$1 Billion in BUILD Grants Announced by USDOT
September 18, 2020|Jeff Davis
The U.S. Department of Transportation on September 16 announced the selectees for $1 billion in surface transportation grants from the BUILD program (formerly known as TIGER).
“This Administration is making significant investments in infrastructure, and this $1 billion in BUILD grants will repair, rebuild, and revitalize transportation systems across America,” said Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao.
Fact sheets describing each grant can be found here.
From the fiscal year 2020 appropriation of $1.000 billion, the announcement listed 56 BUILD capital grants totaling $965.578 million, and another 12 grants for project planning activities totaling $20.422 billion. That makes $986.000 million, and the other $14 million was dedicated to program oversight (the oversight ceiling was a $15 million takedown, so DOT is being thrifty). There were also two projects announced this week using fiscal 2019 appropriations, totaling $17.429 million, because one of the projects announced last year with the FY 2019 money got withdrawn. (Still waiting to find out which one.) Total grants announced this week: $1.003 billion.
Rural-urban split. After several years of the Trump Administration giving preference to projects in rural areas under this program (which, the Administration said, was to compensate for an urban bias under the Obama Administration), Congress last year started directing a more or less 5o-50 split, with no more than half of the total appropriation going towards either type of project. Adding up the capital grants and the planning grants, it seems that DOT had a precisely even split this year:
Modal split. Remembering that the Trump Administration stopped listing bike-ped as a mode, and that many of the projects they characterize as “road” projects are actually “complete streets” projects that contain bike-ped elements, and also remembering that one of the projects classified as “transit” is a project that has commuter rail and freight rail elements, here is the modal breakdown of the capital grants (no planning) using fiscal 2020 appropriations:
Yes, BUILD awards are supposed to be surface transportation – that lone aviation grant is for an intermodal freight terminal at the Anchorage, Alaska airport (a climate-controlled cold storage terminal, no less).
State totals. The FY 2020 Act declared that no state could get more than 10 percent of the total appropriation, or $100 million, and no state came close. Texas got $50 million and Florida $49 million.
One would normally expect the high-population megastates to get the most grant money, and while this is generally true (again) this year, a notable anti-New York and anti-New Jersey trend continues (the Empire and Garden States got nothing in the FY 2019 round of BUILD, either).
|Top 10 Capital Grant Award Totals||10 Most Populous States (in order)|
The best way to detect potential favoritism in grant award selection is to look at things on a per capita basis. The FY 2020 capital grants totaled $965.6 million, and if you divide the 2019 Census estimate of 328.2 million people living in the 50 states and D.C., that averages $2.94 in FY 2020 BUILD capital grants per person, nationwide. That’s about where Massachusetts ($3.05 per capita) and North Carolina ($2.88 per capita) finished this year.
Here are the top ten states in terms of fiscal 2020 BUILD grants per capita:
As always, it’s good to be a Senator whose first name is “chairman.” (Or “ranking minority member” in the case of Jack Reed (D-RI).)
Kentucky was 11th on the per capita list ($8.55), proving once again that, while the home state of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) does pretty well under this program, the Bluegrass State does nowhere nearly as well as they would if he quit being Majority Leader and used his seniority on the Appropriations Committee to bump Susan Collins (R-ME) out of the chairmanship of the Transportation-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee, which funds the BUILD program.
Federal share. The statute says that no BUILD grant can total more than 80 percent of a projects’s total capital cost, but this threshold is waived for projects in rural areas. Two projects in the FY 2020 announcements had federal shares higher than 90 percent, and both are on Indian land – the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (Bayfield, Wisconsin) project has a federal share of 97.9 percent, and the Nez Perce Tribe’s project in Lapwai, Idaho has a federal share of 95.0 percent. The only project with a federal share over 80 percent this year also has an Indian-sounding name (Tonto Creek Bridge Project, Tonto Basin, Arizona).
Only five project had the 80 percent maximum federal share this time. On the other end of the spectrum, the $21 million BUILD grant for the I-495/I-90 interchange upgrade in Boston only represents 5.7 percent of the project cost, and the $10 million BUILD grant for the U.S. 67 improvements in Arkansas only represents 4.1 percent of the project cost.
The fiscal 2020 capital grant awards are below.
|State||Location||Project||R/U||Mode||Grant Award||Project Cost||BUILD Share|
|Alabama||Tuscaloosa||Tuscaloosa Landing Area Project||Rural||Road||$15,000,000||$20,000,000||75.0%|
|Alaska||Anchorage||Anchorage Int’l Airport Intermodal Cargo and Cold Storage Facility||Urban||Aviation||$21,000,000||$87,862,460||23.9%|
|Arizona||Gila County||Tonto Creek Bridge Project||Rural||Road||$21,095,564||$24,479,014||86.2%|
|Arizona||Phoenix||35th Avenue Safety Corridor Project||Urban||Road||$17,422,515||$24,876,192||70.0%|
|Arkansas||Monticello||SH 83 Spur/U.S. 278 Connector||Rural||Road||$4,000,000||$16,719,000||23.9%|
|Arkansas||Pulaski/Lonoke Cos.||U.S. 67 Corridor Improvements||Urban||Road||$10,000,000||$242,161,183||4.1%|
|California||Tulare||SR 99 / Commercial Ave. Intercharnge Project||Urban||Road||$16,000,000||$52,800,000||30.3%|
|California||Stockton||Stockton Diamond Grade Separation||Urban||Rail||$20,000,000||$237,132,800||8.4%|
|Colorado||W. Glenwood Springs||RFTAA Regional Transit Center||Rural||Transit||$13,009,000||$18,584,000||70.0%|
|Colorado||Castle Rock||Crystal Valley Parkway Interchange||Rural||Road||$5,400,000||$12,000,000||45.0%|
|Florida||Tampa||Tampa Multimodal Network and Safety Improvements||Urban||Road||$24,000,000||$30,000,000||80.0%|
|Florida||Tampa||I-75/Big Bend Road Mobility and Access Project||Urban||Road||$25,000,000||$91,885,332||27.2%|
|Georgia||Twiggs County||SR 96 Improvement Project (Link Between I-16 and I-75)||Rural||Road||$22,000,000||$49,019,223||44.9%|
|Idaho||Lapwai||Aht’Wy Interchange Project||Rural||Road||$19,134,710||$20,141,800||95.0%|
|Illinois||Joliet||I-55 at IL 59 Access Project||Rural||Road||$20,000,000||$125,312,285||16.0%|
|Illinois-Missouri||St. Louis||St. Louis Bi-State Regional Ports Improvement Project||Urban||Maritime||$20,840,000||$26,050,000||80.0%|
|Indiana||Avon||U.S. 36 Safety and Capacity Project – Connecting Avon||Urban||Road||$5,000,000||$11,400,000||43.9%|
|Indiana||Indianapolis||I-70 Rehabilitation and Modernization||Rural||Road||$22,500,000||$82,450,000||27.3%|
|Iowa||Polk County||Broadway Avenue Multimodal Improvements||Urban||Road||$25,000,000||$39,891,000||62.7%|
|Iowa||Coralville||Coralville Interchange Improvements||Rural||Road||$20,525,359||$41,050,718||50.0%|
|Kansas||Wichita||North Junction Gold Project||Urban||Road||$21,000,000||$116,550,000||18.0%|
|Kentucky||Russellville||U.S. 79 Bridge Replacement||Rural||Road||$13,504,000||$16,880,000||80.0%|
|Kentucky||Kenton Countuy||KY 536 Improvement Program – Priority Section 1||Urban||Road||$9,640,000||$12,050,000||80.0%|
|Kentucky||Corbin||U.S. 25W Widening and Access Improvements||Rural||Road||$15,050,000||$25,550,000||58.9%|
|Louisiana||Lafayette||University Avenue Corridor||Urban||Road||$10,000,000||$16,387,682||61.0%|
|Maine||Augusta||Bridge Replacements and Rehabilitation||Rural||Road||$20,000,000||$29,520,000||67.8%|
|Maine||Kennebec County||Ticonic Bridge Replacement Project||Rural||Road||$25,000,000||$40,500,000||61.7%|
|Maryland||Baltimore||Dundalk Marine Terminal Resiliency & Flood Mitigation||Urban||Maritime||$10,000,000||$36,700,000||27.2%|
|Massachusetts||Boston||I-495/I-90 Interchange Improvements||Urban||Road||$21,000,000||$371,300,000||5.7%|
|Minnesota||New Ulm||U.S. 14 New Ulm to Nicollet Mobility and Safety Improvement||Rural||Road||$22,000,000||$92,740,000||23.7%|
|Minnesota||Ramsey County||U.S. 10 Rum River Bridge Replacement, Intersection Improvements||Urban||Road||$15,000,000||$89,721,000||16.7%|
|Mississippi||Hattiesburg||Downtown Railroad Grade Separation||Rural||Road||$13,223,900||$26,621,200||49.7%|
|Missouri||Kansas City||Kansas City Streetcar Riverfront Extension||Urban||Transit||$14,199,453||$20,169,677||70.4%|
|Missouri||St. Louis||Jefferson Ave. and 20th St. Revitalization Corridors||Urban||Road||$7,950,000||$38,994,000||20.4%|
|Montana||Billings||Northwest Billings Connector and Marathon Trail||Rural||Road||$11,656,765||$18,741,765||62.2%|
|Nebraska||Blair||Blair South Bypass||Rural||Road||$7,560,000||$14,444,040||52.3%|
|Nevada||Washoe County||Pyramid Highway Improvements||Urban||Road||$23,000,000||$54,100,000||42.5%|
|North Carolina||Pembroke||Pembroke Complete Streets Improvements||Rural||Road||$5,262,618||$6,690,517||78.7%|
|North Carolina||Lexington||Lexington Train Station||Urban||Transit||$24,960,534||$40,910,534||61.0%|
|North Dakota||Statewide||Rural Road Resiliency Improvements||Rural||Road||$22,000,000||$50,554,544||43.5%|
|Ohio||Toledo||Glass City Riverwalk||Urban||Road||$23,668,160||$29,585,200||80.0%|
|Ohio||Cleveland||GCRTA Rail Car Replacement – Phase 1||Urban||Transit||$15,000,000||$125,000,000||12.0%|
|Oklahoma||Canadian/Caddo Cos.||Reconstruction of U.S. 281 Bridgeport Bridge||Rural||Road||$22,000,000||$34,895,000||63.0%|
|Pennsylvania||Butler County||Gateway 228 Capacity & Safety Improvements||Urban||Road||$25,000,000||$58,323,300||42.9%|
|Pennsylvania||Erie||Erie Bayfront Parkway Mobility & Freight Improvement||Rural||Road||$21,000,000||$63,871,989||32.9%|
|Rhode Island||Cranston||Opening the Cranston Canyon (Rt. 37 and I-295)||Urban||Road||$21,329,338||$85,000,000||25.1%|
|South Carolina||Ridgeville||Ridgeville Industrial Campus Supporting Infrastructure||Rural||Maritime||$21,678,125||$50,500,000||42.9%|
|South Dakota||Clay/Turner/Yankton Cos.||SD 246 Reconstruction from U.S. 81 to I-29||Rural||Road||$22,000,000||$54,975,402||40.0%|
|Tennessee||Lake County||Port of Cates Landing Rail Extension Project||Rural||Maritime||$7,000,000||$12,000,000||58.3%|
|Texas||Midland||I-20 Energy Sector Safety Project||Rural||Road||$25,000,000||$38,885,000||64.3%|
|Texas||Ft. Worth – Dallas||North Texas Commuter & Freight Rail Capacity Improvements||Urban||Transit||$25,000,000||$55,000,000||45.5%|
|Virginia||Norfolk||St. Paul’s Complete Streets||Urban||Road||$14,400,000||$20,600,000||69.9%|
|Washington||Everett||Port of Everett Mills to Maritime Cargo Project||Urban||Maritime||$17,750,000||$35,950,000||49.4%|
|West Virginia||Marion/Monongalia Cos.||I-79 Bridge Rehabilitation and Replacement||Rural||Road||$20,000,000||$70,000,000||28.6%|
|Wisconsin||Bayfield||Red Cliff Band Chippewa Transportation Renewal||Rural||Transit||$5,817,640||$5,941,727||97.9%|
|Wyoming||Teton County||Teton Mobility Corridor and Improvement Project||Rural||Transit||$20,000,000||$28,397,661||70.4%|
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