Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Department of Transportation’

2 Ohio Projects Receive Infrastructure Grants

September 22, 2021

Two Ohio projects will receive special consideration from the U.S. Department of Transportation Infrastructure for Rebuilding America program.

The projects are eligible to apply for credit assistance for up to 49 percent of costs.

The projects are City of Cincinnati, Western Hills Viaduct Replacement Project; and Ohio Department of Transportation, Ohio Route 7 grade crossing improvement.

Also designated was the Indiana Department of Transportation for the U.S. Route 36 Modern Rockville Road Project.

In a news release, USDOT said the Ohio and Indiana projects were among 44 projects that made it to the final round for funding under the 2021 INFRA competitive grant program, but were not awarded due to a combination of overwhelming demand for INFRA grants and limited funds.

Instead they will be designated as INFRA Extra projects and eligible to receive a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act credit.

USDOT received eligible INFRA applications from 42 states and Guam seeking a collective $6.8 billion in grant funds. That was nearly seven times more than the $1 billion available.

NOACA Lands Federal Grant

September 21, 2021

The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency has received a $295,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Regional Infrastructure Accelerators program.

The funding will be used for project planning, studies and analysis, and preliminary engineering and design work.

In news release, USDOT said the work in Northeast Ohio will include for an intermodal facility, airport access improvement, an improved road to a health care facility and a pedestrian connection.

No other details were provided. The grant was one of five announced by USDOT.

The news release said the program seeks to accelerate project delivery through a variety of ways, including project planning, studies and analysis, and preliminary engineering and design work.

USDOT Seeking Comment on Supply Chain Challenges

September 20, 2021

Public comment is being sought by the U.S. Department of Transportation on supply-chain challenges in the port, rail and trucking sectors.

The comments are being sought by the Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force, which was established by the Biden administration and  co-chaired by the secretaries of transportation, agriculture and commerce.

USDOT plans to compile a report on the nation’s freight and logistics sector that will be focused on how the freight system supports the supply chains and any challenges and resilience issues within that system, according to the notice.

Public comments are due by Oct. 18.

House Budget Bill Boosts Transportation Spending

July 20, 2021

The House Appropriations Committee last week approved a spending bill for fiscal year 2022 that would boost spending on transportation programs over FY2021 levels.

The bill, known as the Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies legislation provides an increase of $1.9 billion for the U.S. Department of Transportation.

USDOT is allocated $105.7 billion in budgetary resources, a 22 percent increase above the FY2021 enacted level ($86.7 billion) and the President Joseph Biden’s FY2022 budget request of $87 billion.

Among the spending levels authorized for transportation programs are:

• $1.2 billion for National Infrastructure Investments, a 20 percent increase from FY 2021. It includes $20 million for Transportation Planning Grants to assist areas of persistent poverty, a 100 percent increase over FY 2021. An additional $100 million is included for a new grant program to “spur thriving communities nationwide.”

•$4.1 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration, up 46 percent from FY 2021. This includes $625 million for the new Passenger Rail Improvement, Modernization, and Expansion (PRIME) grant program “to support projects that improve, expand or establish passenger rail service”; $500 million for the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) grant program, a 33 percent increase from FY 2021; $2.7 billion for Amtrak, a 35 percent boost over FY 2021, which includes $1.2 billion for Northeast Corridor Grants and $1.5 billion for National Network Grants.

• $15.5 billion for the Federal Transit Administration, including $12.2 billion for Transit Formula Grants to expand bus fleets and increase the transit state of good repair; $2.5 billion for Capital Investment Grants to construct more than 23 new transit routes nationwide, a 22 percent increase above the FY 2021 enacted level and equal to the president’s budget request; and $580 million for Transit Infrastructure Grants to purchase more than 300 zero-emission buses and 400 diesel buses, and to support “transformative research for transit systems,” which is a 12 percent increase above FY 2021.

Stimulus Money Conveyed to Amtrak

April 28, 2021

The U.S. Department of Transportation said this week that it has conveyed to Amtrak $1.69 billion in economic stimulus funds authorized by the American Rescue Act of 2021.

The funding includes $728.6 million for Amtrak’s long distance and regional trains outside the Northeast Corridor.

Amtrak was directed by Congress to allocate $174 million of that total to offset what the carrier charges states for corridor services.

However, the law does not require states to restore their Amtrak corridor services to pre-pandemic levels.

Most states reduced their corridor services during the COVID-19 pandemic due to a plunge in ridership.

Several states have begun restoring suspended services but others have yet to announce their plans.

Among the routes yet to be fully restored is the Wolverine Service between Chicago and Detroit (Pontiac).

The route had three roundtrips pre-pandemic, but since March 2020 the level of service has been a single daily roundtrip.

Some Illinois and Missouri routes also continued to operate below pre-pandemic levels.

The directive also mandated that Amtrak return long-distance service to daily operation if they operated as such before last year.

Amtrak has said daily operation will be phased in over a three-weekly period beginning May 24.

The Northeast Corridor will receive $969.4 million of which $109.8 million will go to states and commuter railroads to cover their share of capital costs Amtrak charges them for using the Northeast Corridor.

Another $100.8 million will be used for debt relief that Amtrak incurred before the legislation was adopted on March 11.

Bose Nominated as FRA Administrator

April 24, 2021

Amit Bose will be nominated to be the administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration.

Bose is currently deputy Federal Railroad Administrator and has had a two-decade career in public agency positions related to transportation.

He also once served the FRA as chief counsel and a senior adviser, helping to oversee the implementation of positive train control systems.

Bose also worked for the U.S. Department of Transportation as associate general counsel and deputy assistant secretary for governmental affairs.

Before that he worked for New Jersey Transit, the New Jersey Department of Transportation and as a congressional staff member.

He earned a AB from Columbia College, an MIA from the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, and a JD from the University of Georgia.

The Biden administration also plans to nominate Carlos Monje Jr. as under secretary of transportation for policy.

Ag Shippers Air Concern at Meeting

April 21, 2021

Agriculture shippers expressed their concerns about rail service and other issues this week as part of a meeting sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Transportation.

Meeting participants discussed issues they are having shipping agricultural exports, as well as logistical and technical concerns.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack summarized those issues as placing stress on nearly every sector of the supply chain, including warehousing, trucking, rail service, inland and ocean terminals, container availability and vessel service.

Shippers described recent problems with ocean carriers as well as the emergence of detention and demurrage charges. Others recalled canceled or delayed bookings, as well as the difficulty in meeting export demands.

“While this disruption is impacting ports along the West Coast and the Gulf of Mexico, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the busiest container ports in the United States, moving nearly a third of containerized agricultural exports by volume, have experienced the worst disruption,” Visack said.

He said export challenges began in last fall and have escalated to include a wide range of affected commodities and port regions.

He said farmers who have struggled to find a market for their products and get a fair price for their commodities are finding markets opening back up.

Participating in the meeting were stakeholders in the livestock, grains, specialty crop and dairy industries, as well as representatives from the shipping companies.

USDOT officials discussed how they will work with the Federal Maritime and others to help address the shippers’ concerns.

USDOT Grants Given New Name

April 15, 2021

First there was TIGER then BUILD and now RAISE. Those are the acronyms given to U.S. Department of Transportation capital spending grants.

The names tend to change when the occupant of the White House changes.

This week USDOT said it is taking applications for Rebuilding American Infrastructure With Sustainability and Equity grants.

The agency has a pot of $1 billion to award in federal fiscal year 2021.

For this round of RAISE grants, the maximum grant award is $25 million and no more than $100 million will be awarded to a single state.

Up to $30 million will be awarded to planning grants. USDOT will award an equitable amount, not to exceed half of funding, to projects located in urban and rural areas respectively.

Maximum awards are capped at $25 million with no more than $100 million being awarded to a single state.

Up to $30 million will be awarded to planning grants with an equitable amount, not to exceed half of funding, to projects located in urban and rural areas respectively.

Applications will be evaluated based on merit criteria that include safety, environmental sustainability, quality of life, economic competitiveness, state of good repair, innovation and partnership.

DOT said that it will give preference to projects that can demonstrate improvements to racial equity, reduce the effects of climate change and create good-paying jobs.

The RAISE program was formerly known as Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development and before that as Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program.

The two programs have awarded more than $8.9 billion in grants since 2009.

Trottenberg Confirmed as No. 2 at USDOT

April 15, 2021

Polly Trottenberg has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate as deputy U.S. transportation secretary.

She will be the second-in-command at the U.S. Department of Transportation behind Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

Trottenberg is a former New York City Transportation Commissioner and former MTA Board member.

She served as New York’s transportation commissioner for seven years before joining the Biden administration transition team.

Biden Proposes $25.6B USDOT Budget

April 14, 2021

The Biden administration has proposed a $25.6 billion budget for the U.S. Department of Transportation for federal fiscal year 2022.

That would be an increase of $317 million, or 1.3 percent, over what Congress enacted for FY 2021.

The Office of Management and Budget said that figure is “only a fraction” of the DOT’s “total budgetary resources.”

OMB said most DOT’s financial assistance to states, localities and transportation authorities is provided through mandatory funding derived from the Highway Trust Fund, as part of multiyear surface transportation authorizations.

The administration has proposed that Congress approve $625 million for a new passenger rail competitive grant program, $375 million for Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement grants, $2.7 billion for Amtrak, $2.5 billion for the Capital Investment Grant program, and $250 million for grants for transit agencies to purchase low- and no-emission buses.

The later combined with the assumed $55 million of contract authority of the FAST Act, would provide $305 million for the Low or No Emission Grant Program.

The budget also proposes $110 million to establish a “Thriving Communities Initiative Pilot,” which would provide “funding for grants and technical assistance to communities” and “serve as a down-payment on advancing transportation equity.”

The Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Develop grant program would receive $1 billion.