The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced it is proposing to award the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey a $44 million Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) discretionary grant to modernize an approximately 2.9 mile section of roadway at the north entrance of Port Newark and the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal, which will improve safety and reduce vehicle travel times and maintenance costs. This grant will help the local economy and create jobs in New Jersey.
The grant is part of $905.25 million which will be awarded to 24 projects in 18 states under the INFRA discretionary grant program announced by the Biden Administration.
“These timely investments in our infrastructure will create jobs and support regional economies, while helping to spur innovation, confront climate change, and address inequities across the country,” said Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
The INFRA grant will fund improvements including the replacement of the Corbin Street Ramp, the realignment of portions of Corbin Street, Port Street, and Kellogg Street, and the improvement of several other nearby intersections. The project supports economic vitality by eliminating deteriorating and substandard roadway conditions at and near the port and ease traffic concerns related to the growing volume of cargo that moves in and out of the port’s terminals. These changes are expected to improve safety and reduce vehicle travel times and maintenance costs. The port authority will utilize innovative ITS equipment and integrate the equipment with existing on-site fiber-optics. The project is located in a Federal Empowerment Zone.
INFRA grants were selected based on several criteria. In addition to prioritizing projects that would improve local economies, create jobs, and meet all statutory requirements, for the first time in USDOT’s history, grants were considered by how they would address climate change, environmental justice, and racial equity.
Further, USDOT prioritized funding to rural areas to address historic underinvestment. Approximately 44% of proposed funding will be awarded to rural projects, which exceeded INFRA’s statutory requirement by 19%. INFRA projects were also rated on the extent that they applied innovative technology and whether they could deliver projects in a cost-effective manner.
Demand for INFRA grants far exceeded available funds. USDOT evaluated 157 eligible applications from 42 states, as well as Guam. Applicants collectively requested approximately $6.8 billion in grant funds—more than seven times the funding available.
As required under the FAST Act, Congress will have 60 days to review the Department’s proposed project awardees. After the 60-day review period, the Department is free to begin obligating funding.
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