In our last newsletter, we covered some of the warning signs local agencies should flag to understand when to say no to applying for grants. With the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), there are definitely more funding opportunities open to local governments, and in particular, municipalities. Examples include the Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods Grant Program, the Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Discretionary Grant Program and the Safe Streets and Roads for All Grant Program.
Although municipalities are eligible, in many cases, projects may not be large enough or communities may just not have the resources to apply for federal funding. Sometimes, the better alternative is working with other local or regional agencies to collaborate on applications. The project’s design and scale may look a little different, and communities may need to be more flexible in how much to apply for. But coordination and collaboration help maximize available resources and can result in a far more competitive application.
So, before you pass up or just say no to a grant opportunity, talk to your neighbors and regional agencies to see if a joint application will work for you!
Leveraging Regional Efforts
Communities in northeastern Illinois should monitor ongoing regional efforts as potential avenues to partner. For example, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) has received federal funds to develop transportation Safety Action Plans at the county level so that communities can be eligible for future implementation grants under the Safe Streets and Roads for All program.
The Metropolitan Mayors Caucus (MMC) also has ongoing initiatives to address common municipal issues through collaboration such as the EV Readiness Program. Communities participating in these types of programs can be better positioned to pursue funding opportunities like the Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Program or be part of larger applications.
Where to Start