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BUILD Grant Funding Cut by $600M

Thursday, February 28, 2019

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Funding for the Department of Transportation’s Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development grants took a $600 million cut in the $333 billion fiscal year 2019 spending bill President Donald J. Trump signed earlier this month.

In December, the DOT announced $1.5 billion in infrastructure funding to 91 projects across 49 states, including the District of Columbia, with bridge projects taking home more than two-thirds of the grant money. The $600 million cut for what was announced earlier this month, lowered the funding available to $900 million for the 2019 spending bill.

BUILD Grants Funding

Under this fiscal plan, which funds both the DOT and other agencies in order to prevent another government shutdown, allocation is mandated to be split evenly between urban and rural projects. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao noted that projects are evaluated based on a number of criteria, including: “their potential to improve safety, economic competitiveness, quality of life, environmental protection and state of good repair.”

Sean Pavone / Getty Images

In December, $25 million, the maximum amount that could be given to a single project, went to the rehabilitation of the Brooklyn Bridge’s masonry arches and foundations, located on the Manhattan and Brooklyn approaches.

During last year’s grant application period, $11 billion in funding was requested, far exceeding the $1.5 billion available at the time. For this latest round of BUILD grants, many of them will be in the range of $5 million to $25 million, but some rural projects may be granted as little as $1 million. Projects that require federal funding to round out their financing packages were given priority.

Previously, the Trump administration proposed cutting funding for the BUILD grants. Since the program’s inception in 2009, Congress has appropriated nearly $7.1 billion in funding for the grants.

In December, regarding the 2018 allocation, Chao noted that highway and bridge projects received the largest portion in funding—totaling 69 percent, or more than $1 billion. The total was split among 60 projects in that category, which included:

  • $25 million, the maximum amount that could be given to a single project, going to the rehabilitation of the Brooklyn Bridge’s masonry arches and foundations, located on the Manhattan and Brooklyn approaches;
  • $20 million going to Vermont for the replacement of 31 railroad bridges over roughly 53 miles of track on the Vermont Railway’s Western Corridor; and
  • $25 million going to Missouri for the replacement of the Buck O’Neil Bridge, which carries US 169 over the Missouri River in Kansas City.

   

Tagged categories: Department of Transportation (DOT); Funding; Grants; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Program/Project Management

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