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Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program – Planning Grants and Capital Construction Grants 

Secretary Buttigieg Introduces the RCP Program

 

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) established the new Reconnecting Communities Pilot (RCP) discretionary grant program, funded with $1 billion over the next 5 years.

It is the first-ever Federal program dedicated to reconnecting communities that were previously cut off from economic opportunities by transportation infrastructure. Funding supports planning grants and capital construction grants, as well as technical assistance, to restore community connectivity through the removal, retrofit, mitigation, or replacement of eligible transportation infrastructure facilities.

Reconnecting Communities Grant Opportunity Alert: Inaccessible Workspace in Grants.gov 

On October 3, the RCP program team deleted the original grants.gov package (for both planning and capital construction grants) and replaced it with two distinct packages for: 1) planning grant applications and 2) capital construction grant applications. DOT has not changed application requirements for the grant opportunity but has restructured the availability of forms. The RCP team made the change in order to improve application data processing. 

If you created a workspace prior to October 4 in grants.gov for the RCP program, you must create a new workspace. You will then submit a single set of forms under the planning grant or capital construction grant package. Read more about this issue here.

Amended FY22 Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) is open now through Thursday, October 13, 2022

The FY22 Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the Reconnecting Communities Program is available now on the DOT website. It was amended on September 30, 2022  to include technical corrections to the Key Information Table and is live on Grants.gov. 

The deadline for applications is 11:59 PM EDT on Thursday, October 13, 2022. All applications must be submitted through grants.gov. Search for "Reconnecting Communities" or Opportunity Number: DOT-RCP-FY22-01.

Review highlights of changes to the FY22 Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program NOFO .

Access the amended Key Information Table in fillable PDF format for submission with your application in Grants.gov. 

If you wish to receive updates about the program, sign up for email updates.

You may send questions to ReconnectingCommunities@dot.gov.


Webinars 

View past webinar recordings and content at the RCP webinars page.


What is an Eligible Facility? 

A highway, including a road, street, or parkway or other transportation facility, such as a rail line, that creates a barrier to community connectivity, including barriers to mobility, access, or economic development, due to high speeds, grade separations, or other design factors. 

Funding Available

Fiscal Year 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 5-Year Total
Planning $50M $50M $50M $50M $50M $250M
Capital Construction $145M $148M $150M $152M $155M $750M
Total Authorized Amount $195M $198M $200M $202M $205M $1,000M

Planning Grants

Planning grants may be used to study the feasibility and impacts of removing, retrofitting, or mitigating an existing eligible facility or to conduct planning activities necessary to design a project to remove, retrofit, or mitigate an existing eligible facility.

Who is eligible to apply for planning grant funding?

  • States
  • Units of local government
  • Federally recognized Tribal governments
  • Metropolitan planning organizations
  • Nonprofit organizations

Eligible planning activities

  • Planning studies of: current traffic patterns on the eligible facility proposed for removal, retrofit, or mitigation and the surrounding street network; transportation network capacity; alternative roadway designs or other uses for the right-of-way; impacts to the mobility of freight and people; impacts to the safety of the traveling public; cost; anticipated economic impacts and environmental impacts both human and natural.
  • Public engagement activities to provide the public opportunities to provide input into a plan to remove and convert an eligible facility.
  • Other transportation planning activities required in advance of a project to remove, retrofit, or mitigate an existing eligible facility to restore community connectivity, as determined by DOT.

Technical Assistance

The Department must prioritize technical assistance to economically disadvantaged communities. The Department anticipates focusing its technical assistance on recipients that demonstrate need as underserved, overburdened, and disadvantaged communities.

Technical assistance is for building organizational or community capacity to engage in transportation planning and to identify innovative solutions to infrastructure challenges, including reconnecting communities that are bifurcated by eligible facilities or lack safe, reliable, and affordable transportation options.


Capital Construction Grants 

Capital construction grants may be used for projects for which all necessary studies and other planning activities have been completed to remove, retrofit, mitigate, or to replace an existing eligible facility. 

Who is eligible to apply for capital construction grant funding? 

Eligible applicants for Capital Construction Grants are:

  • the Facility Owner or
  • Eligible applicants to Planning Grants may submit the application for a Capital Construction Grant, as long as the Owner of the eligible transportation facility is a joint applicant, with evidence of endorsing the application. 

Eligible capital construction projects

  • Removal, retrofit, or mitigation of an existing eligible facility.
  • Replacement of an eligible facility with a new facility that restores community connectivity and is sensitive to the context of the surrounding community.
  • Preliminary and detailed design activities and associated environmental studies; predevelopment / preconstruction; permitting activities including the completion of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process; delivering community benefits and the mitigation of impacts identified through the NEPA process or other planning and project development for the capital construction project.

What should I think about in developing an application? 

Restoring community connectivity and eliminating barriers to mobility, access or economic development opportunities are key components of this program. As such, these are important issues for your community to consider in determining whether and how to best develop an application for funding. 

For prospective applicants new to seeking funding from the Federal government

  • Consult “Grants 101” on GRANTS.GOV, the Applicant Toolkit for Competitive Funding Programs at USDOT, and FHWA Technical Assistance / Local Support if your organization is new to applying for and administering federal assistance.
  • It is best to start early. All applicants will need to obtain a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) through GSA to apply for grant opportunities in grants.gov. On April 4, the federal government stopped using Dun & Bradstreet’s proprietary Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) to identify contractors and grantees and began exclusively using the UEI. The process of obtaining a UEI can take up to a month, so applicants are encouraged to apply for the UEI now. If you previously had a DUNS number, your UEI has already been created and is available to view in SAM.gov.

If you are interested in applying for a planning grant, technical assistance or a capital construction grant, you could:

  • Begin to identify your community’s challenges related to connectivity and barriers. This includes transportation barriers that make it difficult for community members of all ages and abilities to safely reach daily destinations like schools, jobs, grocery stores, parks, and healthcare services. Related challenges may include land use, environmental, housing, economic development, and health and safety conditions related to transportation facilities that divide communities.
  • Consider whether eligible facilities are located in underserved, overburdened, or disadvantaged communities. These communities may bear a greater burden from transportation infrastructure such as fatal and serious injury crashes, air and noise pollution or other public health impacts, broader community safety issues, or sustained community disinvestment. Also consider whether the infrastructure facility contributed to past community hardship including displacing historic populations, contributing to racial or economic segregation, or negatively impacting important cultural, historical, or sacred community assets.
  • Determine if there is motivation across the community to collaboratively address these barriers and explore solutions. Consider how to best serve the surrounding community and take a comprehensive approach to transformative solutions, including but not limited to mobility and access, land use, housing, arts and culture, place-making, transportation, including public transportation, and environmental remediation, if applicable.
  • Start identifying who should be involved. Partners could include government stakeholders (e.g., with jurisdiction for transportation, including public transportation, land development, housing, health), community members, community-based organizations, local institutions and major employers, businesses that serve the community, adjacent property owners, and other private sector entities.
  • Consider how to engage a broad range of community members, specifically those who live, work, and recreate in and around the project area. This could include those with historical ties to the project area who may be underrepresented in decision-making, including transportation decision-making.
  • Review the broad range of opportunities outlined in the White House Guidebook to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Governments and Other Partners, USDOT funding and financing opportunities, and upcoming USDOT NOFOs available to support reconnecting your community.
  • Consult the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration’s Transportation Planning Capacity Building Program and the Community Impact Assessment resource pages.

Facility owners and partners seeking funding for a capital construction grant for an established project, could also: 

  • Ensure that prerequisite feasibility studies and other planning activities have been completed.
  • Review existing planned projects for consistency with the Long-Range Statewide Transportation Plan, planned projects in your Metropolitan Long-Range Transportation Plan (if applicable), and the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program to assess if any projects could be eligible candidates for the RCP Program.
  • Consider how to engage a broad range of community members, specifically those who live, work, and recreate in the project area, who have historical ties to the project area, and who may be underrepresented in local decision-making, including transportation decision-making.
  • Consult with those who may partner in developing community outreach, communications, construction mitigation, and anti-displacement plans to proactively align, leverage and identify additional resources that can support reconnecting and stabilizing communities during and after construction.
  • Review the broad range of opportunities outlined in the White House Guidebook to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Governments and Other Partners, USDOT funding and financing opportunities, and upcoming USDOT NOFOs available to support reconnecting your community.
  • Consult the Federal Highway Administration's resource pages on Context Sensitive Solutions and Design.

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Last updated: Thursday, October 6, 2022