FHWA Solicits Application for $5 Billion for Large Bridge Projects

The Federal Highway Administration last week opened applications for almost $5 billion in funding for large highway bridge projects (those projects with a total cost of $100 million or more) and set a November 27 deadline for those applications.

The Notice of Funding Opportunity for the funding also purports to solicit funding for future rounds, but those due dates are August 1, 2024 and August 1, 2025, respectively.

Large bridge projects are among the most coveted of all IIJA grants because they can be, well, large. The first round of funding, for fiscal 2022, put $2.1 billion towards the large bridge program and that money only funded four (4) projects, to wit:

CA Golden Gate Bridge Seismic Retrofit 400.0
CT Goldstar Memorial Bridge Rehab. 158.2
IL Chicago Port Calumet River Bridges 145.0
KY-OH Brent Spence Bridge Corridor 1,385.0
Subtotal, Large Bridges 2,088.2

Being able to get over a billion dollars of federal aid from any single grant is very rare, and these will be highly sought after.

The new NOFO (the part with the November 27 deadline at least) looks to combine the fiscal 2023 and fiscal 2024 funding and give all those grants out at once. By setting a November 27 deadline, one of the presumptive goals is to get as many high-dollar projects announced in the months leading up to the November 2024 elections as possible.

But the November 27 deadline for FY 2023-2024 funding is only the first. In an unusual “rolling deadline” system, the NOFO says: “After receipt, FHWA will review the application in accordance with Section E.1 of this NOFO. FHWA will make every effort to (1) complete the initial eligibility screening within 30 calendar days and (2) complete the Merit Criteria, Economic Analysis Rating, and Project Readiness Rating within 90 calendar days. This timeframe is not guaranteed and is dependent on the number and quality of applications received. If, after the initial eligibility screening, an application is determined to be ineligible, applicants will have an opportunity to submit an amended application…”

The NOFO says that, for applications filed prior to the November 27 deadline, FHWA will try to let each applicant know if anything is wrong with their application, and if so, what it is and if it is fixable, by January 26, 2024, and then the deadline for those amended applications is February 26, 2024. (That timeframe still leaves plenty of time to get all the grants funded by FY23 and FY24 money announced before the elections.)

The rest of the process does not appear to have changed that much since the original FY 2022 NOFO in June 2022.

As to who will apply, the first in line will probably be the projects that applied in the fiscal 2022 round but were denied for one reason or other. All of them who were not ruled un-fixably ineligible will have redone their applications and try again. And, while the 2022 round did give out $2.1 billion in funding, there were an additional $9.4 billion in large bridge funding applications that were denied in 2022, to wit:

Unsuccessful FY 2022 Large Bridge Applicants

State Project Request
AL I-10 Mobile Bridge 500.0
AZ I-40 and US-93 Interchange 72.9
AZ 22nd St Bridge, Tucson 50.0
CA SF-Oakland Bay Bridge Restoration 184.5
CA Stockton Channel Viaduct 484.0
CA I Street Bridge Replacement, Sacramento 106.0
CO I-270 Bridge Replacement 75.8
DC-VA Theodore Roosevelt Bridge Rehab 102.3
FL Dupont Bridge Replacement 153.0
FL Venetian Causeway Bridge Replacement 74.4
HI Hawaii Belt Road Rehab Projects 100.0
IL I-64 Wabash River Bridge Replacement 74.3
MD-VA American Legion Bridge Replacement 377.3
MA Cape Cod Bridges Program 1,882.5
MI Michigan Bridge Bundle 357.0
MN Blatnik Bridge 889.5
NY Four Belt Parkway Bridges 82.7
NY Smith Piont Bridge, Suffolk County 50.0
NY Grand Central Parkway Bridge 86.9
NY Bronx River Parkway Bridge 169.4
NC US 64 over Alligator River 131.0
OH Western Hills Viaduct 175.0
OH Akron Cascade Valley Bridge 77.4
OR-WA Burnside Bridge Project 447.0
OR Interstate Bridge Replacement Program 750.0
OR Hood River-White Salmon Bridge 100.0
PA Pittsburgh Bridge Bundle 165.0
PA I-83 South Bridge Replacement 500.0
PA-NJ Commodore Barry Bridge Modernization 198.5
PA-NJ Delaware River Bridge Replacement 500.0
RI Newport Pell Bridge 68.8
SC I-95 Lake Marion Bridge Replacement 161.0
SD SD44 Platte-Winner Bridge 80.8
VA-TN Piedmont Avenue Bridge 54.0
WV Charleston Connectivity Project 94.2
TOTAL REQUESTED 9,375.1

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