Low-Carbon Transportation Materials Program Grants
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A resource for DOTs and other qualifying entities on the grant process and federal funding.

The Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law on Aug. 16, 2022, provides over $5 billion in discretionary funding to be used for three new FHWA programs, including the Low-Carbon Transportation Materials (LCTM) grant program, which account for $2 billion of the funding.

The request for applications can be found at: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/lowcarbon/

What are LCTM Grants?

The IRA created the LCTM grants program to reimburse and provide incentives to eligible recipients for using construction materials and products on projects that have substantially lower levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with production, use and disposal compared to estimated GHG emissions of similar materials or products, as defined by the EPA.

The LCTM Grants Program is an opportunity for DOTs and other qualifying entities to not only reduce carbon but contribute to the improvement of concrete quality overall. A program supported through the LCTM grant can consist of multiple steps that will lead to substantial reduction of embodied carbon over time.

What materials are eligible?

Eligible materials are concrete, asphalt, flat glass and steel with “substantially lower” GWP. “Substantially lower” values have been set by the EPA, based on national/regional industry data, and must be demonstrated through an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD).

What projects are eligible?

Under this program, funds are available to use on construction projects funded under 23 U.S.C., including projects on:

  • Federal-aid highway
  • Tribal transportation facility
  • Federal lands transportation facility
  • Federal lands access transportation facility

Who can receive a grant?

  • States
  • Units of local government
  • Political subdivision of a state
  • Territory of the United States
  • Federally recognized Indian Tribe
  • Federal Land Management Agencies
  • Metropolitan Planning Organization
  • Special purpose district or public authority with a transportation function

Getting Started with LCTM Applications

LCTM grants will involve a two-part application process. State DOTs will be able to apply first, with 90 days to respond. Other eligible entities will be able to apply next, with 90 days to respond. There will be one application allowed per entity.

What can DOTs expect during the application process?

DOTs will prepare a plan, or program, to establish processes to pursue low-embodied-global warming potential (GWP). Each agency will submit a single application for their entire program, selecting which eligible materials they want to include – RC3 encourages applicants to include concrete.

Programs should be broad and include all information needed to adopt LCTM in construction. This may include, but not limited to:

  • Specification review/modification
  • Adopting performance-based testing to ensure innovative new materials perform
  • Benchmarking current GHG emissions to assess improvement
  • Workforce development
  • Demonstration projects
  • Project implementation
  • Monitoring

Once the application is approved, the next step is to develop Implementation Process Reports (IPRs) for each phase of the program. DOTs can seek funding assistance to help pay for preparing their IPRs. Draft IPRs will be submitted to FHWA, who will review, comment and ultimately finalize for approval.

Once finalized and accepted, the funding to support the activities outlined in the IPR will be allocated. An agency will have until September 2026 to allocate the funding through IPRs with the intent of making a good faith effort to place eligible LCTM on an eligible project by September 2032.

What costs will the grant cover?

LCTM program grants will cover all extra costs associated with using an eligible material including higher material costs, but also costs associated with additional design, specifications, training and/or monitoring as covered in their approved IPRs, including the cost in developing the IPRs.

About RC3
In anticipation of the LCTM program, the American Concrete Pavement Association, National Concrete Pavement Technology Center, and other qualified engineering professionals have formed the Reduced Carbon Concrete Consortium (RC3). The purpose of the Consortium is to help disseminate information on reducing carbon in the construction process and assist DOTs and other qualifying entities with the LCTM application. The Consortium is also available to provide technical assistance to DOTs and facilitate contractor preparedness with critical next steps such as Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs).

Resources

  • Access Volume 1 of RC3’s sample template proposal: “Low-Carbon Transportation Materials Program Inflation Reduction Act Section 60506: Volume 1 Technical Application.” For guidance on preparation using the template, download our “Grant Proposal for Low- Carbon Transportation Materials Program Inflation Reduction Act Section 60506: Guidance on Preparation of Volume 1.” Errata for Volume 1 (which was originally released May 20, 2024) was released on May 28, 2024. Download the errata here. For those DOTs who have their applications underway, please consider swapping out language from the errata to better align with what FHWA prefers to see. Note the first two (1. And 2.4) are direct text-for-text swaps, which do not include any agency-specific information. The second two sections (3.1 and 3.2) will include specific information related to your application (this will mostly be the SHA acronym, but could include some other language your agency has included/modified).
  • Access Volume 2 of RC3’s sample template proposal: “Low-Carbon Transportation Materials Program Inflation Reduction Act Section 60506 Volume 2: Budget Application.” For guidance on preparation using the template, download our “Grant Proposal for Low-Carbon Transportation Materials Program Inflation Reduction Act Section 60506 Guidance on Preparation of Volume 2” and “Project Total Budget Template.” Note: RC3 guidance for Volume 2, originally released on May 17, 2024, was updated on May 28, 2024. The only changes to the original document are the addition of activities 3.6 and 4.5, which were previously missing.
  • The National Concrete Pavement Technology Center recently published the Guide for Reducing the Cradle-to-Gate Embodied Carbon Emissions of Paving Concrete, which provides agencies with strategies to reduce the environmental impacts of concrete production, as part of its FHWA Cooperative Agreement: Advancing Concrete Pavement Technology Solutions. Learn more about the publication and access the guide at: https://cptechcenter.org/news/cp-tech-center-publishes-reduced-carbon-guide.
  • Understanding the FHWA Supplement to its RFA:
    A supplement to the Request for Application (RFA), titled “Supplementary Information for IPR Content” was added by the FHWA as an appendix to its document, “Inflation Reduction Act Section 60506 Low-Carbon Transportation Materials Program Request for Applications.” The full FHWA document can be viewed here or the supplement can be viewed here. RC3 experts have produced a summary of key points from the RFA. This document highlights specific points of the RFA that will determine if agencies qualify for funding.
  • The Sustainable Pavement Program Cooperative Center (SPPCC), funded by the Federal Highway Administration and led by the University of California Pavement Research Center at UC Davis, is one of the channels distributing information about the LCTM Grant Program. A new document, “Goals and Co-Benefits of Implementing a Low-Carbon Transportation Materials Program using FHWA Low-Carbon Transportation Materials Grants Program Funding,” approved by the FHWA, is now available. SPPCC partners include Applied Pavement Technology, Inc. (APTech), North Carolina State University, UC Berkeley, Nichols Consulting Engineers (NCE), TheRightEnvironment (TRE), WAP Sustainability (WAP), and Senseney Engineering.
  • As part of the LCTM Grant application requirements, it is necessary to fill out “Form SF-424C, Budget Information for Construction Programs” as listed in the RFA under Table 2-Application Materials Overview. Because questions have arisen pertaining to this form, RC3 has obtained instructions from the FHWA to help agencies with the form’s completion. Download the instructions here.
  • RC3 has released a Gantt Chart schedule template that aligns with the Volume 1 and Volume 2 information previously released. As in the other documents, the template includes “Additional activity” fields to either be modified or removed depending on whether you will be proposing such activities. You will need Microsoft Project to manipulate the *.mpp file. You can download this *.pdf version if you don’t have Project but would like to see the template. Given recent clarification from FHWA, many activities shouldn’t require approved IPRs to begin work; those activities where IPR approval is required are shown in orange (and the “Task Name” box is also highlighted in orange).
  • UC Davis is leading the Sustainable Pavement Program Cooperative Center and working closely with FHWA supporting the LCTM Grants Program. Interactions with the Center (and with FHWA) have been routine throughout the development of the RC3 LCTM templates. While the Center is still working diligently to complete their Volume 1 template, the SPPCC Volume 2 template has been released. Access the spreadsheet here. It is also posted (along with a couple of Tech Briefs including the “Goals and Co-Benefits” document RC3 has shared) on the LCTM portion of the Center’s website: Low Carbon Transportation Materials (LCTM) Grants Program | Sustainable Pavement Program Cooperative Center (ucdavis.edu). When approved by FHWA, Volume 1 will also be found at this link. In reviewing the SPPCC Volume 2 template, you will see a lot of similarities to the RC3 Volume 2 template. Per our interactions with FHWA, either template will be “responsive” so long as it is supported by the Volume 1 narrative.
  • As of June 4, the FHWA’s LCTM website features a significantly expanded list of frequently asked questions (FAQs). The new FAQs include additional questions and answers in six topic areas. (The updates are consistent with what has been covered in meetings and individual discussions by RC3.)

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