DOT Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) Grant Program

In April 2021, the Department of Transportation (DOT) rebooted its discretionary rail, transit, and port funding program as the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program. The program was initially known as the TIGER grant program, and most recently administered as the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) program. RAISE makes federal funding available on a competitive basis to infrastructure projects that promote national objectives but are more difficult to support with formula programs or less flexible discretionary programs. Between 2009 and 2020, the DOT has invested $8.9 billion in infrastructure projects through twelve rounds of discretionary grants. Unlike prior rounds of funding, RAISE prioritizes the administration’s climate change and racial equity goals. 

Consistent with national implementation of Executive Order 14008, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, the DOT will seek to fund projects that aim to allocate 40% or more of project resources into benefitting disadvantaged and overburdened communities. The DOT will also be using discretionary grants to support racial equality by reducing barriers to opportunity and investing in projects that proactively address equity issues or redress prior inequities. This priority supports implementation of  Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.

RAISE funds are issued directly to any public entity, while other federal funding programs have more specific applicant groups. Funds are assigned through a merit-based process that prioritizes capital investment projects with significant local and regional benefits. For FY 2021, up to 80% of a project’s costs can be covered by grant funding (that limit can be adjusted for projects in rural or persistently impoverished areas). 

Eligible projects include:

  • Highway, bridge, and road projects,
  • Public transportation projects, 
  • Passenger and freight rail transportation projects, 
  • Port infrastructure investments, 
  • Intermodal projects (projects with multiple uses), and
  • Surface transportation capital projects on Tribal land over which the United States has responsibility.

The FY 2021 funds will be available for obligation through September 30, 2024. The 2021 Notice of Funding Availability (NOFO) prioritizes projects that contemplate and address climate-related concerns such as energy efficiency, resilience, and emissions, requiring that climate and environmental justice impacts be considered by planners. Applications must be submitted by 5:00 PM Eastern on July 12, 2021. 

 

Publication Date: 2021

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