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Buttigieg says DOT will dole out $2.9 billion in infrastructure grants


U.S. Secretary for Transportation Pete Buttigieg addresses the media at a White House press conference on November 8, 2021 in Washington.

Leah Millis | Reuters

On Wednesday, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg stated that the Administration was prepared to give $2.9 billion in grants to state and local roads and bridge projects.

This sum is part of the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. Joe BidenThis law was passed four months back and is designed to finance public works projects including expansions or repairs of highway, bridge, port, and public transit.

Buttigieg said Tuesday to reporters that applicants for the fund are required by May 23rd at 5 p.m. ET, and approvals will be granted sometime in the autumn.

The Transportation secretary stated that she had traveled extensively over the past year and witnessed some of the country’s most serious and urgent infrastructure problems. We often see infrastructure that is decades old and in dire need of replacement or repair.

The grant funding will be available to state, regional, and local government through three distinct programs that can all be applied for in one application.

For large projects that span multiple jurisdictions, or “regional projects with significance”, the National Infrastructure Project Assistance Program is for you. Transportation Department grants 50% of the funding for projects larger than $100 Million and will distribute $1 billion over the first one year.

Infrastructure for Rebuilding America is the second program. It funds smaller projects for rail, highway and freight construction. Over five years, $8 billion is provided by the Biden Infrastructure for this program.

Rural Surface Transportation Grant Program funds will be funded with the remaining funding. Rural communities are only eligible for these grants. This project will provide grants of $300 million to rural communities in 2022.

This is only a small, but significant portion of the $1 trillion infrastructure law that President Obama enacted in November. In a Wednesday morning press release, the White House stated that due to the speedy turnaround and simplified application process it will be easier for local and state governments to build up the pipeline of projects “shovel ready” and reduce supply chain bottlenecks throughout the country.

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The release stated that the investments would create well-paid jobs, increase the economy, decrease emissions, improve safety and make our transportation more durable and resilient. It also expands transportation options in rural America, as well as other underserved areas.

It broader legislation funnels $110 billionAdditional funds will be used to fix roads and bridges. There is $65 billion available for broadband, and $90 billion of guaranteed funding over the five-year period for public transit.

The administration said Wednesday that while much of the announcement was focused on specific grant requests, it saw infrastructure projects as an opportunity to fight supply chain hurdles which are blamed for the rapid rise in inflation.

The administration stated in a press release that “thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this funding will enable more communities build vital infrastructure projects which also strengthen supply chains to reduce costs for American families.”

Additionally, secondary economic benefits will be realized by projects funded through the bill, according to administration. They reduce traffic jams, increase vehicle wear and tear, and improve access to public transport, they claim.

Critics point out that it will take several months or even years before large-scale infrastructure projects can cool down inflation.

The Federal Reserve could raise interest rates in the coming year to moderate inflation which is currently 7.9%. This was a record high for the country. The Russian-Ukraine War could bring an end to instability in wheat prices and the price of crude oil.