On November 15, 2021, the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) was signed into law. The IIJA includes $550 billion in new spending and $650 billion of previously authorized infrastructure spending. Much of the $550 billion investment in new programs is being awarded in the form of grants to state, local, and tribal governments; nonprofits; and for-profit organizations to help carry out the objectives of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).
Given the size and scope of the IIJA, it can be overwhelming for nonfederal partners to understand how to access and manage these funds. By providing you with additional insights related to the IIJA, we can help alleviate some of the pressure that comes with using federal funds to improve communities.
The IIJA gives oversight responsibility to the federal agencies to award funds and monitor progress. In total, 16 agencies will oversee 378 programs in the 13 categories below:
- Airports and FAA Facilities
- Clean Energy and Power
- Electric Vehicles, Buses, and Ferries
- Environmental Remediation
- Passenger and Freight Rail
- Ports and Waterways
- Public Transportation
- Roads, Bridges, and Major Projects
*The “Other” category encompasses a variety of research and pilot programs. Some highlights include funds for bio-product research, battery recycling, and waste management systems.
While these funds can be transformative in improving communities, they also require strict accountability and transparency by nonfederal partners throughout the entire award and performance process. Each program will have different requirements depending on the funding mechanism but will generally follow an application process, award, period of performance, monitoring, and closeout.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is eligible for funding?
Each program targets specific recipients and ranges from state, local, and tribal governments to nonprofits, schools, and for-profit entities. For more information on eligibility for specific programs, see www.build.gov.
Where can I find information about programs?
In May 2022, the Biden Administration released a Guidebook to the IIJA. The guidebook outlines the programs funded in each of the 13 funding categories. Each program has a page in the guidebook that details the funding amount, period of availability, funding mechanism, program status, recipients, description, eligible uses, federal cost share requirement, and statutory location.
Another way to look up current funding opportunities and apply is through www.grants.gov.
How can I prepare for applications to open?
Now that the IIJA is in its ninth month, activity is really gaining momentum. Funding is being rolled out on what seems like a weekly basis. It is important to regularly reference www.grants.gov to stay up to date on current and active grants.
Another way to prepare is by downloading the Guidebook Data and targeting the specific programs that are relevant to your community. This data includes detailed information on the programs funded by the IIJA. The data set also includes a field, “Next Program Milestone,” which tells users where the program is in its life cycle and gives an estimated date for whatever the next step is. This is particularly helpful when trying to plan for compiling applications.
Transparency and accountability are always a priority when expending federal dollars, and funds expended under the IIJA are no different. Entities that receive IIJA funding will be required to follow Uniform Guidance found in 2 CFR 200. These rules serve as a guide for recipients of federal funds and help ensure that taxpayer dollars are expended efficiently and effectively.
There are additional compliance considerations for each grant program funded by the IIJA that will need to be evaluated by applicants. Many of the projects funded will include construction, and there are very specific rules in the Uniform Guidance for federally funded construction projects. Some things to keep in mind are:
- Budget revisions must receive prior written approval if the revision changes project scope or requires additional federal funds (2 CFR 200.308)
- It is encouraged to use value engineering clauses in contracts to offer reasonable opportunity for cost reductions (2 CFR 200.318)
- Sealed bids are the preferred method for construction procurement (2 CFR 200.320)
- Compliance with the Davis-Bacon Act, which requires laborers employed on federally funded projects be paid at least the locally prevailing wage and fringe benefits (2 CFR Appendix II to Part 200)
Staying compliant is especially important as noncompliance can have major implications, including withholding cash payments, disallowing costs, terminating the award, debarment, and other remedies that can be found in 2 CFR 200.339.
Grant compliance begins during the application process. Staying organized and submitting accurate information to the funding agency is important for both the application and for setting up the project once funds have been awarded. The national Grants Management team at FORVIS is prepared to assist your community with getting organized and designing federally compliant projects that can provide the greatest impact to your community.
For more information on the ins and outs of administering federal funds, see our article, “Grants Management: The Importance of Transparency & Oversight,” and stay tuned for the next article in our series, where we’ll do a deeper dive into roads, bridges, and public transportation.
At FORVIS, we understand keeping track of all of these requirements can be daunting. Our national Grants Management team combines our public sector, education, and healthcare experience with our top-tier data analytics tools and an understanding of the pitfalls that can arise working with federal funds. We want to help you make a difference in your community through streamlined compliance, training, and transparency. If you have questions or need more information, reach out to a professional at FORVIS or submit the Contact Us form below.
Please note that this information is current as of the date of publication.