Transportation and Infrastructure Funding Available!

PA Department of Community and Economic Development (PA DCED) is rolling out some new funding programs for 2014, including a comprehensive transportation grant program.  Most applications are due between May 1 and July 31, so there is still time to see if your project qualifies for funding.

Multimodal Transportation Fund (MTF)

Last year’s transportation bill made MTF possible.  The program will provide $40.0 M in grant funding for multi-modal transportation projects.  Eligible costs include the development, rehabilitation and enhancement of transportation assets to existing communities, streetscape, lighting, sidewalk enhancement, pedestrian safety, connectivity of transportation assets and transit-oriented development.  Projects must be a minimum of $100,000.  Grants will be made up to $3.0 M.  Applications are due June 20, 2014 for November 2014 decisions.

Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program (GTRP)

The GTRP is back again this year, after funding several million dollars’ worth of projects in 2013.  The program will fund development and rehabilitation of indoor and outdoor recreation areas – think ball fields and field houses; public parks and passive recreation areas; hiking, bicycling and equestrian trails; and rivers conservation.  Support facilities such as access roads, lighting and pedestrian amenities are also eligible uses of GTRP funding.  A 15% match is required for program requests of up to $250,000. 

Small Water and Sewer Program

Available exclusively to municipalities and municipal authorities, this program can fund exactly what it sounds like – small wastewater and drinking water projects – with grants up to $127,500.  Projects must have a total cost between $50,000 and $150,000.  Eligible costs include those associated with construction, improvement, expansion, or rehabilitation or repair of a public water supply or sanitary sewer system, including system consolidation.  Applications are due May 16, 2014 so applicants need to move quickly to submit their projects for consideration.

Many more programs are open now, including funding for hotel development, watershed restoration and flood mitigation.  What are you waiting for – your project gap could be closed this year!

Click Here to get started.

Transportation Grant Program Opens

The FY 2015 Transportation and Community Development Initiative (TCDI) grant program is now open.  This DVRPC grant program invests federal funds in locally-driven transportation planning and development initiatives that help implement the DVRPC long-range plan. 

If your municipality or not-for profit organization has a project that touches on the following areas, you may have a project eligible for up to $175,000 in TCDI funding.

  • Supporting local planning projects that will lead to more residential, employment, or retail opportunities;

  • Improving the overall character and quality of life within these communities to retain and attract businesses and residents;

  • Enhancing and utilizing the existing transportation network infrastructure capacity in these areas to reduce the demands on the region's transportation network; and

  • Reducing congestion and improving the efficiency of the region's transportation network.

TIGER Funding Round Now Open

TIGER LogoThe U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has opened the FY 2014 TIGER program to new applications, making $600 Million available for impactful transportation projects nationwide.  Applications are due April 28, 2014 before 5 PM EDT.

Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER, will award funding on a highly competitive basis to transportation projects that have a significant impact on communities or metropolitan areas.  TIGER can fund road, rail, transit or port projects.

The TIGER program enables DOT to examine a broad array of projects on their merits, to help ensure that taxpayers are getting the highest value for every dollar invested.  In each round of TIGER, DOT receives many applications to build and repair critical pieces of our freight and passenger transportation networks. Applicants must detail the benefits their project would deliver for five long-term outcomes: safety, economic competitiveness, state of good repair, livability and environmental sustainability.

This flexible program requires an intensive application, including completion of a detailed Benefit Cost Analysis, or BCA. The BCA is an in-depth economic and fiscal analysis that provides quantitative, data-driven evidence of the benefits of a proposed transportation project.  The BCA should support the qualitative assertions made within a TIGER application in regards to a project’s transportation and safety benefits, and the associated costs.  A successful BCA will provide answers to questions about a project’s ultimate outcomes.

More information about TIGER and the full 2014 Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) can be found on the U.S. DOT website at

$200 Million in PA New Market Tax Credits Available!

In an effort to spark redevelopment in the nation’s most challenged communities, the U.S. Treasury’s Community Development Financing Institution (CDFI) just announced over $3.4 Billion in New Market Tax Credits, including $200 Million awarded to Pennsylvania’s Community Development Entities (CDEs).

These 85 CDEs will receive up to 39 percent in tax credits for developing projects in areas with high poverty rates or lower incomes.

Since its launch a decade ago, the NMTC program has provided a tremendous amount of low cost capital for projects that were otherwise extremely challenging to finance through conventional lending. NMTCs have historically been in high demand by developers seeking creative solutions to project financing for projects in emerging communities. The complete list of awardees for the 2012 NMTC Program Awards can be found on the CDFI

$125 Million in RACP Grants Awarded

The Corbett Administration announced its first-ever round of Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grants yesterday, four months after its original October 15, 2012 award target date.  The awards range from $5 Million grants for Braskem’s Splitter project at the former Sunoco refinery in Marcus Hook to $500,000 for a compressed natural gas fueling station in Chambersburg, Franklin County.   There was heavy representation by medical, manufacturing and infrastructure projects, keeping in line with the job and tax creation goals of the RACP program.  The Administration has declined to release project scoring results.

For the complete list of RACP awards, click here.

Guest Blog: P3 Launches in Pennsylvania

Structured Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) are beginning to play a larger role in addressing significant infrastructure challenges across the country.  In June, Pennsylvania authorized structured P3s with the passage of Act 88 of 2012, the Public-Private Transportation Partnership Act.  The primary goal of the P3 legislation is to provide an innovative tool and flexible approaches to repairing, replacing and constructing new infrastructure across the Commonwealth.

So what is a P3?  The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) offers this:

A public-private partnership is a contractual agreement formed between public and private sector partners that allows more private sector participation than is traditional.  The agreements usually involve a government agency contracting with a private company to renovate, construct, operate, maintain, and/ or manage a facility or system.  While the public sector usually retains ownership in the facility or system, the private party will be given additional decision rights in determining how the project or task will be completed.

P3 is a relationship-based delivery method for construction.  They succeed based on sound partnerships and innovative ideas for delivering projects.  This is contradictory to the traditional design-bid-build contracting method Pennsylvania has historically used in constructing large transportation projects.  For many firms involved in the transportation construction industry across the Commonwealth, these projects will prove to be a major culture change and operational shift. 

PennDOT is currently realigning its internal organizational structure to support P3s.  In the coming weeks and months we anticipate hearing more about how the Department will function as an important player in these partnerships.

 The private sector has had a tremendous opportunity laid at its feet in Pennsylvania.   Firms that can be nimble and creative, while exhibiting strong P3 delivery experience and capabilities will best succeed in the P3 market.  How does the private sector play a role to deliver projects?  Let’s take a look at the I-495 Express Lanes project in nearby Fairfax County, VA for an example. 

 A P3 between VDOT, Transurban-Fluor and design-builder Fluor-Lane, this 14-mile long, $1.5 billion project cuts through some of the worst traffic congestion in the country, as rated by the Texas Transportation Institute.  Incredibly, this project is being built without reducing any traffic lane capacity during construction.  The 495 Express Lanes, opening on the Virginia side of the Capital Beltway, will provide faster, more direct options for high-occupancy vehicles and toll-paying customers.  There will be two new high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes in each direction, from the Springfield Interchange to just north of the Dulles Toll Road.

P3 Improvements include:

  • Two new HOT lanes in each direction from the Springfield Interchange to just north of the Dulles Toll Road (14 miles)

  • First-time introduction of HOV and reliable transit options to the Beltway and Tysons Corner

  • Replacement of more than $260 million of aging infrastructure, including more than 50 bridges and overpasses

  • Replacement of existing soundwalls and construction of new soundwalls to double existing noise reduction tools for surrounding neighborhoods

  • Construction of carpool ramps connecting I-95 with the Beltway to create a seamless HOV network

  • Upgrades to 12 key interchanges and new access points at Merrifield and Tysons Corner

The 495 Express Lanes Project represents one of the country’s most innovative and complex financings. The project is funded through a contribution from the Commonwealth, private equity, private activity bonds and a federal loan through the government’s TIFIA program. Effective risk sharing between the public and private sectors, a unique phased approach to facilitate financial close during tough economic times and the use of innovative federal financing tools make the project a pathfinder.

If the I-495 Express Lanes project is any example the power of P3 in Pennsylvania could be tremendous. Seemingly impossible-to-fund projects such as improvements to I-95 and 422 here in the greater Philadelphia region could conceivably be managed through a well-structured P3.

About the Author

Andrew Notarfrancesco is the President of BUILD Consulting Group, a unique government affairs firm that combines business development and government relationship professionals on the same team, providing a distinctly different and focused approach to managing the changing face of business and public affairs. 

US DOT Makes $470 Million Immediately Available for Transportation Projects

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood just announced that US DOT will be releasing all unobligated and unspent federal earmarks from FY 2003-2006 on a state-by-state basis.  Each state with unspent funds will be able to identify eligible projects by October 1, 2012 and must obligate those funds to the selected projects by December 31st, 2012.  Check out the list of states and available funds here.

Each state will determine its method of project identification.  Contact us for more details.

$2.5 Million Available Now for Housing Projects in PA
PHARE Program to Grant Funds for Development in Marcellus Shale Region.

Pennsylvania’s shale communities and affordable housing developers should be interested in the Commonwealth’s innovative new grant program, the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund, or PHARE.  Created by Act 105 of 2010, the program has been funded by Act 13 of 2012, more commonly known as the Marcellus Shale Impact Fee legislation.  PHARE will grant $2.5 Million this year and $5 Million each fiscal year going forward.

Now here’s why that’s important – the intent of the legislation was to directly address the impacts to PA’s communities from shale drilling activities. That means the PHARE funds are only eligible to the construction of safe, affordable housing opportunities in areas of the PA that are impacted by the development of the shale gas.  That means you can apply to help build homes, or you could apply to create a locally administered fund to help people buy homes, or you could come up with your own competitive idea to provide housing options to prospective homeowners in the shale region. 

Okay, well, where IS that exactly? Here’s a handy map from the smart folks at StateImpact Pennsylvania to help you out.  

Find a Competitive Edge

You need a competitive proposal.  Plan and build a project that makes sense for your organization, in a market that is still relatively new and untested in terms of innovative affordable housing, and demonstrate that the project meets the Commonwealth’s program goals all at the same time.

Here is the Commonwealth’s PHARE Request for Proposals.  And below is a breakdown of some of the program’s key principles:

  • Build in PA.  In counties where there are wells.  We already gave you this map.

  • Make sure your development meets the market needs driven by the gas impacts. Build for your home buyers, give them options. And build what the banks are going to finance.

  • Put mostly Other People’s Money (OPM) into the project.  Preferably yours or your equity partner’s.  The Commonwealth likes to fill project gaps, not fund the entire project. Show a good Return on Investment (ROI) ratio.

  • Partner, and partner effectively.  Public entities, non-profits and for-profit companies all working together can typically deliver a better project, and on time and under budget.  Use the grant to get the first one done, and then when it works, repeat it.  Show the Commonwealth how your partnership can independently sustain this type of development effort into the future.

  • Make sure every step of the process is audit-ready.

  • Do not apply if you are going to build houses for people who can already afford what is on the market in those areas.  Remember, you are meeting unmet need. Create affordable options where none exist currently.

There's More

There are many other requirements that must be met in order to present a winning proposal.  In this highly competitive, initial round of funding, you may want to pay close attention to these details.

We are here, and we can help.  November 2nd will be here before you know it.