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  • Writer's pictureJocelyn Thompson

November 4th, 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.


Read on to find out what City is using participatory budgeting to allocate $2 million in infrastructure funds.

News from MSP Cities and Counties

  • Anoka County: A contracts package totaling $22.274 million, plus $1 million for contingencies, to construct the Emergency Communications and Radio Shop was unanimously approved by the Anoka County Board Sept. 27. The project will house the county’s emergency communications department (911 dispatch), which is currently located in the basement of the Anoka County Government Center, and the existing radio shop on Bunker Lake Boulevard under one roof off Bunker Lake Boulevard in Andover near the Hanson Boulevard intersection and the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office. According to Chief Finance Officer Cory Kampf, the county has earmarked $20 million from its allocation of federal American Rescue Plan Act dollars to pay a portion of the cost with the balance coming from either bonding and/or county internal resources like the asset preservation fund.

  • Saint Paul: The City of Saint Paul is currently soliciting proposals through its 30% AMI Deeply Affordable Housing Program. Applications will be accepted from October 27, 2022 through November 30, 2022. The goal of this RFP is to offer the City’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to developers to facilitate the creation of multifamily rental housing that includes units affordable to households at or below the 30% Area Median Income level ($35,190 for a family of four).

  • Washington County: Washington County came out with an American Rescue Plan Report with status updates on each project along with the dollar amount.


Minnesota News

  • Commerce: As part of the state’s continued effort to reduce carbon emissions and expand the clean energy economy, Governor Tim Walz today signed Executive Order 22-22 directing state agencies to pursue federal funding for clean hydrogen market development in Minnesota. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provided the U.S. Department of Energy with $8 billion to fund regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs, networks of clean hydrogen producers, consumers, and connective infrastructure. The Inflation Reduction Act, recently signed into law by President Biden, creates a tax credit for hydrogen production, which will make clean hydrogen competitive with fossil fuels.

  • DEED: The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has awarded $3,322,579 in grants to infrastructure projects in Greater Minnesota, and $2,035,101 to fund an infrastructure project for innovative business development in the city of Dayton. The funding awarded through DEED's Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure Grant Program (BDPI) was approved for Moorhead, Cokato, Braham, Isle, and St. Michael. It is expected to retain and create 339 full-time jobs and prepare these cities for future growth.

  • Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis: Fresh updates to a housing affordability data dashboard maintained by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, in partnership with the Itasca Project, convey a mixed message on our collective progress. Data updates to the Regional Housing Affordability Dashboard reflect the Minneapolis-St. Paul regional housing market over time and compared to peers.


National ARPA News

  • 2 Practical Approaches to More Equitable Government Spending: It's been over two years since policymakers began to redouble equity efforts with state and local budgets and programs. Here's a look at where things stand with some of that work. Long Beach, California, has spent years overhauling its procurement procedures and tools in an effort to make the entire process better for local vendors and staff. The project was adapted to include recommendations in the city’s Framework for Racial Equity and Reconciliation in 2020, and in the following year, it used American Rescue Plan Act funding to start testing out improvements.

  • The White House: President Biden Celebrates New Commitments toward Equitable Workforce Development for Infrastructure Jobs. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law—along with the CHIPS and Science Act, Inflation Reduction Act, and American Rescue Plan—are creating millions of good-paying union jobs, and the Challenge aimed to ensure that workers across the country are trained for these jobs. The private, public, and non-profit sector commitments complement the Administration’s investments in workforce development and help ensure a diverse set of workers have a fair shot at the good jobs created. Commitments made through the Challenge will expand equitable pathways into good jobs, boost opportunities for union jobs, and meet critical employer skill needs.


Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) News

  • A City Asks Residents to Vote on Which Infrastructure Projects to Fund: Denver is turning to “participatory budgeting” to decide how it will use a small slice of its budget for public works projects.

  • USDA Awards $759M in ReConnect Funds for Projects in 24 States: The U.S. Agriculture Department is awarding $759 million in ReConnect program grants and loans for high-speed internet access projects across 24 states, Puerto Rico, Guam and Palau. Today’s investments include funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides $65 billion to expand reliable, affordable, high-speed internet to all communities across the U.S. The money comes from the third funding round of the ReConnect Program.

  • Higher Interest Rates Could Keep Highway Trust Fund Afloat Another Year After IIJA Expires: The Trust Fund balance is artificially inflated since the IIJA added a $118 billion bailout transfer to the Trust Fund that was processed in December 2021, taking the end-of-month balance for the Trust Fund from $18.1 billion on November 30 to $135.8 billion on December 31. That $118 billion was supposed to gradually spend down until just after the IIJA authorization period expires in September 2026.

  • How Six Governors Are Advancing Digital Skills For Equitable Economic Participation: Recent federal investments in digital equity through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) present states with additional opportunities to define their goals and expand their capacity to advance digital skills. The Digital Equity Act (DEA) and the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program, two provisions of IIJA, offer a historic level funding to plan and implement programs that provide equitable access to high-speed internet along with the training necessary to fully utilize that connectivity.

  • The Infrastructure Talent Pipeline Challenge: President Biden remarked about the Infrastructure Talent Pipeline Challenge yesterday. The Infrastructure Talent Pipeline Challenge is a nationwide call to action for employers, unions, education and training providers, states, local governments, Tribes, territories, philanthropic organizations, and other stakeholders to make tangible commitments that support equitable workforce development focused on three critical sectors: broadband, construction, and electrification. The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), along with the CHIPS and Science Act, Inflation Reduction Act, and American Rescue Plan, are creating jobs for Americans, but also ensuring that these workers have the proper training for the jobs.


Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) News

  • Will the infrastructure law and Inflation Reduction Act transform American transportation? It’s complicated: With the signing of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) this August, congressional lawmakers capped a historically productive year when it comes to transportation policy. Two landmark bills—the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the IRA—will invest nearly $700 billion in infrastructure, research activities, and related programs that either directly touch the transportation industry or promise to benefit it. Even better, all that federal spending will attract even more commitments from states, localities, and the private sector. With funding from these laws starting to flow, it makes sense to take stock of where all these federal investments and regulatory reforms leave the transportation sector. The core question: Will the new laws fundamentally transform how people and freight move?

  • Utility CEOs expect climate law to boost profits, lower rates: CEOs of companies such as DTE Energy Co., Xcel Energy Inc. and CMS Energy Corp. briefed analysts and investors Thursday on how the Inflation Reduction Act will boost profitability. The new law’s provisions, they said, will reduce the cost of new energy projects, resulting in savings that will hold down electric rates and enable even greater investments.

  • The Inflation Reduction Act Is Law, but Implementation Will Determine How it Works for Decades to Come: The landmark Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) has changed the trajectory of the U.S. energy market, sparking a projected five-fold increase in the size of America’s $33 billion solar and storage industry over the next decade. This immense growth seems inevitable with such a transformative law in place, but the moment President Biden’s pen came off the document, a mammoth implementation challenge was set in motion.


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.

  • National Institute of Building Sciences: This session of the Infrastructure 2022 webinar series on December 6th from 12-1:15pm 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.


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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