Low Carbon Transportation Materials Grant Program SUMMARY

Asphalt Industry Needs to Support Buy Clean Policies

The final piece of President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act’s (IRA) Federal Buy Clean initiative became clear when the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced on March 12, 2024 how its $2 billion program to accelerate the use of low-embodied carbon  (LEC) materials will be implemented.   The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and General Services Administration (GSA) have already issued policy documents, guidance, project, and grant announcements as part of the Federal Buy Clean rollout supported by the IRA legislation. 

Per the announcement, the Low Carbon Transportation Materials Grant Program (LCTM) is now accepting grant applications from state transportation agencies to fund  “activities” and “projects” that reduce emissions through the use of low-embodied carbon materials.  According to the press release, FHWA is taking a hybrid approach to implement the program as follows:

  • $1.2 billion is available to the states, DC, and Puerto Rico and can be applied for now under the “Request for Application (RFA) program announced by FHWA.
  • $800 million will be made available later this year for metropolitan planning organizations and local governments to participate in the program through a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO).

Key Takeaways from Announcement

  • Each state is eligible for at least $22 million in grant funding.
  • LCTM applications due June 10, 2024.
  • Each state to submit only one application identifying projects to FHWA for consideration.
  • Only asphalt mix, concrete, steel, and glass eligible for funding
  • LCTM funds must be obligated by September 30, 2026
  • LCTM funds must be spent by September 30, 2031
  • Unused funds will be made available to other states

How Agencies Determine “Substantially Lower” Embodied Carbon Thresholds

Under the LCTM program, EPA determines what is an acceptable LEC material.  Thus, the process an agency uses must be in alignment with EPA’s Interim Determination (i.e., best performing 20 percent, 40 percent, and industry averages.)  FHWA allows for one of two options that may be combined for agencies to consider:                                 

  • Industry average information posted on FHWA’s website (available in Spring 2024); or
  • Agency determines GWP thresholds utilizing accepted ISO standards.

Implementation Process Report (IPR)

The first step each DOT will have to consider to access LCTM funds is to prepare an Implementation Process Report.  This report documents how the state DOT plans to implement LCTM activities and increase use of LEC asphalt/concrete.  The IPR must be submitted and approved by FHWA before funding under the LCTM program is authorized. 

What Asphalt Companies Should Be Doing

For asphalt companies interested in growing their asphalt mix market, or additive companies who supply low carbon technologies to asphalt companies, the time to meet with state DOT staff is now.  Will the state DOT submit a responsive application to FHWA?  What low carbon technologies will the state DOT include in the application that will be eligible for reimbursement?  Time is running out so act fast. Download (click here) this handy one-pager developed especially for the additive industry to serve as a guide to the LCTM Grants Program.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jay Hansen joined Surface Tech following a long and distinguished career at the National Asphalt Pavement Association and in the U.S. Congress where he worked on legislation from the Intermodal Surface Transportation Act (ISTEA) in 1991, to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) in 2021. Jay will serve as an ongoing resource for Surface Tech customers to help them get ahead of the growth curve and be ready for shifting market conditions as they occur in 2023 and beyond.

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JASON MARTIN

As a leader with both creative and analytical skills, Jason oversees the planning, development, and execution of Surface Tech’s marketing and advertising strategies. He has been responsible of late for clarifying the company’s value proposition through a series of new branding executions resulting in a revamped website and other improvements in the company’s strategic marketing initiatives.

Jason brings more than 25 years of industrial design, branding, and manufacturing experience to his new role as CMO. His work has appeared in leading design publications, and he has received numerous international design awards. His portfolio includes more than 40 design and utility patents in the fields of consumer electronics, software, packaging, medical devices, and software. Speed to market, with a critical eye for detail and simplicity, is the driving force behind his multidisciplinary design process.

Jason holds a BS in Industrial Design from The Ohio State University. His previous work experience includes Nike, Proctor & Gamble, Skylab Architecture, and founder of New Studio. 

Stacie Steel

U.S. Northwest

Stacie Steel, PE, offers a depth of experience in asphalt and concrete pavements. She has provided infrastructure-related civil engineering and project management consulting services to both public and private sector clients for the past 20 years.

Stacie’s technical expertise centers around all things pavements: structural design, materials design and specifications, sustainability, life-cycle cost analyses, pavement management, preservation and rehabilitation, QA/QC, materials testing, and forensic evaluations.

Throughout her career, she has worked on paving projects for many national commercial retailers, municipalities, and airports. Stacie has proven leadership and organizational capabilities, as evidenced by earning the President’s Choice Award from the WTS Colorado Chapter early in her career. She currently serves on the WTS Puget Sound Chapter’s TransportationYOU Committee, and is dedicated to ensuring access to local outdoor recreation opportunities serving on the Board of Directors for the Lonesome Lake Preservation Group.