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

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg speaks to the information media throughout a press briefing on the White Home in Washington, U.S., November 8, 2021.

Leah Millis | Reuters

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Wednesday mentioned the administration was able to dole out $2.9 billion in grants for state and native bridge, highway and different infrastructure tasks.

The sum, a part of the bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure invoice President Joe Biden signed into regulation 4 months in the past, is meant to bankroll public works tasks, together with freeway, bridge, freight, port and public transit expansions and repairs.

Buttigieg informed reporters Tuesday that functions for the funds are due by Might 23 at 5 p.m. ET and that approvals are anticipated in some unspecified time in the future within the fall.

“Throughout the final 12 months, I’ve traveled and seen among the most obvious and severe infrastructure wants round this nation,” the Transportation secretary mentioned. “Typically we’re seeing infrastructure that’s generations outdated, very a lot in want of restore or alternative.”

State, regional and native governments will have the ability to contend for the grant funding by three separate packages with a single utility.

The Nationwide Infrastructure Mission Help program is designed for enormous tasks than span jurisdictions or are “regional tasks of significance.” The Transportation Division will award 50% of funding to tasks higher than $100 million and can divvy up $1 billion in funds over the primary 12 months.

The second program, often known as Infrastructure for Rebuilding America, is supposed to fund smaller freeway, freight and rail development tasks. The Biden infrastructure supplies $8 billion for that program over 5 years.

The remaining portion of funding will fund the Rural Floor Transportation Grant Program with funds completely accessible for rural communities. Some $300 million in grants can be accessible by that venture in 2022.

The $2.9 billion is a broad, albeit small portion of the trillion-dollar infrastructure regulation the president enacted in November. The White Home mentioned in a press launch Wednesday morning that the fast turnaround and streamlined utility course of will make it simpler for state and native governments to bulk up the pipeline of “shovel-ready” tasks and ease supply-chain bottlenecks throughout the nation.

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“These investments will create good-paying jobs, develop the financial system, cut back emissions, enhance security, make our transportation extra sustainable and resilient, and increase transportation choices in rural America and different underserved communities,” the administration mentioned within the launch.

The broader legislation funnels $110 billion in further funds to restore roads and bridges, $65 billion for broadband and about $90 billion in assured funding for public transit over 5 years.

Whereas a lot of Wednesday’s announcement targeted on the small print of grant functions, the administration famous that it sees the infrastructure tasks as an avenue by which it could possibly struggle the supply-chain hurdles blamed for quickly rising inflation.

“Due to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation, this funding will assist allow extra communities to construct very important infrastructure tasks that additionally strengthen provide chains and cut back prices for American households,” the administration mentioned in its press launch.

The tasks funded by the invoice will even have a secondary financial affect by lowering time spent snarled in site visitors, put on and tear on vehicles and enhancing entry to public transit, the administration has mentioned.

However critics notice that may probably take months, if not years, earlier than large-scale infrastructure tasks work to chill inflation.

Nonetheless, inflation, at present at a 40-year excessive of seven.9%, may average over the subsequent 12 months the Federal Reserve raises rates of interest. A decision to the Russian-Ukraine warfare may additionally assist stabilize wheat and crude oil costs.

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