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  • Writer's pictureJocelyn Thompson

August 26th, 2022

Welcome to the Friday Update from the Federal Funding Hub!

This message shares news and resources so that our region can make the most of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and other federal funding.

How are Minnesota schools spending $2.7 billion in pandemic aid? Find out below.

News from MSP Cities and Counties

  • Hennepin County: U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary (U.S. DOT) Pete Buttigieg toured the Lake Street corridor along with key staff from Hennepin County, City of Minneapolis, Metro Transit and the Lake Street Council to acknowledge the award of a $12 million grant from the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program to improve safety and travel time reliability on Lake Street.

  • Brooklyn Park: A partnership between Brooklyn Park and the Organization of Liberians in Minnesota has connected 42 students with employment, according to a report delivered to the City Council Aug. 1. The Organization of Liberians in Minnesota was awarded an $82,500 American Rescue Plan contract for July 2022-23. Of the total, approximately $62,000 was allocated to continue the program.

  • Saint Paul:

    • St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter sees the city's libraries as the hub of community life, places where people write resumes, get homework help and connect with services. Carter tapped federal American Rescue Plan funds to restore cuts to library staffing from the previous year. In 2023, he said he is recommending putting those positions back in the library's general fund.

    • The current year’s library budget relied on the American Rescue Plan Act to restore staff and services reduced in 2021. Some of that funding will shift back to the library general fund. Hiring library safety specialists, or in-house staff trained to balance the needs of patrons struggling with mental health issues while still preventing petty crimes from escalating. The $1.5 million will come from the federal American Rescue Plan Act.

    • In St. Paul, school bus drivers’ wages are up to $21 to $25 an hour from $18 to $20 range from last year; district administrators credit the American Rescue Plan for enabling them to raise the transportation budget by $4.2 million.

Minnesota News

  • MN Broadband:

    • The 2022 Minnesota Border-to-Border Broadband Grant application locations are now available as a layer on our Minnesota map. Check it out.

    • The federal infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed by Congress late last year had promised at least $100 million for every state. Now, Minnesota officials have an estimate of extra cash the state will get for having a lot of rural areas: $550 million.

  • Pandemic aid to schools: Minnesota’s public schools have been awarded nearly $2.7 billion in federal pandemic aid to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, which sparked two years of learning disruptions through extended school closures, masking and social distancing mandates and quarantine orders.

  • State Fair gun locks: The initiative is called “Make Minnesota Safe & Secure” and the aim is to reduce suicide, theft and crimes committed by people using guns. It’s part of a $1 million investment in gun safety funded by the American Rescue Plan, and includes the state departments of public safety, health, agriculture, natural resources and veterans affairs and other state agencies.

National ARPA News

  • Combating economic disadvantage: Large cities and counties collectively devoted significant early SLFRF resources toward a subset of efforts aimed at addressing economic disadvantage. The most common of these were projects to support individuals and families facing homelessness ($951 million) and rental assistance that helped lower-income and economically impacted households avoid homelessness ($517 million).

  • USDA: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today up to $550 million in funding to support projects that enable underserved producers to access land, capital, and markets, and train the next, diverse generation of agricultural professionals. These investments are made through funding provided in the American Rescue Plan (ARPA) Section 1006, as amended by Section 22007 of the Inflation Reduction Act.

  • AmeriCorps: The federal agency for national service and volunteerism, announced the 2023 American Rescue Plan Planning Grants for local governments, nonprofit organizations, faith, tribal and community-based organizations to develop evidence-based programs. AmeriCorps American Rescue Plan planning grants provide support to organizations as they develop a new AmeriCorps program. Grant recipients are awarded up to $240,000 for a 12-month planning period.

Other Federal Funding News

  • Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA):

    • How do local governments plan to spend infrastructure funds? Roads and water infrastructure top the list of local priorities, but broadband expansion and clean energy projects are proving popular as cities face increased demand for these newer technologies,

    • Broadband for All: Many technologies are used in the construction of the infrastructure in our country we rely on internet. Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), electric vehicle charging stations, self-driving vehicles, smart highways, and emergency road services, among others, will all benefit from broadband access as it is unveiled across the country.

    • The Department of the Interior today announced it has awarded an initial $560 million from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to 24 states to begin work to plug, cap and reclaim orphaned oil and gas wells. Millions of Americans across the country live within a mile of an orphaned oil and gas well.

    • Nearly 30 million Americans travel less due to limited mobility, yet they disproportionately rely on public transit to get around. The bipartisan infrastructure law signed into law by President Biden in November provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to right this wrong by funding projects that will improve accessibility to public transit.

  • Inflation Reduction Act (IRA):

    • The Inflation Reduction Act is the largest explicit investment for mitigating climate change in federal history. Indeed, by most models, the IRA reduces our current greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 38% to 40% from 2005 levels.

    • When President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act last week, city leaders heralded the new law's massive investment in addressing climate change, including billions of federal dollars municipalities can tap into for climate projects. Yet in some ways, the feds were just catching up to what cities have been doing on their own for years.

  • CHIPS semiconductor bill:

    • The new CHIPS semiconductor law aims to invest $10 billion to create 20 regional technology and innovation hubs in locations far from Silicon Valley and other traditional tech capitals.

    • The U.S. Commerce Department on Thursday launched a website that will provide information about funding opportunities under the $54.2 billion bipartisan CHIPS semiconductor bill President Biden signed into law earlier this month.

Upcoming Webinars

  • Taking Advantage of Federal Funds: Local Energy Efficiency Policies and Programs to Consider: This hour-long webinar on September 20th at 1 pm, organized jointly by the Sustainable States Network (SSN) and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) will showcase leading energy efficiency programs from across the country that communities can learn from and replicate as they prepare to leverage new federal funding opportunities. Register here.

  • ACEEE’s Self-Scoring Tool: Results from the Community Energy Challenge: This ACEEE/SSN webinar on September 29th at 12 pm will show communities how to use ACEEE’s latest self-scoring tool to measure their community's energy efficiency and clean energy progress, and highlight results from the most recent cohort of SSN’s Community Energy Challenge. Register here.

Resources

  • Great Lakes Federal Grant Navigation Program: NLC launched a free grant navigation program called the Great Lakes Federal Grant Navigation Program to assist local government staff with collecting the necessary data and applying for federal grants. Sign up here.

Upcoming Funding Deadlines

Notice of Intent (NOI)

  • The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE): The DOE launched more than $28 Million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for research and development (R&D) projects that will advance and preserve hydropower as a critical source of clean energy. This Notice of Intent (NOI) will offer three funding opportunities this fall to support research, development, and deployment of hydropower, including pumped storage hydropower, which can play a key role in integrating variable renewable energy sources on the electric grid.

Have a great weekend, all! We will be taking a break for Labor Day and will return on September 9th.

Allison

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