What Does The New Infrastructure Bill Mean For You?
Or How Do I Get the Infrastructure Funds?
Judith Cassel, Esq. – Hawke McKeon & Sniscak, LLP November 9, 2021
The new Infrastructure bill, officially named the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA – really not a roll-off-your tongue acronym) passed in the dead of night on Friday November 5, 2021. By now, most people know something about this new bill, but with 2739 pages it is tough read for most CEOs. But, I can say, the read is definitely worth the time.
If your company generates, transports, distributes, stores or even just uses energy, than there is money in the IIJA for you. If your company makes, processes, transports, or uses materials or parts that go into any type of energy facility, chances are there is money for you. If you train people who work on energy systems or perform energy research, there is money in this bill for you. If you care about the environment, your energy bills, or the reliability of the electric grid, chances are there is money for you… get the picture?
Unlike the PPP and its progeny, the IIJA expects more from its grant recipients than to just stay open or pay employees. The IIJA expects everyone to help move the U.S. forward, forward with hi-tech energy, cybersecurity, sustainability, job growth, climate change, and best of all our economy. This is truly a transformative bill that allows everyone to participate in making the U.S. better than ever.
Now, how does it work? Before President Biden’s signature is dry, the Department of Transportation will be issuing instructions on how states will receive their allotments of funds and instruction on how some funds will be doled out at the federal level. Next, individual states will set up programs where qualifying businesses may apply for specific grants. This is a competitive process so applications will be far more extensive than just filling in the blanks. An applicant will have to know which funds it is eligible for and what must be included in the application to make it the most attractive to the reviewers. Some of the materials an applicant will need to provide are: past performance, project descriptions and budgets, narratives on exactly who will benefit and how from the projects. Some grant writers can charge significant dollars for making sure that the applicant’s best application is submitted, but if the applicant earns the grant, the grant writing expense is a small expense in the rear-view mirror.
The best advice is to start now. Really, right now. You should be identifying your projects and gathering materials. These actions are more fruitful if done in conjunction with your grant writing consultant/attorney. The attorney that you choose to assist you with this endeavor needs to have a firm grasp of the IIJA as well as your business to properly guide you on what funds are available and how to garner them for your worthwhile project.