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Federal Funding Streams, Fund Planning & Allocation, Program Administration

Funding Source

Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act

Under PROTECT, are flooding risks from rivers and Great Lakes considered “coastal”?

Under the Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-Saving Transportation (“PROTECT”) Program established by the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act (“IIJA”), flooding risks from the Great Lakes are generally considered “coastal,” but flooding risks from rivers are not.  Municipalities should carefully consider the underlying statutes.   

The Great Lakes Coastal Barrier Study Act of 1987 amended the Coastal Barrier Resources Act of 1982 to include the coastal barriers of the Great Lakes in its definition of “coastal”.[1] Therefore, under the PROTECT Program, projects located in areas subject to flooding from the Great Lakes themselves would typically qualify for benefits made available under the “coastal” definition.[2]

Certain eligible projects include:

  • Improving surface transportation assets like a tide gate to protect highways;
  • Improving assets that protect and enhance ecosystem conditions that ensure adequate flows in rivers and estuarine systems (upsized culverts);
  • Constructing or modifying storm surge, flood protection, or aquatic ecosystem restoration elements that are connected to a transportation improvement; and
  • Protecting a public transportation or port facility.[3]

On the other hand, PROTECT generally does not consider rivers “coastal.”[4] PROTECT allows for certain funding for Special Flood Hazard Areas (as defined by 44 CFR § 206.251 (e)), which are areas at risk due to “riverine flooding.”[5] Under 44 CFR § 59.1, riverine flooding means “relating to, formed by, or resembling a river (including tributaries), stream, brook, etc.”[6] Thus, certain projects targeting Special Flood Hazard Areas may be eligible for funding under PROTECT, depending on the project type. Certain eligible projects include:

  • Elevating a roadway to increase marsh health and the total area adjacent to a highway right-of-way to promote additional flood storage;
  • Upgrading and installing culverts designed to withstand 100-year flood events;
  • Upgrading and installing tide gates to protect highways;
  • Upgrading and installing flood gates to protect tunnel entrances;
  • Improving the functionality and resiliency of stormwater controls, including inventory inspections, and improving best management practices to protect surface transportation infrastructure.[7]

Last Updated: February 14, 2023

[1] U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Overview of the Coastal Barrier Resources Act (“CBRA”), available at:

[2]  Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, H.R. 117th Cong. (2021), Pub. L. No. 117-58, at Section 11405, at 135 STAT 568, available at:

[3] Id., at 135 STAT 563

[4] Id., at 135 STAT 562

[7] Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, H.R. 117th Cong. (2021), Pub. L. No. 117-58, at Section 11405, at 135 STAT 563, available at: