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The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, signed into law by President Biden, established the Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient and Cost-saving Transportation (PROTECT) discretionary grant program. This new competitive grant program, which provides $1.4 billion in funding over four years, is designed to make transportation more resilient to rising sea levels, increased flooding, natural disasters and climate change. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will administer the program; trails and other pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure are eligible for funding as solutions to climate impacts. This grant cycle is open through August 18, 2023.

The PROTECT program offers both planning and construction grants, though only 40% of award funds can be used for new construction. The federal share is 80% but there is the possibility for a higher federal share and lower local match if your state or metropolitan planning organization (MPO) develops a Resilience Improvement Plan. Projects selected under the PROTECT grant should be rooted in the latest scientific information around climate resiliency, risks, impacts and vulnerabilities.

One interesting eligibility for the PROTECT grants is natural infrastructure or nature-based solutions, which include conservation, construction or restoration of marshes, wetlands, native vegetation, reefs, shade trees and more. These solutions should focus on reducing flood risks, wave damage, heat effects or erosion, while also providing recreational benefits. PROTECT grants should also demonstrate innovative best practices that can be replicated.

Eligible applicants for PROTECT grants include:

Eligible activities for PROTECT grants include planning, construction, operations, maintenance, technology demonstrations, deployment, climate and sustainability, accessibility and security. As referenced above, trails and other bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure are eligible for PROTECT grants.

Quick Facts:

  • Type: Discretionary grant program
  • Administered By: The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT)’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
  • Year Created: Established by the signing of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
  • Purpose: To make transportation more resilient to the effects of climate change
  • Federal Share: For most active transportation projects, the federal share is 80% but with this program there is the possibility for a higher federal share if the state or MPO develops a Resilience Improvement Plan.
  • Also Known As: PROTECT

Resources

Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-Saving Transportation (PROTECT) Formula Program: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/bipartisan-infrastructure-law/protect_fact_sheet.cfm

PROTECT General Grant Program Information: https://www.transportation.gov/rural/grant-toolkit/promoting-resilient-operations-transformative-efficient-and-cost-saving

PROTECT FHWA Discretionary Grant Program: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/protect/discretionary/