Thursday, June 15, 2023
- The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT’s) Build America Bureau (the Bureau) has announced a new pilot program called the Rural and Tribal Assistance Pilot Program.
- This program offers technical assistance grants to rural and tribal communities, with $10 million made available over five years to support infrastructure projects in these communities.
- The grants can be used for a range of early development-phase activities, including feasibility studies, preliminary engineering and design, environmental review, and more.
- Notably, no local funding match is required to participate in this program.
- This funding opportunity combines two years of funding (Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023), totaling $3.4 million, to eligible applicants on a first-come, first-served basis. Individual awards will range in value up to the statutory limit of $360,000.
- Eligible applicants include local governments or political subdivisions with projects located outside of an urbanized area with a population of more than 150,000 residents; state governments applying on behalf of such a project; federally recognized Indian Tribes; and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.
- The Bureau will begin accepting applications on August 14. An informational webinar will be held on June 15 for interested applicants.
Unedited Press Release Text:
Grants Do Not Require a Local Match
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT’s) Build America Bureau (the Bureau) today released a Notice of Funding Opportunity for a new pilot program created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The Rural and Tribal Assistance Pilot Program offers technical assistance grants to rural and tribal communities. The Program makes $10 million available over five years to advance infrastructure projects in these communities.
“In order to make the most of our historic infrastructure investments, we must ensure they reach every community, including the rural and tribal communities that are too often left behind by federal investments,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “This program will help provide rural and tribal communities the resources they need to seek—and win—federal grants, so they can realize their visions for better infrastructure.”
The grants may be used to hire staff or advisors to assist with early development-phase activities including, but not limited to, feasibility studies; preliminary engineering and design; environmental review; revenue forecasting; financial feasibility analysis; statutory and regulatory analysis and drafting and negotiation of agreements.
“Three words we like to share: NO LOCAL MATCH,” said Assistant Secretary for Tribal Affairs Arlando Teller. “The Rural and Tribal Assistance Pilot Program will provide tribal nations with critical technical assistance to help deliver transportation priorities for their communities. Yéego apply for this opportunity.”
The NOFO combines two years of funding (Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023), $3.4 million in total, to eligible applicants on a first-come, first-served basis. Individual awards will range in value up to the statutory limit of $360,000. There is no local funding match required to participate in this program.
“Many communities are already benefitting from funding and financing programs that the Bureau administers. However, tribal and rural communities represent a smaller share in our pipeline,” said Bureau Executive Director Morteza Farajian. “The Bureau is committed to providing technical assistance, through this pilot program and other tools, and to creating capacity at local levels that can lead to better utilization of innovative funding and financing solutions in delivery of critical projects.”
The Bureau has created a simple, four-page funding application, available at https://www.transportation.gov/buildamerica/RuralandTribalGrants, and will begin accepting submissions at 2 p.m. ET on August 14. The Department of Transportation will host a free informational webinar on June 15 at 3 p.m. ET to provide more information for interested applicants, who can register for the webinar here. While participation in the webinar is not mandatory to receive funding, it is encouraged and provides an opportunity for potential applicants to learn about the application process and what activities can be funded through this pilot program. The Bureau will post a recording of the webinar and a copy of the presentation at Rural and Tribal Assistance Pilot Program | Build America (transportation.gov) .
Eligible applicants include local governments or political subdivisions with projects located outside of an urbanized area with a population of more than 150,000 residents as determined by the Census; state governments applying on behalf of a project in an area outside an urbanized area of more than 150,000 residents; federally recognized Indian Tribes; and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.
As part of the Administration’s commitment to advancing equity and opportunity for all American Indians and Alaska Natives, the Transportation Secretary set a goal to increase engagement with Tribes on a Government-to-Government basis and to support Tribal Self-Governance. To help Tribal Nations overcome the challenges created by insufficient infrastructure, the Rural and Tribal Assistance Pilot Program will set aside up to $800,000 for each fiscal year for tribal applicants.
The Rural and Tribal Assistance Pilot Program joins the Thriving Communities Program, the Regional Infrastructure Accelerators and other new technical assistance opportunities at DOT to ensure communities have the needed tools to access federal funding and financing for transformative infrastructure projects. Additional DOT technical assistance resources can be found on the DOT Navigator at www.transportation.gov/dot-navigator.