The New Year gives us a good opportunity to update our ongoing status page on how quickly the Department of Transportation is working through the massive amount of new competitive grant funding made available by the bipartisan infrastructure law (the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, or IIJA).
By our count, the IIJA (in combination with the annual FY 2022 DOT Appropriations Act for some programs) provided a total of $27.4 billion in usable funding for competitive grant programs in 2022. Of that amount, $3.8 billion is for the mass transit Capital Investment Grant program, which does not use an annual application process but instead has an ongoing, year-round “pipeline” of project evaluations and approvals. When the CIG money is subtracted, $23.6 billion remains for a variety of competitive programs whereby the Department is to put out a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) that explains program rules, invites applications, and sets a deadline for those applications.
In December, the Federal Railroad Administration finally put out the NOFOs for over $7 billion in fiscal 2022 railroad grant funding under the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail program. This means that, as of the end of the calendar year, 96 percent of DOT’s fiscal 2022 competitive grant funding (excluding CIG), or $22.4 billion, had been made open for application by the Department.
What’s left? Most of it seems to be at the Federal Highway Administration, where the competitive portions of the new PROTECT resilience grant program ($478 million) and the new EV charging infrastructure program ($274 million) don’t seem to have NOFOs yet, as well as some other odds-and-ends programs at FHWA.
However, only $11 billion of the $23.6 billion, or 47 percent, has been allocated by USDOT to specific projects (most recently with the large bridge projects announced on January 4). We are counting the $980 million in megaproject grants for FY 2022 as being announced even though DOT cannot formally release the list until the end of January. The not-yet-selected project funding is mostly at the Federal Railroad Administration.