The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law established both the PROTECT Formula and Discretionary Grant Programs. The PROTECT Discretionary Grants Program funds projects on a competitive basis that address the climate crisis by improving the resilience of the surface transportation system, including highways, public transportation, ports, and intercity passenger rail. Nature-based solutions, such as protective wetland buffers and culverts, are eligible for this program. The Program also seeks to award projects that will increase equitable access to project benefits.

Eligible Uses

There are four categories of funding under the PROTECT Discretionary Grant Program.

  • Planning Grants, including vulnerability assessments, technical capacity building, evacuation planning, and development of a Resilience Improvement Plan
  • Resilience Improvement Grants to increase resilience of existing surface transportation infrastructure, including through natural infrastructure
  • Community Resilience and Evacuation Route Grants that strengthen and protect evacuation routes that are essential for providing and supporting evacuations caused by emergency events
  • At-Risk Coastal Infrastructure Grants will address the risks from a current or future weather event or natural disaster, including coastal flooding, coastal erosion, wave action, storm surge, or sea level change; and help reduce long-term infrastructure costs by avoiding larger future maintenance or rebuilding costs

Eligible Recipients

  • For the competitive grant program, eligible recipients include state (including D.C. and Puerto Rico), local, and tribal governments, as well as metropolitan planning organizations, special purpose districts or public authorities with a transportation function (such as port authorities). A Federal land management agency may be eligible if the agency applies jointly with a State or group of States.
  • For the At-Risk Coastal Infrastructure Grants, eligible recipients include the entities listed about, but must be in states (including the U.S. Territories Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) in, or bordering on, the Atlantic, Pacific, or Arctic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, Long Island Sound, or one or more of the Great Lakes.

Approx Annual Funding Amount

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law designated $1.4 billion total for the PROTECT discretionary grant program through FY2026. The program includes set asides for rural communities and Indian Tribes.

Cost Share Requirements

  • For Planning Grants, the Federal share is 100%. 
  • For the remaining three Resilience Grants, an 80% federal / 20 % non-federal cost share is required, except for instances where a 100% federal share is available for a tribe as determined by the Secretary. Waivers are available in some circumstances.
  • Cost share requirements may be fulfilled through other Federal non-PROTECT Discretionary Grant Program funds, though cost share requirements of those federal funds must still be met.
  • Non-Federal cost share requirements may be reduced by up to 10 percentage points if states have a Resilience Improvement Plan in place and if that plan is incorporated into other metropolitan or statewide long-range transportation plans. 

Application Cycle

The first NOFO for this program was released in April with applications due in mid-August.


Other Info

  • This program is covered under the Justice40 Initiative.
  • Applicants may use one application to submit the same project for multiple funding categories if the project meets the eligibility criteria for multiple categories.