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Weekly Update: May 2 – News and Resources for State Leaders

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 recent developments that every state leader needs to know regarding competitive grants for states, equitable data collection, how to transition with nutrition programs and how to “Buy America.”

New This Week:

  1. The Council of State Governments provides an overview of state funding opportunities in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in the recently published CSG Capitol Ideas Magazine article, “Investing in Infrastructure.”
  2. CSG has compiled a list of infrastructure act competitive grant opportunities with application due dates in May 2022. View those at this resource: “States Can Apply for Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Competitive Grants”

Recent Updates for State Leaders

The Equitable Data Working Group released a report, “A Vision for Equitable Data,” to provide a framework to achieve equitable data collection to improve outcomes for underserved communities. For more, CSG provides additional insights here: “How states can utilize American Rescue Plan Funds for Evidence-Based Policymaking

News, Updates and Resources

INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT AND JOBS ACT

General

White House publishes implementation guidance on Build America, Buy America Act preference for infrastructure projects

The guidance includes the preference that materials for infrastructure projects be made in the United States. The guidance also covers the process for waiving the preference and can be found here.

Office of Management and Budget seeks comment on Build America, Buy America Act

The Office of Management and Budget seeks input on the list of domestic preference requirements for infrastructure projects. Comments are due by May 23. More information can be found here.

Management and budget office releases guidance on oversight for effective management and outcomes of Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funds

Announcement of the Initial IIJA Implementation Guidance prioritizes effectiveness, accountability and transparency in the implementation. The guidance provides direction on:

  • Using data and evidence.
  • Planning for implementation.
  • Document selection criteria and review.
  • Reporting requirements.
  • Post-award reporting and measuring outcomes.

Agriculture

Forest Service invests $31.1 million in 15 projects through the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program

These projects will reduce the risk of wildfires, support local economies, create jobs and enhance forest and watershed health. More information about the 15 programs funded can be found here.

Forest Service announces more than $238 million in funding for the Secure Rural Schools Program

This program will support public schools, roads and other services to 41 states. More information on the program and state payments can be found here.

Department of Agriculture announces $420 in Watershed Infrastructure Projects

These projects include rehabilitating damns, preventing floods and restoring watersheds in rural and historically underserved communities. A list of projects can be found here and more information can be found here.

Energy

Department of Energy requests information on cost-effective implementation of building energy codes

This program will help with energy code compliance training and implementation. Comments are due by May 20. More information can be found here.

Energy department publishes fact sheet on rural opportunities funded through the infrastructure act

The fact sheet is designed to help rural communities access federal resources and improve government transparency. Communities can find resource opportunities, where to apply and how to find more information.

Department of Energy publishes request for information for Enhanced Geothermal Systems pilot demonstrations

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act contains $84 million for these projects. The Department of Energy is seeking comments to inform the development of a Funding Opportunity Announcement for the Enhanced Geothermal Systems program. Comments are due May 13. More information can be found here.

Energy department publishes guidance on Civil Nuclear Credit Program

This $6 billion program will prevent at-risk nuclear facilities from premature closure. This guidance suggests owners and operators of nuclear power reactors that are to be shut down for economic reasons apply for this program. Applications are due May 19.

Department of Energy seeks comment on draft implementation guidance for two infrastructure act-funded rebate programs

Draft guidance was released for the $10 million Extended Product Systems Rebate Program and $10 million Energy Efficient Transformers Rebate Program. Comments can be submitted here.

Interior

Department of the Interior provides guidance to states for Orphaned Well Program

As a follow up to Phase I Formula Grants available for state application for orphaned wells, the State Initial Grant Guidance establishes the application process and outlines best practices for use of funding.
 
The Interior announce National Fish Passage projects to protect aquatic species and habitats

The award provides $38 million for shovel-ready projects in 23 states to support migrating fish, recreation and flood prevention.

Bureau of Reclamation Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act implementation information session

The Bureau of Reclamation presentations and materials for tribes and stakeholders are  available to provide information covering infrastructure act funding opportunities, distribution method, timing and strategic objectives in the American West.

Transportation

Federal Transit Administration publishes frequently asked questions on requirements for public transportation safety plans

The FAQs cover applicability, infectious disease exposure and training. The FAQs can be found here.

Federal Aviation Administration opens application to modernize air traffic control towers

The FAA Contract Tower Competitive Grant program provides $20 million annually for five years. This money will support sustaining, constructing, repairing, improving, modernizing, replacing or relocating airport towers. More information about the funding and qualifying airports can be found here. Applications are due May 16.

Federal Highway Administration features new programs to address climate change

Increased funding and flexibility are available to states through several programs:

Federal Highway Administration Seeks Information from States for Complete Streets Assessment

Transportation seeks public comments to request Information Collection for the National Complete Streets Assessment to help agencies plan, design, build and operate safe street networks for everyone. Submit comments by June 27 to inform the highway administration how to improve implementation for the states.

CORONAVIRUS

General

Office of Management and Budget releases technical updates to American Rescue Plan Act compliance documents

Office of Management and Budget released the 2021 Compliance Supplement Technical Updates to the Provider Relief Fund and the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund compliance documents.

Agriculture

Department of Agriculture awards initial $43 million in Emergency Rural Health Care Grants

This program will help expand rural hospital and provider access to COVID-19 vaccines, testing and supplies, while helping rural health care providers stay financially solvent. The program is funded at $500 million. More information about the program can be found here and a list of awards can be found here.

Commerce

Economic Development Administration posts update on American Rescue Plan programs

The Economic Development Administration received applications totaling over $2 billion in demand, which is over four times the $500 million available. Due to the high volume of responses and lack of funds, it will not reopen the program for new applications. The update can be found here.

Education

Department of Education updates

Department of Education publishes form to voluntarily decline American Rescue Plan Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund allocations

The form may be completed by institutions wishing to decline some or all American Rescue Plan formula grant awards(s) under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. Forms must be emailed to HEERFRefund@ed.gov by Sept. 30, 2024.

Education department grantees may use federal funds as matching funds for AmeriCorps

This letter clarifies grantees can use annually appropriated funds and COVID-19 funds as match for AmeriCorps programs.

New FAQ addresses amending state’s approved American Rescue Plan Homeless Children and Youth

States can request an amendment to an American Rescue Plan Homeless Children and Youth plan by submitting a redlined version of the approved plan that reflects proposed amendments. The amendment requests and related materials should be sent to the HomelessEd@ed.gov mailbox. The FAQs can be found here.

Health

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services returning to pre-COVID-19 policies in long-term care and other facilities

As the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services phases out emergency declaration waivers, it will be restoring pre-pandemic standards. More information can be found here.

Health Resources and Services Administration announces Fiscal Year 2022 Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting awards

The Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting awards total $16 million, including $9 million to expand state maternal health innovation and implementation programs. More information about the program can be found here and a list of grantees can be found here.         

Health Resources and Services Administration distributes $1.75 billion in Provider Relief Funds

With this disbursement, the administration has distributed approximately $13.5 billion from the Provider Relief Fund. More information can be found here.

Health Resources and Services Administration launches Community Health Worker Training Program

The $226.5 million American Rescue Plan-funded program will increase the number of community health workers who play an important role in connecting people to care. The funding will go toward providing education and on-the-job training. Applications are due June 14. More information can be found here.

Grants awarded for Crisis Call Centers

For the crisis care infrastructure, the Department for Health and Human Services awarded $105 million to 54 states and territories to improve the upcoming July transition to the three-digit dialing code of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Human Services

Administration for Children and Families publishes Low Income Household Water Assistance Program sample landlord agreement

This resource can be adapted by grant recipients and subrecipients and is not a required document. The sample agreement can be found here.

Housing

Department of Housing and Urban Development releases HOME Investment Partnerships policy brief

The brief covers HOME-American Rescue Plan funding requirements relating to Uniform Relocation Assistance and Section 104(d) which focuses on the demolition or conversion of lower-income units. The policy brief can be found here.

HUD releases notice on new waivers and alternative requirements for the Emergency Solutions Grants program under the CARES Act

This notice sets Sept. 30 as the deadline for expending 100% of these funds. It also includes a new waiver of housing stability case management limits and new waivers and alternative requirements on how recaptured Emergency Solutions Grant funds will be reallocated. The notice can be found here.

Nutrition

USDA Food and Nutrition Services publishes updated list of active Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program COVID-19 waivers by state

The active COVID-19 waiver adjustments by state can be found here.

USDA-FNS publishes webinar on transitioning to normal child nutrition operations for state agencies

This webinar will focus on the transition for the upcoming summer.

Treasury

The Department of the Treasury publishes periodic report on outstanding lending facilities

The report covers term asset-backed securities loan facilities, municipal liquidity facilities, paycheck protection program liquid facilities and main street lending programs. The publication also includes a transaction-specific spreadsheet that can be found here.

The Treasury posts webinars on State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds project and expenditure reporting The first webinar covers simplified submissions under revenue replacement and the second webinar covers submissions under all expenditure categories.