Elaine L. Chao, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, announced the 91 projects in 49 states and the District of Columbia that are recipients of the $1.5 billion in discretionary grant funding. The grants are made through the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation Grants program and support road, rail, transit, and port infrastructure projects across the country.
The grant secures much needed funding to convert an antiquated freeway and exits that were designed in the 1960s to meet the needs of a less connected and slower pace community into a more modern and efficient interchange.
“We are excited to have been awarded a BUILD Transportation Grant for the interchange of I-70 and Turner Diagonal. We anticipate rapid growth in that area as a result of this project, and we are thankful to Congressman Kevin Yoder and Senator Jerry Moran for their work for KCK,” says Unified Government Mayor/CEO, David Alvey.
“This interchange has been needed for a while. It allows us to develop property that we haven’t been able to develop because the current infrastructure occupies a lot of land,” says Unified Government Commissioner, Jane Philbrook. “The new interchange will allow us to attract new businesses, commercial and light industry to the area.”
The Board of Commission has been discussing the future of the Turner Diagonal, which has been challenging to come up with the funding through traditional local and State programs. The BUILD Grant program allows us to invest in a major infrastructure project that will have a long-term positive impact on economic development and the quality of life for our residents. “We’re living in exciting times and are really enthusiastic about what we can create for the future of our community,” says Commissioner Philbrook.
Demand for BUILD grants far exceeded available funds, and the locally-driven nature of the applications was clear in their volume and geographic diversity. 851 eligible applications from all 50 states, as well as U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia were sent in response to the BUILD Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), nearly double the applications received in 2017. Overall, applicants in 2018 requested more than $10.9 billion in funding.
“BUILD transportation grants are major investments in road, rail, transit, and port projects that serve as a down payment on this administration’s commitment to America’s infrastructure,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
Project applications were evaluated by a team of 222 career staff in the Department and selected based on established criteria. The criteria included safety, economic competitiveness, quality of life, environmental protection, and state of good repair. Further criteria included innovation, such as projects supporting Connected or Autonomous Vehicles infrastructure, broadband service to underserved communities, as well as projects that demonstrate partnerships between the public and private sectors, and non-Federal revenue for transportation.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 appropriated $1.5 billion for BUILD Transportation grants. For this round of BUILD Transportation grants, the maximum grant award is $25 million for a single project, and no more than $150 million can be awarded to a single state. There is a $5 million minimum award for projects located in urban areas, and a $1 million minimum for rural projects.
More information about BUILD grants, including fact sheets on awarded projects, as well as a list of the grant recipients can be found here.