The US government is set to invest US $1bn in American infrastructure through the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation Discretionary Grants program. The funding has been awarded to 70 projects in 44 states.
According to US Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao, the government is making significant investments in infrastructure, and the US $1bn in BUILD grants will repair, rebuild, and revitalize transportation systems across America.
Fiscal Year 2020 BUILD Transportation grants are for planning and capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure and were awarded on a competitive basis for projects that will have a significant local or regional impact. BUILD funding supports roads, bridges, transit, rail, ports or intermodal transportation. Since 2017, the Administration has awarded nearly US $4bn in BUILD grants to improve American infrastructure.
The program selection criteria encompassed safety, economic competitiveness, quality of life, state of good repair, environmental sustainability, innovation, and partnerships with a broad range of stakeholders.
To better address the needs of rural America, which has historically been neglected, the Department is awarding 50% of BUILD Transportation grant funding to projects located in rural areas that deliver positive benefits for these communities, consistent with the Department’s R.O.U.T.E.S. initiative. For this round of BUILD Transportation grants, the maximum grant award is US $25m, and no more than US $100m can be awarded to a single State, as specified in the appropriations act.
One of the projects in the Fiscal year is the Tuscaloosa Landing Area Project. The US $20m project will construct three components to improve access to the Riverwalk area in West Tuscaloosa: Black Warrior River barge mooring improvements; a bicycle and pedestrian path; and a pedestrian bridge. The mooring improvements will allow the abandoned lock structure to be used for the construction of the shared-use path. The pedestrian bridge will
cross the new Jack Warner Parkway. The bicycle and pedestrian path will run from the new pedestrian bridge to the existing riverfront park to the east, with lighting and security elements.