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Biden-Harris administration announces US$200 million in grants to fix ageing natural gas pipes

Published by , Senior Editor
World Pipelines,

The US Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is soliciting grant applications for nearly US$200 million as part of part of a first-of-its-kind programme established by President Biden’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in November 2021.

The Natural Gas Distribution Infrastructure Safety and Modernization (NGDISM) grant programme, is aimed at mitigating safety risks and methane emissions from high-risk and leak-prone legacy natural gas distribution pipes. To date, the grant programme has provided nearly US$600 million in funding to create hundreds of good-paying pipeline jobs, help lower energy costs for consumers, and modernise infrastructure that has been around for decades with some from as far back as the Civil War Era.

“Under the Biden-Harris Administration, we're making critical infrastructure updates in every region of the United States – and this work includes repairing and replacing corroded and outdated natural gas pipes that in some instances have been underground for over a century,” said US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “The round of grants we are opening today will help reduce methane pollution and make it possible for over 100 communities to access safer, more reliable energy and potentially lower energy bills.”

The funding opportunity is open to all municipal or community-owned utilities (excluding for-profit entities) seeking assistance in repairing, rehabilitating, or replacing high-risk, leak-prone natural gas distribution infrastructure. Examples of projects funded by the programme include:

  • Richmond Gas Works (Richmond, VA) – US$49 million to replace over 42 miles of cast-iron, ductile iron, and steel natural gas mains on a system where some parts are over 170 years old.
  • City of Donaldsonville (Donaldsonville, LA) – US$30 million to repair and replace existing gas lines to reduce leaks throughout its distribution system and lower energy costs for the city’s underprivileged customers.
  • Philadelphia Gas Works (Philadelphia, PA) -º US$85 million to replace 46 miles of ‘at-risk’ cast iron pipes in historically disadvantaged areas throughout the city to modernise its natural gas infrastructure, minimise service disruptions, and support economic development.

Funds can also be used to acquire equipment that will assist in reducing natural gas distribution pipeline incidents and fatalities, as well as to avoid economic loss from leaks.

“This first-of-its-kind programme established by the President's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is saving lives and ensuring work that would otherwise take decades is completed in a matter of years.” said PHMSA Deputy Administrator Tristan Brown. “We are seeing huge interest from rural, urban, and tribal communities for this programme – and we're eager to get this additional round of funding to those in need.”

Collectively, these projects will reduce the risk of methane leakage, which has nearly 80 times the global warming potential as carbon dioxide, create good-paying jobs for pipeline workers, and reduce energy costs associated with the repair of legacy pipes which PHMSA otherwise requires as part of each natural gas distribution system’s Distribution Integrity Management Plan.

Final award selections will take into consideration a project’s economic benefit to disadvantaged rural or urban communities, the quality and number of applications received, the dollar amount requested, as well as other factors as listed in the Notice of Funding Opportunity.

The deadline to apply for the latest request for grant applications is 20 June 2024.

For more information, including how to obtain full eligibility requirements and application instructions, please read the official NOFO on or visit PHMSA’s NGDISM Grants page.

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US pipeline news PHMSA pipeline news FERC and USDOT news