By Eileen Houlihan, senior writer/editor, ARTBA

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Sept. 5 released a one-time “notice of funding opportunity” for $225 million in grant applications to its Competitive Highway Bridge Program. The program was initiated as part of the FY 2018 government-wide funding bill that provided $2.5 billion in general funds and supported supplemental highway investments. These funds are in addition to the Highway Trust Fund-supported $44.2 billion in core highway investment authorized by the 2015 FAST Act surface transportation law. The 2018 measure also distributed $2 billion of the supplemental highway funds among all states via formula.

Eligible applicants for the discretionary bridge funds are states that have a population density of less than 100 individuals per square mile, meaning 25 states qualify: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Funds must be used for highway bridge replacement and rehabilitation projects on public roads that “demonstrate cost savings by bundling multiple highway bridge projects.” FHWA said it would distribute the funds on a competitive basis. Applications must be submitted online at www.grants.gov/ by the Dec. 4 deadline. More information on the FHWA website.