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  • Writer's pictureJocelyn Thompson

November 11th, 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.


Are you solar-curious? Sign up for the webinar below about new opportunities under IRA.

News from MSP Cities and Counties

  • Dakota County: There is a significant backlog of criminal cases in the Dakota County District Court. The backlog was caused by the inability to conduct jury trials and other hearing types for a significant period dating back to March 16, 2020. Dakota County authorized the use of American Rescue Plan State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds to add 3.0 FTE To County Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in response to the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic and amend County Attorney's Office and non-departmental 2021 budgets.

  • Goodhue County: After buying a pair of vans with funds through the American Rescue Plan Act, Goodhue County’s Veteran Services Office is hoping to provide additional options for veterans in need of transportation to the VA Hospital in Minneapolis. Traditionally, Goodhue County’s VSO has opted for a decentralized approach to providing rides. While some counties expect veterans to come to a centralized location for their ride to the VA, in Goodhue County, drivers are available to come to a veteran’s home.

  • Scott County: Scott County, in partnership with Damascus Way, opened a reentry home in Shakopee to reduce recidivism and to tackle homelessness for those who previously had a Scott County residence prior to incarceration. Scott County was awarded a five-year grant through the Department of Corrections for $70,000 a year for the services Damascus provides. An additional $130,000 per year in American Rescue Plan Act funds were approved by the Scott County Commissioners.

  • Sherburne County: Two social workers are now on staff in Sherburne County to help address issues related to homelessness. Sherburne County was fortunate to get Community Living Infrastructure Grants and some ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) dollars to fund the social workers on staff. They will be doing outreach at shelters, at River Crest housing, and at encampments where people live outside.


National ARPA News

  • The White House: By signing into law the historic American Rescue Plan (ARP), Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Inflation Reduction Act, and implementing robust regulatory reform, President Biden has led the most equitable economic recovery on record, creating nearly 10 million jobs since coming to office, and helping create new economic opportunities for African Americans, including Black-owned businesses, and made long overdue investments in Black communities.

  • Workforce Development: Brookings Metro recently assembled four top federal officials for a cross-agency discussion focused on the recent federal bills (the American Rescue Plan Act, Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, CHIPS and Science Act, and Inflation Reduction Act) and their impacts on workforce development systems across the country. Convened as part of Metro’s Transforming Cities Lab, federal officials from the U.S. Departments of Labor, Commerce, Energy, and Transportation discussed their inter-agency efforts to streamline workforce funding and enable regional workforce leaders to better prepare workers for new jobs created by historic levels of federal investment.

Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) News

  • How utilities can maximize IIJA and IRA benefits: In the past 12 months the Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) were signed into law and aim to drive infrastructure modernization, programs to accelerate the deployment of clean energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increased accessibility and opportunity for consumer-driven change at home. The historic investments provide an opportunity for the energy industry to develop and scale clean energy infrastructure unlike ever before.

  • What Are Broadband Labels and Are They Useful? To help consumers better understand broadband options, Congress has mandated that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) revamp its concept of broadband labels, with a goal of providing more detailed info about competitive offerings from different providers. This revamp mandate was passed as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), and to understand what it means as well as what it seeks to accomplish, one must first understand what broadband labels are, as well as their history.

Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) News

  • EU and the US must address concerns over U.S. Inflation Act: Germany wants dialogue with Washington rather than tit-for-tat measures to ease trade tensions triggered by the U.S Inflation Reduction Act, which could harm European businesses and industry, Germany's finance minister said on Monday.

  • Europe shows a united front against Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act: EU member states are standing resolutely firm against President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act amid fears it will harm their domestic companies and economies. The sweeping U.S. legislation, which was approved by U.S. lawmakers in August and includes a record $369 billion in spending on climate and energy policies, was discussed by the 27 European Union finance ministers on Tuesday. This came after the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, said there are “serious concerns” about the design of the financial incentives in the package.

  • Constellation sees big benefits from U.S. Inflation Reduction Act: U.S. power company Constellation Energy Corp (CEG.O) said on Tuesday that the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act significantly strengthened the long-term outlook of its nuclear fleet and plans to produce hydrogen.

Upcoming Webinars

  • Pierce Atwood: Please join Pierce Atwood Energy Infrastructure partners Merrill L. Kramer and Kris J. Eimicke for a webinar on Tuesday, November 15, 2022, at 12:00-1:15 PM. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022 creates valuable new business opportunities for the renewable energy industry. In addition to restoring the full federal Investment Tax Credits and Production Tax Credits for solar, wind, and other renewable energy projects, the IRA makes tax credits available for stand-alone storage projects, green hydrogen projects, and other new classes of renewables. The webinar will cover the practical steps needed, and pitfalls to avoid, for your projects to secure these valuable benefits. Register here.

  • NLC: Cities rely on municipal bonds to fund everything from long-term capital investments to short-term cash flow needs, and the market’s role is poised to grow larger as IIJA-driven infrastructure investments ramp up. While all markets, including municipals, have dealt with volatility this year, this session will explain why cities can still expect robust access to capital for their needs, and highlight questions to ask when planning new bond sales. Join NLC and Build America Mutual on Thursday, December 1 at 2:00 PM CT to learn more. Register here.

  • 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: 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: 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

  • 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

Each section has a number of readings and presentations that may prove helpful as utilities and communities undertake the planning of their grid resilience projects and develop funding-request proposals. Examples of library readings include:

  • 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.

  • 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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