INFRA 2021 Notice of Funding Opportunity
Applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. EDT on March 19, 2021.
Key Program Objectives This section of the notice describes the six key program objectives that the Department intends to advance with FY 2021 INFRA funds. Section E.1 describes how the Department will evaluate applications to advance these objectives, and section D.2.b describes how applicants should address the six objectives in their applications.
Key Program Objective #1: Supporting Economic Vitality A strong transportation network is critical to the functioning and growth of the American economy. The nation’s industry depends on the transportation network to move the goods that it produces, and facilitate the movements of the workers who are responsible for that production. When the nation’s highways, railways, and ports function well, that infrastructure connects people to jobs, increases the efficiency of delivering goods and thereby cuts the costs of doing business, reduces the burden of commuting, and improves overall well-being. Infrastructure investment also provides opportunities for workers to find good-paying jobs with the choice to join a union and supports American industry through the application of domestic preference requirements. Projects that use project labor agreements and deploy local hiring provisions also contribute to economic vitality. This objective aligns with the Department’s strategic goals of (1) investing in infrastructure to ensure mobility accessibility and to stimulate economic growth, productivity, and competitiveness for American workers and businesses and (2) reducing transportation related fatalities and serious injuries across the transportation system. The U.S. Department of Transportation Strategic Plan for FY 2018–2022 (Feb. 2018) is available at https://www.transportation.gov/dot-strategic-plan.
Key Program Objective #2: Climate Change and Environmental Justice Impacts The Department seeks to select projects that have considered climate change and environmental justice in the planning stage and were designed with specific elements to address climate change impacts. Projects should directly support Climate Action Plans or apply environmental justice screening tools in the planning stage. Projects should include components that reduce emissions, promote energy efficiency, incorporate electrification or zero emission vehicle infrastructure, increase resiliency, and recycle or redevelop existing infrastructure. A list of planning activities and project components that address this objective and the Department will consider during application evaluations is in Section E.1.a (Criterion #2). This objective aligns with the Department’s Infrastructure Objective #1: Project Delivery, Planning, Environment, Funding, and Finance Partnerships and Infrastructure Objective #2: Life Cycle and Preventative Maintenance.
Key Program Objective #3: Racial Equity and Barriers to Opportunity The Department seeks to use the INFRA program to encourage racial equity in two areas: (1) planning and policies related to racial equity and barriers to opportunity; and (2) project investments that either proactively address racial equity and barriers to opportunity, including automobile dependence as a form of barrier, or redress prior inequities and barriers to opportunity. This objective supports the Department’s strategic goal related to infrastructure, with the potential for significantly enhancing environmental stewardship and community partnerships, and reflects Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government (86 FR 7009). See section E.1.a (Criterion #3) for additional information. This objective aligns with the Department’s 7 Infrastructure Objective #1: Project Delivery, Planning, Environment, Funding, and Finance Partnerships and Innovation Strategic Objective #2: Deployment of Innovation.
Key Program Objective #4: Leveraging of Federal Funding The Department is committed to supporting increased investment in infrastructure from all levels of government. The Department recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated infrastructure funding challenges faced by State and local governments. However, the Department continues to seek to maximize all available Federal and non-Federal funding for investment in infrastructure as a critical contribution to the economy. This objective aligns with the Department’s Infrastructure Strategic Objective #1: Project Delivery, Planning, Environment, Funding, and Finance.
Key Program Objective #5: Innovation The Department seeks to use the INFRA program to encourage innovation in three areas, to build transformative projects: (1) the deployment of innovative technology and expanded access to broadband; (2) use of innovative permitting, contracting, and other project delivery practices; and (3) innovative financing. This objective supports the Department’s strategic goal of innovation, with the potential for significantly enhancing the safety, efficiency, and performance of the transportation network. The USDOT anticipates INFRA projects will support the integration of new technology and practices and demonstrate how those technologies and practices will contribute to the goals of the program as described in 23 U.S.C. § 117. In section E.1.a (Criterion #5), the Department provides many examples of innovative technologies, practices, and financing. It encourages applicants to identify those that are suitable for their projects and local constraints. This objective aligns with the Department’s strategic goal to lead 8 in the development and deployment of innovative practices and technologies that improve the safety and performance of the nation’s transportation system.
Key Program Objective #6: Performance and Accountability The Department seeks to increase project sponsor accountability and performance by evaluating each INFRA applicant’s plans to address the full lifecycle costs of their project and willingness to condition award funding on achieving specific Departmental goals. To maximize public benefits from INFRA funds and promote local activity that will provide benefits beyond the INFRA-funded projects, the Department seeks projects that allow it to condition funding on specific, measurable outcomes. For appropriate projects, the Department may use one or more of the following types of events to trigger availability of some or all INFRA funds: (1) reaching construction and project completion in a timely manner; or (2) achieving transportation performance targets that support economic vitality or improve safety. This objective aligns with the Department’s Infrastructure Strategic Objective #2: Life Cycle and Preventative Maintenance, and Infrastructure Strategic Objective #3: System Operations and Performance.