/ Announcement / U.S. DOT-Funded Regional Infrastructure Accelerator (RIA) Launches at PNWER Economic Leadership Forum, Touts Early Success

U.S. DOT-Funded Regional Infrastructure Accelerator (RIA) Launches at PNWER Economic Leadership Forum, Touts Early Success

Parul Dubey on December 7, 2022 - in Announcement, Events

Legislators and Business Leaders from across the Pacific Northwest Gather in Portland, Ore. December 4-6

PORTLAND, Ore.  ̶  The Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER) today publicly launched their Regional Infrastructure Accelerator (RIA) program at the Economic Leadership Forum. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) granted PNWER funding to establish a RIA to accelerate the development and delivery of challenging infrastructure projects through innovative financing. The PNWER RIA is one of ten Accelerators in the U.S. and the only multi-state Accelerator program. U.S. DOT provided two years of funding for the PNWER RIA to advance two regionally significant infrastructure projects that – for various reasons – need extra assistance getting across the finish line. The funding also supports the establishment of a Center of Excellence for innovative infrastructure financing in the Pacific Northwest.

“The [PNWER RIA] team has gotten off to a great start,” says U.S. DOT Build America Bureau Director Dr. Morteza Farajian. “Since executing the agreement in February of 2022, PNWER has been able to do everything from hiring staff and relevant consultants, conducting stakeholder outreach, and completing preliminary work for proposed projects in the pipeline. Congratulations to the team.”

 Provincial and state legislators as well as business leaders from Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest states convened in-person and virtually at the PNWER Economic Leadership Forum. This bi-national hybrid event brings together delegates from Canada and the U.S. to discuss North American regional infrastructure and transportation, supply chain issues, disaster resilience, and other concerns of importance to the Pacific Northwest.

Part of the PNWER RIA’s primary objective is to promote the use of U.S. DOT federal financing programs as a tool to leverage federal grant and credit programs with private investment to deliver infrastructure projects. “This isn’t just about toll roads,” says PNWER CEO Matt Morrison, “There needs to be more collaboration between the public and private sector on infrastructure project delivery. Canada does this extremely well, and the U.S. can learn from their example to help states match the massive federal investment from the IIJA and IRA.”

The PNWER RIA has established a track record of success in its initial months. Already, it has contributed to a successful federal grant application in Eastern Washington state to separate a rail-highway at-grade crossing. Separately, the RIA is convening stakeholders from across the region to coordinate acceleration of the transition to zero emission medium and heavy-duty vehicle technologies to meet Washington state and the Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) emission reduction goals.

“The Pacific Northwest region of the U.S. and Canada needs to invest in our transportation infrastructure to support public safety, continued economic growth, and ease supply chain concerns so we can share the agricultural and natural resource blessings of this region with the rest of the world,” said PNWER President and Transportation Co-Chair, Idaho Senator Chuck Winder. “The PNWER RIA is an important platform to help states work together to help the region reach those goals.”

The launch event will consist of a welcome video from Dr. Morteza Farajian and a presentation on the RIA, followed by a keynote panel on Public-Private Partnerships in the U.S. and Canada. The event will feature numerous high-profile speakers who will address attendees during the three-day meeting.

For more information on the Economic Leadership Forum and to view the full agenda, visit www.pnwer.org/2022-forum.


Fill out the media credential form and access PNWER backgrounder and other materials at www.pnwer.org/2022-summit-media.


The Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER) is a public/private non-profit organization created by statute in 1991. Member jurisdictions include Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington, and the Canadian provinces and territories of Alberta, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan, and the Yukon. PNWER’s mission is to increase the economic well-being and quality of life for all citizens of the region; identify and promote “models of success;” and serve as a conduit to exchange information. For more information on PNWER, visit www.pnwer.org.

Initiated in 2021 and funded through U.S. DOT’s Build America Bureau, the PNWER RIA helps identify Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) and federal financing opportunities to accelerate the delivery of transportation projects with region-wide benefits that ease supply chain disruptions, reduce transportation-related pollution, and increase economic and environmental justice, especially for historically underserved communities. For more information, visit rianorthwest.org.

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