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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Agencies, towns urged to apply for new federal DOT funds

Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón

By The Star Staff

Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón urged Puerto Rico agencies and municipalities on Wednesday to apply for the new transportation and highway infrastructure funds available under the federal Department of Transportation (DOT).

The competitive funding program, Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure Sustainably and Equitably (RAISE), has $1.5 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act.

“This program, previously known as TIGER/BUILD, offers a great opportunity to advance projects around the island that strengthen our transportation system; in this way we become more competitive and improve the quality of life,” González Colón said in a written statement. “Puerto Rico has not received these funds since 2012 and I have worked so that the island has equal treatment during the consideration of these projects, managing to include language in the budget reports for these purposes.”

As a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, the resident commissioner pushed for and was able to get the House Appropriations Committee to include language in the report accompanying the fiscal year 2021 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill urging the DOT to fairly consider the transportation proposals submitted by the territories under the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD, previously known as TIGER) grant program.

“This is because only three projects have been awarded under this program to the territories, although they have submitted 114 applications between fiscal years 2009 and 2019,” González Colón said. “The RAISE program replaces the BUILD and TIGER programs. The minimum amount of the RAISE grant is $5 million, except for projects located in rural areas whose minimum amount is $1 million.”

Grants cannot exceed $25 million. The deadline for applications is April 14, and selections will be announced no later than Aug. 12, 2022. The program is applied for through and at the following link:

DOT indicated that the RAISE projects will be evaluated on the statutory criteria of safety, environmental sustainability, quality of life, competitiveness and economic opportunity, good condition, partnership and innovation; this year the evaluations will also include the criteria of mobility and community connectivity.

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