Rural Surface Transportation Grant (RSTG)
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Enacted through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) in 2021, the Rural Surface Transportation Grant (RSTG) program provides $2 billion over five fiscal years to support projects that will improve and expand surface transportation infrastructure in rural areas—with the goal of increasing connectivity, improving the safety and reliability of the movement of people and freight, and generating regional economic growth and improved quality of life. Eligibilities include projects that would be eligible under the Highway Safety Improvement Program, the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program or the Tribal Transportation Program (of which trails and active transportation infrastructure are allowable uses). Projects must be in rural areas, which are defined as areas that are outside urbanized areas with a population of 200,000 or more. Eligible applicants include states, regional transportation planning organizations (RTPOs), and local and tribal governments. Funds can be used for planning and development as well as construction, including right-of-way acquisition.
In Fiscal Year 2022, the U.S. Department of Transportation combined the Notice of Funding Opportunity for the RSTG with notices for two other programs—the Mega and INFRA grants—in the “Multimodal Project Discretionary Grant.” Because the Mega grant program typically funds highway and bridge projects that are larger than trail and active transportation networks, and the INFRA program focuses on freight, the USDOT is not as focused on active transportation in this grant cycle. This is, nevertheless, an opportunity worth pursuing for projects in rural areas. Although most projects must have a minimum project size of more than $25 million, 10% of the program is set aside for projects that have a total project cost of $25 million or less.
- Administered By: U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT)
- Year Created: 2021, with the passing of the BIL
- Federal Share: The federal share is 80% for planning grants and no more than 50% of total project costs for capital construction grants.
- Also Known As: RST
USDOT Rural Surface Transportation Grant (RSTG) program page: https://www.transportation.gov/grants/rural-surface-transportation-grant