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DOT Announces New Focus on Rural Infrastructure

Monday, October 21, 2019

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Earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao announced the launch of a new initiative geared toward supporting infrastructure in rural parts of the U.S.

According to the Department of Transportation, the initiative, known as Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success, will take a look at discretionary funding as well as financing opportunities. The announcement was made at the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials in St. Louis.

Rural Infrastructure Initiative

Though 19% of Americans live in rural areas, 46% of fatal highway incidents occur on rural roads. Additionally, according to the Department, over 70% of America’s road miles are in rural areas, and of the bridges posted with weight limits, 90% of these are in rural areas.

Sean Pavone / Getty Images

Earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao announced the launch of a new initiative geared toward supporting infrastructure in rural parts of the U.S.

“Rural America, which has a disproportionately high rate of fatalities and is historically neglected, needs to have its transportation needs addressed,” said Chao.

In order to address these needs, ROUTES will facilitate access to DOT funding, as well as develop “data-driven approaches to better assess needs and benefits of rural transportation projects.” The initiative will also build on the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act Loan Program’s Rural Project Initiative, which also provides financial opportunities such as lower cost thresholds for loan eligibility.

Over the coming year, the Department will host events in order to help educate project sponsors about funding opportunities.

Chao also announced the formation of the ROUTES council, which will spearhead the initiative. The council will help identify concerns and help coordinate efforts amongst the DOT’s administrations.

In September, the DOT also announced $225 million in grant funding for a number of road and bridge projects in rural areas, a move that was part of the Competitive Highway Bridge Program. These recipients were the program's first.

   

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

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