Biden administration awards $5 billion to transportation projects

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President Joe Biden will visit Wisconsin Thursday to announce nearly $5 billion in grants to kickstart transportation projects across the country.

The largest grant, of $1 billion, will go to replace the aging Blatnik bridge between Wisconsin and Minnesota, where Biden will make the announcement.

President Joe Biden is set to visit Wisconsin Thursday to announce a $1 billion grant to replace an aging bridge to Minnesota, part of $4.9 billion in transportation grants for projects across the country.

Bloomberg News

The grants, which will fund 37 projects, comes from two high-profile competitive grant programs in the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act: the National Infrastructure Project Assistance, or Mega, grant program and the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America, or Infra, program. The Mega program includes $5 billion through 2026 and goes to projects that are “uniquely large, complex and difficult to fund under traditional grant programs,” the U.S. DOT said in a release announcing the grants. The Infra funding is for “large-scale, transformational infrastructure,” the DOT said.

Nearly $2.8 billion will go to projects in rural areas, officials said.

“We are advancing projects so large, complex, and ambitious that they could not get funded under the infrastructure programs that existed prior to the Biden administration,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement. ”Our Infra and Mega programs are helping build the cathedrals of American infrastructure: truly transformative projects that will change entire regions and our entire country for the better.”

The programs, which opened for applications last June, were “significantly oversubscribed” with 117 applications requesting $24.7 billion in Mega funding and 190 applications requesting $24.8 billion from the INFRA program, the DOT said. The next application period is expected to open in mid-2024. 

Grants include $600 million to replace the I-5 Bridge between Vancouver, Washington, and Portland, Oregon, and $427 million to establish the first West Coast offshore wind terminal in California. A $372 million grant will support the replacement of Cape Cod’s 80-year-old Sagamore Bridge. The Port of New Orleans won a combined $300 million from both programs to support a new container terminal.

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