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Important News Updates

Important stories, client updates, and new opportunities
News Updates
Impactful News

Here are the important stories impacting our clients, region, state, and country. Make sure to check our resources page for new grant opportunities and other tools to help navigate government affairs.

  • The Carnegie Library of Homestead was one of thirteen new NEH Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge Grants announced this year.

    The NEH Challenge Grant leverages federal funds to spur nonfederal support for cultural institutions, will enable projects such as the Carnegie Library of Homestead's extensive rehabilitation project in its library facilities.

    Other awardees include:

    • The preservation and repurposing of seven historic buildings in San Antonio, Texas, for a humanities programming and resources center focusing on the history and cultures of immigrant communities in San Antonio’s Westside neighborhood.
    • Support for digital infrastructure upgrades at the Chapman Center for Rural Studies at Kansas State University to ensure the sustainability of the center’s digital humanities research projects on Great Plains history
    • Assistance with the relocation of the Hamm Archives, documenting the history of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, to a new facility to provide public access to the collection.  
  • The signing of this legislation is being hailed as a historic investment in America’s core infrastructure priorities. Most importantly, it authorizes nearly $1 trillion in spending, including $550 Billion in new spending over five years for traditional infrastructure projects. The Administration is fast-tracking many spending provisions, and competitive grant applications for many programs are expected to be rolled out faster than usual.

    Funding is broken down as follows:

    Roads, Bridges, & major projects: $110 Billion

    • Funds new, dedicated grant programs to replace and repair bridges and increases funding for the project’s competitive grant programs.
    • The package preserves the 90/10 split of federal highway aid to states.

    Passenger and Freight Rail: $66 Billion

    • Provides funding for the Amtrak National Network for new service and dedicated funding to the Northeast Corridor.
    • Increases funding for freight rail and safety.

    Safety: $11 Billion

    • Funds highway & pedestrian safety programs.
    • Funds pipeline safety and repair.

    Public Transit: $39.2 Billion

    • Funds nation’s transit system repair backlog, estimated by the Department of Transportation to include more than 24,000 buses, 5,000 rail cars, and 200 stations.
    • Thousands of miles of track, signals, and power systems.
    • Expands transit systems, supports clean transit options, and increases accessibility for seniors and persons with disabilities.

     Broadband: $65 Billion

    • New grants to states for broadband deployment.
    • Funds to make broadband access more affordable for low-income families.
    • The expansion of eligible private activity bond projects to include broadband infrastructure.
    • Funding for middle-mile deployment efforts.

     Airports: $25 Billion 

    • Increase of funds for Airport Improvement grant program for runways, gates, & taxiways and a new Airport Terminal Improvement program for terminals, concessions, and multimodal connections.
    • Improvements to Air Traffic Control infrastructure.

    Ports and Waterways: $16.6 Billion 

    • Funding for waterway and coastal infrastructure, inland waterway improvements, port infrastructure, and land ports of entry through the Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Transportation, Coast Guard, General Services Administration, and Department of Homeland Security.

    Water Infrastructure: $55 Billion 

    • $23.4 billion for the bipartisan Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021.
    • $15 billion earmarked for lead service line replacements.
    • $10 billion is dedicated to PFASs. 
    • $3.5 billion for the Indian Health Service Sanitation Facilities Construction program and funding to complete all currently authorized Indian Water Rights Settlements.

     Power and Grid: $65 Billion

    • Funding for grid reliability and resiliency and support for a Grid Deployment Authority. 
    • Support for critical minerals and supply chains for clean energy technology.
    • Support for technologies like carbon capture, hydrogen, direct air capture, and energy efficiency.
    • Funding for energy demonstration projects from the bipartisan Energy Act of 2020.

     Resiliency: $47.2 Billion

    • Funding for cybersecurity to address critical infrastructure needs.
    • Waste management, flood and wildfire mitigation, drought, coastal resiliency, ecosystem restoration, heat stress, and weatherization.

     Clean School Buses & Ferries: $7.5 Billion 

    • $5 billion for replacing existing school buses with zero-emission and clean school buses, prioritizing low-income, rural and Tribal schools. 
    • $2.5 billion for replacing existing ferries with low carbon ferries and assisting states with operational costs for essential rural ferries. 

    Electric Vehicle Charging: $7.5 Billion

    • Funds for alternative fuel corridors and building a national network of electric vehicle charging infrastructure to facilitate long-distance travel and provide convenient charging where people live, work, and shop.
    • Funding will focus on rural disadvantaged and hard-to-reach communities.

    Reconnecting Communities: $1 Billion 

    • Funds for projects that remove barriers to opportunity caused by legacy infrastructure. 
    • The program will provide dedicated funding for planning, design, demolition, and reconstruction of street grids, parks, or other infrastructure.

    For a detailed breakdown of the bill’s many spending provisions, please click here to visit a dynamic, immersive, and intuitive website created by the National Association of Counties (NACO). Also, please do not hesitate to reach out to a CCP team member to discuss how this legislation may impact your organization.

  • We are pleased to announce that several of our clients at Commonwealth Consulting Partners have been awarded grants through the 2020 Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program. The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) is a Commonwealth grant program administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historical improvement projects. Projects typically approved for RACP funding are long-term projects with a minimum cost of $1,000,000.

    CCP clients were awarded $4,500,000 in grants through this program. Some of the clients that received grants include:

    Andrew G. Uram Family Partnership - $500,000

    Balmaghie Beverage Group - $500,000

    Munhall Borough - $1,000,000

  • At the Westmoreland Food Bank today, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and Second Lady Gisele Fetterman joined Pennsylvania's anti-hunger organizations and food banks to announce a new partnership with DoorDash to have healthy, nutritious meals delivered to homebound seniors in need.

    The initiative, unveiled during Hunger Action Month, is designed to remove barriers and increase enrollment in the underutilized Pennsylvania Senior Food Box Program, which provides life-sustaining meal deliveries and nutrition services to eligible older Pennsylvanians.

    "It's high time that Pennsylvania's food assistance programs offer services tailored to the unique needs of their recipients and actively work to remove barriers to access," said Redding. "This partnership with DoorDash to deliver Senior Food Boxes is a commonsense solution that will make saying 'yes' to the box easy. Accepting assistance can be hard enough for some, wondering how to get the food home should never be an added worry."

    More than 300,000 Pennsylvania seniors are eligible for the Pennsylvania Senior Food Box Program, but only about 35,000 are enrolled to receive it this year. Seniors often face barriers to access for food assistance programs because of issues such as transportation, mobility, or technology.

    Hunger-Free Pennsylvania, Feeding Pennsylvania and their network of food banks are partnering with DoorDash where its coverage overlaps with agencies administering the food box program. Dashers then will deliver boxes to seniors in need. As with any DoorDash delivery, Dashers are compensated. 

    "Our seniors deserve fresh, nutritious food. Transportation should never be a barrier to life-sustaining nourishment," Pennsylvania Second Lady Gisele Fetterman said.

    In Pennsylvania, eligible participants for the Pennsylvania Senior Food Box Program include low-income individuals who are at least 60 years old and whose household income is at or below 130 percent of the U.S. poverty level. Seniors can fill out the self-certification form found on Agriculture's website at agriculture.pa.gov/seniorfoodbox or call 800-468-2433 to be directed to the regional food bank distributing the senior food box in their county of residence.

    "DoorDash is proud to partner with Hunger-Free Pennsylvania, Feeding Pennsylvania, and others to power the delivery of food boxes to seniors through Project DASH and to celebrate this work alongside Secretary Redding and Second Lady Fetterman. This partnership is another example of DoorDash helping to meet an ongoing need for underserved communities," said Brittany Graunke, DoorDash Drive's Director of Government and Nonprofit. "Leveraging our last-mile logistics platform, we are committed to promoting convenience and dignity while reducing barriers to accessing meals, groceries, and pantry items."

    This partnership with DoorDash is part of the company's work through Project DASH, an initiative that connects food banks and food pantries with clients through last mile delivery. To date, Project DASH has made more than 900,000 deliveries of an estimated more than 15 million meals in more than 900 cities in the U.S. and Canada.

    The program is already up and running in several communities across the commonwealth. More than 365 meals have been delivered as part of the launch. In southwestern Pennsylvania, Westmoreland Food Bank, Fayette County Community Action Food Bank and Food Helpers are among the first to utilize the service, with deliveries set for seniors who signed up for the service.

    "Hunger and food insecurity are serious problems in America and throughout Westmoreland County, especially among seniors," Westmoreland Food Bank CEO Jennifer Miller said. "We've seen more people coming through our doors in recent years. This partnership with DoorDash helps us fill a void by getting food delivered to those who can't make it here for help."

    Currently, 10 counties are being served by DoorDash as part of the innovative partnership. They include Bucks, Dauphin, Erie, Fayette, Luzerne, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Washington, Westmoreland and York. The program remains open to other counties as it continues to grow.

    Hunger-Free Pennsylvania is the state's partner in administering the federally-funded Senior Food Box Program, formally known as the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), which leverages government buying power to provide nutritious food packages to low-income residents. Recently, Hunger-Free Pennsylvania and the Department of Agriculture worked together to rebrand CSFP to the Pennsylvania Senior Food Box Program and removed the requirement where seniors had to provide documented proof of income when applying to receive the box.

    "No senior in need should ever go hungry," Hunger-Free Pennsylvania Executive Director Sheila Christopher said. "Through this innovative partnership, we can remove barriers and increase enrollment while simultaneously reducing the stigma of hunger. Thousands of seniors are eligible for assistance but not getting it. We want them to know the resources are available so they can take advantage of this service to get the meals they need to stay healthy and strong."

    Hunger-Free Pennsylvania also recently launched a pilot with PACE and PACENET, Pennsylvania's prescription assistance programs for older adults. Because eligibility requirements for prescription assistance and the Pennsylvania Senior Food Box Program mirror each other so closely, the organizations are able to capture people seeking low-cost prescription medication and bring them into the charitable food program. Since its launch this summer, the effort has already drawn more than 2,800 applications for food boxes provided by nine different regional food banks.

    "You can't fight hunger alone," said Tom Snedden, the Department of Aging's PACE Director. "All of these successes are proof of what we can accomplish together when organizations work together to identify and serve those who need help the most."

  • This article was written and published by Aviation Pros. The website link is at the bottom of the article, copied and pasted here.

    Suzanne Markle, President, and CEO of Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics, has been appointed as a member of a newly-formed advisory board tasked with encouraging women’s involvement in the aviation industry.

    U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao announced Ms. Markle’s appointment along with other board members to the newly-formed Women in Aviation Advisory Board (WIAAB). 

    WIAAB’s mission is to assess education, training, mentorship opportunities, outreach, and recruitment of women into the aviation industry. Former U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson will serve as chair of the board.

    According to the Aviation Technician Education Council’s Annual Pipeline Report, females make up 2.52% of the certified mechanics in the FAA airmen database, a number that has been slowly increasing over several years. 

    WIAAB board members represent a wide-range of aviation organizations, including major airlines, non-profits, airports, and institutions of higher education. 

    “I am honored to be given the opportunity to represent Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics on the Women in Aviation Advisory Board,” says Markle.  “The Aviation industry represents one of the world’s largest infrastructures and provides some of the most rewarding and lucrative careers available.  Therefore, no group should be underrepresented.  I believe there is much we can do to encourage women to explore these opportunities and to identify and remove barriers to their success. I look forward to working with the accomplished membership on this board, and I hope to make some meaningful contributions to its mission.”

    Board members represent a diverse range of backgrounds and expertise, including those from major airlines and aerospace companies, nonprofit organizations within the aviation industry, aviation and engineering business associations, the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, Civil Air Patrol, and institutions of higher education and aviation trade schools. 

    A full list of appointees and their biographies is available here.

    “From Secretary Chao to the several women on my senior leadership team, and the more than 10,000 women in the FAA, we see the professionalism and contributions that make our aviation industry the gold standard for the world every day,” said FAA Administrator Steve Dickson. “We salute the WIAAB’s new board members for their commitment to illuminate this career path for more women.”

    Members will be appointed to the WIAAB for the duration of its existence, which is anticipated to be a minimum of 2 years, and will meet up to two times per year to carry out its duties.

  • Anne Dudro and Dan Soltesz from the CCP Team had the opportunity to lead a session at the Mid-Atlantic Association of Career Schools' (MAACS) Annual Conference. We focused on the necessity of educational institutions to have a proper government affairs strategy and the importance of working with government officials at all levels. We were happy to share information we've gained from our extensive experience working at the local, state, and federal levels of government.

Upcoming Opportunities
Large Funding Opportunities

Below are upcoming funding/grant opportunities at all levels of government. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have questions about the process to apply.

  • Funded with state gaming revenues, the Local Share Account - Statewide Program provides grants of between $25,000 to $1,000,000 for capital (construction/infrastructure projects) and planning projects. There is no matching requirement for this opportunity.

    Eligible applicants include:

    • Pennsylvania Counties
    • Municipalities
    • Municipal Authorities
    • Economic Development Agencies
    • Redevelopment Authorities

    Non-Profit entities can be the beneficiary of this grant, but the primary applicant must be one of the above categories.

    Eligible Uses of Funds include:

    • Acquisition
    • Construction
    • Demolition
    • Infrastructure
    • Purchase of vehicles, machinery and/or equipment
    • Planning, consulting and design costs related to planning projects.
    • Engineering, design and inspection, to include permitting fees, for construction projects not to exceed 10% of the total grant award.
    • Administrative costs of the grantee for the purposes of administering the grant. Administrative costs may not exceed 2% of the total grant request. Contingency costs not to exceed 5% of documented

    Ineligible costs include:

    • Operations and salary costs with the exception of administrative costs of the grantee directly related to grant administration.
    • Training costs.
    • Consulting fees with the exception of costs for an eligible planning project.
    • Warranty fees.
    • Public relations and marketing costs.
    • Fees for securing other financing, interest on borrowed funds, and/or refinancing of existing debt.
    • Lobbying, reparations, fines, application preparation/consultant fees.
    • Costs incurred prior to the approval of CFA funding.

    To apply, eligible entities must upload a complete application to the DCED's Single Application Portal by March 15, 2022. Applicants will need to have or setup a Keystone login. Please do not hesitate to reach out to a CCP team member with any questions. More information on this grant, and its full guidelines can be found on the link below.

  • The U.S. Department of Transportation has published a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for $1.5 billion in grant funding through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) discretionary grant program. The popular program helps communities around the country carry out projects with significant local or regional impact.

    RAISE discretionary grants, which were originally created under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as TIGER grants, can be used for a wide variety of projects. Recent examples of funded projects include dedicated bus lanes in Baltimore, highway and bridge repair in New Mexico, dock replacements in Alaska, and a rail-to-trail project in Arkansas. Overall, USDOT has awarded $9.9 billion to more than 700 projects.

    "The RAISE program helps communities large and small fix and modernize their infrastructure,” said Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “This year, thanks to the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we can support more projects than ever, and help make our transportation system safer, more accessible, and more sustainable for people across the country.” 

    This is the first discretionary funding program to accept applications as directed by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The $1.5 billion in available funding for 2022 represents a 50 percent increase in available funds compared to last year, when applicants requested $10 in funding for every $1 available. In 2021, RAISE funded 90 projects in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Guam.

    RAISE projects are rigorously reviewed and selected based on merit. Projects will be evaluated on statutory criteria of safety, environmental sustainability, quality of life, economic competitiveness and opportunity, state of good repair, partnership and innovation. New this year, under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, 2022 RAISE applications will also be evaluated on the criteria of mobility and community connectivity. The Department will assess projects for universal design and accessibility for travelers, as well as consider how proposals increase mobility for freight and supply chain efficiency.

    At least $15 million in funding is guaranteed to go towards projects located in Areas of Persistent Poverty or Historically Disadvantaged Communities. Under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, RAISE expands the number of communities eligible for 100 percent federal share of funding, specifically those in rural communities, Areas of Persistent Poverty and Historically Disadvantaged Communities. To help reach this goal, the Department has launched a tool that will allow applicants to determine if their project location is considered as a Historically Disadvantaged Community. The tool is available here

    As was the case last year, the Department is encouraging applicants to consider how their projects can address climate change, ensure racial equity, and remove barriers to opportunity. 

    This year the Department is also encouraging applicants to consider how their projects can create workforce development opportunities. Applicants can be more competitive in the process if they are creating jobs with free and fair choice to join a union and good labor standards, creating jobs that underserved communities can access, or are supporting worker opportunities and training. Applicants are also encouraged to utilize registered apprenticeship and local and economic hire agreements. The RAISE program is one way the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law acts on President Biden’s promise to bring good-paying jobs to local communities.

    Also new this year, the evaluation process has been updated for 2022 to provide more explicit detail to applicants.

    The NOFO is available here. The deadline for applications is 5 p.m. EST on April 14, 2022, and selections will be announced no later than August 12, 2022.

  • To meet the needs of communities across the United States, the Appropriations Committee accepts programmatic, language-based, and Community Project Funding requests from Members of Congress. Organizations interested in seeking these funds will need to begin outreach to their federal elected members in January to explore possibilities with this opportunity.

    Last year, members had until late March to submit their projects to the Appropriations Committee. Each legislator's deadline, process, and criteria for selecting projects they would fund is different.

  • On March 11, 2021, President Joseph R. Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law. This historic legislation was designed to enable all Americans to respond to and recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

    Under the American Rescue Plan, EDA was allocated $3 billion in supplemental funding to assist communities nationwide in their efforts to build back better by accelerating the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and building local economies that will be resilient to future economic shocks.

    American Rescue Plan funding enables EDA to provide larger, more transformational investments across the nation while utilizing its greatest strengths, including flexible funding to support community-led economic development.

    With an emphasis on equity, EDA investments made under the American Rescue Plan will directly benefit previously underserved communities impacted by COVID-19.

    EDA is making a Coal Communities Commitment, allocating $300 million of its $3 billion American Rescue Plan appropriation to ensure support for these communities as they recover from the pandemic and create new jobs and opportunities, including through the creation or expansion of a new industry sector. This commitment will be fulfilled through $100 million in Build Back Better Regional Challenge grants and $200 million in Economic Adjustment Assistance grants.

    EDA is proud to make this funding available through a series of six innovative challenges.

    Please click the links below for more information on each American Rescue Plan funding opportunity and the Coal Communities Commitment:

  • The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) is a Commonwealth grant program administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historical improvement projects. RACP projects are authorized in the Redevelopment Assistance section of a Capital Budget Itemization Act, have a regional or multi-jurisdictional impact, and generate substantial increases or maintain current levels of employment, tax revenues, or other measures of economic activity. RACP projects are state-funded projects that cannot obtain primary funding under other state programs.