Administration of Highway and Transportation Agencies. Guide to Supporting and Sustaining Transportation Grant Programs for Local Governments and Tribes

State departments of transportation (DOTs) administer programs and policies that direct grant funding to local or regional entities. This funding may originate from federal and state budget outlays and is often distributed following competitive application processes. The grant program lifecycle is complex and requires distinct knowledge and expertise in the application, agreement/award, implementation, and closeout phases. Localities and tribes must consider factors such as (1) the qualifications needed to apply for and manage a grant; (2) the data required to successfully navigate the grant application process; (3) the grant agreement process and adherence to original project scope, schedule, and budget; and (4) the requirements that must be followed during all phases of the grant process. Due to constraints such as lack of training, expertise, and dedicated personnel availability, the challenges of effective grant application and implementation can be particularly acute for smaller entities such as localities and tribal governments. Further considerations arise when accounting for varying organizational structures and grant management practices of state DOTs, localities, and tribes; interactions with regional jurisdictional organizations such as councils of governments and metropolitan planning organizations; and the reality of constraints such as those enumerated above. To effectively secure and use grant funds in a timely manner, potential grant recipients need to understand not only how to apply for funds and comply with program requirements, but also how to deliver projects. A need exists to develop strategic decision-making tools to aid local and tribal governments to successfully navigate grant program processes and meet program objectives. A complementary need exists to develop guidelines for how state DOTs, beginning with senior leadership, can support local and tribal governments during this process. Localities and tribes are further in need of timely information regarding recent expansions in federal transportation grant programs, such as those enabled by the Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act (IIJA), but also information relevant to other current and future programs at the federal and state levels. The objectives of this research are to: (1) identify and illustrate examples of successful grant applications to relevant transportation grant programs; (2) develop strategic decision-making tools for local governments and tribes to manage the grant program lifecycle; (3) develop guidelines for state DOTs on how to support and coordinate with grant recipients, including successful use cases throughout the grant program lifecycle; and (4) develop outreach tools to effectively communicate project findings to stakeholders.


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Funding: $500000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-24(146)

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Brooks, Mike

  • Start Date: 20231113
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01863190
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-24(146)
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: Nov 1 2022 6:22AM