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Frequently Asked Questions - Port Infrastructure Development Grants


When are applications due?

Applications are due by 5:00 pm EDT on Friday, July 30, 2021. Applications must be submitted through


What has changed in the new FY 2021 PIDP competition?

FY 2021 PIDP program priorities have been updated to include a focus on improving racial equity and access to opportunity, mitigating or reducing the effects of climate change in addition to the goals of improving the safety, efficiency and reliability of the movement of goods. Specifically, two additional criteria have been added for FY 2021: 1) Addressing climate change and environmental justice impacts, and 2) Advancing racial equity and reducing barriers to opportunity. Consideration will also be given to projects local hiring as important aspects of economic vitality and project delivery.

In addition to the selection criteria, the Department will consider whether a project is located within a federally designated community development zone. We encourage applicants to review the information in the Notice of Funding Opportunity for a detailed description of how each criterion will be evaluated.


What stayed the same from previous PIDP competition?

The FY 2021 PIDP competition continues to focus on themes of improving the safety, efficiency, and reliability of the movement of goods, supporting economic vitality and leveraging federal funding. The eligible costs, project types, minimum statutory cost share, project sizes and other requirements defined by the statute have not changed.


How does the evaluation process work?

First, technical evaluation teams made up of Departmental staff will determine whether projects satisfy statutory requirements and rate how well they address the selection criteria outlined in the NOFO. A Senior Review Team, comprised of Departmental leadership, will then consider the applications and the results of the technical evaluations to determine which projects to advance to the Secretary for consideration. The Secretary will ultimately make the final selection for awards, consistent with the statutory requirements for PIDP Grants and the selection criteria in the NOFO.


What does the Department mean by the term “leverage”?

The term leverage, as used in the PIDP NOFO, refers to the degree to which a project uses non-federal sources of funding to pay for grant project costs. This can include State, local and private sector funding.


How will the Climate Change and Environmental Justice criterion be evaluated?

A: The Department encourages applicants to (1) consider climate change and environmental justice in project planning efforts, and (2) to incorporate project components dedicated to mitigating or reducing impacts of climate change. Applicants should reference specific qualifying activities and project components for this criterion. See Sections D and E of the NOFO for further guidance on what to include in an application and how the Department will evaluate this criterion.

How will the Racial Equity and Barriers to Opportunity criterion be evaluated?

The Department encourages applicants to address potential inequities and barriers to equal opportunity in: (1) planning and policies; and (2) project investments. Applicants should reference specific qualifying activities and project components for this criterion. For further guidance, see Sections D and E of the NOFO for further guidance on what to include in an application and how the Department will evaluate this criterion.


Are there sources of information, tools or guidance that can help PIDP grant applicants with the sections of their application narrative that addresses the priorities of Climate Change/Environmental Justice and Racial Equity/Barriers to Opportunity?

Yes. EPA’s Ports Initiative has resources and contacts related to the new Climate Change/Environmental Justice and Racial Equity criteria. Some of the Initiative’s resources focus on how to identify the best technology to reduce greenhouse gasses (and other emissions) that contribute to climate change and impact port neighbors.  There are also tools for collaboration to help ports understand environmental justice impacts and how to collaborate with neighbors (and vice versa, to help neighbors understand port operations). Each of the 10 EPA Regions participates in this national initiative and is available to collaborate with the ports in their area of responsibility.

For more information, visit the Initiative home page:

Some specific sections of EPA’s website that may be of interest include: 

Key technology resources:

More here:


EJ and collaboration resources:


More tools, and case studies:


Best practices and real-world examples of emissions reductions and community engagement activities at major ports:

To be connected with your regional EPA contact, email: 


What is the definition of a small port?

A small port is defined as a coastal seaport, Great Lakes, or inland river port to and from which the average annual tonnage of cargo during the 3 calendar years immediately preceding the time of application is less than 8,000,000 short tons.


What is a small project at a small port?

A project is a “small project at a small port” if the application for the project seeks less than or equal to $4.14 million in PIDP funding.


What is considered a “Large” project?

A project at a port other than a small port, regardless of the amount of PIDP funding sought in the application, or a project at a small port for which the amount of PIDP funding sought in the application is greater than $4.14 million.


How should I complete the “Project Information Form” found in the Related Documents section of the funding opportunity on Grants.Gov?

A sample of a completed Project Information Form can be found here.


Is there a minimum or maximum award size for each project?

The minimum PIDP award size is $1 million.  Except as limited by the amount of available funding and the statutory restrictions on funding identified in Section B.3 of the NOFO, there is no maximum award size. However, no more than $57.5 million in PIDP funding may be awarded to projects in any one state.


What project activities constitute “development phase activities”? Are projects that center on development phase activities evaluated as being less competitive?

Development phase activities include planning, feasibility analysis, revenue forecasting, environmental review, permitting, and preliminary engineering and design work.  DOT will prioritize funding for projects that propose to move into the construction phase within the grant’s performance period.  Applications for only development phase activities will be less competitive than capital grants.


Are improvements to Federally owned facilities eligible under the FY 2021 PIDP Program?

Improvements to Federally owned facilities are ineligible under the FY 2021 PIDP.


Where can I find guidance on preparing a benefit-cost analysis?

Department of Transportation guidance on preparing a benefit-cost analysis can be found at the following link:

A picture of a port with a ship.
Last updated: Thursday, May 27, 2021