Funding Update – $1.5 Trillion Omnibus Budget Bill

Infrastructure Bill

Congress recently passed a $1.5 trillion omnibus budget bill to fully fund the federal government for the remainder of this fiscal year. Until that point, the government was funded by a series of continuing resolutions that only extended the prior fiscal year’s funding levels. Passage of this bill brings some certainty to allocations for critical programs and allows federal agencies to move ahead with distributing funds.

Our review of the bill shows a good deal about which utilities should be excited. The U.S. Agriculture Department’s (USDA) Rural Utility Services (RUS) is funded at $1.237 billion – an increase of $482 million over last year– that includes increases to programs that will support smart grid initiatives, communications facilities for energy management, and Fiber-to-the-Home for increased energy efficiency initiatives.  The USDA’s Rural Broadband Pilot (ReConnect) will administer $486.6 million in addition to the $2 billion provided by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) to offer loans and grants to support the construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment necessary to provide broadband reaching at least 100 Mbs in eligible rural areas.

Additionally the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration will administer $374 million – an increase of $28 million – to support infrastructure and public-works projects and regional innovation in an effort to spur job creation across many communities. And finally, the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grants – Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) will provide $3.3 billion to allow grantees to invest in areas impacted by recent disasters to carry out strategic and high-impact activities to mitigate disaster risks and reduce future losses.

On a parallel track, federal agencies continue to implement their portions of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, with a rollout of money programs now expected this summer. These programs will support  $5 billion for grants to stakeholders in the electricity generation and distribution sector to improve resiliency to disruptive events including natural disasters; $5 billion to utilities to demonstrate new approaches to improve grid resilience; $3 billion to award grants to match investments in smart grid technologies; and $2.5 billion for public electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Please visit https://tantalus.com/resources/funding/ for additional information and contact us directly for a one-on-one discussion about your specific funding requirements.


WEBINAR | FEDERAL FUNDING UPDATE

April 27, 2022 | Watch here.

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