DOT BUILD Grant Program

In 2018 the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) replaced the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program with the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) transportation grant program. BUILD is a discretionary grant program that makes federal funding available on a competitive basis to surface transportation projects that meet "merit criteria." Since 2009, DOT has provided $7.1 billion in grants through this program to support 554 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.

Eligible projects include highway, road, bridge or other surface transportation projects; public transportation projects; passenger and freight rail projects, port infrastructure investments, and intermodal and interjurisdictional projects. Funding can be used for planning and design of projects including environmental review, feasibility analyses and other pre-construction activities. 

The merit criteria for FY2018 grants included the following:

  • Safety - how the project will improve safety outcomes by, for example, reducing the number, rate, or consequences of transportation-related accidents.
  • State of good repair - how the project will improve the condition or resilience of existing transportation facilities and systems, including estimation of the project's impacts on long-term cost and overall life-cycle costs.
  • Economic competitiveness - expected impacts of the project on the movement of goods and people and how the project will increase efficiency, improve connectivity, reduce congestion, bridge service gaps, and improve well-being.
  • Environmental protection - how the project will reduce energy consumption, stormwater runoff, or achieve other benefits, such as remediation of contaminated sites (or "Brownfields").
  • Quality of life - how the project increases transportation choices and improves connectivity.
  • Innovation - how the project will advance innovation and the benefits of the innovations in terms of technology, project delivery, and financing.
  • Partnership - how the project will include collaboration with other public and private stakeholders.
  • Contribution of non-federal revenues - evidence of how the project will generate additional non-federal revenue.
  • Other criteria and additional considerations include: demonstrated project readiness, project costs and benefits, and geographic diversity.

Eligible grantees include any public entities, such as municipalities, counties, port authorities, tribal governments, metropolitan planning organizations.

Non-federal match: In FY2018, the transportation grant could not exceed 80 percent in urban areas and the remainder had to be covered by non-federal sources; the Secretary of Transportation had authority to decrease the non-federal share in rural areas.

The DOT TIGER/BUILD program has been used to support a range of innovative resilience and sustainability projects including funding for green infrastructure approaches to better manage stormwater runoff from transportation infrastructure and complete street projects to encourage active transportation modes (walking and biking).


Publication Date: April 2018

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