Guide to Local Recovery Update: September 29

Sep 29, 2021

The U.S. Department of the Treasury released guidance on the new $10 billion American Rescue Plan Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund, which states can use on broadband and digital connectivity initiatives. Additionally, the National League of Cities found that infrastructure jobs remain hard to fill. 

U.S. Department of the Treasury announces new American Rescue Plan Capital Projects Fund guidance

The U.S. Department of the Treasury released guidance on the new American Rescue Plan Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund, a $10 billion fund for states to use on broadband, digital connectivity devices, and multi-purpose community facilities that directly enable work, education, and health monitoring. The state will have the ability to target covered projects to specific communities in need and may opt to subgrant funding to local governments.

Treasury Department provides American Rescue Plan relief disbursement update

The Treasury Department has disbursed $700 billion since President Biden signed the $1 trillion American Rescue Plan in March, including over $450 billion paid directly to families and households through economic impact payments, child tax credits, and emergency rental assistance.

The Treasury Department also stated that a second round of more than $100 billion in State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds will be available for distribution next year “to meet pressing pandemic needs and to create more equitable economic recovery.”

National League of Cities releases Infrastructure Job Report

The National League of Cities (NLC) released a report last week revealing that infrastructure jobs remain harder to fill than in other industries across the country. The report found the median time to fill an infrastructure job in California is 26 days, compared to 19 days for other jobs. NLC collected data from January-April 2021 through job postings on LinkUp, which collects data directly from company websites.

According to the report, multiple factors contributed to the extended time to fill infrastructure job positions, such as the rise of COVID-19 cases across the country, logistical barriers related to remote childcare and education, and increased retirements in the infrastructure industry.

The NLC report states, “To replace retired skilled and semi-skilled infrastructure workers, communities can either upskill their existing talent pool to meet their needs or attract talent from outside the community.”

While the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act include $550 billion in federal investments in the country’s infrastructure network and could create an additional 2 million jobs per year, it lacks sufficient investment for skills training to ensure workers are well equipped to accomplish building and maintaining critical infrastructure.