analysis, a terminal capacity analysis, an intermodal connection assessment, a plan for port de-carbonization, a coastal resilience plan, and a regional-level cargo capability study.

The port is overseen by the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority.

The Cleveland port is one of 25 receiving grants from the Maritime Administration’s Port Infrastructure Development Program

A USDOT news release said the ports are sharing $241 million in grant funding for fiscal year 2021.

The three-year-old PIDP program providing grants to port facility for freight infrastructure improvements that boost capacity and efficiency.

Other ports receiving grants are located in Indiana, Kentucky and Michigan.

Tell City, Indiana, will receive $1.6 million for the Ohio River Pier Project to fund fund construction of a 40-foot diameter pier for a crane that will be used for direct barge-to-truck unloading of cargo. The pier design will allow the crane to operate regardless of water levels.

In Paducah, Kentucky, the Bulk Yard Infrastructure Revitalization and Expansion Project will receive $3,3 million for several related infrastructure improvements at the port.

The improvements modernize the port’s material handling equipment, repair damaged facilities, and upgrade site conditions in the port’s Bulk Yard.

In Alpena, Michigan, $3.7 million was awarded to the city which is partnering with Lafarge Alpena to upgrade and modernize that company’s port and landside shipping facilities to meet the increasing demand for the plant’s construction products.

Project improvements include berth dredging to increase the water depths within the port basin to satisfy larger vessels, stone dock demolition to increase the overall area for vessels to access the site, new mooring dolphins, the addition of a roof for a storage building, demolition of a storage building, and maritime security upgrades.

In Marquette, Michigan, $1.6 million was awarded for a project to improve  port infrastructure, dredge encroaching sediment to protect port infrastructure, and deposit dredge materials on shore to enhance coastal restoration and protect road infrastructure at the Port of Marquette.

GAO Calls for More Clarity on TOD Decisions

December 8, 2021

The U.S. Department of Transportation needs to do a better job of evaluating proposals for transit-oriented projects, the U.S. Government Accountability Office has concluded.

GAO recommended that the USDOT’s Build America Bureau better document its decisions and follow procedures when reviewing TOD projects.

The agency also called on the Federal Transit Administration to develop a plan to evaluate its pilot program.

TOD projects typically seek to encourage the development of housing and businesses along transit lines as a way of increasing ridership.

In its investigation, the GAO noted that two federal financing programs administered by the Build America Bureau involve TOD projects.

The bureau has not approved financing for any TOD projects since 2016 and failed to clearly document its eligibility decisions, the GAO’s report said.

GAO said that without a clearly documented rationale for eligibility decisions and procedures for making decisions, project sponsors lack reasonable assurance that the bureau is reviewing projects consistently.  The USDOT concurred with the GAO’s recommendations.