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  • Writer's pictureJocelyn Thompson

September 23rd, 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.

News from MSP Cities and Counties

  • Minneapolis:

    • The Minneapolis City Council this week began its review of Mayor Jacob Frey’s proposed $3.3 billion budget, unveiled last month, which emphasized efforts to bolster the police department’s ranks and improve public safety. Frey said in his budget address last month that the city used $7 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars to fund retention, recruitment and hiring efforts earlier this year, and another $1 million went to the department to improve lighting and cameras.

    • Minneapolis became the third U.S. city to endorse a carbon neutrality goal for shipping last week, joining the California cities of Los Angeles and Long Beach in unanimously passing a so-called “Ship It Zero” resolution. The city, where Target is headquartered, is pressuring big brands to “abandon fossil-fueled ships.”

  • Minneapolis and St. Paul: The cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis have both embarked on temporary guaranteed income projects for dozens of families apiece, with the goal in part to prove the efficacy of such programs through scholarly research. The St. Paul effort is backed by $4 million in federal American Rescue Plan funding and $1 million from the Bush Foundation and McKnight Foundation.

  • Savage: When Savage officials asked residents how the city should spend $3.53 million in American Rescue Plan funds, one response kept popping up: on free mental health resources. The city decided to provide a $3,500 grant to the National Alliance on Mental Illness to host a series of mental health classes.

  • St. Paul:

    • The St. Paul Police Department is asking for $130 million from the city in 2023, with plans to address gun violence and staffing shortages that interim Police Chief Jeremy Ellison said have reached a critical point. The department's 2023 budget proposal includes funding to hire two additional academies, thanks in part to a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice and federal American Rescue Plan dollars. If approved, the department's roster of full-time employees — which includes civilian staff — would grow from 763 to 782.

Minnesota News

  • Hydrogen Fuel: Seven Midwestern states promised Monday to work together to make the Great Lakes region a hub of research and production of hydrogen fuel, a move that they said would help boost their economies and speed the adoption of the potential alternative to gas and diesel. The federal government is supporting it with money from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

  • People with disabilities: The Walz administration is making a push with millions of dollars in grants to help adults with disabilities move into the mainstream workforce and out of jobs that pay less than the minimum wage. The grants, funded by the federal American Rescue Plan Act, will help eight day employment centers phase out subminimum wage work by April 2024 — and another 14 providers expand employment support.

National ARPA News

  • “House America”: September 20, 2022, marks one year since U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) launched House America, a federal initiative to address the crisis of homelessness by leveraging the American Rescue Plan and other federal resources through a Housing First approach. HUD published an interactive story map that shares information about communities’ approaches to tackling homelessness and provides news updates on progress.

Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) News

  • 26 Freight Projects: The U.S. Department of Transportation selected 26 projects in 22 states and Puerto Rico in this year’s round of INFRA grants, which are designated for freight and multimodal projects of national significance. Millions of dollars will go to cover costs like expanding truck parking, bridge and highway improvements and an interstate teardown.

  • Transportation Tech: States and localities are among those eligible for the grants, which are aimed at funding projects focused on innovations like autonomous vehicles and roadside sensors. Funding for the competitive program, dubbed Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation, or SMART, was included in the $1.2 trillion infrastructure law President Biden signed last year.

  • Electric Vehicle Charger Plans: A majority of states got the green light from the federal government this week to begin building out electric vehicle charging networks along key highways, the Biden administration announced. Thirty-three states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., all got federal approval. It's a key step in unlocking $5 billion available for installing thousands of charging stations on highways around the country.

  • State Laws Posing a Roadblock: The Biden administration might hope its $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure law will drastically refashion the country’s largely auto-centric transportation network, but state laws stand in the way of any major shifts in most of the country, according to a new analysis. Many states have rules that favor drivers and highway projects despite pushes for alternative transportation, according to a new report.

  • IIJA Program Tracker: To further support IIJA implementation, the NGA has recently launched an updated version of its IIJA Program Tracker, which is a key feature of the IIJA resources page. The objective of the tracker is to provide a “one-stop-shop” of the latest IIJA information, so that Governors’ Infrastructure Coordinators and other advisors have a real-time credible source of data to help them plan and coordinate federal opportunities to best achieve the infrastructure vision of their Governor.

  • Infrastructure Law Rollout: State and local leaders are happy to have the money. But state transportation officials are flagging issues they’re worried about, as Republican lawmakers chafe over Biden administration rules.

Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) News

  • IRA incentives: The CleanEnergy.gov website was launched last week to help users navigate upcoming IRA incentives. The website allows users to find tax credits or rebates by activity (i.e. adding residential solar or heat pumps, undertaking energy efficiency or weatherization measures, buying an electric vehicle, etc.) and displays the incentives available in 2022 versus those that will be available in 2023 under IRA.

  • IRA and Minnesota: Fact sheets have been released highlighting how the Inflation Reduction Act tackles the climate crisis in states across the country and how families and communities can benefit from a clean energy future. Read the fact sheet for Minnesota to find out how families can save on their utility bills, get tax credits for electric vehicles and energy-saving appliances, and access the economic opportunities of the clean energy future.

CHIPS Act News

  • U.S. Innovation: U.S. efforts to boost domestic semiconductor manufacturing will have a beneficial impact on homegrown innovation, in part by ensuring tech startups have the resources they need to scale emerging technologies, industry experts said. The bipartisan Chips and Science Act, which Congress approved in July, goes a long way to boost innovation.

Upcoming Webinars

  • EDA CHIPS for America Webinar Series: The CHIPS Program Office is excited to announce the first scheduled offerings of the CHIPS for America Webinar Series. The topic for the first set of webinars is to review the recently released CHIPS for America Strategy Paper. You are encouraged to submit questions in advance of the briefings via Slido to ensure that the program team can maximize the Q&A portion of the briefings.

  • Infrastructure Funding: Gain strategic insight into creating competitive applications for FEMA’s Build Resilient Infrastructure and Communities funding opportunity under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Join a webinar on September 27 at 1 pm CT. Register here.

  • ACEEE’s Self-Scoring Tool: Results from the Community Energy Challenge: This ACEEE/SSN webinar on September 29th at 12 pm will show communities how to use ACEEE’s latest self-scoring tool to measure their community's energy efficiency and clean energy progress and highlight results from the most recent cohort of SSN’s Community Energy Challenge. Register here.

  • Informational webinars on grant basics for potential applicants to Grid Resilience funding opportunities: Commerce will host two informational seminars for entities thinking of applying to one or more of the IIJA Grid Resilience funding opportunities and who want to better understand the processes involved. Registration links to receive meeting invites are linked below.

  • Global Wellness Connections (GWC): Join Global Wellness Connections (GWC) and its partners are inviting you on October 7th from 8:30-10:00 am, and other leaders from across sectors and industries in the five state-Upper Midwest, to the roll-out briefing on the ‘Future of Wellbeing – Minnesota Leading the Way.’ Register here.

  • Join Route Fifty for Follow the Money 5: Fraud, Waste & Abuse! Learn more from industry experts about the potential misuse of these funds and how state/local governments can establish accountability and use these funds properly. While these investments are revolutionary, they also open up opportunities for fraud, waste, and abuse. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act along with the Inflation Reduction Act can provide great service to local governments, but it's also important to ensure these funds are not misallocated. Register here.

Resources

  • Podcast: On a new episode of the TechTank podcast, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Under Secretary for Rural Development Xochitl Torres Small joins Nicol Turner Lee to talk about the urban-rural digital divide, how the infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has helped the USDA expand its programs, and how the department has been working to meet different communities’ hyperlocal needs.

  • 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.

Upcoming Funding Deadlines

Notice of Intent (NOI)

  • The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE): The DOE launched more than $28 Million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for research and development (R&D) projects that will advance and preserve hydropower as a critical source of clean energy. This Notice of Intent (NOI) will offer three funding opportunities this fall to support research, development, and deployment of hydropower, including pumped storage hydropower, which can play a key role in integrating variable renewable energy sources on the electric grid.

  • Overview of the three Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOAS)

  • Notice of Intent (NOI)

Have a great weekend, all!

Allison

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