How Government Leaders Can Maximize Inflation Reduction Act Funding

3 min read

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) presents a transformative opportunity for local governments to drive positive change in their communities. By strategically leveraging the funding and incentives the IRA provides, mayors and local leaders can make a significant difference in areas such as environmental justice, clean energy adoption, and economic development. In this blog post, we will explore the various recommendations from C40 Cities that local governments can do to maximize the impacts of the IRA and create lasting benefits for their cities and residents.

APPLY for funding that is directly available to local governments.

Local governments are directly eligible to apply for various funding programs established by the IRA. These programs address diverse areas, such as building code adoption, air pollution monitoring, and greenhouse gas reduction investments in disadvantaged communities. By convening federal funding workgroups and workshops, mayors and city leaders can align the IRA opportunities with their city’s priorities, ensuring a clear decision-making process and designated roles.

PROTECT against detrimental impacts of new or continuing fossil-fuel facilities.

While the IRA promotes a cleaner energy system, it also provides funding to coal, oil, and gas operations that can adversely affect pollution and vulnerable communities. Local governments can build long-term relationships with environmental justice communities, identify concerns, and engage with business owners, facility operators, and regulators to mitigate the impacts of these operations. 

SUPPORT & PARTNER with frontline communities and community-based organizations to center their priorities and secure resources.

The IRA allocates substantial funding to two new programs, Environmental and Climate Justice Block Grants and Neighborhood Access and Equity Grants, specifically to support community-based organizations. Local governments can partner with these organizations, raise awareness of funding opportunities, and assist them in securing resources to address community priorities.

ASSIST businesses and individuals to access new tax credits and higher incentives by fostering economic inclusion and workforce development.

A significant portion of IRA funding comes from tax credits to promote low-carbon technologies. Local governments can help businesses and individuals access these tax credits by linking them to local programs, providing assistance, and educating the community on taking advantage of these incentives. Targeted assistance is crucial to ensure equitable access to these tax credits.

STREAMLINE permitting processes and train staff to remove obstacles to installation of renewable energy systems, vehicle charging infrastructure, and highly efficient equipment.

To encourage the installation of renewable energy systems, vehicle charging infrastructure, and energy-efficient equipment, local governments can streamline permitting processes and train staff to remove obstacles. Simplifying city-issued permits and review processes reduces barriers for residents and businesses, facilitating adoption of low-carbon solutions.

ENGAGE & COORDINATE across jurisdictions regionally and with states, tribes, utilities, and ports.

Collaboration and coordination among jurisdictions, states, tribes, utilities, and ports are essential for maximizing the impact of the IRA. By engaging directly with decision-makers and advocating for inclusive processes, local governments can ensure that historically marginalized groups have a voice in program and project selection. Regional alignment allows for greater efficiency and collective impact across sectors.

The Inflation Reduction Act presents a unique opportunity for local governments to lead the way in creating sustainable and equitable communities. By embracing the various roles outlined in this blog post, mayors and local leaders can maximize the impacts of the IRA and drive positive change. By setting local priorities, building strategic relationships, and supporting internal coordination, local governments can unlock the full potential of the IRA and create a brighter future for their cities and residents.

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