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The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) is soliciting applications for $800 million in grants under the new Fostering Advancements in Shipping and Transportation for the Long-term Achievement of National Efficiencies (FASTLANE) program.Included in the FAST Act passed by Congress in December 2015, the new program authorizes grants to be used to fund critical freight and highway projects. The act authorized $800 million in funds for fiscal-year 2016, with 25 percent to be reserved for rural projects and 10 percent for smaller projects, USDOT officials said in a press release.The availability of the dedicated grants marks the first time in USDOT history that a program establishes broad, multiyear eligibilities for freight infrastructure, including intermodal projects, department officials said."Our nation needs a strong multimodal freight system to both compete in the global economy and meet the needs of consumers and industry," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "We now have an opportunity to fund high-impact projects that address key challenges affecting the movement of people and freight."Authorized by the FAST Act's Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects (NSFHP) program, the grants will fund small and large projects. Large projects — equal to the lesser of $100 million or a certain specified statutory percentage of the project state's fiscal-year 2015 apportionment— are eligible for a minimum award of $25 million. Small projects, which consist of projects below the minimum large project size threshold, are eligible for a minimum award of $5 million.
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