How to Prepare Now so You Can Secure the Funding Your Community Needs
With nearly $600 billion in federal funds, this legislation provides cities and counties a rare opportunity to overhaul our public works system. However, in many cases, city and county leaders will need to apply and compete for state and federal grants in order to receive the funding necessary to modernize local infrastructure related to public safety, transportation, water and wastewater, resilience, broadband, and more. With such a wide range of potential benefits and purposes, it's important for local leadership to start the planning process now in order to be ready when funding becomes available.
Preparedness Begins With an Infrastructure Assessment
The funding that will be made available to local governments will be split across several programs. And of course, each of these programs have different requirements such as eligible recipients, eligible projects, and the percentage of matching funds required—not to mention the individualized and often complicated application process. The first step in being prepared for such an extensive array of programs is to identify and prioritize the needs of your local community.
Conducting an in-depth assessment should begin with taking an inventory of all city infrastructure. It will be important to evaluate current conditions to determine what changes and upgrades will be needed to meet the needs of your community. This should include more than just an evaluation based on forecasted growth. It should also take into consideration any potential challenges posed by droughts, flooding, and other potential disasters.
The Importance of Planning Documents
Typically, this type of assessment has already been completed as part of a comprehensive or master plan. However, many of the cities we work with have experienced levels of growth that outpaced the forecasts developed at the time of the last plan update. With this in mind, it might be a good idea to analyze these forecasts to determine if they reflect current growth trends. This analysis can then help you evaluate how the city might need to adjust long range plans to accommodate unexpected growth or reprioritize infrastructure projects.
With so many more funding opportunities on the horizon, now is also the time to incorporate additional projects based on the grants that will soon be made available. This is an important step because most funding agencies require a city or county to identify the need for potential projects in an official planning document—like a capital improvement plan—in order to receive funding. Officially acknowledging projects as a priority at a council meeting, even without a formal capital improvement plan, can save the time and hassle of trying to rush to meet tight deadlines when applying for funding.
Make a Meaningful Long-Term Impact for Your Community
Now, more than ever, local agencies have an opportunity to pursue important projects and revitalize our desperately overdue physical infrastructure. However, many cities and counties will require support and assistance as they navigate the complicated funding application process. Especially those that don't have people on staff who have a background in grant writing or a complete understanding of the competitive grant process. This includes everything from the ability to demonstrate project readiness to the ability to meet cost share requirements.
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These next few months, T-O Engineers will be sharing our experience in successfully preparing winning grant proposals. Please Subscribe to Our Newsletter to receive each of our articles as we take you though the steps necessary to qualify for this funding and provide updates as more information becomes available. Our next article will focus on the need to identify the Cost and Consequences of infrastructure improvement projects.
Put Our Expertise to Work for You
To put our expertise to work for you as you prepare for these upcoming funding opportunities, please contact Kasey Ketterling at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can help you conduct an infrastructure assessment, prioritize needs, prepare the necessary planning documents, and walk you through every step of the grant application process.
Visit our Municipal Services page to learn more about the types of projects our Municipal Services team has completed throughout Idaho, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming and for more information about the engineering services we provide.