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Resources for Local Communities to Access Unprecedented Investments

In February 2021, the White House released “NOFOs to Know” which was updated in February of 2023 as “Open and Upcoming Infrastructure Funding Opportunities”. These documents outline federal infrastructure funding for cities. The $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) is a federal investment designed to create jobs, boost economic development in communities across the country, reduce emissions from transportation sources, improve access to broadband services, enhance public safety efforts in urban areas, and more.

These documents outline several types of grant opportunities available through existing programs such as the Community Development Block Grant program (CDBG), Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Program (TIGER) grants, or Rural Broadband Connectivity Grants. Cities can apply for these competitive grants on a rolling basis — there are no specific deadlines associated with each opportunity — but they must demonstrate how their project meets certain criteria outlined by the government agency responsible for awarding them.

At least 40 percent of funds must be used towards projects that benefit disadvantaged communities according to the Justice40 initiative which was launched by The White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs & Urban Affairs earlier this year. To support this goal, applications include evaluation criteria related to specifically targeting underserved populations when determining awardees, including evaluating potential environmental justice benefits or community engagement strategies. Additionally, all investments made under any NOFO should explicitly consider racial equity objectives set forth within the Justice40 Initiative framework.

Because of the amount of funding, the number of grants, and multiple agencies administering IIJA dollars, keeping track of upcoming opportunities and deadlines can be challenging for resource-constrained cities, which are most in need of these investments. That's why documents like “Open and Upcoming Infrastructure Funding Opportunities” are critical. However, several federal agencies and non-governmental organizations have also invested in publishing and building research tools to help cities explore opportunities and track deadlines that are dynamic and flexible. The lists below feature a few examples.

In summary, IIJA funding offers an effective way for cities nationwide to make meaningful improvements in underserved communities while also creating jobs and boosting local economies. There are several thoughtfully developed resources for local communities to research opportunities - several of which include technical application assistance and capacity building. Through initiatives like Justice40 – which requires at least 40% of funds to go towards projects benefitting disadvantaged communities – these investments will have an even greater positive impact than ever before.


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