The Federal Highway Administration published new guidance last week for the $7.3 billion formula grant program created by the bipartisan infrastructure law to help states and communities prepare transportation infrastructure for extreme weather events and natural disasters.
Known as the Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-Saving Transportation, or PROTECT, funding program, it makes $1.4 billion available in the current fiscal year, an amount that will increase by $30 million each successive year through fiscal year 2026.
“We see the effects of climate change and extreme weather play out across the country every week, with extreme temperatures and rainfall and resulting flooding and wildfires that damage and in some cases destroy roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure,” said Acting Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack in a press release.
Projects eligible for funding under the PROTECT program include highway and transit projects along with bicycle, pedestrian and port facilities that help improve evacuations or disaster relief.
Resilience improvements may involve adapting existing transportation infrastructure or new construction to withstand extreme weather events and other climate-related physical hazards that are becoming more common and intense, the announcement says.
States are required to use at least 2% of their PROTECT formula program funding each fiscal year for specified types of resilience-related planning activities and may use up to 40% to construct new capacity.