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IIJA: Leveraging Available Funds

Next steps: Apply, implement, and demonstrate impact

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, is injecting $1.2 trillion into the nation’s infrastructure. Signed into law in 2021, this legislation funds infrastructure projects through 2026. Funds have been distributed at the expected pace with competitive grants taking longer than formula or direct spending.1 The good news for governments of all sizes is that as of the act’s two-year anniversary in November, 80% of competitive funding had yet to be awarded.

However, while the IIJA provides resources to much-needed programs and projects, this surge in funding introduces a complex set of challenges for local, state, and tribal grant managers, who are tasked with navigating a larger scope of grant opportunities, adhering to specific program requirements, and managing increased funding volumes.

Let’s take a look at both—how to access IIJA grant funds and how to manage your awards to maximize and demonstrate the impact of the IIJA funding.  

IIJA Progress and Opportunities

IIJA supports a range of projects, including transportation, water, energy, broadband, and environmental protection. The initiatives awarded thus far vary widely, from minor infrastructure enhancements, including road resurfacing and water system upgrades, to major undertakings, such as bridge and transit system upgrades. For a detailed look at these and other funded projects, the Maps of Progress tracker offers comprehensive insights into the allocations and achievements under the IIJA. 

With substantial funding still available for infrastructure rehabilitation and modernization, broadband internet access expansion, and clean energy investments, communities can pursue initiatives previously beyond their reach.   

In addition to these large-scale projects, the IIJA also supports smaller-scope initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life for residents in communities of all sizes. These include: 

  • Resurfacing of roads and sidewalks 
  • Improvement of public parks and recreation facilities 
  • Development of green spaces and urban trails 
  • Installation of streetlights and traffic signals 
  • Establishment of community gardens and orchards
  • Creation of public art installations 

To identify funding opportunities that may address much-needed projects for your community, review this Open and Upcoming Funding Opportunities document updated January 30, 2024.  

Best Practices for Successful Award Management 

With increased funding comes increased challenges. As with the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), this new wave of funding to previously unfunded or underfunded projects and programs means some recipients are managing significant awards for the first time, lacking prior experience. Even experienced grant managers face evolving compliance requirements and diverse funding streams. And governments that are regranting funds to other entities encounter another layer of complexity, where managing and monitoring these subrecipients further increases the administrative burden.  

While the IIJA provides resources to much-needed programs and projects, grant managers must establish processes and systems that may not have been previously necessary or prioritized. To tackle this successfully, consider two areas of focus:  

1. Ensuring Alignment with IIJA Goals and Criteria

Alignment with the IIJA’s core goals is essential for maximizing the impact of these grant dollars and gathering the right data to demonstrate that impact. Key steps to incorporate include: 

  • Become clear on the IIJA’s criteria and priorities, particularly those specific to the grant(s) you apply for. The Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for each award will specify the criteria you’ll need to adhere to.  
  • When regranting awarded funds, translate these priorities into clear language that resonates with potential grantees, encouraging them to showcase how their projects address these objectives in their proposals.  
  • Recognize that not all communities have the same resources to develop projects that perfectly align with the IIJA’s criteria, especially if your government serves a large or diverse population. Underserved communities, rural areas, and minority-owned businesses might require targeted outreach and partnerships, such as collaborations with local community centers or tribal organizations. Consider providing dedicated resources and training to expand your reach and ensure equitable funding opportunities. 

2. Effectively Managing Increased Funding Volumes

As funding opportunities and award sizes increase, scaling your internal capacity becomes critical for effective program management. People and processes will be essential to managing this: 

  • People: Support existing staff as they tackle the complexities of the IIJA grants by investing in comprehensive training and development programs. Also, consider hiring staff with expertise in specific IIJA program areas, grant management, and data analysis.  
  • Process: To avoid staff getting bogged down with administrative challenges, prioritize streamlining your processes and centralizing data. (Learn more in our Grant Management Centralization Guide.) Implementing a grant management system (GMS) is crucial to enable both.  Not only does this technology reduce the administrative burdens, but it also provides the source for truth where all data and documentation can be stored and utilized to generate the required reporting that demonstrates compliance and impact. 

To ensure we understand the challenges our customers face and how we can help address these, the AmpliFund team stays current on funding sources, legislation, and grant management best practices. If you are preparing to receive, or currently managing, IIJA funds, now is the time to consider the software vendor who can best support the success of your programs. Schedule a demo today to learn how our team and our grant management software can support your success.  


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*Photo by Pexels from Canva.

Topics:  Funding