Today’s Pickup: DOT launches initiative to better leverage federal infrastructure dollars

(Photo: Virginia Department of Transportation)

(Photo: Virginia Department of Transportation)

Good day,

The Department of Transportation has revised and renamed its FASTLane program to “align [projects] with national and regional economic vitality goals and to leverage additional non-federal funding,” it said in a press release. “The new program will increase the impact of projects by leveraging capital and allowing innovation in the project delivery and permitting processes, including public-private partnerships.”

FASTLane was a grant program that helped local cities and towns with infrastructure-related projects. The new Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) discretionary grant program aims to do the same thing, but in keeping with the current administration’s philosophies, will seek to leverage state, local and private funding of projects.

“The new program will increase the impact of projects by leveraging capital and allowing innovation in the project delivery and permitting processes, including public-private partnerships,” DOT said.

DOT will make awards under the INFRA program to both large and small projects.  For a large project, the INFRA grant must be at least $25 million.  For a small project, the grant must be at least $5 million. For each fiscal year of INFRA funds, 10% of available funds are reserved for small projects.

The INFRA program will make approximately $1.5 billion available.

Did you know?

According to AAA, 44.2 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles this July 4, up 2.9% from 2015. For the best and worst times to travel around major cities this year, look at this chart created by Fox News and based on historical traffic data from Inrix.

Quotable:

“The president and the department are committed to revitalizing, repairing and rebuilding America’s aging infrastructure. By ensuring the right incentives, projects selected under this program will be better able to make significant, long-term improvements to America’s transportation infrastructure.”

- Elaine L. Chao, DOT secretary, on the department’s new Infrastructure for Rebuilding America grant program

In other news:

FMCSA to consider CSA changes

An attorney for FMCSA said it will consider and act on some of the recommended changes included in a report last week that reviewed the CSA safety program, including a more data-centric approach. (Transport Topics)

The view from the CFO office

Some of the nation’s top industry CFO’s offered advice on how to deal with a range of issues trucking companies deal with on a daily basis during a special CFO conference hosted by McLeod Software. (Fleet Owner)

U.S. dollar weakens

A string of uneven economic news and world doubts about the likelihood for significant tax reform and health care uncertainty have continued to push down the value of the U.S. dollar against world currencies. (Reuters)

Traffic congestion builds in Central Texas

As more freight is being moved through Central Texas, local officials are concerned that the added traffic is adding to congestion and damaging roadways. (Temple Daily Times)

Consumer confidence rises

Following two straight months of decline and an expected decline in June’s numbers, officials were pleasantly surprised to see that consumer confidence rose in June, according to the Confidence Board. (Wall Street Journal)

Final Thoughts

DOT’s new Infrastructure for Rebuilding America grant program is designed to leverage more local, state and private dollars for infrastructure projects, hoping that more local interests in projects will lead to quicker and more quality projects.

Hammer down everyone!