Electric Vehicles
Bonds and Financing

How to Prepare for Infrastructure Act Funding

Federal grants are more than just applying for funding and building new infrastructure. Here are a few tips on how to be part of community discussions on how funding will be applied in your local area.

Focus Your Efforts.

  • Up to 50 programs in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act are related to energy and grid infrastructure, with many others for broadband, resilience, or electric transportation infrastructure. Identify priority needs for your utility and your community. Potential areas include smart grid technology, broadband infrastructure, hardened assets, and increased efficiency and weatherization support. Applying for and ultimately managing a federal grant can be time-consuming so you must ensure your utility is tackling the most pressing issues or most strategic long-term investments to better serve your local community.
  • Three areas to consider: broadband infrastructure (direct grant), state energy program (state funds), something more indirect.

Connect with Potential Partners

  • Get to know your state-level officials and community organizations that might be eligible for direct funding, but with whom you could work. Projects like EV charging infrastructure and grid resilience will require working with state officials. Weigh in and offer your expertise on how states, often the state department of transportation or energy, can put together a well-crafted, forward-looking plan to make the most of federal dollars. Your utility also might collaborate with other municipal departments, or schools (efficiency/EV infrastructure), or community-based organizations (LIHEAP, efficiency/weatherization).

Strategize for the Long Term

  • The IIJA provides an opportunity to think beyond just shovel-ready projects and ahead to the kind of investments that will secure and strengthen electric grids for decades to come. The law is a five-year funding measure, with many programs continuing well beyond that or ramping up their funding levels in the later years. We’ve heard from the federal government that, in addition to meeting immediate infrastructure needs, they hope to see innovative and strategic grant applications – so look to the future if you do not have any “shovel-ready” projects today.

Get Back-End Processes Up to Snuff

  • Preparing ahead of time to ensure you can follow the federal government’s compliance and procurement requirements will be vital to a successful partnership between your utility and the funding agency. Putting in place a clear process for procurement, documenting staff time spent on grant-funded projects, and retaining and organizing important records are steps you can take now to prepare for future grant funding.