The Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act (IIJA) includes formula funding to states as well as a wide range of discretionary grant programs that are awarded on a competitive basis. In addition to federal programs, state departments of transportation (DOTs) also administer state‐level programs that direct funds to local or regional entities. To effectively secure and use the funds in a timely way, potential grant recipients need to understand how to apply for funds, comply with program requirements and targets, and deliver projects. The challenges can be particularly acute for smaller and rural communities.
State DOTs can play an important role in supporting grantees and grant programs. For example, many local and tribal communities may have limited experience with federal funding. State DOTs can lend their expertise in navigating federal funding programs to provide assistance in applying for and managing federal funds. State DOTs can also support grant recipients in delivering projects. Strengthening grant programs and supporting grant recipients can help advance statewide goals to develop and manage the overall transportation network and deliver benefits to communities.
The objective of this research is to: (1) identify effective approaches to supporting and expanding local government and tribal participation in transportation grant programs; (2) develop guidelines for state DOTs on how to support and coordinate with local grant recipients; and (3) develop materials for training, capacity building, and implementation of effective practices for grant programs. The project will provide timely information for recent expansions in federal transportation grant programs, but will also be relevant for other current and future programs at the state and federal levels.