FY2023 Thriving Communities Program (U.S. DOT)

Brief Description: The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Thriving Communities Program (TCP) is a technical assistance, planning, and capacity building program to support disadvantaged, rural, and tribal communities to advance transformative infrastructure plans, projects, and processes. Communities that have been adversely or disproportionately affected by environmental, climate, and human health policy outcomes will be offered the opportunity to apply for funding to receive technical tools and organizational capacity to compete for federal aid and deliver quality infrastructure projects. This includes communities that have disproportionate rates of pollution and poor air quality, communities experiencing disproportionate human health and environmental effects (as defined by Executive Order No. 12898), areas of persistent poverty as defined in section 6702(a)(1) of title 49, United States Code, or historically disadvantaged communities.  

There are two opportunities available:

  1. Discretionary Grants, and
  2. Call for Letters of Interest.


Discretionary Grants: Up to $22 million is available in FY2023 to fund Capacity Builder Teams that will provide "deep-dive technical assistance, planning, and capacity building support to under-resourced and disadvantaged communities across the U.S. to help ensure these communities have the technical tools and organizational capacity to comprehensively plan for and deliver quality infrastructure projects and community development projects that enable their communities and neighborhoods to thrive" (Thriving Communities Program Website).

U.S. DOT expects to award a total of nine awards with up to five awards for each of the two different types of cooperative agreements:

  1. TCP-National Capacity Builder (TCP-N), with award amounts projected to be $4-5 million each.
    • Eligible Applicants include non-profit organizations, philanthropic entities, and other technical assistance providers. 
  2. TCP-Regional Capacity Builder (TCP-R), with awards amounts projected to be $1-2 million each.
    • Eligible applicants: State, CRCOG, Municipalities, and others.  
    • Regional Capacity Builder Teams can provide support and services to recipient communities of their choice within their jurisdictions for a three-year period. 

There is no cost share or matching required. USDOT will enter into a cooperative agreement with successful applicants and will fund up to 100% of eligible costs through a monthly reimbursement model.  

Applicants must submit grant applications via Grants.gov before the grant application deadline on November 28, 2023.  


Call for Letters of Interest: Communities interested in receiving no-cost support and technical assistance from Capacity Builder Team(s) must submit a Letter of Interest (LOI) via DOT's fillable webform by 4:59 p.m. (ET) November 15, 2023. US DOT expects to support at least 45-60 communities through the National program, and additional communities selected by Regional Capacity Builder Teams. 

Eligible recipients from both National and Regional Capacity Builder Teams include: CRCOG, Municipalities, others. 


Link to Program Website:

Thriving Communities Program | US Department of Transportation


Key Deadlines:

  • Letter of Interest Deadline: November 15, 2023 
  • Grant Application Deadline: November 28, 2023 


Webinars: Register for upcoming or view past U.S. DOT webinars here


Key Definitions from the NOFO: 

  • Areas of Persistent Poverty: An area of persistent poverty is a county with 20 percent or more of the population living in poverty over the 30 years preceding the date of enactment of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, November 15, 2021, as measured by the 1990 and 2000 decennial census and the most recent Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates. Alternatively, data to support eligibility may also be from any census tract with a poverty rate of at least 20 percent as measured by the 2013-2017, 5-year data series available from the American Community Survey of the Census Bureau. 


  • Disadvantaged Community: (1) Any tribal land or any territory or possession of the United States and (2) those census tracts (a) experiencing disproportionate effects (as defined by Executive Order 12898); (b) that contain areas of persistent poverty as defined in 49 U.S.C. section 6702(a)(1); (c) that are historically disadvantaged as defined by the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ’s) Climate & Economic Justice Screening Tool and DOT’s USDOT Equitable Transportation Community (ETC) Explorer mapping tool for Historically Disadvantaged Communities; or (d) other federally designated community development zones. 
      1. East Hartford 
      2. Enfield 
      3. Hartford 
      4. Manchester 
      5. New Britain 
      6. Vernon 
    •  A review of the State results for the Capitol Region Council of Governments MPO in the ETC Explorer, revealed that the following municipalities in the region contain “DOT Disadvantage Census Tracts”:  
      1. Bloomfield 
      2. East Hartford 
      3. Enfield 
      4. Hartford 
      5. Manchester 
      6. New Britain 
      7. Plainville  
      8. Vernon 
      9. West Hartford 
        1. Windsor (OZ) 
        2. Mansfield (OZ) 
        3. New Britain (OZ) 
        4. Hartford (OZ, PZ) 
        5. West Hartford (OZ) 
        6. East Hartford (OZ) 
  •  Historically Disadvantaged Community: Any tribal land or any territory or possession of the United States, or certain census tracts census experiencing disadvantage when its overall disadvantaged index score places it in the 65% (or higher) of all US census tracts in the USDOT Equitable Transportation Community (ETC) Explorer.  
    • Please see the list above of municipalities that contain “DOT Disadvantage Census Tracts,” per the State results for the Capitol Region Council of Governments MPO in the ETC Explorer. 

 Rural Area: Under this NOFO, communities are in rural areas if:  

  • The community is not located in a 2020 Census Bureau designated urban area, or  
  • The community is located in a 2020 Census Bureau designated urban area with a population of 50,000 or less.  
  • A community is not in a rural area if located in a 2020 Census Bureau designated urban area that has a population of more than 50,000 people. Applicants may use TigerWeb to determine if their community is located in a 2020 Urban Area. A list of urban areas with corresponding populations for the 2020 Census is available in the Federal Register. 
    • A review of the TIGERweb Decennial Map for Census 2020 and population data included in the Federal Register revealed the following municipalities would meet the definition of Rural Area used for this funding program, due to their location wholly outside of the Hartford Urban Area or are located in an urban area with fewer than 50,000 people (e.g., Storrs and Stafford Springs): 
      1. Andover 
      2. Columbia 
      3. Hebron 
      4. Mansfield 
      5. Marlborough 
      6. Stafford 
      7. Willington 


Additional Information:

  • The Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA) and Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CTDEEP) created a Connecticut-specific Environmental Justice Mapping Tool. A review of this tool revealed the following municipalities contain Environmental Justice Block Groups: 
    1. Bloomfield 
    2. Columbia 
    3. Coventry 
    4. East Windsor 
    5. Ellington 
    6. Enfield 
    7. Farmington 
    8. Glastonbury 
    9. Manchester 
    10. Mansfield 
    11. Newington 
    12. Plainville 
    13. Rocky Hill 
    14. Simsbury 
    15. Southington 
    16. Stafford 
    17. Vernon 
    18. West Hartford 
    19. Wethersfield 
    20. Windsor 
    21. Windsor Locks 
  • Additionally, the mapping tool identifies the following municipalities as “2022 Distressed Municipalities”: 
    1. East Hartford 
    2. Hartford 
    3. New Britain 

If you do not see your municipality listed above, and believe it should be, then please contact Elizabeth Sanderson.