The $50 million initiative will provide advice and resources to municipalities, especially small towns, through public sector groups and nonprofits, according to Bloomberg Philanthropies.
A $50 million initiative to aid cities in accessing billions in federal infrastructure funding was announced this week by its sponsors.
The Local Infrastructure Hub is bringing together public sector groups and nonprofits to help local leaders navigate the complicated Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act application process in order to win grants. Experts will provide free coaching, data analysis and support, among other things, in developing the applications.
Local governments are eligible for funding for a wide range of projects through the $1.2 trillion infrastructure act signed into law last fall. But with nearly 400 separate grants to be doled out over the next 24 months, many communities will struggle to identify and apply for all the funding available to them, according to Bloomberg Philanthropies.
Although open to all cities, the hub will have a special focus on helping traditionally underserved communities because they often lack the expertise and other support that can improve their chances of getting federal resources, the group said.
“For smaller cities and towns, submitting strong applications for federal infrastructure money is easier said than done,” Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and former mayor of New York City, said in a statement.
The initiative is being funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, Emerson Collective, Ford Foundation and The Kresge Foundation. Beside application assistance, the group wants to help cities think about how to spend the grants to advance solutions to critical issues, especially those that narrow the racial wealth gap and reduce pollution.
The hub’s services will be delivered by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, National League of Cities and Results for America. NLC will offer technical assistance to small towns and mid-size cities, and the mayors and Results for America will launch a series of webinars this summer to help localities identify grant opportunities and get application guidance.
In addition, the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, National Association of City Transportation Officials, African American Mayors Association and the National Urban League will contribute content, expertise and support.
Jean Dimeo is managing editor of Route Fifty.
NEXT STORY: How a Virginia county wooed Amazon and Boeing