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The U.S. Department of Transportation announced a new pilot program to help tribal and rural communities advance their infrastructure projects. 

The DOT’s Build America Bureau released a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) on June 15 for its new Rural and Tribal Assistance Pilot Program, which was created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The new program makes $10 million available over the next five years. To help tribal nations overcome challenges created by insufficient infrastructure, the pilot program includes an $800,000 annual set-aside for tribes.

Grants can be used to hire staff or advisors to assist with early development-phase activities such as feasibility studies, preliminary engineering and design, environmental reviews, and financial forecasting and analysis.

The NOFO combines two years of funding — fiscal 2022 and 2023 — to make $3.4 million of awards available to eligible applicants on a first-come, first-served basis. Individual awards will range in value up to the statutory limit of $360,000. There is no local funding match required to participate in this program, according to a statement from the DOT.

“Three words we like to share: NO LOCAL MATCH,” Assistant Secretary for Tribal Affairs Arlando Teller (Diné) said in a statement. “The Rural and Tribal Assistance Pilot Program will provide tribal nations with critical technical assistance to help deliver transportation priorities for their communities. Yéego apply for this opportunity.”

The Bureau has designed what it calls a “simple” four-page application process and will begin accepting submissions at 2 p.m. ET on August 14. The DOT also hosted a webinar earlier this month for interested applicants.  A copy recording of the webinar and a copy of the presentation can be accessed online at the pilot program’s website.