On June 10, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) released a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for $2.36 billion in FY 2022 through the competitive Bridge Investment Program (BIP). Newly established by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL/P.L. 117-58), the program will provide $12.5 billion over the next five years to reduce the number of the nation’s bridges in poor condition or, in fair condition, but at risk of falling into poor condition within the next three years. NACo worked tirelessly to ensure this additional funding that can be accessed directly by counties was included in the final package.
Counties are eligible to apply for BIP funding directly through USDOT, as well as to bundle bridge projects into one application. Twenty million is reserved for the planning application category outlined below. In total, the NOFO is soliciting applications for three different funding categories:
- Planning: For projects requiring technical assistance to become eligible for BIP capital construction funds | Applications due July 25, 2022
- Large bridge projects: For projects with eligible costs over $100 million | Applications due August 9, 2022
- Bridge projects: For projects with eligible costs less than $100 million | Applications due September 8, 2022
Funds will be awarded on a competitive basis to projects that replace, rehabilitate, preserve and protect bridges on the National Bridge Inventory (NBI) by improving the safe and efficient movement of people and goods over bridges or by improving the condition of bridges in poor and at-risk conditions.
Key highlights for counties include:
- 80 percent federal cost share for projects, with the exception of off-system bridge projects which are eligible for 90 percent
- Multi-year funding agreements are available for large bridge projects
- 50 percent of funds are set-aside for large bridge projects ($903 million in FY 2022)
- No more than 5 percent of funding can be awarded to projects solely replacing or rehabilitating culverts
- All BIP funds must be obligated by FY 2025; certain funds must also be expended by FY 2030
Counties own four out of every ten bridges on the NBI and are the majority owners of off-system bridges, which make up nearly half of the nation’s entire bridge inventory. Collectively across the country, counties own more roads and bridges than any other level of government and play a major role in ensuring the connectedness of the national transportation network. As infrastructure leaders and a vital cog in the intergovernmental partnership, counties welcome federal support through programs like the BIP to operate, maintain and enhance these systems that keep our residents and others connected with one another, as well as vital services and institutions.
To learn more about the BIP and other BIL federal funding opportunities for county infrastructure, view NACo’s implementation and funding matrix page.