The USDOT’s new FASTLANE program provides $800 million to fund grants for major freight, highway and intermodal projects that are of national significance. But the announcement of deadlines for grant applications for the FASTLANE competitive grants means that those interested in applying need to move quickly. The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the FASTLANE grant applications has a deadline of 8:00PM EST on April 14, 2016. US DOT will begin taking applications on March 15, 2016.
That’s truly “FAST”! However, FASTLANE applications need more in-depth analysis than has been requested in other competitive grants. Unlike the TIGER grants, FASTLANE applications need to address issues including:
* identifying and providing a convincing reason why a proposed project is of “national significance”
* showing how the proposed project will lead to “economic outcomes” -- improving transportation efficiency and reliability, increasing economic competitiveness, improving intermodal connectivity, facilitating freight movement across border crossings, etc.
Multijurisdictional projects are encouraged, and issues critical to freight fluidity (speed, reliability and cost savings) are highlighted in the evaluation criteria. Projects should describe how they address challenges identified in the draft National Strategic Highway Plan.
The applications must also include a Benefit Cost Analysis (BCA), but this is “.not your father’s BCA!” Although the TIGER Grant application process – another competitive grant announced at about the same time – also requires a BCA, the FASTLANE applications need to address a wider range of issues unique to freight projects, intermodal costs and measurement of the benefits for projects of national or regional significance.
While these are challenging requirements, fortunately, EDR Group has just completed development of new data and analysis methods that address the new application requirements concerning national or regional significance, economic outcomes and freight costs.
The US DOT is sponsoring a series of webinars that describe how to apply for these grants. On March 10, 2016, they will include a special webinar on how to prepare the BCA portions of the application. We recommend that interested potential applicants register now for these important opportunities to see what you must do, and to ask questions about the process.
Questions? Please give us a call. Contact:
EDR Group, Inc.
Tel: (617) 338-6775 x260