With good planning, trucking can capitalize on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), signed into law on November 15, 2021, represents the single greatest investment in American highways and bridges in U.S. history. Commonly known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, IIJA authorizes $477 billion in new funding over the next five years for surface transportation programs, including $351 billion for highways — a 38% boost above the baseline levels set in the last highway reauthorization bill, the FAST Act. Of that pot, $40 billion is dedicated for bridges — the largest infusion of federal funding into our nation's bridge network since the formation of the Interstate Highway System.
As an industry whose entire business model centers on interstate commerce and the safe and efficient movement of freight over the road, trucking stands to benefit from these infrastructure investments through measurable cost savings. In order to capitalize, it now falls on state governments, state trucking associations, and other transportation stakeholders to apply for eligible grant programs and ensure federal funds are directed to priority projects that will yield maximum value for motor carriers and the motoring public.
State freight plans are blueprints for how government officials design, manage and maintain freight networks. These formalized planning documents describe stakeholders, commodities, trip metrics and geographic operations that utilize a particular freight transportation network.
Under IIJA, states are now required to update their official freight plans every four years. Freight plans are also now required to include:
- Info on supply chain cargo flows,
- An inventory of commercial ports,
- Findings and recommendations from any multi-state freight compacts,
- Impacts of e-commerce on freight infrastructure,
- Consideration of military freight, and
- Assessment of truck parking facilities in the state.
Establishing a solid freight plan is crucial for states looking to maximize their receipt of federal grant funding under IIJA. We encourage state trucking associations and motor carriers to work with state transportation officials to ensure their freight plan accurately captures the trucking industry’s needs. The American Transportation Research Institute offers guidance and resources on writing freight plans, which is available here.
IIJA requires state plans to identify both the locations where trucking parking shortages exist and cause of the shortage at each location. Although the law does not specifically earmark money for truck parking, such projects are eligible for funding under the federal-aid highway program formula pipes, in addition to a handful of discretionary grant programs. Therefore, it is essential that state freight plans provide a clear picture of the state’s truck parking needs.
PROTECT Formula Program
The Federal Highway Administration has issued guidance on the Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-Saving Transportation (PROTECT) Formula Program. This new program, created under IIJA, provides states with $7.3 billion over five years for projects that help make surface transportation more resilient to natural hazards, including climate change, sea level rise, flooding, extreme weather events, and other natural disasters through support of planning activities, resilience improvements, community resilience and evacuation routes, and at-risk coastal infrastructure.
Competitive Grant Programs
Beyond federal-aid highway funding apportioned to each state by formula, IIJA offers enormous funding opportunities through competitive grant programs that require applications on a per project basis.
In addition to the below information, visit the U.S. Department of Transportation's grant resources page for more details, including for how to apply.
FHWA Opens Bids for Bridge Grant Program
The Federal Highway Administration today issued a call for applications under the new Bridge Investment Program. The program, established by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), provides $12.5 billion over five years for the repair, rehabilitation, or replacement of bridges in poor condition or at risk of falling into poor condition. FHWA is making nearly $2.4 billion available under a competitive grant process for FY2022. Applications are due by August 9.
Mega, INFRA, Rural
On March 23, 2022, USDOT released a Notice of Funding Opportunity for three IIJA grant programs. USDOT is combining these three programs into single NOFO to provide a more efficient application process for project sponsors. While they remain separate programs for the purposes of award, the programs share many common characteristics, including a larger project size, multimodal eligibility, and many shared statutory project requirements. Because of these shared characteristics, it is possible for many projects to be eligible and considered for multiple programs using a single application. Highway projects are eligible for funding under all three programs, which are:
- Mega: $1 billion of FY 2022 funding for the National Infrastructure Project Assistance grants program.
- INFRA: Approximately $1.55 billion in FY 2022 funding to be made available for the Nationally Significant Multimodal Freight and Highways Projects grants program.
- Rural: $300 million in FY 2022 funding for the Rural Surface Transportation Grant program.
The deadline for Mega, INFRA and Rural applications is 11:59 p.m. EST on May 23, 2022.
On January 28, 2022, USDOT released a Notice of Funding Opportunity for $1.5 billion through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) discretionary grant program. The popular program helps communities around the country carry out projects with significant local or regional impact. RAISE grants can be used for a wide variety of multimodal projects.
The deadline for applications was 5 p.m. EST on April 14, 2022, and selections will be announced no later than August 12, 2022.
IIJA appropriated $450 million for the Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP). A discretionary grant program administered by the U.S. maritime administration, funds for the PIDP are awarded on a competitive basis to projects that improve the safety, efficiency, or reliability of the movement of goods into, out of, around, or within a port.
On May 9, 2022, USDOT issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity for the PIDP.
Electric Vehicle Infrastructure
The National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Grant Program provides funding for states to strategically deploy electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure and to establish an interconnected network to facilitate data collection, access, and reliability. Under this program, each state is required to submit an EV Infrastructure Deployment Plan that describes how the state intends to use its apportioned NEVI funds in accordance with USDOT guidance.
Plans must be submitted to the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation (Joint Office) not later than August 1, 2022 and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will approve eligible Plans by September 30, 2022. States that submit plans before August 1, 2022 will be approved by FHWA on a rolling basis.