USDOT: $4.8MM for RIAs

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
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A total of $4.8 million will be awarded under the Regional Infrastructure Accelerators (RIA) program, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported.

The RIA program’s aim is to help accelerate transportation project delivery through project planning, studies and analysis, and preliminary engineering and design work, according to the USDOT, which announced five awards on Aug. 22.

The awards follow the USDOT Build America Bureau’s January 2022 application solicitation for designating and funding RIAs that: “(1) Serve a defined geographic area; (2) act as a resource to qualified entities in the geographic area in accordance with the FAST [Fixing America’s Surface Transportation] Act; and (3) demonstrate the effectiveness of an RIA to expedite the delivery of [transportation infrastructure] projects eligible for the TIFIA [Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act] credit program.”

The RIAs assist in “project planning, evaluating innovative financing, accessing technical assistance and best practices, and developing a pipeline of projects ready for investment,” according to the Build America Bureau, which not only administers the RIA program, but also provides technical assistance and support to grant recipients.

The five RIA awardees are:

  1. Panhandle Regional Planning Commission (PRPC), Texas, $454,842: According to USDOT, PRPC proposes to establish an RIA “to identify project specific outcomes and delivery methods. This includes a rail revitalization project and road modernization project directly linked to economic and social growth opportunities in 40-plus rural Texas panhandle counties.”
  2. Resilient SR 37 (State Route 37) Program, Calif., $1.5 million: The Metropolitan Planning Commission will lead an effort to address congestion, flood protection, sea-level rising issues, and connections to transit and rail options along a 20-mile route of SR 37. This stretch of highway traverses a rural area that USDOT said “is vital to both rural and disadvantaged communities in the Sonoma and Napa counties.”
  3. Suffolk County, N.Y., Midway Crossing Project, $1 million: The Midway Crossing project will construct a multimodal transportation hub, including connections between air and rail service, in a mixed-use commercial development space, according to USDOT. This will include a biotech/life science office complex, 300-room hotel, and 300,000-square-foot convention center.
  4. Dona Ana County, N.Mex., $1.1 million: The New Mexico Trade RIA will guide and implement the creation of the New Mexico TradePort through its planning, project structuring, construction and operating stages, according to USDOT. This includes building new infrastructure that will “accelerate the county and region’s transition to a low-carbon economy and developing expansion opportunity for allied trade and transportations service providers.”
  5. Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA), $750,000: The LinkUS Mobility Initiative for Central Ohio has the primary objective of improving mobility systems within COTA’s service area. This includes the development of high-capacity transit corridors; investments in smart mobility options such as first/mile last mile service; and enhanced bus service with increased frequency, USDOT reported.
Build America Bureau Executive Director Morteza Farajian

This is the second round of the RIA program. In September 2021, the Build America Bureau selected the first five RIAs—Fresno, Calif.; Chicago, Ill.; Cleveland, Ohio; San Diego, Calif.; and Seattle, Wash.—and distributed to them a total of $5 million in grants for infrastructure projects ranging from rail intermodal complexes to bridge rehabilitation. Each of these RIAs earlier this year signed cooperative agreements with the Build America Bureau and established work plans to bring their proposals to fruition, according to USDOT. 

“The new awards expand our geographic reach and increase the diversity of projects in the pipeline,” Build America Bureau Executive Director Morteza Farajian said. “We look forward to building on this program even more later this year with another round of available funding.”

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