Are Your Projects Funding-Ready?
The recent Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), as supplemented by the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA), have many new grant and legislative funding options. A great benefit of these programs is the defined five-year timeline that allows agencies to implement a multi-year strategy to capture funds – but we are already approaching the end of year one.
Now is the time to identify projects that are ready to apply for an implementation/construction grant or planning/engineering-oriented grant to advance project planning, environmental clearances, and other activities to position the project to be competitive for an implementation grant. Project readiness is a critical criterion for grant success.
Planning, Design, and Construction Project Funds
There are multiple grants that offer both planning/design and implementation/construction funds. Several examples include:
- Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Railroad Crossing Elimination Grant Program, for funding highway-rail or pathway-rail grade crossing separations, elimination, or safety improvements focused on improving the safety and mobility of people and goods.
- Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A), for developing comprehensive safety action plans, design/development activities, or implementation of a comprehensive safety action plan.
Within BIL and IRA there are many funding opportunities for Transportation, Broadband, Water, Clean Energy, and the Environment that include overarching objectives of resiliency, sustainability, equity, greenhouse gas reduction, and multi-modal to name a few.
Therefore, agencies must go beyond just establishing a wish-list of projects to be funded; there needs to be a strategy to achieve measurable benefits that align with the grant’s overarching objectives. For example, FHWA’s PROTECT grant is aimed at making surface transportation more resilient to natural hazards, including climate change, sea level rise, flooding, extreme weather events, and other natural disasters through the support of planning activities, resilience improvements, community resilience, evacuation routes, and at-risk coastal infrastructure.
Grant Writing Tools
There is also the overarching JUSTICE 40 initiative that sets a goal that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution. There is a Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool that helps identify areas in a community that fall into the areas of focused investment that could improve competitiveness for funding.
There are many more funding opportunities a community may be able to leverage, but time is of the essence to position projects to participate in the balance of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law timeframe. HR Green can assist communities through the Capital Improvement Planning process, positioning projects to capitalize on funding, writing grants, and advancing projects through design and construction.