The U.S. Department of Transportation announced its Build America Bureau (the Bureau) will add $24 million in grants to the Regional Infrastructure Accelerators (RIA) Program.
The addition brings the total investment to $34 million as the program aims to expedite the delivery of transportation infrastructure projects at the local and regional levels.
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 and delivery methods, including public-private partnerships.
“The Department is pleased to offer more grant funding for communities across the nation to move their transportation projects forward, connecting people to opportunities,” said Deputy Secretary Polly Trottenberg. “These funds help regions better compete for discretionary grants through the implementation of innovative solutions and potentially seek financing to accelerate delivery of those solutions.”
A Look at the Accelerators
The Bureau previously awarded $10 million to 10 Accelerators across the country.
The Accelerators serve a project development role that can focus resources, funding, and expertise to expedite planning, development, and delivery at the local and regional levels.
“The 10 current Accelerators across the country have created capacity at local levels to explore effective and efficient solutions that are moving their critical infrastructure projects forward,” said Morteza Farajian, Build America Bureau executive director. “We are looking for more regions to build on the success of this program and develop a network of accelerators that can share best practices and take advantage of innovative delivery strategies.”
The Accelerators also assist in project planning, evaluating innovative financing, accessing technical assistance and best practices, and developing a pipeline of projects ready for investment.
The Bureau administers multiple technical assistance programs, including the Accelerators Program, that aim to build capacity at local and regional levels to explore innovative funding, financing and delivery solutions.
"The RIA program helped PNWER to contribute to a successful federal grant application in Washington for a highway-rail grade separation project, and to begin coordinating public and private sector co-investment in zero-emission refueling infrastructure for drayage trucks serving the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma,” said Betz Mayer, RIA/Program manager. “We’ve also developed a Center of Excellence to help stakeholders in our five-state region better understand the benefits of financing and Public-Private Partnerships (P3) practices for regionally important infrastructure projects.”