The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) addresses critical infrastructure needs and fosters economic growth through substantial funding to various sectors and projects. While many state and local governments, Tribal nations, and nonprofits may have a general idea of this program, many aren’t clear on grant availability, the application process, or how to get funding from the BIL.
Read on to better understand the BIL programs, eligibility requirements, and more to help you get the necessary infrastructure funding.
What Is the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law?
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is landmark legislation designed to address America’s pressing infrastructure needs. It was enacted in November 2021 and represents a joint effort from both political parties to improve our infrastructure, create jobs, and stimulate economic growth across several sectors, including transportation, clean energy, public transit, broadband networks, and more. The BIL is set up to provide grant funding to these various sectors over five years.
Why the BIL?
The BIL was created to address long-standing challenges in America’s infrastructure. It has several goals and objectives, including —
- Modernizing aging infrastructure and enhancing safety and efficiency across various sectors.
- Stimulating economic growth by creating millions of well-paying jobs tied to infrastructure development.
- Emphasizing environmentally responsible development through clean energy and resilience against climate change.
- Supporting technological innovation and ensuring connectivity through broadband access.
- Strengthening America’s economic position by maintaining competitive infrastructure.
- Committing to comprehensive infrastructure improvements across diverse sectors and projects.
BIL funding is allocated across sectors to align with these goals and objectives. You can find a fund breakdown here.
Who Qualifies for a Grant From the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law?
Several groups are eligible to receive grants through the BIL, including:
- State governments can apply for grants to address infrastructure needs within their state.
- Local governments, including municipalities and counties, can apply for funding for projects that benefit their communities.
- Tribal nations, or indigenous communities, can use awarded grants for infrastructure development on tribal lands.
- Nonprofit organizations that engage in infrastructure-related projects, like community development and housing, may be eligible for BIL grants.
- Public-private partnerships (P3s) that are collaborative efforts between public and private entities may also qualify for grants through BIL programs.
Criteria for Eligibility
There are several eligibility requirements regarding how to get funding from BIL. These requirements include:
- Project alignment — Your proposed project must address critical infrastructure needs, aligning with the objectives and priorities of the BIL.
- Financial viability — You’ll need to demonstrate the financial stability of your project, including cost estimates, funding sources, and long-term sustainability.
- Environmental considerations — Depending on the project, you may need to provide an environmental impact assessment and show your adherence to environmental regulations.
- Community engagement — For some projects, you may need to show that you’ve engaged with the local community and have their support for your project.
- Compliance with federal laws — In applying for a grant, you agree to comply with all federal laws and regulations regarding using BIL funds.
Some grant applications may involve additional eligibility criteria, so reading all the details before applying is essential to ensure you qualify.
While governments, organizations, and other entities may have a general idea about the details of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law grants, many don’t apply because they misunderstand how the programs work. Here are some common misconceptions surrounding BIL grants.
Many people mistakenly believe that BIL funding is only for government entities. However, nonprofits, public-private partnerships, and other organizations are also eligible to apply.
Multiple grant programs are available through the BIL and are geared toward different groups, each with its own criteria. This means it’s worth looking for available grants that match your specific project.
Short Application Window
Another issue that potential applicants face is believing there are tight deadlines for grant applications. While some programs have a shorter turnaround time, most have varying timelines to allow for strategic planning and more applicants.
What Projects Can Grants From the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Be Used For?
Before applying for a BIL grant, it’s crucial to understand what BIL funds can be used for. Several projects and sectors can receive BIL funding, including —
- Transportation: Repairing and modernizing highways, bridges, public transit systems, and airports.
- Energy: Investing in clean energy infrastructure, grid modernization, and electric vehicle charging stations.
- Water and environmental: Upgrading to clean water systems, environmental restoration, and resilience projects.
- Broadband: Expanding internet broadband access to underserved and rural areas.
- Public buildings: Renovating and improving public buildings, schools, and veteran facilities.
- Resilience: Investing in climate resilience, disaster mitigation, and flood control.
- Innovation: Funding for research, development, and manufacturing in emerging industries.
Examples of Successful BIL-Funded Projects
BIL funding has been put toward numerous projects since its inception. Here are some examples of successful projects.
- Stamford, Connecticut: The Connecticut Department of Transportation was awarded a $26 million FTA Low or No Emission Vehicle grant to buy battery-electric buses. These replaced older diesel buses and modernized its CTtransit Stamford Division Depot to support battery-electric bus service.
- Orlando, Florida: The Orlando International Airport received a $50 million Airport Terminal Program grant to complete the South Terminal C expansion project.
- Panbowl Lake Corridor Project: Jackson was awarded a $21 million RAISE grant for the Panbowl Lake Corridor Project to improve KY 15, the main traffic artery through town, and strengthen an earthen dam that helps protect the community from catastrophic flooding.
- New Orleans, Louisiana: New Orleans was awarded a $24.8 million RAISE grant to construct a Downtown Transit Center for the city’s bus and streetcar network and make safety improvements at intersections with a history of pedestrian-involved crashes.
- Victory Infrastructure Project: The Victory Infrastructure Project in Fernley will help complete the connection from I-80 to Highway 50, delivering access to the fast-growing Victory Logistics District Industrial Park.
You can find a state-by-state fact sheet for announced BIL funding for rural, urban, and Tribal projects in each state and territory here.
Restrictions and Limitations
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law offers substantial funding opportunities. However, there are restrictions and limitations surrounding these funds to ensure they are used correctly.
Use for Designated Purposes
All BIL funds must be used for their intended purpose. They cannot be diverted to other projects, or the grantee may face severe penalties.
Grant projects must adhere to environmental regulations and are subject to necessary assessments to ensure minimal negative environmental impact.
Timelines and Deadlines
Each grant agreement will have its own timeline and deadline for when funds will be distributed and when they must be fully used. Recipients must agree to these terms before receiving their grant.
Grantees must maintain accurate financial records and demonstrate responsible financial management regarding all BIL funds.
Federal Regulation Compliance
All projects funded by the BIL must comply with federal regulations and reporting requirements.
Step-By-Step Guide to Acquiring a BIL Grant
To help state and local governments, tribal nations, nonprofit organizations, and public-private partnerships apply for a BIL grant, we’ve included a step-by-step guide on how to get funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Step 1: Identifying the Appropriate Grant Opportunity
When looking at how to get funding from the BIL, you want to make sure you are applying for grants that align with your objectives.
Assessing Local Needs and Your Planned Projects
While applying for a BIL grant, thoroughly assess the infrastructure needs in your community or organization. Doing this helps you identify specific projects that align with the BIL’s objectives and priorities.
Understanding the Grant Landscape
Take time to research the available grants that match your needs. Each program will have its own criteria, funding amounts, and deadlines, so you’ll want to understand each factor to help you choose the right grant to apply for.
Utilizing Research Tools
Several research tools and resources are available to help you streamline your search for the right grant program. At FORWARD, we can build a platform around your specific needs, helping you find and apply for the grants that best fit your project.
Matching Your Project to Successful Previous Awards to Increase Chances of Winning
Before you start applying for a BIL grant, reviewing previously successful grant awards for projects similar to yours can be helpful. Try to identify any common traits between your project and theirs and things they’ve included that you might not have. Take some time to revise your application with similar details, if applicable, to help increase your chances of securing funding.
Step 2: Preparing the Application
Once you’ve found the grant or grants you want to apply for, you’ll need to start preparing your application.
Gathering Necessary Documentation
Required documents will vary depending on the specific grant program, though you’ll likely need to include legal and financial records to prove eligibility. Each grant opportunity will consist of a Final Application Checklist that gives you more in-depth details on what information you’ll need to provide.
Writing the Proposal
As part of your application, you’ll need to provide a detailed description of your project, including the amount of funding you’re requesting and the total project costs. You should create a compelling narrative that clearly outlines your project objective, impact, and how it aligns with the BIL’s goals. Address specific grant criteria and emphasize how it will benefit your community or organization.
Review and Quality Assurance
Review your grant application to ensure all details are accurate and you have filled out all the necessary information. If your application is missing information or full of errors, it will likely be rejected, and you won’t be able to get the funding you need.
Submitting the Application
When your application is completely finished and accurate, you’re ready to submit for BIL funding.
Understanding Submission Protocols
Timelines and Deadlines
Most BIL grant programs have strict application timelines and deadlines. You’ll need to ensure the grant you’re applying for is currently accepting applications and take note of its close date to ensure you submit everything before the deadline.
The Final Application Checklist will help format your application to match the program’s guidelines. It’s also essential to ensure you comply with all the requirements, meaning you’re not missing any crucial documents or providing incomplete or inaccurate information.
Step 4: Post-Submission Follow-up
Now that you’re done applying for a BIL grant, you’ll enter the post-submission waiting process.
What to Expect After Submission
After you submit your application, you’ll need to wait for an answer to your grant request while it goes through the review process. You may be contacted with requests for additional information during this time, so respond promptly to keep the process moving forward.
Monitoring Application Status
When you submit your application, you’ll receive a tracking number for each grant you’ve applied for. To track your application status, simply enter the tracking number here for progress details.
Step 5: Grant Award and Implementation
Once your application has been approved, it’s time to put that funding toward its intended use.
Understanding the Award Process
Take time to familiarize yourself with the award process, including funding disbursement, reporting requirements, and project milestones.
Use the BIL Community Forum to Build Partnerships
If you have questions about your BIL funding or want to connect with like-minded individuals, you can join the BIL Community Forum message boards. Here, you can share insights, build partnerships, and learn how other grantees use their grant funding.
Leveraging FORWARD’s Support
At FORWARD, we aim to help you find the grants and funding you need to complete infrastructure projects. With over 80% of our team having public sector experience, we understand the unique challenges government and nonprofit leaders face. Our team of expert grant writers partners with you to strategize and identify new funding opportunities, foster regional partnerships, and increase grant writing capacity. Once BIL funding is acquired, FORWARd provides end-to-end program administration to quickly and equitably deploy resources to communities while ensuring you stay in compliance with funding requirements.
Contact our team to learn more about how we can help you move FORWARD.
Full List of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Grant Programs
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