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May 1, 2018

From the desk of Capt. Jeff Monroe, MM, AMPE

International Association of Maritime and Port Executives

New USDOT BUILD Grant Program Announced, Applications Due July 19th

The U.S. DOT recently announced the release of its Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the latest round of TIGER, now called Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development, or BUILD, Transportation Discretionary Grants. These highly competitive grants are designed to close funding gaps for road, rail, transit and port projects that will have a significant local or regional impact.

The U.S. DOT has allocated $1.5 billion for FY2018, three times as much as last year. Applications must be submitted through the website by 8:00 PM E.D.T. on July 19, 2018. While BUILD resembles TIGER, there are some notable differences, including:

  • Explicit preference for rural. U.S. DOT intends to award more than half of the funds to projects in rural areas, continuing a focus that began in the last round but now is explicitly noted in the FY2018 notice.

  • BUILD Transportation Planning Grants. Up to $15 million (of the $1.5 billion) can be awarded for the planning, preparation or design of eligible projects. Planning grants haven’t been awarded since 2014.

  • Federal share no longer a criterion. U.S. DOT is not allowed to consider the portion of total costs that are covered by Federal funds as a criterion for selection (as per the funding legislation). The Federal share of a project’s costs can still be no more than 80 percent of total project costs.

  • New criterion — ability to generate additional non-Federal revenue for transportation infrastructure. U.S. DOT will look at whether applicants are or will “secure and commit new, non-Federal revenue for transportation infrastructure investment;” and those who do will be more competitive. The notice mentions approaches such as asset recycling, tolling, tax-increment financing, or sales- or gas-tax increases as examples.

U.S.DOT has prepared a quick fact sheet which includes a table comparing BUILD to TIGER. Below is an excerpt showing a side-by-side comparison of the merit criteria used in TIGER and BUILD. The link to U.S. DOT’s webpage for BUILD is:

For additional explanation of the criteria, please refer to the BUILD NOFO.

Of note:

  • There may not be another round of BUILD. BUILD is not included in the FAST Act, and Congress must decide each year to find funds for the program.

  • Preparing a grant application takes time. These applications require a benefit-cost analysis. A robust analysis takes about a month to prepare, and can only begin once project scope, timing, data collection and user forecasts are completed.

The link to U.S. DOT’s webpage for BUILD is:

If you would like to connect with a specialist who can assist you with these grants, please let me know.

Capt. Jeffrey W. Monroe, MM, MTM, AMPE Director: Education, Standards and Training Programs International Association of Maritime and Port Executives 11 Katahdin Road. Portland, ME 04107-2828 USA Phone: (207) 741-7000, Cell: (207) 615-7989

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