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  • Writer's pictureJocelyn Thompson

December 2nd, 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.


MSP local governments are still making decisions about ARPA dollars; check ‘em out below.

News from MSP Cities and Counties

  • Anoka County: All but $500,000 of the $69.840 million received in federal American Rescue Plan Act funding has been budgeted by the Anoka County Board. Eligible categories are public health expenditures, negative economic impacts, replacing lost public safety revenue, premium pay for essential workers and infrastructure investment, such as water, sewer and broadband. However, the website states that ARPA dollars cannot be used for pension contributions, rainy day funds, debt payments, reducing taxes/levies and as a match for other federal programs.

  • Dakota County: Dakota County officials will hear feedback on a proposed mental health crisis and recovery center in West St. Paul at a community engagement meeting Thursday. The West St. Paul City Council will vote on the project on Dec. 12. Some residents have expressed concerns about transparency and neighborhood safety after learning more about the project in recent weeks. Owned by Dakota County and operated by mental health service provider Guild, the proposed facility would provide 16 beds for both intensive and short-term mental health care at the site of the current northeast parking lot of the Dakota County Northern Service Center. $3.4 million will come from state bonding, $2.5 million from Dakota County’s American Rescue Plan funding, $1.5 million in other state funding and $750,000 from partner contributions, according to the county’s website.

  • Edina: Edina City Manager Scott Neal presented the proposed plan for a second round of federal pandemic relief funds at the City Council’s Nov. 15 meeting. Under the proposal, 32% of the American Rescue Plan Act funds would go toward government operations, 24% to housing, 12% to public health, 10% to economic and workforce development, 10% to infrastructure, 6% to public safety and 2% to community aid. In total, the city of Edina received $4.9 million in ARPA funds. The city allocated $2.6 million of the funding last year, and the council will vote whether to approve phase two of the spending plan at its Dec. 6 meeting.

  • Minneapolis:

    • Minneapolis Park Board advances 2023 budget of $142 million. The spending plan aims to boost youth services and security for downtown Minneapolis parks. Next year will be the second year that the Park Board receives an additional $2.6 million through a combination of American Rescue Plan Act dollars and property taxes to expand youth services. Approved amid rising concerns of youth violence and a dearth of recreational opportunities due to COVID-19, the funding will continue indefinitely, with taxes gradually replacing federal dollars until they run out.

    • The City of Minneapolis has appropriated $300,000 in one-time American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to the Co-op Creation Fund to provide grants to start-up cooperatives and businesses converting to worker-owned cooperatives as a pandemic recovery strategy. Forming cooperatives can apply for up to $25,000 in grant funds to support their formation. Please see the Eligibility and Uses Document for eligible uses of grant funds.

Minnesota News

  • University of Minnesota, DEED launch $34.5M Minnesota Venture Capital Programs: The University of Minnesota is partnering with the State of Minnesota to inject $34.5 million into Minnesota’s early-stage, venture-backed businesses — a key step toward maintaining Minnesota’s position as one of the best states nationally for growing new businesses. The University-operated programs officially launch today, focusing particularly on investments in life sciences, agriculture/food tech, climate tech, advanced manufacturing, software, and technology. Last month, University officials joined Governor Tim Walz and Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Commissioner Steve Grove to announce nearly $100 million in new funding to support small businesses thanks to the federal American Rescue Plan Act.

  • FCC Grants $84M to 8 States in ECF Program: The FCC’s Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) has committed almost $84 million to eight states to neutralize the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on funding will support about 140,000 students, primarily focusing on California, Georgia, Iowa, North Carolina, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. The funding will support more than 180 schools, 20 libraries and five consortia. The program is administered by libraries and school districts. The goal is to help the children keep up with homework and other off-campus learning. The ECF, which is part of the part of the American Rescue Act, will grant $7.17 billion.

  • Capital Projects Fund: The U.S. Department of the Treasury approved broadband projects in six states under the American Rescue Plan's Capital Projects Fund in Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Utah. Together, these states will use their funding to connect more than 180,000 homes and businesses to affordable, high-speed internet. A key priority of the Capital Projects Fund program is to make funding available for reliable, affordable broadband infrastructure.

National ARPA News

  • This Midwestern City Plans to Wipe Out Residents’ Medical Debt: As the cost of living soars nationwide, one Midwest city is partnering with a county government to offer residents medical debt relief to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. Toledo, Ohio, plans to use $800,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds to fund the program, according to City Councilperson Michele Grim. Lucas County, where Toledo is located, also pledged to contribute matching funds to the program for a total of $1.6 million.

  • CDC awards over $3 billion to strengthen U.S. public health infrastructure: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Tuesday it is awarding more than $3 billion to help strengthen public health workforce and infrastructure across the United States after the COVID-19 pandemic put severe stress on them. The public health agency's funding includes $3 billion from the American Rescue Plan announced by President Joe Biden's administration last year, and would cover all state, local and territorial health departments across the country.

  • Many Applications for $1B Economic Development Program Had a Missing Element: New research finds a notable gap in proposals from the 60 finalists for the Build Back Better Regional Challenge. Equity was a key consideration the Biden administration took into account with a new, $1 billion regional economic development program that it launched last year. But early research shows finalists had mixed success when it came to embedding equity elements into their proposals. Only about a third of the Build Back Better Regional Challenge’s 60 finalists “laid out strong, clear equity arguments,” according to a recent report from Brookings Metro. In September, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration announced 21 winners for five-year grants from the program, ranging from $25 million to $65 million. The challenge was created under the American Rescue Plan Act, the $1.9 trillion Covid relief package signed into law last year.

Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) News

  • New National Broadband Map Offers Granular Look at Service and Gaps: The Federal Communications Commission on Friday released an initial draft of a national map showing in greater detail than ever before what locations in the country have broadband service. The move is a major step toward making sure roughly $42 billion to increase high-speed internet service that was included in last year’s bipartisan infrastructure law goes to the places that need upgraded connections the most. The prior map used to distribute federal dollars has been criticized because of its lack of detail about service availability

  • Backlash Over New ‘Buy America’ Rules for Infrastructure Projects: State and local transportation agencies are concerned the feds are moving too fast in imposing tighter requirements, complicating a wave of new construction. The current debate over “Buy America” rules for infrastructure projects stems from provisions in last year’s federal infrastructure law that expand the types of projects the rules apply to and the kinds of materials that the rules cover. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act broadened the reach of the laws designed to boost American businesses. Previously, they mainly applied to road construction, transit and water projects. The infrastructure law expanded the rules to cover electric utilities and transmission, broadband and real estate.

  • Mayors tap federal funds to get workers ready for emerging jobs: City leaders from across the U.S. joined a session of the Local Infrastructure Hub Tuesday to mark the one-year anniversary of the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and to learn about funding opportunities in the law to strengthen and prepare their workforces for the future.

  • Six keys to unlocking a new era of place-based federal investment: The BBBRC represents the early stages of a major federal investment agenda to create better, more accessible jobs in the nation’s regional economies. In addition to the EDA’s efforts, there are tens of billions of dollars in other new place-based programs inside the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act. As federal leaders design those programs and regional and state leaders seek their funding, we hope this initial analysis proves useful in undertaking such critical work.

Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) News

  • U.S. subsidies better than EU ones on manufacturing: The United States approved a $430-billion new green energy subsidy package in the summer labelled the Inflation Reducation Act (IRA), offering tax breaks for components used in renewable energy technologies on condition they are made in North America.

  • U.S. Department of Treasury: The Treasury Department announced initial guidance on the Inflation Reduction Act's strong labor standards that firms must meet to qualify for enhanced clean energy and climate tax incentives. The guidance, which can be read in full here and will be published in the Federal Register tomorrow, is an important first step toward making sure the Inflation Reduction Act supports good-paying jobs in the clean energy industry, expands workforce training pathways into these jobs, and lowers costs for American families.

Upcoming Webinars

  • Solar in Minnesota Webinar: The IRA & How It Can Help YOU Go Solar: On August 16th, 2022, President Biden signed into law the Inflation Recovery Act (IRA) with sweeping legislative changes, including a robust overhaul to the tax incentives associated with solar energy and other renewables. Free and open to the public, anyone can attend this Minnesota Webinar Series, whether you're interested in solar energy for residential, commercial, agricultural, or other types of property. During this 1-hour event on December 6th at 7 pm, a solar energy expert will illustrate how, thanks to the IRA, switching to solar power just became an easier way for more people to invest their money for the future. We'll also talk about why waiting too long to secure your spot on the grid could be a mistake now that the IRA has passed. Register here.

  • National Institute of Building Sciences: This session of the infrastructure 2022 webinar series on December 6th from 12-1:15 pm will highlight disaster preparation projects to address worsening natural disasters. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) is the largest-ever federal investment in climate change. The IIJA earmarked $8 billion for wildfire management, $6 billion for drought management, $8.3 billion for water storage and sanitation, and $12.5 billion for flood mitigation. Funds will be filtered through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and U.S. Department of the Interior to state and local governments. Join our expert panel, as they discuss community resilience, the role infrastructure plays in our community, the challenges and opportunities, and the perspectives of researchers, practitioners, federal programs, and policymakers. Register here.

  • NLC:

    • The National League of Cities is holding a webinar pn December 8th at 11:00 am to help local governments better understand funding options under the Inflation Reduction Act. The Inflation Reduction Act provides a variety of clean energy tax credits and for the first-time, local governments are positioned to take advantage of two of these credits directly. With investments in clean commercial vehicles and renewable vehicles and renewable energy projects at municipal utility, local governments have the option for a direct payment in lieu of a tax credit. Click here to register to attend the webinar and find out about this option.

    • Join NLC on December 8th from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm for a discussion with the US Treasury on how cities can use their State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) for investments in affordable housing production, preservation, and to promote housing stability. During the discussion you will learn more about the SLFRF program, its eligible uses, and about recent updates to the program guidance enhancing flexibility, including for long-term loans such as LIHTC programs. The session will be followed by a brief Q&A. Register here.

  • International Economic Development Council (IEDC): In March of 2021 the American Rescue Plan Act was signed into law. Since then, communities have seen a historic investment to address the economic impact of COVID-19. This is particularly important for the BIPOC and low-income populations that have endured disproportionately higher suffering to their health and economic well-being. This webinar on December 15th at 1:30-2:15 CT will showcase best practices and innovative projects that have emerged from this round of funding, with an emphasis on outcomes and stakeholders' ability to replicate. Register here.


Resources

  • Industrial Decarbonization Roadmap: The roadmap presents an agenda for government, industry, and other stakeholder to work together to accelerate emissions reductions and position the U.S. industrial sector as a global leader in innovation. The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) has released the “Industrial Decarbonization Roadmap” which identifies four key pathways to reduce industrial emissions through innovation in American manufacturing:

    • Energy Efficiency;

    • Industrial Electrification;

    • Low-Carbon Fuels, Feedstocks, and Energy Sources (LCFFES)

    • Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS).

  • DOE resources on Community Benefits Planning: The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) maintains information to help potential grant-seeking applicants in developing community benefit plans. Via the DOE web page to find helpful readings and resources on the topics below:

    • What Are Community Benefits Plans?

    • Engaging Community and Labor;

    • Investing in America's Workforce

    • Advancing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility

    • Implementing Justice40 Initiative.

  • DOE National Energy Technology Laboratory Grid Resilience Resources Library: The DOE National Energy Technology Laboratory maintains a Grid Resilience resources library, with the following six sections:

    • Integrated Grid Resilience Planning

    • Community Resilience Planning

    • Objective and Metrics

    • Risk and Energy Security Planning

    • Energy Storage

    • Microgrids

  • Energy Efficiency Revolving Loan Fund Capitalization Grant Program: The DOE has released a Fact Sheet responding to responses received during the RFI process for the Energy Efficiency Revolving Loan Grant Fund Program (EERLF) funded at $250 million under IIJA. The EERLF is a formula grant for which States are the sole eligible applicants; the application period for 40502 funding is expected in late 2022 or early 2023. Items of note in the Fact Sheet, include:

    • 1) The federal character associated with these funds will not be in perpetuity (as was the case with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act loan funds);

    • 2) Funds may be used for a range of building types and owners, including public facilities owned by state and local governments; and

    • 3) A wide range of financing options, including interest rate buy downs, loan loss reserves, and other credit enhancement mechanisms, will be allowed under the program.

  • Great Lakes Federal Grant Navigation Program: NLC (National League of Cities) 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.

  • ACEEE and GPISD Fact Sheets for Local Governments regarding Federal Funding: ACEEE and the Great Plains Institute (GPI) have together released a series of fact sheets designed to assist small and medium midwestern local governments in pursuit of federal funding for energy efficiency, clean energy, and transportation efficiency projects. The factsheets focus on opportunities through Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, as well as highlight Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) programs. Though designed with midwestern local governments in mind, these fact sheets are also relevant to rural communities across the country. These fact sheets describe and highlight federal programs currently available to rural communities through recent federal investments, as well as best practice strategies to apply for funds. However, as new program details continue to emerge, individuals should monitor and subscribe to updates from state and federal agencies to stay aware of upcoming Notices of Funding Availability (NOFAs) and other news.

  • Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program: The Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program provides credit assistance for qualified projects of regional and national significance. The TIFIA credit program is designed to fill market gaps and leverage substantial private co-investment through supplemental, subordinate investment in critical improvements to the nation's transportation system.

Key Links:

Upcoming Funding Deadlines

Have a great weekend, all!

Allison

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