- The U.S. Department of Transportation announced two major infrastructure allocations, with almost $1.5 billion for potential, discretionary grants through the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) program and $677 million from the Federal Aviation Administration's Airport Improvement Program (AIP) .
- The smallest project in the running for an INFRA award is construction of a bridge over an existing rail lane at the University of Alabama for approximately $6 million, and the largest is $184 million to the Georgia Department of Transportation to construct 17 miles of express lanes on Georgia State Road 400.
- The AIP outlay is the first round of funding that will see approximately $3.2 billion, representing 241 grants and 346 projects, go toward the repair or upgrading of airport infrastructure such as runways, taxiways and some terminals. Airports are entitled to a certain level of AIP funds based on activity and need, with the option of tapping discretionary funds if they have greater financial requirements. One of the smallest entitlement awards is $2,470 to remove obstructions at a regional airport in Beverly, Massachusetts. One of the largest is $19.6 million to the Texas Department of Transportation for its aviation block grant program.
The INFRA grant process, according to the USDOT, encourages applicants to use the program as a supplemental funding source, not a full one. The agency also indicates that the program addresses rural infrastructure needs and favors projects that use "innovative" funding strategies and new approaches to permitting and project delivery.
This emphasis on using minimal federal resources is part of President Donald Trump's $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan. The Trump administration is betting that more involvement from private industry, as well as from state and local governments, will allow it to leverage a proposed federal investment of $200 billion into the full amount of the president's proposal. These changes to the INFRA grant program are part of program adjustments made in June 2017.
AIP grants keep delivering much-needed money for terminal and airport infrastructure projects, but for really big initiatives, like Delta's $4 billion terminal at LaGuardia or the $4 billion Central Terminal B project at the same airport, the cash comes from loans, operating funds or private-sector partners. Delta is funding the lion's share of its new LaGuardia terminal, while a private partner, LaGuardia Gateway Partners, financed and designed the airport's main terminal. The project is still under construction, and LGP will operate and maintain it once it is complete.