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Rural and Tribal Assistance Pilot Program

Federal Agency


Office of the Secretary


To support early-stage development for rural and tribal infrastructure projects by providing grants for new staff or procurement of expert firms for legal, technical, and financial services.

Applicant and/or Project Eligibility Requirements

Entities eligible for award include rural local governments or political subdivisions, states, Tribes, and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. A project is considered rural if it is not in a Census Bureau 2020 designated urban area or it is in a Census Bureau 2020 designated urban area with a population of 150,000 or less.

Decarbonization Considerations

This opportunity can be used for a wide range of financial, technical, and legal services. Consider using this to plan for sustainable transportation infrastructure projects. Grants can be used to conduct feasibility studies and perform preliminary engineering and design, which will help the community secure further funds for the project implementation. Grants can also be used to get cost-benefit analyses, procurement support and funding application assistance.

Equity Considerations

DOT’s Strategic Goals are Safety, Economic Strength and Global Competitiveness, Equity, Climate and Sustainability, Transformation, and Organizational Excellence. Applicants are encouraged to reflect these values in work and include consideration of the extent to which the proposed project may address the unique challenges rural and tribal communities face relative to these goals.

Helpful Tips

This program is to support planning-phase activities for projects reasonably expected to be eligible for certain USDOT credit and grant programs. Consider how to leverage this program to better prepare for future grant applications.

Other Notes

$1.6 million of Program funds ($800,000 from each Fiscal Year until FY2026) will be set aside for grants to tribal entities. See the application dashboard here: See the list of awardees here:

Deadline (Announced or Anticipated)

First-come, first-served basis

Funding Available


Max Award Amount


Expected Allocations


Average Award (Estimated)


Matching Funds

Not required

Go to Program Website