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  • Writer's pictureJocelyn Thompson

November 18th, 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.


Saint Paul has released the second solicitation for its deeply affordable housing program. Details below!

News from MSP Cities and Counties

  • Chisago County: The Chisago County Board of Commissioners approved a loan that will help Chisago City buy property adjacent to the city’s industrial park at the commissioners’ meeting held Wednesday, Nov. 2. County Administrator Chase Burnham asked the commissioners to stipulate where they wished to draw the payment from, should they approve it. Options for the county included monies from its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) from the federal government, its Capital Improvement Plans moneys, or money taken directly from the general fund.

  • Saint Paul:

    • In St. Paul, business cooperatives, artists and low-income families looking to weatherize their homes will soon be able to apply to the city for financial assistance, as can restaurants looking to add outdoor dining. St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter’s office announced this week that the city will oversee the distribution of $4.65 million in federal American Rescue Plan funding for community-owned businesses, home improvements for low-income families and cultural and arts initiatives, as well as help paying so-called restaurant “SAC” fees, or sewer charges. More here.

    • The City of Saint Paul has released the second solicitation for the 30% AMI Deeply Affordable Housing Program. Applications are due Wednesday, November 30, 2022, by 4:30 p.m. The current solicitation aims to facilitate the creation of multifamily rental housing units affordable to households at or below the 30% Area Median Income (AMI) level ($35,190 for a family of four). This is the second solicitation for the City of Saint Paul’s 30% AMI Deeply Affordable Housing Fund. Through this program, the city will invest $37 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to increase the supply of housing for extremely low-income residents earning less than 30% of the Area Median Income.

  • Scott County: Over the past week, a proposal to house up to four men at a time in a home owned by Scott County has led to a public community meeting. Currently, the house is slated to be used for recently incarcerated men that are on probation or supervised release in Scott County and are homeless. An additional $130,000 per year in American Rescue Plan Act funds were approved by the Scott County Commission. According to Bruner, the roughly $90,000 needed to renovate the home will be paid for with ARPA funds.

Minnesota News

  • Pilot program will bring high-speed internet to Duluth's Lincoln Park neighborhood: The city of Duluth will connect up to 1,900 residents and businesses in the Lincoln Park neighborhood with high-speed internet access over the next two years as part of its Duluth Fiber Lincoln Park pilot project. $1 million from the American Rescue Plan has been set aside for the project and that the rest of the money will come from different to-be-determined revenue streams.

  • State of Minnesota Launches $34.5M Venture Capital Program: At a press conference on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus on Wednesday, state leaders heralded the launch of a $34.5 million program that will provide direct funding to entrepreneurs and to other venture capital funds. The money stems from a $97 million federal funding package that Minnesota secured last month. The funds came to Minnesota through the federal government’s American Rescue Plan Act, and they’re specifically earmarked for small business assistance.

  • Minnesota Launches New Program to Connect the Unserved: The program, called the Broadband Line Extension Connection Program, will work differently from other grants in that the process in applying for the grant will not be generated from an ISP, but rather by the end users. DEED states that the program is being funded with federal American Rescue Plan Act funding administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

National ARPA News

  • Brookings: As federal policymakers seek to rebuild the nation in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are increasingly recognizing that bottom-up solutions are a critical path for spurring economic recovery, mitigating climate change, establishing supply chains in critical technologies, and addressing geographic inequities. This is the central premise of place-based economic policies like the $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge (BBBRC)—a challenge grant administered by the Economic Development Administration (EDA) in the U.S. Department of Commerce. As the EDA’s signature American Rescue Plan (ARP) recovery program, the BBBRC provides five-year grants ranging from $25 million to $65 million across 21 regions competitively selected from a pool of 60 finalists.

Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) News

  • The Infrastructure Law, One Year In: A year after President Biden signed the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law, local transportation leaders say the funding will bring improvements to roads, sidewalks and bridges, as well as greater equity. But they also say that changes are needed to help with the rollout of all the new funding, including speeding up permitting for transportation projects and making it simpler for local governments to apply for the grants.

  • The White House: One year ago, President Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law– a once-in-a-generation investment in our nation’s infrastructure and competitiveness. To date, the Administration has announced over $185 billion in funding and over 6,900 specific projects, reaching over 4,000 communities across all 50 states, D.C., and the territories. The White House Infrastructure Implementation Team released new state-by-state fact sheets and a new map highlighting projects in all 50 states.

Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) News

  • The House Republican Plan to Slash One of Democrats’ Signature Laws: Lawmakers set to lead key committees when the GOP takes control of the chamber say they are looking at ways to drain funding from climate initiatives and other Inflation Reduction Act programs.

Upcoming Webinars

  • Local Infrastructure Hub: Join a session focused on workforce development opportunities in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law on Nov. 29 at 1pm CT. Special guests will share critical insights on successful workforce programs around the U.S. and lift up emerging best practices and partnerships that can drive effective workforce strategies at the local level. 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

  • 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

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! We will be taking a break for Thanksgiving and will return on December 2nd. Allison

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