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Build America Center

U.S. Department of Transportation Announces $5 Million Grant for the University of Maryland to Establish the Build America Center | US Department of Transportation

U.S. Department of Transportation Announces $5 Million Grant for the University of Maryland to Establish the Build America Center

Friday, April 8, 2022

Center will advance innovative transportation project financing and delivery in partnership with leading academic institutions

WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg today announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded a $5 million grant to the University of Maryland (UMD) through a cooperative agreement to establish and manage the “Build America Center.” The Center will offer educational programs, information, and resources for transportation agencies in all areas of alternative and innovative project financing and delivery.

“This new Build America Center will mean more transformative transportation projects across the country,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “By bringing together the public and private sector, we can help bring more good projects to life and improve the lives of Americans.”

The $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes unprecedented funding for infrastructure projects and several grant programs to support project sponsors seeking to explore alternative project delivery. The Center will support the Build America Bureau and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to foster new approaches to financing development and transformation of the nation’s transportation infrastructure into a modern system.

The University of Maryland will serve as the national lead for this new center contributing a 20 percent match to the grant, with four universities - Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Purdue, and Stanford - serving as regional leads. Through programming, research initiatives and publications, the centers partner with alumni, business leaders and local governments to educate the community and provide students with enrichment experiences that facilitate their professional development.

“Alternative financing is an incredible tool to move projects forward, and this Center will help public entities  access technical assistance in financial planning and innovative project delivery methods,” said Bureau Executive Director Morteza Farajian. “The Center will support transportation professionals as well as benefitting under-resourced and disadvantaged communities that may not have used low-interest, long-term federal financing in the past.”

“FHWA works in concert with the Build America Bureau to identify and coordinate technical assistance opportunities for transportation projects receiving Bureau support,” said Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack. “We are pleased to provide this funding to support the University of Maryland as the national lead to provide education and resources for transportation agencies to learn about innovative project financing and delivery.”

“We’re excited to support bold, creative efforts to improve the nation’s transportation infrastructure. UMD is known for our fearless ideas—that is, ideas that push the envelope and transform the way we approach problems of broad societal impact,” said University of Maryland President Darryll Pines. “An upgraded transportation system is crucial to the American way of life and the nation's economic health depends on it. We look forward to leveraging Maryland’s nationally recognized expertise in transportation engineering as we help address this critical societal need."

The new center will hold a kick-off meeting on April 11th to highlight the center’s vision, present current initiatives, and build strong partnerships among public, private, and academia. Expert panel sessions will provide a dialogue platform for federal and state officials to work together to implement the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and deliver crucial transportation projects.

UMD professor Qingbin Cui, an expert in transportation engineering and highway financing, will lead the endeavor, which also leverages UMD resources such as the Maryland Transportation Institute (MTI), the Center for Advanced Transportation Technology (CATT), the Center for Transportation Technology Lab (CATT Lab), and the Project Management Center of Excellence.

To learn more about the Build America Center, visit

The Build America Institute, established in 2014, was recently sunset.