DOT Issues Notice Of Funding Opportunity For BUILD Grants

 
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Lauri A Hettinger is senior policy advisor in Holland & Knight's Washington D.C. office

HIGHLIGHTS:

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the $1.5 billion in surface transportation grants provided by the FY 2018 Omnibus Appropriations legislation. This client alert provides key details regarding the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grants, which replaces the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program. BUILD grants may not be less than $5 million and not greater than $25 million, except that for projects located in rural areas where the minimum grant size is $1 million. On April 20, 2018, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the $1.5 billion in surface transportation grants provided by the FY 2018 Omnibus Appropriations legislation. The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program has been renamed as Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD).

This client alert provides the key details and interest points regarding the funding opportunity.

Details

Deadline: Applications must be submitted by 8 p.m. Eastern on July 19, 2018. The FY 2018 Omnibus Appropriations bill, enacted on March 23, required that the NOFO be issued within 60 days of enactment of the bill. DOT released the NOFO in only 28 days.

Rural Projects Will Be Prioritized for BUILD: "The FY 2018 BUILD Transportation program will continue to give special consideration to projects located in rural areas." During the 2017 round, DOT awarded 64 percent of the funds to rural projects even though the FY 2017 Appropriations bill had a rural set-aside of 20 percent. The FY 2018 Omnibus Appropriations bill increased the rural set-aside to 30 percent.

DOT's Priorities: DOT staff have said that the agency's priorities are rural, road, freight/intermodal, and innovation (AVs, ITS, etc.). In addition, the NOFO includes a section for applicants to explain new transportation revenue.

The FY 2018 appropriations bill was specific about the DOT not prioritizing cost share: "the Secretary shall not use the Federal share as a selection criteria in awarding projects." However, the NOFO does indicate that DOT is still focusing on this issue:

"The Administration believes that attracting significant new, non-Federal revenue streams dedicated to transportation infrastructure investment is...

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