Workforce Transportation Pilot
The Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan provides $5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to the Maine Department of Transportation to support local, regional, and state workforce transportation pilot projects, especially in rural areas. Administered by MaineDOT’s Bureau of Planning, the department’s Workforce Transportation Pilot program is a competitive grant program that provides funds to support other workforce transportation pilot projects around the state. Funds may be used for capital and operating costs, including program start-up costs.
The Bureau of Planning anticipates a $750,000 award cap; however, that award cap is subject to change based on need and volume of applications. MaineDOT reserves the right to negotiate project scope and deliverables prior to finalizing awards. There is no minimum or maximum number of awards. Projects will be selected based on merit and the availability of funding.
While there is no application deadline, applicants are encouraged to submit projects as soon as possible. The Bureau of Planning will accept, evaluate, and make decisions on grant applications on an ongoing, rolling basis until all funds have been disbursed. In its evaluation process and awarding of funds, MaineDOT will consider that some applicants will be able to apply for funds sooner than others. In general, awarded projects should begin within four months of contract execution. This requirement can be waived based on circumstances as described by the applicant.
While projects may support transportation of workers from rural areas to more urban areas or centers of employment, the focus is on workforce transportation in rural areas. As such, some funds will be targeted specifically to connecting workers in rural areas to employment opportunities in rural areas.
Federal guidance provides that funds may be used to respond to COVID-19’s negative economic impacts on the tourism, travel, and hospitality industries. Other identified industries suffering comparable economic impacts include healthcare and social assistance; construction, trade, and logistics; manufacturing; education; agriculture, fishing, and forestry; information; and clean energy. Applicants must demonstrate that they are addressing challenges in these industries. Proposed initiatives must focus on workers and potential workers in these key industry sectors. MaineDOT staff will work with potential applicants to ensure that any proposals meet these requirements.
Applications may be submitted by employers or groups of employers, municipalities, non-profit organizations, human service organizations, and public/private transportation providers. Applicants are encouraged to engage with potential partners including, but not limited to, regional planning organizations, chambers of commerce and other business groups, county governments, workforce boards, and community action programs.
All requests for financial assistance from this workforce transportation pilot program should be submitted electronically to MaineDOT Policy Development Specialist Ryan Neale at email@example.com. For other assistance, including help completing the application, please contact MaineDOT’s Bureau of Planning at 207-624-3300.