Lowenthal Introduces Bill to Ensure Transparency In Infrastructure Grants

March 10, 2020
Press Release
Legislation would enhance oversight and accountability for Dept. of Transportation selection of freight projects through INFRA program

Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) today introduced the INFRA Transparency Act to enhance reporting requirements for the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) major discretionary freight infrastructure grant program: Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA).

Original cosponsors of the legislation are Representatives Grace Napolitano (CA-32), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Julia Brownley (CA-26), and Harley Rouda (CA-48), who, along with Congressman Lowenthal, are members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

“Current law requires the DOT to release an annual report on the INFRA program, but the information provided does not give enough information to thoroughly evaluate the project selections” said Rep. Lowenthal. “More transparency will allow sponsors to improve applications in future competitions and enhance public confidence that the DOT has selected the most urgent projects of national and regional significance for freight movement.”

“Competitive grants are critical to funding large-scale freight infrastructure projects, which are difficult to fund through traditional distribution methods such as formula programs. Projects must be selected using merit-based criteria that identifies and prioritizes investments with a demonstrable contribution to national freight efficiency,” said Elaine Nessle, executive director of the Coalition for America’s Gateways & Trade Corridors. “Congressman Lowenthal’s INFRA Transparency Act aims to make the decision-making process transparent in order to affirm the integrity of the evaluation process and ensure the best and highest use of federal dollars. Moreover, it will provide applicants with the information necessary to develop projects and applications that align most closely with the program’s goals and advance our freight network to meet the needs of tomorrow. We appreciate Congressman Lowenthal’s ongoing dedication to improving our nation’s goods movement system.”

The INFRA Transparency Act requires that the annual report on the INFRA program includes:

  • A summary of each project that applied for grant funding
  • A rating for each project on its ability to fulfill the program goals
  • The full application for projects awarded grants