WASHINGTON, D.C. (News release) – U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao today announced the Trump Administration intends to award $40 million in grant funding to the Arkansas Department of Transportation to reconstruct and improve two sections of U.S. Highway 67 northeast of Little Rock. This funding comes as part of a $906 million nationwide investment in America’s infrastructure through the Department’s Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) discretionary grant program.
“This Administration is focused on infrastructure improvements and this $906 million in federal funding will improve major highways, bridges, ports, and railroads across the country to better connect our communities, enhance safety, and support economic growth,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
The Arkansas Department of Transportation’s $40 million grant will be used to widen U.S. 67 from four to six lanes, construct an overpass, convert frontage roads to one-way operation, and reconstruct two interchanges.
The project supports economic vitality by reducing travel times, alleviating congestion, and addressing safety hazards posed by the current obsolete design of U.S. 67 and adjacent frontage roads. Widening U.S. Highway 67 between Cabot and Jacksonville will accommodate the heavy peak-period traffic flows. Converting the frontage roads to one-way operation and eliminating stop- and yield-controlled slip ramps between the freeway and frontage roads will further reduce crashes in the corridor. The Arkansas Department of Transportation will deliver the project using cost-plus-time bidding and is exploring employing innovative construction techniques and using high-performance materials to minimize maintenance costs.
INFRA discretionary grants support the Administration’s commitment to fixing our nation’s infrastructure by creating opportunities for all levels of government and the private sector to fund infrastructure, using innovative approaches to improve the processes for building significant projects, and increasing accountability for the projects that are built. In addition to providing direct federal funding, the INFRA discretionary grant program aims to increase the total investment by state, local, and private partners.
INFRA advances a grant program established in the 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. Project applications were evaluated by a team of more than two dozen career staff in the Department and selected based on established criteria to align them with national and regional economic vitality goals. The program increases the impact of projects by leveraging federal grant funding and incentivizing project sponsors to pursue innovative strategies, including public-private partnerships.
Additionally, the program promotes the incorporation of innovative technology that will improve our transportation system. The Department will also hold INFRA grant recipients accountable for their performance in project delivery and operations.
Consistent with the Administration’s ongoing effort to rebalance historic underinvestment in rural America, 53 percent of proposed funding will be awarded to rural projects. Six awards totaling $293 million are being made to projects that are at least partially located in an Opportunity Zone, while several other projects are located in areas near Opportunity Zones.
Demand for INFRA grants far exceeded available funds. DOT evaluated 173 eligible applications from 47 states, as well as U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, who collectively requested approximately $7.4 billion in grant funds-more than eight times the funding available.
As required under the FAST Act, Congress will have 60 days to review the Department’s proposed project awardees. After the 60-day review period, the Department is free to begin obligating funding.
For more information, visit www.transportation.gov/buildamerica/infragrants. Click here for a full list of proposed grant awards, along with project fact sheets.