The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Build America Bureau (Bureau) will add $5 million in grants to the Regional Infrastructure Accelerators (Accelerators) Demonstration Program, bringing the total investment to $10 million to expedite delivery of transportation infrastructure projects at the local and regional level.
The Bureau issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity to solicit applications for grants to designate Accelerators that will serve defined geographic areas, provide technical resources, and fund planning and development activities to expedite project delivery through the Bureau’s loan programs and other innovative financing methods, including public-private partnerships.
“The Accelerators will identify and assist high priority projects that can take advantage of the billions of dollars available in the Bureau’s flexible, low-interest loans, providing an innovative financing mechanism to jump start transformative projects and assure they are delivered expeditiously to serve the public,” said Build America Bureau Executive Director Morteza Farajian. “We look forward to adding more Accelerators to expedite project development at the local level.”
The Accelerators serve an essential project development role that can focus resources, funding, and expertise to expedite planning, development, and delivery at the local and regional level. The Accelerators assist in project planning, evaluating innovative financing, accessing technical assistance and best practices, and developing a pipeline of projects ready for investment. The Bureau will administer the Accelerators Demonstration Program and provide technical assistance and support to the grant recipients.
In the first round of Accelerators, announced last September, the Bureau selected five Regional Infrastructure Accelerators: Fresno, Calif.; Chicago; Cleveland; San Diego; and Seattle, totaling $5 million, for support carrying out a range of projects, from rail intermodal complexes, to bridge rehabilitation, to electric vehicle infrastructure, and more.
The Bureau was established as a “one-stop-shop” during the Obama Administration to help states and other project sponsors carry out infrastructure projects. The Bureau offers low-interest, long-term credit programs, technical assistance, and best practices in project planning, financing, delivery, and operation.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, signed by President Biden in November 2021, expands project eligibility for the Bureau’s credit program and extends maturity of the loans, giving borrowers additional flexibility. The Bureau administers Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) and Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) loan programs and allocates Private Activity Bonds. During 2021, the Bureau issued $11.3 billion in loans to 25 projects across the U.S., more than the total financed in the four years prior.