Guide to Local Recovery Update: August 2

Aug 2, 2023

Applications for two key federal grant programs — one for infrastructure resilience and another for residential solar — are due later this month. The Local Infrastructure Hub and the National League of Cities both have new recovery resources for cities.

Protect local infrastructure from climate change

Applications for the federal PROTECT Grant program are due Aug. 18. Funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the program helps safeguard surface transportation systems — including public transportation and evacuation routes — from natural disasters and climate change.

Projects should utilize innovative and collaborative approaches to risk reduction, including nature-based solutions. This includes strategies like conservation, habitat restoration, use of native vegetation, and other types of “natural infrastructure.”

Two types of grants are available: planning grants and resilience improvement grants. A benefit-cost analysis is required.

Solar program focuses on low-income communities

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is providing $7 billion in competitive grant funding through its Solar for All program. Funded by the Inflation Reduction Act, the program helps cities, nonprofits, and other stakeholders ensure low-income families have equitable access to residential rooftop and residential community solar power. The program focuses on communities that were ineligible for funding under previous programs.

Although California has more rooftop installations than any other state, solar energy is still out of reach for many low-income residents. Many spend significantly more on electricity than their wealthier neighbors. The program will guarantee a minimum of 20% total electricity bill savings for households.

Applicants must submit a notice of intent by Aug. 14.

Local Infrastructure Hub and National League of Cities resources

The Local Infrastructure Hub is holding a webinar on ways to advance clean water infrastructure on Aug. 8. Federal environmental policy experts, mayors, and leaders in the field will discuss strategies for working with state leadership and how to develop competitive, outcomes-driven applications.

The National League of Cities (NLC) released a brief on municipal broadband deployment. The brief mostly focuses on navigating state actions that preempt local broadband networks, which are relatively less common in California. However, it does include some helpful case studies and a local broadband checklist that could be helpful for all cities.   

NLC is also holding an eight-week economic development course. The online, on-demand course focuses on ways to attract and retain businesses that honor the vision of each community. The course is broken into eight sessions and will cover a wide range of related topics. The course also includes live office hours with retail policy experts and customized, city-level reports. Registration is $1,920 per person and closes Aug. 7.  

City officials looking for additional information about the American Rescue Plan Act, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Inflation Reduction Act, or additional recovery tools can visit the Cal Cities Guide to Local Recovery portal