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Infrastructure Grant Program to Focus on Climate Change Resiliency

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced the release of a new $848 million funding program designed around hardening transportation infrastructure in the face of climate change.

In 2016, Hurricane Matthew caused damage and flooding along the Atlantic Coast.
In 2016, Hurricane Matthew caused massive damage and severe flooding along the Atlantic Coast.
States and local jurisdictions will have access to a new federal funding program to shore up surface transportation infrastructure vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has announced the launch of the Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient and Cost-Saving Transportation (PROTECT) Discretionary Grant Program, an $848 million competitive grant initiative. The program is part of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

“This is a program that I think is particularly important to meet the Biden administration priorities to combating the climate crisis, and making our infrastructure resilient,” said U.S. DOT Deputy Secretary Polly Trottenberg in a briefing with reporters April 20.

The funding comes in addition to the $7.3 billion PROTECT Formula Program, which is helping to develop projects like an effort to move New Hampshire Route 16 to make it less vulnerable to washouts and flooding from the Androscoggin River.

The PROTECT Grant Program is aimed at projects that consider a holistic approach to make not only transportation components but housing and other infrastructure more resilient, said Trottenberg.

“It’s not just about highway infrastructure. There’s other elements as well,” echoed Shailen Bhatt, administrator for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA.)

“[The grant program] will invest now to create more resilient infrastructure that will save money in the long run by minimizing the need for costly maintenance and rebuilding, open up opportunities for more communities to build better transportation that can weather the climate crisis, and strengthen America’s position in the world by ensuring infrastructure that supports every facet of American life and commerce, and is built for the long haul,” said Bhatt.
Skip Descant writes about smart cities, the Internet of Things, transportation and other areas. He spent more than 12 years reporting for daily newspapers in Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and California. He lives in downtown Yreka, Calif.