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Federal discretionary grant opportunities

The U.S. Department of Transportation and other agencies award federal discretionary grants to eligible applicants through a highly-competitive nationwide process based on qualifications and merit.

Applications are submitted via grants.gov to the federal agency offering the grant.

Applications undergo a rigorous peer review by a panel of subject matter experts. After multiple layers of review, a final funding decision is made based on the quality of the application and how well the proposed project will fulfill the program’s mission.

Contact

Amara Vogt | 517-216-0903
Discretionary funding planner

Eric Mullen | 517-331-6169
Division administrator

MDOT's summary guide to federal discretionary grants

MDOT developed a summary guide to provide summary information about the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), and Appropriations Act (AA) discretionary grant opportunities. The summary guide only lists discretionary grant opportunities that have funding that has been appropriated (either Highway Trust Fund or General Fund) for the remaining years of BIL Fiscal Years (FY) 2023-2026.

 

Summary guide

Current Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) solicitations

 

Program and agency

Amount available

Applications due

Reconnecting Communities Pilot (RCP) Program - Office of the Secretary

$607 M

Sept. 30, 2024

Bridge Investment Program - FHWA

$9.7 B

Large bridge: Aug. 1, 2024

Bridge projects - FHWA

Planning and other bridge projects - FHWA

$9.7 B

Bridge project grants: Nov. 1, 2024

Planning project grants: Oct. 1, 2024

Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) - Office of the Secretary

$1.26 B

Planning and demonstration:
Aug. 29, 2024

Active Transportation Infrastructure Investment Program - FHWA

$44.5 M

July 17, 2024

Roadside Pollinators Program - FHWA

$3 M

July 18, 2024

Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) - Office of the Secretary

$50 M

July 12, 2024

Federal State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail (NEC) - FTA

$ 2.034 B

July 14, 2024

Pilot program for transit-oriented development planning - FTA

$10 M

July 22, 2024

Charging and fueling infrastructure programs (includes National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure) - FTA

$1.321 B

Aug. 28, 2024

Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
Federal Transit Administration (FTA)

Grant information

  • Steps in the grant application process

    Please review the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) provided above, paying particular attention to the following details:

    • Determine eligible projects and recipients.
    • Identify grant award amounts, including minimum and maximum thresholds.
    • Note any special set-asides or allocations, such as those designated for planning studies or projects in rural areas.
    • Understand the required local match.
    • Familiarize yourself with the scoring criteria and emphasis areas.
    • Take note of the statutory deadline for obligating funds.
    • Be aware of the grant application deadline.
    • Find out when grant awards will be announced.

    Select a project or projects based on eligibility criteria and requirements as outlined in the NOFO.

    Begin an application based on the program requirements. Solicit technical assistance from USDOT in developing an application as needed.

    Create an account then upload application materials at Grants.gov. Do this early to become familiar with the site and organize your application materials.

    Submit all materials as required by the grant and note the deadlines. Consider the following tips while crafting your application:

    • Address each scoring criterion or clearly indicate when it's not applicable to your project.
    • Support your statements with relevant data or documentation whenever possible.
    • Conduct a benefit-cost analysis (BCA) following USDOT guidance.
    • Highlight any local matches to demonstrate strong community commitment to the project.

    Wait and debrief. USDOT reviews all applications and provides decision notification of projects selected for funding. Tips for projects not selected:

    • Carefully review any feedback provided.
    • Sign up for a debrief meeting with USDOT.
    • Consider re-submitting the project during the next cycle but address any deficiencies in the previous application.

    Examples and information on how to write grants:

    U.S. DOT’s Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation Economic Success (ROUTES) Toolkit provides resources for applying for a discretionary grant as well as an explanation of the grant process.

  • State resources

    Michigan Infrastructure Office

    USDOT resources

    USDOT Navigator is a vital tool to help communities understand ways to apply, plan and deliver projects.

    USDOT's Justice40 (J40) initiative addresses decades of underinvestment in disadvantaged communities. The Equitable Transportation Community (ETC) Explorer is a dynamic tool to explore the cumulative burden communities experience as a result of underinvestment in transportation. It can help communities identify projects to reverse and create lasting benefits.

    • Webinar: For a detailed explanation on how to use the DOT Justice40 ETC Explorer Tool, see the June 2023 Webinar and use passcode n@9R0@#t.

    USDOT Project Delivery Center of Excellence offers tools and resources to help communities accelerate the completion of local transportation infrastructure investments, and complete them on time, on task and on budget.

    USDOT's Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation Economic Success (ROUTES) Toolkit provides resources for applying for a discretionary grant.

    USDOT Discretionary Grants Dashboard has an overview of discretionary grant opportunities and a dashboard that identifies grant programs (within and beyond DOT) with rural and Tribal set-asides or match waivers available.

    The Build America Center BIL Launchpad Tool provides customized funding information, a plan ahead calendar, and helps match your project to successful awards.

    Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) resources

    FHWA BIL Discretionary Grant Fact Sheets

    FHWA Competitive Grant Funding Matrix shows eligible applicants for each FHWA discretionary grant.

    Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) resources

    Improving Rail in Rural Communities was developed to help rural applicants.

    Justice40 Rail Explorer mapping tool.