Connecting state and local government leaders
The Thriving Communities Program aims to offer assistance to localities that might struggle to compete for funding in areas like housing and transportation.
The Biden administration announced two new efforts Thursday to help vulnerable communities get no-cost help applying for federal grants to improve their infrastructure.
Administration officials unveiled opportunities for both providers of technical assistance, and would-be recipients of it, as part of an effort the White House is calling the Thriving Communities Program. Congress set aside $25 million for the initiative this spring.
The grants address a common concern among state and local officials, who worry that the process of applying for federal grants and complying with the rules for recipients could strain the resources of small or poor communities.
“This program will help equip more local leaders with the resources, knowledge, and assistance they need to access federal funding, and modernize their infrastructure so that it serves the community well for decades to come,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement.
The program is designed to help communities “adversely or disproportionately affected by environmental, climate and human health policy outcomes,” as they seek to address areas like transportation, housing and community revitalization, according to the administration.
“Affordable housing investments must go hand-in-hand with transportation improvements,” said Marcia Fudge, the U.S. secretary of housing and urban development.
Communities that are interested in receiving the help must submit a letter of interest by Dec. 6.
Up to six teams of experts that want to get funding for increasing the capacity of the affected communities can receive between $3.5 million and $6 million by responding to the Transportation Department’s notice of funding opportunity by Nov. 22.
Mitch Landrieu, the White House’s infrastructure coordinator, told Route Fifty earlier this year that the Biden administration has been working with philanthropic groups and organizations of local governments to help provide local governments with technical assistance to roll out the infrastructure law that passed last year.
On Thursday, Landrieu said on Twitter that Thriving Communities would bolster those efforts. “We're making sure no community gets left behind,” he wrote.
Daniel C. Vock is a senior reporter for Route Fifty based in Washington, D.C.