Guide to Local Recovery Update: July 6

Jul 6, 2022

The U.S. Department of Transportation is launching two technical assistance and capacity-building initiatives to help cities navigate the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The department is also holding a July 8 webinar on the Bridge Discretionary Grant Program, which seeks to replace, rehabilitate, protect, and preserve bridges in poor condition. Additionally, the National League of Cities is hosting two webinars, one on the federal government’s “Buy America” policy and another on infrastructure need trends.

Transportation Department launches technical assistance and capacity-building programs 

The U.S. Department of Transportation is launching two technical assistance and capacity-building initiatives. The first, DOT Navigator, is a one-stop-shop for resources related to the federal infrastructure package. The second, Thriving Communities, includes a capacity-building grant program that will launch this fall.

DOT Navigator provides access to technical assistance and helps grantees navigate the federal grant application, transportation planning, project delivery, funding, and implementation processes. The navigator also includes information about key requirements for grants authorized by the federal infrastructure law and a glossary of common terms. The website is currently in beta and will be updated in the coming months with additional resources and functionality, such as a search function.

The Thriving Communities Program will provide technical assistance and capacity building to help under-resourced communities identify, develop, and deliver transformative transportation projects. As part of the program, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will provide complementary technical assistance to improve the coordination of housing and transportation planning. The program “recognizes the power of local communities to drive innovation if they have the tools to succeed.”

Both departments will launch notices of funding opportunities later this year. The Transportation Department’s website also includes a list of helpful preparation tips.  

Federal infrastructure webinars 

The Transportation Department is also holding a July 8 webinar on the Bridge Discretionary Grant Program. Funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the program focuses on reducing the overall number of bridges in poor condition, or in fair condition at risk of falling into poor condition. The program allows for multiyear grant agreements, offers grants for planning processes, and provides construction grants for large (over $100 million) and small (up to $100 million) projects.

The Transportation Department also held a webinar on its Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program, a new grant program designed to reconnect communities that were displaced by previous infrastructure projects. For decades, many communities, particularly low-income urban communities of color, were displaced or lost economic opportunities as the result of large-scale transportation projects.

The webinar was part of a series of summer webinars on upcoming federal grant opportunities. Recordings from the series are typically available on the department’s website after the webinar concludes.

NLC resources: “Buy America” policy and resident feedback 

The National League of Cities (NLC) is holding a July 21 webinar focusing on how local governments can comply with the federal government’s “Buy America” policy, a broad effort to ensure federal funds are spent on products made in the U.S. Each federal agency has jurisdiction on appropriate waivers for their federal grants.

NLC also partnered with Polco for a survey on regional infrastructure needs and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. During a July 19 webinar, staff will present the survey results and reveal national infrastructure trends. Speakers will also discuss how resident feedback can help city officials understand what infrastructure needs are most important in their community.

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