How to Apply for Infrastructure Bill Funding and Comply with Reporting Requirements

calendar iconApril 5, 2023

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA or the “Infrastructure Bill”), a $1.2 trillion investment was signed into law by President Biden on November 15, 2021. This five-year allocation of funds will contribute to the nation’s infrastructure and competitiveness, and provides significant opportunities to various industries, including government agencies.

Applying for Funding

Although the IIJA funding is already making an impact, government agencies receiving funds must apply impeccable stewardship over those funds, both in the manner in which they are consumed and accounted for. When eligible funds reach the state level, county and municipal agencies will present business cases and justifications explaining why their desired projects deserve consideration for funding. These business cases must not only describe the project output to be produced, but they also must demonstrate the outcomes to be realized by their communities. For instance, the desired output might be stated in terms of number of streetlights installed, but the outcome should result in a measure such as a percentage reduction of crime or accidents.

Should the business case merit an allocation of funding, the responsible agency must then issue Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for companies to execute the project(s). Those RFPs should include the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the executing company to meet the requirements outlined in the agency’s business case.

The magnitude of technology and innovation in government is extensive, but nonetheless the challenges government agencies will encounter to improve business capabilities and drive transparency are significant. KPIs will be tracked and reported regularly, along with associated expenditures, to ensure the desired outcomes are being met. The reporting ensures that funds are not being misused or abused, holding both the agency and the contractor to rigorous liability of government funding. States have strict compliance reporting requirements to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and those requirements flow down to counties, municipalities and any other recipient of federal funds.

Complying With Reporting Requirements

While acting in accordance with the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s primarily compliance-related reporting requirements, the federal government has initiated to include the outcome-related information described in the business cases. Not only is this a step in the right direction for good government, but it also provides invaluable opportunities to gain management information at the state, county and municipal levels. Monitoring the use of funds and the outcomes generated from those funds enables government agencies to articulate the true benefits their constituents receive for their hard-earned tax dollars.

Overall, state, county and municipal agencies face a challenge in being able to retrieve, store and report the information required. Processes and technologies must keep pace with the increased reporting requirements. These process changes and technology upgrades may occur internally, or they may be attained through the use of an outside contractor who specializes in process improvement and data management, analytics and reporting. Utilizing a third-party contractor adds another layer of complexity because government agencies must not only administer procurements for contractors to perform the federally funded infrastructure projects, they will need to administer procurements to manage and report against those projects.

In spite of those challenges, this act embodies a positive outlook in the nation’s infrastructure. State, county and municipal agencies will now have the resource flexibility to carry out their public service missions, while embarking on this exciting journey to make improvements to their communities.

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