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Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations


Term Definition

A person applying for a grant opportunity, either as an individual applicant submitting on their own behalf or as an organizational applicant submitting applications on behalf of an organization, such as a state government, nonprofit organization, private business, or any other type of institution.


Financial assistance provided to an eligible recipient providing support or stimulation to accomplish a public purpose, including grants and other agreements.

Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) Also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), Pub. L. 117-58 (Nov. 15, 2021). provides an investment of $1.2 trillion into United States infrastructure, competitiveness, and communities. BIL was signed into law on November 15, 2021
Discretionary Grant Discretionary grant means a grant in which the Federal granting agency, in keeping with specific statutory authority that enables the agency to exercise judgment (“discretion”), selects the recipient and/or the amount of Federal funding awarded through a competitive process or based on merit of proposals. A discretionary grant may be selected on a non-competitive basis, as appropriate.
Formula Grant

Formula grant programs are a type of non-discretionary award based on a predetermined formula.

Grant Agreement A legal instrument of financial assistance between a Federal awarding agency and a grant recipient, consistent with 31 U.S.C. 6302, 6304. Defines agreement between the two, such as roles of granting agency and grant recipient, award amount, statement of work, schedule, reporting requirements, etc.
Local Government An umbrella term encompassing the governments of counties and cities, as well as boroughs, municipalities, towns, townships, parishes, local public authorities (e.g., public housing agencies), special districts, school districts, intrastate districts, and any other agency or instrumentality of a multi-, regional, or intra-state or local government, not to include state or federal entities.
Match Cost sharing or matching means the portion of project costs not paid by Federal funds or contributions (unless otherwise authorized by Federal statute), as per 2 CFR Part 200. See also § 200.306. Typically the grant recipient would be required to provide their own funds or funds from another source to cover this portion of the project costs.
Mode A way of moving people or goods, including air, highway, transit, rail, pipeline, and marine.  Highway, transit, and rail are often referred to as surface transportation modes.
Non-Discretionary Award Non-discretionary award means an award made by the Federal awarding agency to specific recipients in accordance with statutory, eligibility and compliance requirements, such that in keeping with specific statutory authority the agency has no ability to exercise judgement (“discretion”). A non-discretionary award amount could be determined specifically or by formula.
Nonprofit entity Any corporation, trust, association, cooperative, or other organization such as a 501(c)(3) that is operated primarily for scientific, educational, service, charitable, or similar purposes in the public interest, is not organized primarily for profit, and uses net proceeds to maintain, improve, or expand the operations of the organization.
Operating Administration A unit of the U.S. Department of Transportation with its own management and organizational structure generally focused on a mode of transportation.
Pass-Through Entity A non-federal entity (e.g., a state government) that provides a subaward to a subrecipient to carry out part of a federal program.
Recipient A non-federal entity that receives a federal award directly from a federal awarding agency to carry out an activity under a federal program (i.e., a grant awardee). The term recipient does not include subrecipients.
Subaward The financial award provided by a pass-through entity to a subrecipient for the subrecipient to carry out part of a federal award received by the pass-through entity.
Subrecipient A non-federal entity that receives a subaward from a pass-through entity to carry out part of a federal program (i.e., an entity receiving grant funds from a direct, “pass-through” recipient).
Third-Party In-Kind Contributions The value of non-cash contributions (i.e. property and services) contributed by non-federal third parties, without charge, to a non-federal entity under a federal award to benefit a federally assisted project or program.
Unique Entity Identifier A Unique Entity Identifier is a form of required government-wide identification for single business entities applying for and receiving federal awards through the System for Award Management (SAM).



Federal Agencies

Abbreviation Meaning

Appalachian Regional Commission


Bureau of Indian Affairs

BTS Bureau of Transportation Statistics
DHS U.S. Department of Homeland Security

U.S. Department of Commerce

DOE U.S. Department of Energy
DOI U.S. Department of Interior
DOT U.S. Department of Transportation
DRA Delta Regional Authority
EDA Economic Development Administration
EPA U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
FAA Federal Aviation Administration
FEMA Federal Emergency Management Agency
FHWA Federal Highway Administration
FMCSA Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
FRA Federal Railroad Administration
FTA Federal Transit Administration
GLS Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation
MARAD Maritime Administration
NBRC Northern Border Regional Commission
NHTSA National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
NRCS Natural Resources Conservation Service
NPS National Park Service
OA Operating Administration
OIG Office of the Inspector General
OST Office of the Secretary of Transportation
PHMSA Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
RD Rural Development (USDA)
SCRC Southeast Crescent Regional Commission
USDA U.S. Department of Agriculture
USDOT U.S. Department of Transportation
VA U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs


Other Abbreviations

Abbreviation Meaning

Benefit-Cost Analysis


Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

CFR Code of Federal Regulations
FOA Funding Opportunity Announcement

Institute of Higher Education

NEPA National Environmental Policy Act
NOFA Notice of Funds Availability
NOFO Notice of Funding Opportunity
ROUTES Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success
TIFIA Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act
UEI Unique Entity Identifier
U.S.C. United States Code


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