Emergency federal funding for states to address COVID-19 and the consequent economic stresses includes the American Rescue Plan Act, a $1.9 trillion economic relief package, and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a $1.2 trillion initiative to improve infrastructure. This federal funding has and will continue to have an impact on state budgets and policies.
This week’s newsletter includes updates for state leaders regarding global pressures on state revenue, equity action plans, how to apply for rental assistance funds, and additional grants for housing discrimination.
NEW THIS WEEK
- States continue to feel the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, surging inflation and the lingering presence of the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, The Council of State Governments provides analysis of the implications of these, particularly for the short- and long-term revenue of state and local government. Read the analysis in, “State and local Economies in a Global Context.”
- Under the directive of Biden administration Executive Order 13985, federal agencies developed Equity Action Plans, incorporating equity in their mission deliveries. CSG summarized a recent White House convening on these equity plans and their goals. That overview is available in, “The White House Convening on Equity.”
- In case you missed it: CSG worked with National Conference of State Legislatures and The Policy Lab at Brown University to identify investments in data analysis and collection, program evaluations and improvements to data and technology infrastructure that could help improve the evidence base for state policies for years to come. View that collaboration at, “States Have an Opportunity to Use ARPA Funds for Evidence-based Policymaking.”
RECENT UPDATES FOR STATE LEADERS
The Biden administration announced the end of enforcement of Title 42, a policy implemented by the previous presidential administration that allows the federal government to suspend entry of individuals into the U.S. during a public health emergency, by May 23. Some members of the Senate opposed a vote on the COVID-19 relief package — currently down to $10 million from the original $22.5 billion request — unless there was also a vote to keep Title 42 in place. As a result, no vote occurred before the Congressional holiday recess.
NEWS, UPDATES AND RESOURCES
INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT AND JOBS ACT
White House publishes Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Rural Infrastructure Playbook
The Rural Playbook was created to help rural communities understand available funding provided by the infrastructure act and other sources. It covers funds available and how to apply. A Rural Cost Share Analysis provides matching requirements and flexibilities in the federal funding.
White House publishes School Infrastructure Toolkit
The School Infrastructure Toolkit covers the most effective uses of COVID relief, the infrastructure act and other funding to address school infrastructure needs. It examines funding across agencies available to state and local educational agencies and schools.
Department of Energy publishes Weatherization Assistance Program grant and application materials
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides $3.5 billion for weatherization assistance; the Weatherization Program Notices provide information for states on how to develop a plan to apply.
Energy department issues request for information on the Energy Efficiency Revolving Loan Fund capitalization grant program
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides $250 million to create a revolving loan fund for commercial and residential energy audits, energy upgrades, retrofits and more. The Department of Energy seeks comments by May 6 on the request for information that will provide guidance for the program.
Department of Energy publishes guidance regarding the State Energy Program
The State Energy Security Plan Document provides guidance regarding access to a portion of the $500 million for the State Energy Program. All future distribution of funding through the State Energy Program will require the submission of a State Energy Security Plan and states can request funding to create or update their plan.
Energy department publishes request for information on energy improvements at public school facilities
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes $500 million in grants for energy efficiency, renewable energy and alternative-fueled vehicles for improvement at public school facilities. Responses are due May 18. The request for information can be found here.
Environmental Protection Agency publishes Q&A on Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Funds
The EPA also published a series of documents outlining a plan for collaborative implementation with state, local and tribal partners of $43 billion in water infrastructure funding. The Clean Water State Revolving Funds website includes:
EPA publishes resources to help schools and other recipients prepare for $5 billion Clean School Bus Program
Resources include webinars, a bus inventory sheet and registration information. EPA anticipates accepting applications in late April. Resources can be found here.
Bureau of Reclamation:
- Announces Fiscal Year 2022 projects – Out of the $1 billion appropriated for previously authorized rural water projects, $420 million has been committed for six projects. Information can be found here. The updated spending plan can be found here.
- Releases Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Spend Plan for Fiscal Year 2023 – Details about the spending plan for $1.66 billion allocated across 12 programs can be found here.
- Updates FAQs – Complete document can be accessed here.
Wildfire Risk Plan released by Department of the Interior and Department of Agriculture
The Wildfire Risk five-year monitoring, maintenance and treatment plan can be found here.
Department of the Interior requests comments on Proposed Information for Orphaned Well Site Plugging, Remediation and Restoration Program
Comments can be made until May 31.
Federal Transit Administration announces Fiscal Year 2022 full-year apportionments for formula grant programs
Tables provide funding amounts each urbanized area will receive in formula funding in the Fiscal Year 2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act; summaries and tables can be found here.
FTA publishes final notice of changes to the National Transit Database reporting requirements
The changes reflect forthcoming updates to the definition of Urbanized Areas based on the 2020 census. The reports will be completed using the 2010 Census for the 2021 report year. If the Census Bureau releases new urbanized areas prior to October 1, the FTA will pull in as much information as possible for the new forms. For background information on the changes, see the previous notice. The notice on the final changes can be found here.
Federal Highways Administration
- Issues corrections to Fiscal Year 2022 apportionments for Bridge Formula Program – The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act allocated $5.5 billion annually for a bridge replacement, rehabilitation, preservation, protection and construction program. The project is expected to last from 2022 to 2026. The prior notice detailing Fiscal Year 2022 allocations has been cancelled due to errors in the data for bridge replacement costs. California will receive $275 million less and Indiana will receive $5.5 million less in Fiscal Year 2022 while other states will experience increases.
- Releases notice on fiscal year state distribution of Federal-Aid Highway Obligation Limitation – About $57 billion is obligated for Fiscal Year 2022. The notice can be found here.
- Redistributes “Looped-Off” Contract Authority – Federal Highways Administration explains redistribution of certain Sept. 30, 2025.The document can be found here.
- Circulates memorandum on reporting requirement of the Equal Access Provisions for Over the Road Buses – The memorandum states that public toll facility operators are required by the infrastructure act to report any rates, terms or conditions for access to the toll facility by public transportation vehicles different from those applicable to over the road buses within 30 days of changes being implemented.
Infrastructure act resources published by Federal Railroad Administration
Comments on Proposed Information Collection for the Natural Gas Distribution Infrastructure Safety and Modernization Grant Program
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration requests comments on this program created by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Funds of $200 million have been allocated annually for fiscal years 2022-26 and funding is available for municipality and community-owned facilities.
Federal Highway Admiration publishes guidance on the Transportation Alternatives set-aside from the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program
The Transportation Alternatives program is 10% set-aside of Surface Transportation Block Grant Program annual funding. The guidance covers requirements for the use of Federal Highway Funds, project selection processes and eligible activities. The guidance can be found here.
Army Corps of Engineers devotes $2.7 billion from the infrastructure act to support port and waterway supply chains and climate resistance
The funding will make ports and waterways more resilient to climate change and strengthen supply chains and will keep goods moving through the U.S. More information about funding allocations can be found here.
AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN ACT
Food and Nutrition Service seeks comments on information collection for study of the under redemption of the cash-value benefits issued to Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children
USDA-FNS is interested in state agency policies and practices as well as how the temporary benefit increase affects cash-value benefits redemption rates. Comments are due June 3. More information can be found here.
FNS publishes guidance clarifying Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program policy on general work requirements in situations related to COVID safeguards and vaccination requirements
Good cause for not adhering to these requirements include circumstances beyond the persons control such as illness or lack of child care. More information about exceptions to the general work requirements can be found here.
Department of Education updates maintenance of equity state data and state plans
Education publishes notice of automatic extension of performance period for grants issued under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund
The performance period for open Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund grants greater than $1,000 is extended through June 30, 2023. More information can be found here.
Education department extends student loan repayment pause through Aug. 31
The press release can be found here.
Department of Education releases letter addressing second year Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund auditing requirements.
Auditing requirements fall into two categories: nonprofit institutions that may be required to submit an audit under the Single Audit Act Amendments of 1996 and those audits that proprietary institutions are required to submit under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund program. The letter can be found here.
New Education webpage consolidates information from the Office of State and Grantee Relations
The office oversees seven COVID-19 relief programs under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act; the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act; and the American Rescue Plan. The website includes links to promising practices, award resources, deadlines, announcements and staff, including:
- Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund under the CARES Act, Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act and the American Rescue Plan
- Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund under the CARES Act and Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act
- Emergency Assistance to Non-public Schools program under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act and the American Rescue Plan
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services publishes new tools to help states prepare for resumption of routine Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program
Health Resources and Services Administration announces Provider Relief Fund recipients can request to report late due to extenuating circumstance
Extenuating circumstances include severe illness, death, natural disasters, lack of recipient reporting communications, failure to click submit, internal miscommunication or error and incomplete targeted distribution payments. The form to request to report late is due April 22 and can be found here.
Administration for Children and Families publishes details on Low Income Household Water Assistance Program quarterly reporting submission
The administration reminded states of the April 29 deadline for the Second Quarter Report and provided more information on report formatting. The details can be found here.
Children and families administration releases Low Income Household Water Assistance Program data dashboard
The dashboard tracks, analyzes and displays important performance indicators. It also contains implementation information and quarterly reports.
Administration for Community Living publishes fact sheet on preparing for Medicaid changes when the public health emergency expires
The Preparing for Medicaid Changes Fact Sheet covers five things networks should know about Medicaid once the emergency expires.
Sites selected for the Community Services Block Grant and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families COVID and Safety Net Initiative
The Administration for Children and Families has selected the sites for this initiative, developed to support partnerships between the Community Services Block Grant and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families to design responsive strategies to support low-income families.
Federal Emergency Management Agency publishes advisory on continued funding to support the safe operation of schools
The advisory says schools and school districts may use the FEMA Public Assistance Program to seek full reimbursement for eligible costs related to health and safety measures for in-person learning. The advisory also covers how schools can apply for FEMA assistance.
FEMA Sets Deadlines for Requests for Public Assistance
The memo sets July 1 deadline for Requests for Public Assistance in response to COVID-19. Funding requests authorized at 100% federal cost-share through July 1 must be submitted by Dec. 31.
Department of Housing and Urban Development makes more American Rescue Plan funds available for targeting housing discrimination
The $3.3 million is part of the third round of American Rescue Plan funding that targets COVID-related discrimination. To date, about $16.1 million in funding has been awarded to 62 agencies. Applications for third round funding must be received by May 5. More information can be found here.
HUD releases notice on requirements for Mainstream voucher carryover funds
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act allowed HUD to use Mainstream carryover funding from past appropriations to prevent, prepare for or respond to COVID by awarding new Mainstream vouchers non-competitively and for extraordinary administrative fees. This notice covers application and eligibility requirements.
HUD advises Public Housing Agencies they can apply for certain regulatory waivers offered by the CARES Act
Public housing agencies may now apply for CARES Act waivers to provide flexibility during COVID recovery. The waivers provide flexibility is creating and applying payment standards and voucher search time policies. The notice can be found here.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and Association of Zoos and Aquariums distribute first wave of awards under Endangered Species COVID-19 relief program
The first wave of funding totals more than $1.6 million. The program will be used to reimburse expenses regarding the care of captive species in the Endangered Species Act as well as rescued and confiscated wildlife at risk of extinction. More information regarding the funding can be found here.
Department of Labor awards almost $16 million in additional funding to promote equal access to unemployment insurance systems
The Department of Labor announced the second round of grant recipients (Alabama, Idaho, Missouri and New Mexico) to support projects to promote awareness, simplify instructions, provide translation services, enhance technology and address specific needs of disadvantaged communities.
Department of Transportation publishes update on supply chain tracker
Measures in the update include U.S. container imports and exports, container ships awaiting berths at U.S. ports and truck employment counts. The update can be found here.
The Department of the Treasury publishes project and expenditure report templates for State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund
The report from all recovery fund recipients is due April 30. Resources on reporting and compliance, including user guides and reporting webinars, can be found here.
The Treasury publishes February Emergency Rental Assistance report
Emergency Rental Assistance funding of $30 billion was spent or obligated. Over $4.7 million in payments were made to households through February 2022. February rental assistance data as well as more information can be found here.
Treasury department publishes Emergency Rental Assistance reallocation guidance
The Treasury releases fact sheet detailing how implementation of American Rescue Plan programs highlights equity
The fact sheet can be found here.
Housing Assistance Fund Plans for state programs released by Treasury department
Housing Assistance Fund Guidance on Participant Compliance and Reporting draft published by the Treasury
This draft document is open for comments.
Emergency Rental Assistance Reporting Guidance released by the Treasury
This document details information on ERA1 and ERA2 reporting requirements and deadlines. The first quarter reports for 2022 were due April 15. A User Guide was published and Appendix 9 provides information on reporting ERA recipient allocation of funds to subrecipients, contractors and beneficiaries.
Form for requesting voluntarily reallocated Emergency Rental Assistance funds updated by the Treasury
Non-entitlement units of local government and units of general local government within counties that are not of general local government (Non-UGLG) Agreements and Supporting Documents User Guide posted by Treasury
This document provides information for non-entitlement units and Non-UGLGs on using the Treasury portal to submit the required information under the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund Compliance and Reporting Guidance. More resources on funding, allocation information, compliance and reporting and more can be found here.