Guide to Local Recovery Update: June 28

Jun 29, 2022

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is holding a webinar on federal water infrastructure grants and the California Public Utilities Commission is looking for ways to improve its broadband grant programs. Additionally, the National League of Cities is holding a webinar on effective COVID-19 responses and has released new infrastructure resources for rural cities.

Water infrastructure funding webinar

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is holding a July 13 webinar about how the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act can help improve water and wastewater infrastructure.

The webinar will focus on programs like the State Revolving Fund, a federal-state partnership that provides communities with low-cost financing for a wide range of water infrastructure projects, such as municipal wastewater facilities. The federal spending package added $43 billion to the program.

The webinar will include an opportunity to submit questions and will be recorded. The EPA will post the recording and slides online after the webinar.

CPUC seeking feedback on broadband grant programs

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is collecting information about cities’ broadband assets, needs, and interest in participating in state grant programs. The information will inform the development of future grant programs. It will also establish a communication channel for local governments that need help meeting their broadband needs. Responses are needed by July 8.

CPUC currently manages nearly a dozen state and federal grant programs. This includes the Last-Mile Federal Funding Account, Broadband Infrastructure Grant Account, Loan Loss Reserve, Local Agency and Tribal Technical Assistance, and Rural and Urban Regional Broadband Consortia Grant Account, which collectively support broadband infrastructure and deployment.

The agency also oversees programs that support broadband affordability and equity: the California LifeLine Program, California Teleconnect Fund, Broadband Adoption Account, and Broadband Public Housing Account.

In recent years, these programs have received additional funding from the state and federal governments thanks to Cal Cities’ advocacy. More information about the state’s broadband initiative and resources is available on the Broadband for All website.

NLC resources: Effective COVID-19 responses and rural infrastructure

The National League of Cities (NLC) is hosting a webinar on the effectiveness of different COVID-19 response policies and their impact on communities. Scheduled for June 30, the 90-minute webinar will discuss how cities can collaborate with county, state, and federal partners to protect their communities against future public health threats, as well as ongoing socioeconomic challenges.

NLC also released two infrastructure resources for rural cities, which often face different challenges than their urban counterparts. For example, smaller communities are often forced to compete with larger cities, which typically have more amenities, greater resources, and the ability to leverage staff time toward planning and delivering projects.

One resource is a list of federal infrastructure grants that best fit the needs of small and mid-sized cities. The list includes a brief summary of six key programs and links to additional resources. The second includes information about capacity-building programs from federal agencies and private organizations.

City officials looking for additional information about the American Rescue Plan Act, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, or additional tools for recovery can visit the Cal Cities Guide to Local Recovery portal.