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The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has received 212 applications totaling nearly $9.8 billion for grants through the new Fostering Advancements in Shipping and Transportation for Long-term Achievement of National Efficiencies (FASTLANE) program, the agency announced late last week.The intense interest in the new grant program underscores the continuing need for transportation infrastructure investment across the nation, USDOT officials said in a press release. "We know there is pent up demand for projects that will speed up the delivery of goods and make America even more competitive," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "We're going to do our best to support high impact transportation projects that will lay a new foundation for job creation and exporting American made goods throughout the world."Of the 212 applications received, 136 represent projects in urban areas, while 76 involve projects in rural areas. The application deadline was April 14.The new grant program was created as part of the federal FAST Act that Congress passed late last year that's designed to fund critical freight and highway projects.For the first time in the department's 50-year history, the program establishes multiyear eligibilities for freight infrastructure, including intermodal projects, USDOT officials said.The grants will address national challenges as identified by the department. Those challenges include increased congestion on the nation's highways and the need for a strong multimodal transportation system. The FASTLANE program also is in line with the department's draft National Freight Strategic Plan.
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