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Federal Funding Opportunities

The Wasatch Front Regional Council (WFRC) works closely with state and federal partners to inform local government leaders and their staff members of important funding opportunities available to fund projects. Please refer back to this page often as new opportunities will be shared here as they become available.

For questions and additional information on funding opportunities, please email federalgrants@wfrc.org.

Federal Funding Opportunities

On November 6, 2021 Congress passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), a once-in-a-generation investment in our nation’s infrastructure. Two important tenets of the IIJA that correlate with our transportation work and impact our region include:

  1. To repair and rebuild our roads and bridges with a focus on climate change mitigation, resilience, equity, and safety for all users.
  2. To improve transportation options for millions of Americans and reduce greenhouse emissions through the largest investment in public transit in U.S. history.

As a result, many new funding opportunities will be made available to the state, local governments, and our partners. Read how the IIJA law will benefit Utah in the summary prepared by the U.S. Department of Transportation, as well as a timeline of upcoming notice of funding opportunities in 2022.

Current Federal Funding Opportunities

Multimodal Discretionary Grant Program (MDGP) – Applications for the multimodal Discretionary Grant Program (MDGP) will be due on May 23, 2022. MDGP encompasses three funding programs known as MEGA, INFRA, and Rural STP. Here you can find MDGP Frequently Asked Questions, guidance on how to apply, and webinar information and materials. Below are details about each of the three funding programs:

    • MEGA (known statutorily as the National Infrastructure Project Assistance program): MEGA is a new grant program resulting from IIJA that will support large, complex projects that are difficult to fund by other means and likely to generate national or regional economic, mobility, or safety benefits. The MEGA grant program funding will be made available in 2022 under the combined Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) that will allow applicants to use one application to apply for MEGA, INFRA, and Rural Surface Transportation Grant funding.$1 billion will be made available each year for the next five years that will be available until expended.  Click here to view applicant and project eligibility criteria.
    • INFRA (Infrastructure for Rebuilding America): INFRA (known statutorily as the Nationally Significant Multimodal Freight & Highway Projects) awards competitive grants for multimodal freight and highway projects of national or regional significance to improve the safety, efficiency, and reliability of the movement of freight and people in and across rural and urban areas. While this is not a new funding initiative, INFRA was updated to include new eligibilities, set-asides, and other programming changes.$1.6 billion each year is allocated for INFRA, with a $5 million minimum for grants and a contribution of up to a 80% federal share of a project’s cost. Click here to view applicant and project eligibility criteria. The INFRA grant program funding will be made available in 2022 under the combined Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) that will allow applicants to use one application to apply for MEGA, INFRA, and Rural Surface Transportation Grant funding.
    • Rural Surface Transportation Grant: The Rural Surface Transportation Grant is a new grant program resulting from IIJA that will support projects to improve and expand the surface transportation infrastructure in rural areas to increase connectivity, improve the safety and reliability of the movement of people and freight, and generate regional economic growth and improve quality of life. Click here to view applicant and project eligibility criteria. The Rural Surface Transportation Grant program funding will be made available in 2022 under the combined Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) that will allow applicants to use one application to apply for MEGA, INFRA, and Rural Surface Transportation Grant funding.

Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) provides $5-6 billion in grants over the next five years to prevent roadway deaths and serious injuries. The program is expected to include $1 billion in funding per year exclusively for local governments to make improvements to reduce fatalities, especially for cyclists and pedestrians, commonly referred to as ‘‘Vision Zero’’ or ‘‘Toward Zero Deaths’’ initiatives. Eligibility includes the creation of a Comprehensive Safety Action Plan, as well as planning, design, and construction of projects identified in a Comprehensive Safety Action Plan. The deadline for applications is 5:00 p.m. EDT on September 15, 2022. Attend a “How to Apply” webinar.

Anticipated Federal Funding Opportunities:

The U.S. Department of Transportation has indicated that the following NOFOs will be released over the coming months:

  • Bridge Investment Program (May) The purpose of the bridge investment discretionary grant program is to improve condition, safety, efficiency, and reliability. The $12.5 billion program will provide grants to states, MPOs, local governments, and tribal governments to replace, rehabilitate, preserve, or protect one or more bridges on the National Bridge Inventory. This program works in conjunction with formula funds the Utah Department of Transportation has received to serve these same purposes. UDOT’s bridge program funding was prioritized in the April 29th State Transportation Commission meeting and can be found HERE.
  • Transit-Oriented Development Pilot Program (May) This program provides funding for efforts associated with an eligible transit project for which the project sponsor will seek funding through FTA’s Capital Investment Grants Program. TOD focuses growth around transit stations to create compact, mixed-use communities with easy access to jobs and services. Grants are available to assist in financing comprehensive or site-specific planning associated with eligible projects that seek to enhance economic development and ridership, facilitate multimodal connectivity, increase access to transit hubs, and enable mixed-use development.
  • Railroad Crossing Elimination Program (June) This program provides $500 million per year to fund highway-rail or pathway-rail grade crossing improvement projects that focus on improving the safety and mobility of people and goods. Eligible projects include track relocation, improvement or installation of protective devices and signage, grade separation or closure, planning, environmental review, design, and other safety measures.
  • Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program (June) This $1 billion Pilot Program seeks to restore community connectivity by removing, retrofitting, or mitigating highways or other transportation facilities that create barriers to community connectivity, including to mobility, access, or economic development. Grants are available for capital projects to remove or replace existing facilities. Planning grants are also available.

Federal Fiscal Year 2023 Appropriations Earmarks.

Though requests for community project funding to Utah’s congressional offices were due in early to mid-April, those requests are still working their way through the congressional appropriations process. House Offices have now submitted their requests to the Appropriations Committee, and we anticipate we’ll see a published list of requested projects by mid-May. Those requests, now being reviewed, are under consideration for inclusion in the FY23 appropriations bill which will likely be voted on in June, with approximately 1% of discretionary federal spending available for these projects. If you have any questions with regards to past, current, or future funding opportunities, please email us at federalgrants@wfrc.org.

Prepare in Advance

How can my community prepare to take advantage of these opportunities?

Though the funding for many of these programs is over a five-year period, many grants will be awarded on a one-time or one-year basis, while others will have multiple-year awards and application periods. Putting together an internal game plan for your community will be critical in ensuring you capitalize on these opportunities as they are made available. We recommend starting with the following: 

  1. Develop a list of priority projects. Determining your community’s greatest infrastructure needs (transportation and otherwise) is your first step in navigating the discretionary grant process.
  2. Explore grant funding opportunities. Understanding what programs are out there and how they may or may not apply to your priority projects is critical. With hundreds of possible grant programs available, this can be overwhelming, but narrowing your grant possibilities through the lens of your priorities will help refine your search.
  3. Coordinate with the relevant entity. Pursuing these opportunities is a team effort, and state and regional entities are here to help. Consulting WFRC on which local projects are worth pursuing can be extremely beneficial. 
  4. Evaluate internal capacity. Not every grant opportunity is worth applying for, particularly with limited time and resources. Identifying key staff to oversee these efforts, and weighing their time spent with the competitiveness of your organization’s proposal will help avoid wasting precious resources.

Principles for Competitiveness

There are arguably many things that go into an effective grant proposal, such as adherence requirements and simply submitting them on time. We recommend keeping the following in mind as you begin to consider your priorities, and how they’ll stack up against other projects nationally.

  • Robust understanding of opportunity and process. Fully understanding the grant requirements, deadlines, intent, and application process is arguably the most important factor in a successful proposal. Guidance on this process can be found on grants.gov, and also in this WFRC one-pager.
  • Aligns with administration’s priorities. The Biden Administration has outlined a number of priorities projects should address, including equity, resiliency, climate change, and regional significance.
  • Has broad community support. It has been made clear that projects with state, local, and regional support fare better than others. Letters of support by community partners are a great way to demonstrate this.
  • Strong local match. Not only are matching funds required for most grant programs (generally around 20%), but the greater funds and resources entities are able to put towards a project, the more successful an application may be.
  • Selectivity. The ability to strategically select the right project for the right opportunity is key. Not all grant programs, regardless of their size and scope, align with your needs.
  • Specificity. Putting forward your best data with a comprehensive yet concise argument.
WFRC Support

While WFRC will provide information and answer questions about these funding opportunities, communities are responsible for completing applications for their desired projects. As a reminder, registering with grants.gov is required before submitting an application (a process that may take 2-4 weeks). The annual funding cycle will repeat over the five years, and as additional funding opportunities arise from the IIJA and other sources, WFRC will communicate them as appropriate.

Additional Resources
Archive of Funding Opportunity Outreach

Periodically, WFRC sends email communications about new funding opportunities. If you would like to be added to our list, please email federalgrants@wfrc.org.

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