July 29th, 2022
Welcome to the Friday Update from the Federal Funding Hub, brought to you this week by guest host Amanda Taylor! The Friday Update will return next week as regularly scheduled from Allison Bell after she is back from a well-earned week away. 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.
This week the Governor’s Council on Economic Expansion released a 28-page report titled “Minnesota’s Moment: A Roadmap for Economic Expansion,” which offers long-term steps to continue improving Minnesota’s economy. Governor Walz launched the fifteen-member Council of business, labor, and community leaders in September of 2021 to help advise Minnesota on the systemic change needed in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors that will achieve a more equitable, inclusive, sustainable, and resilient Minnesota economy. See the Council’s recommendations here.
Did you check out the MSP ARPA Tracker yet? The Tracker was launched last week. It’s a new searchable, digital resource that tracks the spending plans of 12 counties and 17 cities in the Greater MSP region.
News from MSP Cities and Counties
Anoka County: Anoka County plans to extend sewer and water services to a large area of Bunker Hills Regional Park using ARPA dollars to help pay for the project. Most of the regional park currently has aging wells and septic systems built in the 1980s, which require constant and expensive repairs and maintenance.
Chisago County: County commissioners created the Chisago County Grant program, which would use funds from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to fund vocational programming at the six schools that draw students within the county.
Hennepin County: The Hennepin County Housing and Redevelopment Authority approved funding for six projects for the second round of the Affordable Housing Development Accelerator fund, which was designed to expedite the completion of critical affordable housing projects. Three projects are led by BIPOC developers, and five are in areas impacted by civil unrest. Together, all six projects will create or preserve 519 new affordable housing opportunities. Hennepin County has helped create or preserve 2,523 units of affordable housing across the county through pandemic recovery funding since these funds were allocated in fall 2021, exceeding an initial goal of 2,000 units. The Hennepin County Housing team has allocated or awarded $37.8 million of the allocated $46 million in pandemic recovery housing funds.
Minneapolis: The City of Minneapolis is launching a comprehensive effort to recruit talented, diverse applicants for jobs in the police department, 911 and other hard-to-fill positions. This investment of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars over a two-year period will develop and drive a multi-year recruitment marketing strategy to restore the City’s workforce, beginning with filling critical community safety positions.
Washington County: The Washington County Board approved $1.65 million to build a new boat ramp at St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park. The project will be paid in part with American Rescue Plan Act funds,
EDA grant award for Arboretum parking: The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is getting a new parking lot, with help from a federal grant aimed at supporting tourism. The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced Wednesday that it will award $1.2 million in American Rescue Plan dollars to the University of Minnesota, which oversees the arboretum. That money, plus $313,506 in local funds, will pay for a 232-stall parking lot. Congratulations, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum!
EDA grant award for new tribal business incubator: U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $3.1 million grant to the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, Onamia, Minnesota, to construct a new Tribal business incubator to support entrepreneurs. This grant is funded by the American Rescue Plan's Indigenous Communities program. Congratulations, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe!
Minnesota food shelves: Many food shelves are serving more people this summer than in the summer of 2020 and 2021, which were record years for food assistance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Tim Walz allocated $5 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds for food banks and tribal nations with the approval of the Legislative COVID-19 Response Commission.
ARPA's State and Local Aid Program: President Biden's top advisor on the American Rescue Plan Act dismisses Republican claims that money from the law is being wasted. But he's also urging local government leaders to look for more ways to highlight their successes with the federal funding
How Rural Communities Can Receive the Digital Infrastructure Support They Need: The urban-rural digital divide remains a significant challenge across the United States. As connectivity speeds and technology improve, the gap widens each year. Now more than ever, it’s important to address these issues of inadequate internet access in rural communities before the effects become irreparable.
New Grants Now Available to Make Local Rail Stations ADA Compliant: The federal funding is aimed at retrofitting a portion of the more than 900 subway, commuter rail and light rail stations built before the Americans with Disabilities Act became law. Using funds from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, they are modernizing some of our oldest public rail stations and ensuring that more Americans count on our transit systems to get where they need to go.
Affordable Housing: The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced new guidance today to increase the ability of state, local, and tribal governments to use American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to boost the supply of affordable housing in their communities. This step follows a commitment in the Administration’s recently released Housing Supply Action Plan to leverage American Rescue Plan funds for investments in affordable housing as part of a broader strategy to increase the nation’s housing supply and ease housing costs over time
Small Disadvantaged Business: Many SDBs report challenges in accessing the long-term, affordable financing options often required to successfully compete for and/or deliver on government contracts. To help fill this gap, DOT and SBA are collaborating to connect SDBs pursuing or working on Bipartisan Infrastructure Law contracts to licensed Small Business Investment Companies (SBICs). This new initiative builds upon the American Rescue Plan’s investment in the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), which will lead to tens of billions in public and private capital to support low-cost loans, microloans for our smallest businesses, and venture capital focused on small businesses, including for businesses owned by underserved entrepreneurs.
The CHIP Bill: The House has passed bipartisan legislation aimed at supporting domestic manufacturing of semiconductor chips that power the nation's smartphones, cars, computers, medical equipment and weapons systems. The legislation already passed the Senate earlier this week by a vote of 64-33 and now heads to President Biden to sign into law. The CHIPS bill, short for Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors for America Act, would provide $54 billion in grants for semiconductor manufacturing and research, tens of billions to support regional technology hubs and a tax credit covering 25% of investments in semiconductor manufacturing through 2026.
Infrastructure Law Rollout: Mitch Landrieu, President Biden’s point person overseeing the rollout of the new federal infrastructure bill, told Route Fifty that there would be robust support for state and local officials trying to use some of the $1.2 trillion for public works. 5,000 projects across the country are underway, and the White House is meeting regularly with state infrastructure coordinators.
U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today launched a new $1 billion Community Wildfire Defense Grant program. This new, five-year, competitive program funded by President Biden’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is designed to assist at-risk communities, including Tribal communities, non-profit organizations, state forestry agencies and Alaska Native corporations with planning for and mitigating wildfire risks.
EPA: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced two listening sessions to collect input on the development of a new grant opportunity made possible by the $100 million investment in the agency’s Pollution Prevention (P2) program from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The new grant opportunity will encourage products, purchasing, and/or supply chains that are safer, more sustainable, and environmentally preferable and advance the Biden-Harris Administration’s bold environmental agenda.
USDA: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a strategy for how the Biden-Harris Administration, through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will address a reforestation backlog of four million acres on national forests and plant more than one billion trees over the next decade. With new resources made available through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, combined with support from state, local, and Tribal governments as well as other partners, the Forest Service aims to eliminate the backlog over the next 10 years and develop the infrastructure, such as nurseries, to keep up with increasing needs.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT):
DOT Reconnecting Communities Pilot (RCP) discretionary grant program specifically aimed at Tribal, rural, small local governments, and nonprofit applicants. Webinar August 4th at 2pm. Register here
Notice of Funding Opportunity for the All-Stations Accessibility Program webinar, 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 August 22nd at 1:00 pm. 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 August 9th at 12:00 pm. 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 August 23 at 1 PM. Register here
Upcoming Funding Deadlines
The Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program due August 4th by 4:00 p.m. CT
Economic Recovery Corps Program due August 5th
Equity Impact Investments due August 5th
Clean School Bus Program due August 19th
Safe Streets for All Program due September 15 by 4:00 PM CT
Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program due September 30th by 10:59 p.m. CT
All Stations Accessibility Program due September 30th
Railroad Crossing Elimination Grant Program due by 4:00 PM CT on October 4th, 2022
Reconnecting Communities due 10:59 PM CT on Thursday, October 13th
Have a great weekend, all! Amanda