Frequently Asked Questions - Port Infrastructure Development Grants
*NEW* Questions about NOFO Amendment No.1 and the FY 2022 Appropriations Act
Please summarize the changes in Amendment No.1 to the NOFO.
- The FY 2022 Appropriations Act added $234,310,000 in funding to the PIDP 2022 competition. Of the $234,310,000, $209,310,000 must be allocated to projects at coastal seaports or Great Lakes ports.
- The FY 2022 Appropriations Act provides that the minimum grant award size will be $1 million. Please note, this minimum applies only to grants awarded under the FY 2022 Appropriations Act.
- The FY 2022 Appropriations Act provides that the cost effectiveness determination under 46 USC 54301 (a)(6)(A)(ii) does not apply to projects located in non-contiguous states or territories. Note: the cost effectiveness determination would apply to those projects if funded under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).
How does NOFO Amendment No.1 affect applicants and evaluations?
Applicants should carefully consider the differing funding restrictions for the BIL funding and the FY 2022 Appropriations Act funding, which could affect competitiveness and are further described in sections B and C of the amended NOFO. Please note the following:
- If a grant request seeks less than $1 million in PIDP funding, the application will only be eligible for funding under BIL. It would not be eligible for an award under the FY 2022 Appropriations Act funding because the FY 2022 Appropriations Act funding has a minimum request amount of $1 million.
- For applications seeking funding for large projects located in non-contiguous States or U.S. territories, DOT will evaluate any materials (as described in section D.2.e.(2)(a) of the NOFO) an applicant submits.
- Applicants do not need to specify which source of funding (BIL or FY 2022 Appropriations Act) they are seeking for their PIDP grant. Each project will be considered for funding under BIL and the FY 2022 Appropriations Act, as appropriate.
Has the application deadline changed?
No, applications are due on May 16th at 11:59 pm Eastern on grants.gov.
Where can I submit the application?
Final applications must be submitted through Grants.gov.
What if I am having technical issues with grants.gov?
Please refer to the following links for technical issues with grants.gov:
You can also contact Grants.gov Customer Support Hotline at 1-800-518-4726
Who can receive PIDP Grants?
An eligible applicant for a FY 2022 PIDP discretionary grant is:
A port authority, a commission or its subdivision or agent under existing authority, a State or political subdivision of a State or local government, an Indian Tribe (as defined in section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 5304), a public agency or publicly chartered authority established by one or more States, a special purpose district with a transportation function, a multistate or multijurisdictional group of entities, or a lead entity described above jointly with a private entity or group of private entities (including the owners or operators of a facility, or collection of facilities, at a port). Federal agencies are not eligible applicants for the FY 2022 PIDP.
If submitting a joint application, applicants must identify in the application the eligible lead entity as the primary point of contact and identify the primary recipient of the award.
How much funding is available this year?
The total amount available to make awards for FY2022 PIDP grants is $684,310,000. This amount is comprised of two separate sources of Federal funds. Congress provided, under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022 $234,310,000 in funding for the FY2022 PIDP Program. In addition to this funding baseline, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) also provides $2.25 billion for the PIDP program over the next five years (2022-2026), $450,000,000 of which is available in fiscal year 2022.
What does the Department mean by the term “leverage”?
The term leverage, as used in the PIDP NOFO, refers to the degree to which a project uses non-federal sources of funding to pay for project-related expenses. This can include State, local, and private sector funding.
What are the major changes from the FY 2021 PIDP Round?
The FY 2022 PIDP NOFO contains new program information and includes new program requirements based on provisions specified in 46 U.S.C. 54301, as amended by the NDAA, and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
The NOFO includes a new eligibility for projects that improve the safety, efficiency, or reliability of operational improvements, including projects to improve port resilience (as defined in Section A.4. of the NOFO). This eligibility emphasizes the importance of a port community’s ability to prepare for, withstand, and recover from a broad range of external influences that have the potential to delay or disrupt port operations and therefore adversely impact our nation’s supply chains. This eligibility also includes projects that improve port resiliency by addressing climate-related hazards such as sea-level rise, flooding, extreme weather events, earthquakes, and tsunami inundation. Moreover, 46 U.S.C. 54301(a)(6)(B), as amended by the NDAA, provides that the Secretary shall give substantial weight to a project’s impact on port resilience.
The BIL and the Consolidated Appropriations Act also make projects that reduce or eliminate port-related criteria pollutant or greenhouse gas emissions eligible for funding this year. Section 3513(c) of the NDAA also allows the Secretary to make grants in FY 2022 to provide for emissions mitigation measures that provide for the use of shore power for vessels to which sections 3507 and 3508 of title 46 apply, if such grants meet the other requirements set out in this notice,
Applicants who are planning to re-apply using materials prepared for prior competitions should ensure that their FY 2022 application fully addresses the criteria and considerations described in the notice of funding opportunity and that all relevant information is up to date.
How can I determine if my project is in a Historically Disadvantaged Community (HDC)?
- 5,129 changing tracts were incorrectly designated as disadvantaged, but USDOT has determined that they should not have been designated as disadvantaged.
- 3,187 changing tracts were incorrectly designated as not disadvantaged, but USDOT has determined that they should have been designated as disadvantaged.
If you used this tool to determine this information prior to May 10th, MARAD asks that, to the extent possible, you please resubmit your application materials using the updated functionality. As part of the PIDP program’s technical review process, MARAD will also conduct its own review of projects to determine if they are located in a Historically Disadvantaged Community.
Use of this map tool is optional; applicants are welcome to provide an image of the map tool outputs, but the designation of project location and eligibility as a Historically Disadvantaged Community will be verified by the Department upon receipt of the application. Please note that for the PIDP program, the Historically Disadvantaged Community designation is based on where the majority of project costs will be expended (not necessarily where the majority of project is constructed). If the project crosses boundaries of Historically Disadvantaged Community and a non-Historically Disadvantaged Community, please provide sufficient details by component in the project budget for the Department to verify where the majority of project costs will be expended. For technical assistance using the mapping tool, please contact GMO@dot.gov.
Is there a minimum grant amount for this program?
For PIDP grants awarded under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (the $450 million in funding for PIDP grants this year), there is no minimum grant amount.
For PIDP grants awarded under the Consolidated Appropriations Act (the $234,310,000 in funding for PIDP grants this year), the minimum grant amount is $1 million.
How do I apply for PIDP funding?
Applications for funding under the 2022 Port Infrastructure Development Program must be submitted through grants.gov. You can access the application materials by searching for “port infrastructure” on the grants.gov homepage. You can also locate the materials by searching for the funding opportunity number . . . MA-PID-22-001.
Is it possible for two departments within one city municipality to apply separately for the 2022 PIDP grant? For example, if the city has one UEI number, but separate city departments have their own DUNS number, can they both apply or does the shared UEI number limit the application to one, unrelated to the different DUNS numbers?
Since each applicant must provide a UEI as part of the application process thru Grants.gov, the Department would look to UEI numbers to ensure that applicants do not exceed the application limit in C.3.d. of the notice of funding opportunity.
What constitutes “development phase activities”? Are projects that center on development phase activities evaluated as being less competitive?
Development phase activities include planning, feasibility analysis, revenue forecasting, environmental review, permitting, and preliminary engineering and design work, in addition to port planning activities such as development of master plans, electrification master planning, and planning to address a port’s ability to withstand probable occurrence or recurrence of an emergency or major disaster. DOT will prioritize funding for projects that propose to move into the construction phase within a grant’s performance period. Applications for only development phase activities will be less competitive than capital grants.
Where can I find information on how to develop my application’s benefit-cost analysis?
All applicants should carefully review the DOT’s 2022 Benefit-Cost Analysis Guidance, which provides general information and guidance on conducting a benefit-cost analysis for grant applications. That guidance is available here:
Potential applicants should note that this guidance was recently (March 2022) updated so they should confirm that they have the latest version of the guidance before preparing their BCA.
Additionally, slides from the PIDP FY 2022 “Preparing a Benefit-Cost Analysis for a Large Project” webcast, which provide further information on the BCA preparation process, are available here: https://www.maritime.dot.gov/office-port-infrastructure-development/port-and-terminal-infrastructure-development/2020-port
Can you provide any guidance on what kind of benefit cost analysis (BCA) should be performed for an application targeting the 10% of funding that may be awarded for development phase activities for large projects (as defined in Section A.4. of this notice) that do not result in construction?
If the application seeks funding for development phase activities for a specific project (for example, funding for project planning, environmental consulting, engineering, and/or permitting work), the applicant should prepare a BCA by identifying the estimated benefits and costs of the specific project that the development phase activities advance. For the analysis, the applicant should assume that the development phase activities will lead to construction activity. The applicant should then identify, in narrative form, the benefits and costs of the specific project that will be advanced by the development phase activities. The applicant should also quantify – as best as possible – the benefits and costs of the project and present that information in tabular form. The applicant should use the guidance in sections 4 and 5 of the Benefit-Cost Analysis Guidance for Discretionary Grant Programs, Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation, March 2022 (“BCA Guidance”) in preparing its analysis.
If the application seeks funding for development phase activities for a general project (for example, funding for a study such as a harbor-wide infrastructure assessment or regional planning study), the applicant should prepare a BCA based on the expected outcomes of the project and tie the outcomes as closely as possible to the benefits identified in Section 4 of the BCA Guidance, such as safety benefits, travel time savings, operating cost savings, emissions reduction benefits, and health benefits. The narrative should contain a description of the outcomes, an assessment of the impacts of the outcomes (tied as closely as possible to the benefits discussed in the BCA Guidance) and provide information on the costs of the project. For example, if the application seeks funding for a study to prepare a master plan for port development, the BCA submission narrative might discuss the expected plan, anticipated timelines for implementing portions of the plan and how the plan integrates with other planning efforts identified in the notice of funding opportunity (see, for example, the discussion in Section D.2.e.(2), (3) and (4) of the notice of funding opportunity). The submission might then address how the outcomes advance the benefits described in the BCA Guidance (for example, the master plan will result in transportation infrastructure improvements that improve safety in and near the port). Finally, the narrative would include information on the costs of the planning project and details related to follow-on implementation.
Whether the development phase activity is focused on a specific project or a more general planning effort, DOT understands that a BCA for a development phase project may be less detailed than one for a construction project. Nevertheless, when preparing a BCA for a development phase application that qualifies as a large project, applicants should, as best as possible, utilize the concepts and approaches contained within the DOT BCA Guidance.
What are the definitions for urban and rural under PIDP?
A rural area is an area located outside a 2010 Census-designated urbanized area. The definition of urban and rural is based on the 2010 Census-designated urbanized areas. MARAD will use the following website to determine whether a project is in an urban or rural area:
A project located in both an urban and a rural area will be designated as urban if the majority of the project’s costs will be spent in urban areas. Conversely, a project located in both an urban area and a rural area will be designated as rural if the majority of the project’s costs will be spent in rural areas. For PIDP planning grants, the location of the project being planned, prepared, or designed will be used for the urban or rural designation.
Lists of 2010 UAs as defined by the Census Bureau are available on the Census Bureau website at: https://www.census.gov/geographies/reference-maps/2010/geo/2010-census-urban-areas.html.
Are improvements to Federally owned facilities are eligible under the FY 2022 PIDP Program?
Improvements to Federally owned facilities are ineligible under the FY 2022 PIDP.
What are some common application mistakes to avoid?
A few helpful hints:
- Proof-read your application before it is submitted. Double check your work in Grants.Gov. Ensure that you include all the files you need to submit, especially any files or attachments referenced in your application narrative, with your final application.
- Submit your application before the May 16, 2022 11:59PM E.D.T application deadline. Applications submitted after the deadline will not be considered, unless an applicant is able to provide verification that a technological issue error prevented their application from being correctly submitted.
- Please submit one application in Grants.Gov. If a duplicate application is submitted, MARAD will accept the last application received.
- Pay close attention to the content and format of your BCA. Among other things, ensure the BCA is clear and reproducible and free of technical errors or miscalculations. Remember to include any spreadsheet files (in their original format, such as Excel) and provide any technical memos describing the analysis (including, as appropriate, the source of values used that are different from the values suggested in the USDOT BCA guidance document.
- Ensure that you properly document that all parties to a project have the authority to carry out the project and that each party is clearly aware of their respective roles.