WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin supported and worked to pass the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and now Wisconsin is set to receive an estimated $141,771,514 in federal funding over the next five years to help build more resilient infrastructure from the new Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-Saving Transportation (PROTECT) Formula Program.
“In recent years, Wisconsin communities have been hit hard by repeated storms, flooding and severe weather events. I’ve seen firsthand how these storms have washed out roads and damaged our highways and bridges, threatening Wisconsinites’ ability to get to work, to get their goods to market and to keep our economy moving forward. As climate change brings more extreme weather, we need to make sure that when we rebuild our infrastructure, that we are not only using American workers and American-made products, but also that we are rebuilding stronger infrastructure that is more resilient to damage from flooding, extreme weather and natural disasters,’ said Senator Baldwin. “This federal investment from the infrastructure law will help Wisconsin communities build stronger and more climate resilient infrastructure that will better withstand extreme weather events. This federal funding for Wisconsin will help make sure our infrastructure is built to last and saves taxpayer dollars.”
In an ongoing effort to combat the effects of climate change and address the growing costs of extreme weather events negatively impacting communities, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced new guidance and $7.3 billion in PROTECT Formula Program funding to help states and communities better prepare for and respond to extreme weather events like flooding, extreme heat, and wildfires. This is a first-of-its-kind program, made possible by infrastructure law that Senator Baldwin voted for.
The new PROTECT Formula Program funding is available to states over five years to make transportation infrastructure more resilient to future weather events and other natural disasters by focusing on resilience planning, making resilience improvements to existing transportation assets and evacuation routes, and addressing at-risk highway infrastructure. In general, eligible projects include highway and transit projects, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and port facilities including those that help improve evacuations or disaster relief. States are encouraged to work with regional and local partner organizations to prioritize transportation and emergency response improvements, as well as address vulnerabilities.
Eligible resilience improvements can involve adapting existing transportation infrastructure or new construction to keep communities safe by bolstering infrastructure’s ability to withstand extreme weather events and other physical hazards that are becoming more common and intense. Eligible project choices may include the use of natural or green infrastructure to buffer future storm surges and provide flood protection, as well as aquatic ecosystem restoration. PROTECT projects can also help improve the resilience of transportation networks that serve traditionally underserved and underrepresented communities, particularly during natural disasters and evacuations.
PROTECT builds on other USDOT actions to address the climate crisis and that support the Biden Administration’s whole-of-government approach to reducing greenhouse gas pollution by 2030. Other USDOT actions include a proposed rule for states and municipalities to track and reduce greenhouse gas emissions; the Carbon Reduction Program, which will provide $6.4 billion in formula funding to states and local governments to develop carbon reduction strategies; and the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program, which will provide $5 billion to states to build out a national electric vehicle charging network, an important step towards making electric vehicle charging accessible to all Americans.
For more information about the new PROTECT Formula Program and guidance, please see FHWA’s website and fact sheet. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act established both the PROTECT Formula and Discretionary Grant Programs.