BREAKING: USDOT Now Taking Applications for $850M in 2017 Fastlane Grants

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced Oct. 28 that the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Build America Bureau is soliciting project applications through Dec. 15 for up to $850 million in a fiscal 2017 round of what the USDOT calls Fastlane grants.

The name is an acronym that stands for “Fostering Advancements in Shipping and Transportation for the Long-term Achievement of National Efficiencies.”

It uses money set aside in the Highway Trust Fund under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation to help pay for high-priority freight and highway projects across the country. The FAST Act authorized the program at $4.5 billion for fiscal years 2016 through 2020.

The USDOT awarded $759.2 million in the 2016 round, notifying Congress of its selections in July and issuing the awards in September. The department said those grants leveraged an additional $3.6 billion in other funding from federal, state, local, and private sources.

By starting so soon on the next round, for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, the department can push more funds out to state DOTs and other recipients sooner.

Already, plenty of projects are waiting for funds. The department said when it opened up the 2016 grant round earlier this year it received 212 applications seeking $9.8 billion in funding.

“Across the country, there are sidelined projects that are essential to America’s cities and our transportation network, and leveraging a Fastlane grant from the Build America Bureau can move many of these projects forward,” said Foxx. He added that these grants “give us an opportunity to identify and invest strategically in those projects that are critical to keeping our nation’s economic engine running.”

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