National League of Cities and Expert Partners will Provide Specialized Support to Cities with 150,000 Residents or Less, Made Possible by $10 Million Investment
August, 12, 2022: Today, the Local Infrastructure Hub opened registration for small and mid-sized cities to participate in a new technical assistance program to help them access federal infrastructure funding. The specialized training bootcamps will let them access some of the first grant opportunities available as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. An estimated 2,000 smaller communities will benefit over the next two years.
The technical assistance is being led by the National League of Cities and is supported by $10 million that is part of the $55 million in funding for the Local Infrastructure Hub provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Ballmer Group, Emerson Collective, Ford Foundation, and The Kresge Foundation.
For smaller cities and towns, submitting strong applications for competitive federal infrastructure money can be particularly challenging. Local teams are stretched and rarely have in-house grant writing resources. Smaller cities often lack access to national networks, top technical expertise, and other supports from which larger cities regularly benefit. Research conducted by the Hub revealed that dozens of small and mid-sized cities would decline to even apply for funding due to these challenges. The Local Infrastructure Hub’s national technical assistance offering aims to enable communities that typically do not receive federal infrastructure money to draw down these funds.
Beginning today, the Local Infrastructure Hub is enrolling towns and cities with 150,000 residents or less in a technical assistance program designed to help them prepare strong applications for five upcoming federal grant programs included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which represent $4 billion in funding. In the months ahead, the Hub will provide support for additional federal grant opportunities. The first five upcoming opportunities include:
- Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities ($1 billion): Supports communities as they undertake hazard mitigation projects, reducing the risks they face from disasters and natural hazards.
- Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program ($550 million): Supports communities to implement strategies to reduce fossil fuel emissions, reduce the total energy use of the eligible entities, improve energy efficiency in the transportation, building, and other appropriate sectors.
- Flood Mitigation Assistance Grants ($3.5 billion): Supports communities with projects that reduce or eliminate the risk of repetitive flood damage to buildings insured by the National Flood Insurance Program.
- Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) Grant Program ($500 million): Supports communities on demonstration projects focused on advanced smart community technologies and systems in order to improve transportation efficiency and safety.
- Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Grants ($2.5 billion): Supports communities to address EV charging needs for passenger vehicles and light duty trucks.
Towns and cities participating in these programs will receive support from National League of Cities to develop a robust federal grant application, including access to subject matter experts, individualized coaching sessions, office hours, and peer-to-peer learning, as well as tools including templates, example submissions, and white papers. The technical assistance program will last approximately 3-4 months and participants will include mayors and municipal staff with job functions focused on finance, community engagement, and other relevant disciplines. A major emphasis will also be placed on helping communities understand Federal priorities, such as equity and sustainability, and then incorporate these and other desired outcomes into submissions.
To sign up, city officials can submit an interest form online starting today through August 31, 2022. Space is limited in the program, and preference will be given to early enrollees.
“Small and midsize cities are what drive our Country. Over 164 million Americans live in a city of less than 150,000. These federal funds have the opportunity to change their lives—but only if local leaders have the tools and resources needed to take full advantage of them,” said National League of Cities CEO and Executive Director Clarence Anthony. “After completing this program, not only will cities be able to submit grant applications, they’ll also have new, in-house expertise that can be utilized to apply for future federal grant opportunities.”
“Our research with small towns across the country made clear that many local leaders are too stretched, too discouraged to go through the challenging grant application process—even though they know these funds could move their communities forward,” said James Anderson who leads the Government Innovation program at Bloomberg Philanthropies. “We are excited to offer these communities a robust set of supports, designed with capacity constraints top of mind, to help them draw down federal infrastructure dollars.”
Local Infrastructure Hub Background
This technical assistance for small and mid-size towns and cities announced today is part of the Local Infrastructure Hub initiative. Funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Ballmer Group, Emerson Collective, Ford Foundation and The Kresge Foundation, the first-of-its-kind Local Infrastructure Hub is a national program to ensure that all cities and towns can access federal infrastructure funding to drive local recovery, improve communities, and deliver results for residents.
The Local Infrastructure Hub is delivered by the National League of Cities, U.S. Conference of Mayors, Results for America, and Delivery Associates. The National League of Cities will offer technical assistance to help small towns and mid-size cities develop strong applications that are grounded in data, feature detailed project plans, and include relevant policy objectives. The U.S. Conference of Mayors and Results for America are leading webinars to help cities identify the grant opportunities that align with community needs, get guidance about application criteria and timeframes, and learn about infrastructure innovations and emerging best practices.
The National League of Cities (NLC) is the voice of America’s cities, towns and villages, representing more than 200 million people. NLC works to strengthen local leadership, influence federal policy and drive innovative solutions. Stay connected with NLC on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.