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Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program – Planning Grants and Capital Construction Grants 

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) established the new Reconnecting Communities Pilot (RCP) discretionary grant program, funded with $1 billion over the next 5 years. The program’s funds can support planning, capital construction, and technical assistance to equitably and safely restore community connectivity through the removal, retrofit, mitigation, or replacement of eligible transportation infrastructure facilities that create barriers to mobility, access, or economic development. 

Notices of Funding Opportunity – Coming in Summer 2022

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) will determine whether to issue one or more Notices of Funding Opportunity (NOFOs) for the RCP program. The Department anticipates posting the NOFO(s) for RCP program grants and technical assistance in summer of 2022. Once NOFO(s) are posted, eligible parties may submit application(s) for grants. Award announcements are expected to be made in early 2023. 

If you wish to learn more about this program, sign up for email updates here.

Link(s) to the NOFO(s) will be posted on this webpage when available.  

You may send questions to ReconnectingCommunities@dot.gov


Webinar 

Please join us for an upcoming webinar:

TITLE: Getting Ready for the Reconnecting Communities Pilot Discretionary Grant Program 

  • Opening remarks by Christopher Coes, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy, DOT 
  • Thursday, May 19 from 1:30pm – 2:30pm EDT  

Register here


What is an Eligible Facility? 

A highway, including a road, street, or parkway or other transportation facility, such as a railroad track, 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 will be 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 will be eligible to apply for capital construction grant funding? 

  • Facility Owner

    • The Facility Owner of the eligible facility under consideration must serve as the recipient for capital construction grants. This is likely to be a State or local government agency with jurisdiction for transportation.

    • A Facility Owner must satisfy other eligibility requirements to receive a planning grant.

  • Partnerships between the Facility Owner and the other entities listed as eligible planning grant applicants.

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. 


How could I prepare? 

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: Monday, May 16, 2022