The “Four Es” of leveraging federal funding
Hello friends and Happy Friday! Earlier this summer I mentioned I’d been doing a lot of thinking around the opportunities for investment that new federal funding has created for state and local governments and how to approach the funding in a holistic way. I developed a talk called The Four Es that I’ve given several times now to local government leaders and their partners. This week’s newsletter explains my thinking behind the approach.
Did you catch the latest episode of Good is in the Details? Listen to our discussion here.
What are the Four Es?
I landed upon the Four Es after reading through a lot of guidance, rules and actual legislation for both the American Rescue Plan (ARPA) and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). These words are repeated over and over again in the literature either as a mandate or as part of project design.
Here’s an example of how they all can intersect: Earlier this year I wrote about the RAISE competitive grant program, part of the IIJA that made $1.5 billion available for surface transportation and mobility projects. In its Notice of Funding Opportunity, the administration said it wants to see climate-friendly projects directed toward communities that have either been ignored or have suffered health and other environmental harms due to previous zoning and planning decisions. Specifically proposed projects should:
Promote equity by targeting at least 40% of resources and benefits towards low-income/ disadvantaged communities,
Show “how the project has or will engage communities affected by the project,”
“Describe the anticipated outcomes…[and] provide evidence to support the claimed level of effectiveness,” and,
“Projects that have not sufficiently considered climate change and environmental justice in their planning…will be required to before receiving funds for construction.”
How to start identifying opportunities? In its IIJA handbook for state and local governments, the Biden administration advises preparing for available grant funding in the following two ways: