July 28, 2021
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The U.S Department of Transportation plans to award $905 million to 24 projects in 18 states via the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America or INFRA discretionary grant program.

[Above photo of USDOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg by the USDOT]

USDOT said it selected those INFRA grant recipients based on several criteria. In addition to prioritizing projects that would improve local economies, create jobs, and meet all statutory requirements, the agency considered how those projects would address climate change, environmental justice, and racial equity.

USDOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg. Photo by USDOT.

Further, USDOT prioritized funding to rural areas to address what it called “historic underinvestment.” As a result, approximately 44 percent of total INFRA funding will go to rural projects, which exceeds the 25 percent minimum share for rural projects required by law, the agency said in a statement.

Nine state departments of transportation received grants during this round of INFRA funding awards to support a variety of infrastructure projects:

  • The Illinois Department of Transportation received more than $19 million to build a grade separation on Archer Avenue roadway and two existing Belt Railway of Chicago rail tracks. The project will reconstruct Archer Avenue and lower it approximately 15 feet under a new rail bridge to serve the existing BRC tracks, add elevated pedestrian and bicycle sidewalks under the rail bridge – adding lighting, relocating utilities, and installing a combined storm and sanitary sewer system as well.
  • The Indiana Department of Transportation received $70 million to complete the Clear Path 465 project. The project includes the reconstruction and expansion of the I-465/I-69 system interchange northeast of Indianapolis, approximately 4.5 miles of mainline I-465 from the White River to Fall Creek, and approximately 0.8 miles of I-69 from I-465 to 82nd Street.
  • The Texas Department of Transportation received $50 million to improve approximately 7.4 miles of I-35 across Texas, Oklahoma, and the Chickasaw Nation. The project includes widening the interstate, modernizing the corridor design by flattening curves, and replacing the northbound and southbound bridges with wider and higher structures over the Red River. It also involves updating the frontage roads, installing a fixed concrete barrier in the median, adding retaining walls and culverts, installing intelligent transportation systems improvements including dynamic message signs, adding pedestrian elements, and converting an interchange.
  • The Minnesota Department of Transportation received $60 million to fund a series of improvements along three miles on I-494 between US 169 and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. This project will include construction of “MnPASS Lanes,” interchange and ramp improvements, and pedestrian connections on the segment between Highway 100 and Highway 77. This project is part of a larger approximately 9.5-mile corridor project.
  • The South Dakota Department of Transportation received more than $61 million to reconstruct approximately 28 miles of I-90 in McCook and Minnehaha counties between mileage reference markers 362 and 390. The project will remove and replace the existing surface on both I-90 eastbound and westbound lanes as well as rebuild nine functionally obsolete and structurally deficient structures. It will also, provide safety and operational enhancements, and add truck parking spaces at the westbound and eastbound rest areas.
  • The Maine Department of Transportation received more than $45 million to replace 14 aging bridge decks, all of which are on the National Highway System and many of which are on the National Highway Freight Network – helping facilitate freight movement across critical freight corridors into, within, and out of Maine.
  • The Oklahoma Department of Transportation received more than $50 million for a lane addition and interchange improvement project on I-40 and the Douglas Boulevard Interchange.
  • The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation received more than $21 million to fund a series of improvements on a segment of PA 61.
  • The North Dakota Department of Transportation received more than $16 million to construct passing lanes along approximately 165 miles of two-lane US-52 between Carrington and Kenmare.

As required under the current Fixing America’s Surface Transportation or FAST Act legislation, Congress gets 60 days to review USDOT’s proposed project awards. After the 60-day review period, USDOT is then free to commit nearly $1 billion in INFRA funding.

editor@aashto.org

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