Grant programs across the country have an unprecedented opportunity to construct vital infrastructure for their communities with the $1 trillion in funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The IIJA has created and begun awarding new formula and competitive grants, and many existing grant programs will receive a boost. It is important for grant programs to understand how they can effectively prepare to manage these funds.
President Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) into law in 2021. The IIJA is a massive investment in roads, bridges, and water pipes that, when combined with the Build Back Better Framework and funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), is estimated to add an average of 1.5 million jobs per year for the next 10 years. States will apply for this funding through a competitive awarding process, and then elected and appointed officials will be responsible for the creation and implementation of funds received.
The IIJA additionally improves permitting by including enhancements to the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST-41) which has substantially improved the permitting timeline for large infrastructure projects. The IIJA includes new funds for rural infrastructure development which can be combined with State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funding (SLFRF) to cover these projects.
It is imperative that your grants program begins planning to apply for and manage this funding as soon as possible so you can focus on your outcomes, not paperwork.
Here are 5 key actions your organization should take to prepare to manage IIJA funding.
1. Understand IIJA compliance requirements.
State governments, elected officials, and appointed officials will be responsible for creating and implementing funds that they receive. To stay compliant when it comes to IIJA funding, organizations will have to adhere to the Uniform Grant Guidance (2 CFR 200), the Build America Buy America Policy, and the government’s focus on disadvantaged communities through programs like the Justice 40 EPA initiative. OMB issued M-22-12 to provide guidance for agencies on building coordinated infrastructure. Additional compliance measures may be added as the White House Task Force and OMB continue to meet and discuss infrastructure plans.
2. Develop unique identifiers for data.
Developing unique identifiers like project numbers, activity codes, descriptions, and accounting units or cost centers for tracking costs is important for accurately tracking and accounting for the costs associated with a specific project or activity, especially when managing complex grant-funded projects with multiple funding streams. This can help confirm that the funding is being used for its intended purposes and identify potential areas for cost savings or efficiency improvements.
3. Develop processes, policies, and procedures for procurement.
Organizations without procurement policies should create them to outline their internal procedures for purchasing. These policies should cover key areas like eligibility for vendors, competitive bidding, and contract award. Once you have your policies in place, you will want to train staff on these protocols and processes. You could create a procurement manual or guidance document for your grants team that provides detailed instructions with examples of forms and templates that should be used.
4. Centralize your grant-related data.
Integrating your grant management, project management, construction management, and procurement systems will improve the efficiency of managing IIJA funding. Centralizing all your grant-related data and processes in one place like a grants management system allows you to access the right data when you need it and creates opportunities for better project management through shared calendars and tasks.
5. Create visibility across agencies with dashboards.
Use dashboards in your grant management system to monitor performance and align funding across agencies in real time. For example, AmpliFund's dashboards provide real-time data visualizations of spend versus budget, and a comprehensive overview of grant-related data for stakeholders. You can even pull images from dashboards to demonstrate performance to your citizens.
AmpliFund will provide compliance updates on IIJA funding as more information becomes available. By following these actions, you will help set your program up for success managing IIJA funding.
As your partner in grants management, we want you to have a better experience managing your awards. Let’s talk about how we can get you the tools and resources you need to manage IIJA funds effectively.