The topic of stimulus funding for infrastructure projects in the wake of COVID-19 is making headlines as discussions are underway to define and approve these programs. Some grants, such as the Economic Development Administration’s EAA-CARES Act which may offer up to $30 million per project, are currently accepting applications. We could, however, be months away from other pending legislation, such as the $1.5 trillion infrastructure package (H.R. 2- Moving America Forward Act) that was recently passed by the House of Representatives and pending Senate approval.
With funding available for a wide range of infrastructure projects – including roads, bridges, rail, drinking water, stormwater, coastal and Great Lakes resiliency and restoration, brownfields and more – communities will want to act as soon as the applications are released. While legislators work to define these programs, there are several things you can do now to be prepared, and ultimately more successful, when the time comes to apply.
Set-up or Renew Online Accounts
Due to COVID-19, it will be mandatory for grant applications to be done online. Entities that will be applying for federal grants must have a current System of Award Management (sam.gov) and grants.gov account. If they do not, they will need to renew their registrations or create one right away. Project managers assisting with applications should create and keep accounts up to date and ready for use.
Educate Yourself on Key Criteria
Learn as much as you can about the key evaluation criteria for the big federal funding programs for infrastructure. Consider how your project will meet criteria for resiliency, state of good repair, regionalization, access to jobs and services, environmental benefits, safety and more.
Know your Cost and Schedule
Anticipate the range of costs needed for your project by obtaining a current cost estimate. Be prepared to describe project phases, major milestones and timeline goals. Be ready to answer details on planning, design and construction readiness to proceed.
Create a Project Fact Sheet
Develop a one-page fact sheet about the project. Be sure to quantify key benefits you believe the project will provide. In addition to helping you be better prepared when applications are released, it also will help you generate support and feedback on the various components of your project and will be a useful tool with funding agencies and partners.
All projects need support on the local, regional, state and federal level. Share your project fact sheet with your State Representatives to share with their Federal counterparts. Ask for ways to connect the project with their goals to increase the overall impact, outcomes and benefits.
Align with Regional Goals
Make sure your projects are recognized in, and align with, regional plans for prioritization. Many regional planning, infrastructure districts and related agencies are tracking potential project lists. Make sure your project is on it.
We can help. B&N is actively tracking the status of stimulus funding. In addition, we are working with our clients to help identify and prepare them for opportunities that align with their current projects as well as broader visions for their communities. Reach out to your B&N client representative for more information and to learn how we can to help you develop a winning strategy.