The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has expanded the Regional Infrastructure Accelerators (RIA) program to 24 accelerators receiving $24 million in new funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). Administered by the Build America Bureau, the RIA program accelerates project delivery and clears barriers for credit-worthy projects by funding and encouraging best practices in project planning, studies and analysis, preliminary engineering and design.
“We are pleased to expand the Regional Infrastructure Accelerator program to 24 regions, helping communities build capacity and get much-needed transportation projects underway,” said USDOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “USDOT partners with these regions to help them secure financing and develop in-house expertise for innovative delivery of regionally significant projects.”
“Building capacity at the regional level to use innovative delivery and financing options is critical to addressing America's infrastructure challenges,” said Build America Bureau Executive Director Morteza Farajian, Ph.D. “The RIA program is a novel approach that enables the Bureau to help our partners deliver more good projects faster.”
The Bureau received 21 applications requesting $66 million in funding. The program, created by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, is designed to inform future work by measuring how different regional models can expedite the development and delivery of transportation projects. The RIA program is part of the federal Thriving Communities Network, an interagency effort to coordinate technical assistance, planning and implementation support to ensure infrastructure investments funded by the IIJA and the Inflation Reduction Act creates long-term benefits nationwide.
The RIA program previously awarded grants in 10 regions that are already accelerating transportation projects, including:
- The Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER) RIA supporting Washington, Alaska, Idaho, Montana and Oregon communities utilized its previous $1.24 million RIA grant and hands-on technical assistance to support project development for the Pine Road highway and rail grade separation project, resulting in successfully securing a $21.6 million Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity Grant and $1 million Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement Grant to replace the existing at-grade crossing and build a new underpass to improve safety for road users and to improve freight movement time and reliability along the BNSF railway tracks.
- The Fresno Council of Governments RIA is advancing the TradePort California Project by funding an investment proposal to the state of California for $49.7 million for site acquisition, energy fueling and charging, truck parking, logistics asset development and solar power energy generation.
The selected Fiscal Year 2023 RIA awardees can be viewed at USDOT’s website.