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  • Writer's pictureJocelyn Thompson

August 5th, 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.

What’s this about free leases in downtown St. Paul? Find out more below!

News from MSP Cities and Counties

  • Dakota County: The Dakota County Board of Commissioners has approved using $250,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to create the Workforce Mobility Program at Dakota County Technical College and Inver Hills Community College. The new program will provide free tuition to Dakota County residents, age 18 and up, seeking training in Boiler Operation, Class A CDL, Welding, Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Phlebotomy, Intro to Early Childhood Education, and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).

  • St. Paul: Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) received about $207 million in American Rescue Plan funds to be used in various capacities over the next three years. The district allocated funds to help with retention and hiring efforts this year. A portion of the funds used for COVID-19 response efforts and for long term student outcomes will go toward efforts to retain and hire more bus drivers.

  • Washington County:

    • Nexus Family Healing will manage an emergency shelter for youth that Washington County shares with Dakota County, after the Washington County Board of Commissioners approved a $1.37 million contract with the agency Aug. 2. In 2021, as part of its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) plan, the County Board approved a one-time capital expenditure to assist Dakota County in acquiring a property in Mendota Heights to be used for youth emergency shelter and licensed as a Children's Residential Facility.

    • The Washington County Board recently signed off on renovations to the boat launch at St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park with plans calling for repairs to the deteriorating concrete ramp, dredging of the harbor and resurfacing the launch's parking lot. The cost of the $1.65 million project partly will be covered by $700,000 from the American Rescue Plan Act.

Minnesota News

  • Health Insurance: A new bill, called the Inflation Reduction Act, would extend the subsidies for another three years, at a cost to the federal government of $64 billion. 70,000 Minnesotans who benefitted from a reduction in their insurance premiums when the American Rescue Plan, one of the massive bills approved by Congress to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, extended eligibility for the ACA’s subsidies to people who have incomes above 400% of the federal poverty level.

  • Free leases: The Downtown Alliance offers free leases to fill vacant St. Paul storefronts for up to 10 small businesses looking for free, short-term leases in downtown St. Paul. The Downtown Alliance’s “Let’s Grow” campaign is funded in part by $1 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act and $1 million in matching funds from the Knight Foundation, as well as contributions from member businesses.


National News

  • Renters: The department of Housing and Urban Development is looking to give households a boost building credit, saving money and improving financial literacy. Other upcoming initiatives HUD has planned under its Bridging the Wealth Gap agenda will focus on areas like allowing people to build credit through rent reporting and integrating financial well-being services into public housing practices.

  • Health Insurance: Pandemic-era programs that helped more people afford coverage are set to lapse. After worrying for months that American Rescue Plan Act subsidies that made health insurance more affordable would go away, state health officials around the country are now hopeful that they’ll be extended and that millions may not lose their coverage as they’d feared.

  • U.S. Treasury: Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo convened a roundtable with local and Tribal governments to discuss how they are deploying State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF), available to them through President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, to effectively serve communities of color and vulnerable communities.

  • Workforce Grants: The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced the 32 awardees of the $500 million Good Jobs Challenge, a program funded by the American Rescue Plan. More coverage here.

IIJA News

  • Permitting Rules: Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin joined Republicans in voting for the plan, which has the backing of business and labor groups. The effort to repeal the administration’s major changes in the enforcement of the National Environmental Policy Act still faces an uphill path in Congress.

  • Climate: The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 would be a landmark piece of climate legislation for the United States, but the decision to pair new fossil fuel development with development of renewable energy has been criticized by some in the environmental movement.

  • White House: The White House released updated fact sheets highlighting how President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure is delivering results for all 50 states, territories, the District of Columbia, and Tribal communities. Read Minnesota's Fact Sheet.

  • Transit Upgrades: New federal funding from the infrastructure law will help. But some older systems have deep problems, underscored by track fires, breakdowns and delays. The infrastructure law championed by President Biden includes $108 billion over five years for public transit support.

  • Climate Change: The new federal funding aims to make transportation assets, like roads, transit systems and ports more resilient to flooding, wildfires and other extreme weather and climate threats. The infrastructure law provides states with $7.3 billion over five years for resilience-related transportation projects, although states can opt to use up to half of their share for other uses.

  • DOE: The Biden-Harris Administration, through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), announced $26 million to fund projects that will demonstrate that America's electricity grid can reliably run with a mix of solar, wind, energy storage, and other clean distributed energy resources..

  • CHIPS Act: The CHIPS and Science Act is the sprawling technology package Congress passed last week. It is a milestone for policies to ensure that underrepresented people and places can participate more in the nation’s innovation economy. It affirms social and spatial inclusion as central to American strength.

  • PROTECT: The PROTECT (Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-Saving Transportation) program receives the first installment of $7.3 billion aimed at projects that strengthen highways, bridges, transit, and port infrastructure against the threatening impacts of climate change-fueled storms, wildfires, and other natural disasters.

Upcoming Webinars

  • Federal Funds: The Federal Assistance e311 Program, a partnership between Bloomberg Philanthropies and the United States Conference of Mayors, will host a webinar on ARPA Project & Expenditure Reporting at 1 p.m. CT, Tuesday, August 9th Register here.

  • Route Fifty: Learn how state and local leaders are adapting to the change in the economic landscape and how they are ensuring this one-time influx of funds is still able to produce generational change. Join Route Fifty for our next installment of Follow the Money on Tuesday, August 9th at 12:00 pm. Register here.

  • The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT):

    • Notice of Funding Opportunity for the All-Stations Accessibility Program webinar, Thursday, August 11th at 12:30 pm. The webinar will cover the application requirements and how to apply through Grants.gov. Register here.

    • Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program (RCP) – Capital Construction Grant webinar. The webinar is on Monday, August 22nd at 1:00 pm. Register here.

  • HUD: HUD's Office of Affordable Housing Programs (OAHP) is hosting a webinar on Wednesday, August 17th, 2022 from 1:00 – 2:30 PM CT which will cover instructions and requirements for setting up and reporting accomplishments for HOME Investment Partnerships American Rescue Plan Program (HOME-ARP) Supportive Services activities in HUD's Integrated Disbursement and Information System (IDIS). Register here.

  • Navigate Federal Funding Opportunities for Your Infrastructure Projects: Free webinar hosted by Government Technology and Cartegraph. Industry experts will provide actionable advice to help you make the most of the IIJA, including how to secure competitive funds for infrastructure projects. Webinar is Tuesday, August 23rd at 1 PM. Register here.


Past Webinars

  • Route Fifty: Watch the video here from Route Fifty for a Conversation with White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu.

Resources

  • EPA: A recent EPA study found approximately 17,750 mine land sites located across 1.5 million acres in the United States, offering deployment opportunities for up to 89 gigawatts of clean electricity. The EPA has created an online tool, the Repowering America's Land Initiative Mapper, to help stakeholders find current and former mine lands; this tool may be helpful as stakeholders consider projects which could be developed.

  • New Growth Innovation Network: Read how the Communication Resource Guide for Inclusive Economic Development can help local governments integrate equity and inclusion into economic development strategies.

  • Artificial Intelligence: "The Atlas of Urban Al" is a new online tool that maps city artificial intelligence projects across the globe, with a focus on alignment with ethical principles.

Upcoming Funding Deadlines

Have a great weekend, all! Allison

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