Funding: Total: $5,000,000. Maximum awards: $100K-$5M, depending on project.
Dates: Application Submission Deadline: April 11, 2022
The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, enacted in December 2015, authorized the establishment of a Regional Infrastructure Accelerators Demonstration Program (the Program) to assist entities in developing improved infrastructure priorities and financing strategies for the accelerated development of a project that is eligible for funding under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) Credit Program. The Build America Bureau (the Bureau) is issuing a second NOFO to further expand the Program and solicit applications for designating and funding Regional Infrastructure Accelerators (RIA) that: (1) Serve a defined geographic area; (2) act as a resource to qualified entities in the geographic area in accordance with the FAST Act; and (3) demonstrate the effectiveness of an RIA to expedite the delivery of projects eligible for the TIFIA credit program.
Project Topic Areas:
The primary intent for the Program is to establish regional infrastructure accelerators to assist entities in accelerating TIFIA-eligible projects through innovative financing strategies. This assistance can be in the form of any of the following, based on the needs of the project(s) that the applicant proposes to assist:
- Project planning;
- Studies and analysis, including feasibility, market analysis, project costs, cost-benefit analysis, value for money, public benefit, economic assessments, and environmental reviews;
- Revenue forecasting, funding and financing options analyses, application of best practices, innovative financing/procurement, and public-private partnerships, where appropriate;
- Preliminary engineering and design work;
- Statutory and regulatory compliance analyses;
- Evaluation of opportunities for private financing, project bundling and/ or phasing;
- Enhancement of rural project sponsors’ capacity to use the TIFIA credit program and to the extent applicable, the RRIF credit program, PABs, and other innovative financing methods, helping to bundle projects across multiple smaller jurisdictions to create a project at a scale that is more appropriate for the Bureau’s credit assistance, and pool the jurisdictions’ resources to apply for TIFIA credit assistance and, to the extent applicable, RRIF credit assistance and PABs, as well as leveraging DOT’s Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success (ROUTES) Initiatives’ products and offerings; and
- Other direct, project-specific support as appropriate. Funding, in the form of and pursuant to a cooperative agreement, will be provided for a single year, with an option for a second year for an RIA that meets or exceeds agreed-upon performance targets. Competitive proposals that demonstrate long-term self-sustainability will be given greater consideration. The Bureau intends to work closely with grant recipients in developing and, as applicable, financing projects within the RIA’s geographic area.
A total of $5 million is available for this Program. The size of individual awards will be determined by the number of RIAs selected and the funding needed for each to meet the Program objectives. Awards range from $100,000 to $5 million. There is no requirement for cost sharing or matching the grant funds. The Bureau intends to award funds on a yearly basis for a period of two years under a cooperative agreement with the second year as an option year. A third option year of funding may be provided if the selected RIA is achieving agreed-upon performance objectives, subject to the availability of funds. The Bureau intends to select between one and five RIAs, based on the number and viability of applications.
The intent of this Program is to demonstrate and evaluate the viability and effectiveness of a small number of accelerators in expediting the development and delivery of specific transportation projects within the geographic area of each RIA designated by the Bureau. It is the intent of the Bureau to expand the Program coverage building on the earlier designation of five RIAs in Cleveland, Chicago, Fresno, San Diego, and Seattle as result of the NOFO issued in December 31, 2020. Therefore, the Bureau continues to be keenly interested in testing several RIA models to address needs based on common transportation infrastructure make-up and challenges within regions, particularly those with less capacity or experience in using innovative financing and project delivery methods, and those supporting eligible entities that are likely to be first time users of the Bureau’s credit programs, such as the TIFIA credit program. Ideally, when considering both the first and the second rounds of awards under this program, there will be a diversity of RIAs selected for awards based on geography (e.g., rural, urban, disadvantaged community), organizational structure (e.g., within a State or Metropolitan Planning Organization), operational business model and focus.
For the purpose of this Program, the Bureau will consider regional designation as broadly defined in the following categories: State or Multi-State: An RIA that serves one State or a group of State entities with common interest in transportation projects being delivered. Urban or Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO): An RIA that serves a local government or group of local jurisdictions with transportation functions within a metropolitan area. For this Program, if the RIA serves MPOs sharing State boundaries, it would be considered under this category. Rural: An RIA that serves a region of rural communities as defined in this notice. An RIA serving multiple rural communities across state lines would be considered under this category. To be considered a rural RIA, most of the projects listed in the proposal must meet the definition of rural in this notice. Other: Any proposal that includes multiple jurisdictions with shared priorities and interest, such as a river basin, transportation corridor, etc.
The Bureau anticipates substantial Federal involvement between it and the recipient during this Program will include among others: Technical assistance and guidance to the recipients; Close monitoring of performance; Involvement in technical decisions; and Participation in status meetings including kick off meeting and annual technical and budget reviews.
An eligible applicant is: A U.S. public entity, including a state, multi-state or multi-jurisdictional group, municipality, county, a special purpose district or public authority with a transportation function including a port authority, a tribal government or consortium of tribal governments, MPO, regional transportation planning organization (RTPO), Regional Transportation Commission, or a political subdivision of a State or local government, or combination of two or more of the foregoing. Applications will be accepted from a partnership between one or more eligible applicants and another U.S. party, such as a private entity, consulting or engineering firms, etc., as long as one of the eligible public entities is designated as the lead applicant and that entity will enter into the cooperative agreement, with the shared goal of establishing and operating the RIA. The location of all RIA application parties, their entire jurisdictions and all proposed projects must be located solely in the United States and its territories.