Applications are now being taken for the Fostering Advancements in Shipping and Transportation for the Long-term Achievement of National Efficiencies (FASTLANE) grant program, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced last week.
The FASTLANE program is a new program in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act to fund critical freight and highway projects across the country. It provides funding for projects of national or regional significance. The FAST Act authorizes $800 million in funding for the FASTLANE program for fiscal year 2016, with 25% reserved for rural projects, and 10% for smaller projects.
For the first time in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s 50-year history, the program establishes broad, multiyear eligibilities for freight infrastructure, including intermodal projects.
“Our nation needs a strong multimodal freight system to both compete in the global economy and meet the needs of consumers and industry,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We now have an opportunity to fund high-impact projects that address key challenges affecting the movement of people and freight.”
FASTLANE grants will address many of the challenges outlined in the USDOT report Beyond Traffic, including increased congestion on the nation’s highways and the need for a strong multimodal transportation system to support the expected growth in freight movement both by ton and value.
It is also in line with the Department’s draft National Freight Strategic Plan released in October 2015, which looks at challenges and identifies strategies to address impediments to the efficient flow of goods throughout the nation.
The grans, authorized by the FAST Act’s Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects (NSFHP) program, will fund small and large projects, based on project size, that meet statutory requirements. Large projects (equal to the lesser of $100 million or a certain specified statutory percentage of the project state’s FY 2015 apportionment) are eligible for a minimum award of $25 million. Small projects, which consist of projects below the minimum large project size threshold, are eligible for a minimum award of $5 million.
The NSFHP program is authorized at $4.5 billion through 2020. Applications for FY 2016 are due on April 14, 2016.