The Department of Transportation has retooled the federal Fastlane infrastructure grant program to better align with the Trump administration’s goals of using more public-private partnerships.
The new Infrastructure for Rebuilding America Grant program changes the grant criteria for the program, which was established as part of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act of 2015. The DOT says the updated criteria will evaluate projects “to align them with national and regional economic vitality goals and to leverage more non-federal funding,” citing a focus on “projects that use innovative approaches to make each the federal dollar go further and encourage more parties to put skin in the game.”
The INFRA program criteria include economic vitality, innovation, leveraging of federal funding, and performance and accountability, according to a DOT fact sheet. Previous Fastlane criteria calling for community and environmental outcomes are not emphasized in the new program.
The INFRA Grant solicitation will make approximately $1.5 billion available to projects that are in line with the Administration’s principles to help rebuild, repair, and revitalize America’s crumbling infrastructure.
However, some are not happy about the fact that previous Fastlane applicants will now have to re-apply under the new criteria.
U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, both Democrats representing Illinois, called on President Trump to fully fund the DOT’s fiscal year 2017 Fastlane grants.
“President Trump promised a trillion dollar infrastructure package, but instead his budget slashed transportation investments and his Administration continues to delay funding,” Durbin said. “I urge the president to immediately fund and advance the hundreds of millions of dollars in Fastlane grants around the country.”