Helping State & Local Governments Maximize Federal Infrastructure Funds
Civix Provides a Range of Expertise for Infrastructure Program Management
NEW ORLEANS, LA – Billions of dollars will begin flowing into states’ transportation, broadband, utilities and other infrastructure projects now that President Biden has signed the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law. Some $110 billion will go to roads and bridges; $66 billion to freight and passenger rail; $39 billion to public transit systems; $65 billion to expanding broadband; and, $55 billion into improving water systems and replacing lead pipes; among others.
Over the next five years, most of the money will go to state and local governments through formula-based allocations and competitive grants, and it will be up to them to plan and execute specific projects.
Angele Romig, the President of Civix Land & Grants, says there’s a great deal these governments should consider as they prepare for the first wave of funds. She would know. For more than 35 years with Civix, Romig has helped governments manage some of the largest federal grants in U.S. history.
“States that are prepared, have systems and teams in place, and are proactive will be able to speed the disbursement and maximize the impacts of these federal dollars,” she said. “The funds will begin pouring in from different sources, each with different rules and requirements, so there’s a lot of complexity to consider and preparations to be made. It’s going to be a heavy lift for agencies that already have full plates and don’t have the capacity or technical expertise to take on new programs of this scale.”
That’s where the team at Civix comes in. As former government grant and program administrators, planners, and policy experts, they bring experience, lessons learned, and best practices from administering and implementing over $200 billion in federal grants on behalf of states and communities across the country. And Civix’s Right of Way (ROW) managers have helped federal, state, and local public agencies chart a course and clear the way for major infrastructure projects for over 30 years.
“Our team has a broad range of expertise to help government agencies manage infrastructure funding, including grant management, program management, project management, regulatory compliance, technical advisory services, ROW management, and much more,” Romig said. “Civix helps our government partners design, launch, and manage federally funded programs – from start to finish – that ensure compliance and meet each community’s unique needs.”
Civix specializes in various aspects of federally funded programs and has gained a wealth of experience over the past 40 years. In the last few years alone, Civix program experts have helped Louisiana prioritize, disburse, and manage $3 billion for hurricane and flood recovery, assisted California with operational and administrative implementation of more than $1 billion in response to wildfires, provided management software to administer billions of dollars through the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) and State & Local Fiscal Relief Fund (SLFRF) in the Tri-State area, helped to map and manage over 5,000 miles of state roadways and ROW boundaries throughout Nevada, and much more.
“There is tremendous diversity of expertise on our team, making us uniquely suited to help states achieve their infrastructure goals,” said Romig. “State and local governments have the opportunity to make a generational investment that will transform their communities, and we’re here to help them succeed.”
The infrastructure package’s $1 billion increase in funding for FEMA’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program and $3.5 billion for its Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) program provide examples for how Civix’s unique range of capabilities can apply to various aspects of program management. Civix has provided land acquisition services for FEMA-funded buyouts and relocations; implemented FEMA hazard mitigation projects and programs; developed federally compliant hazard mitigation, recovery and resilience plans; and coordinated the delivery of resilience and mitigation funding from FEMA, HUD, and other sources.
“Having this depth and breadth of expertise helps governments to see all the possibilities, understand the tradeoffs, make informed decisions, proceed with confidence, and meet federal requirements along the way,” – said Ben Billings, Vice President with Civix Land & Grants.
“This should not be a passive exercise where state and local governments simply wait for the administering federal agencies to tell them how much they will receive now that the legislation has been enacted,” he said. “There are a lot of steps that state and local governments should be taking right now to prepare for and position themselves to tap into these funds.”
Billings, who previously served 10 years in the U.S. Senate as Staff Director of the Disaster Recovery Subcommittee, says it’s never too early to begin community engagement, determine priorities, assess land rights, review financial controls and IT systems, and put together competitive project applications that address cross-cutting federal requirements and societal challenges.
Civix has a record of success helping governments to develop such applications, including several winning proposals submitted as part ofHUD’s National Disaster Resilience Competition (NDRC). Civix utilizes a robust program design process, working with governments to discuss programming options, address key policy decisions, ensure compliance, and guarantee that outcomes meet the public’s need.
This last point will be key for states, since they will have significant discretion over how much of the funding will be spent. Officials will have to make tough decisions about which communities and projects will benefit from the infrastructure money. To guide them, Civix’s planning professionals leverage data analysis and mapping capabilities to paint a clear picture of needs; and they actively engage the community and foster collaboration throughout the process.
All this advance work not only makes the programs more successful in the end, it helps make them a reality from the get-go by strengthening applications.
“Governments may have to compete for different pots of money, so they need to make their projects stand out,” Billings continued. “Stressing resilience, economic opportunity, affordable housing, multi-jurisdictional cooperation, and equity – issue areas where Civix has significant expertise – can make applications more competitive.”
He says it pays to have experts by your side.
“Partnering with seasoned experts can significantly reduce costs, speed up projects, and increase the overall impact of these investments. There will be new rules, limited timeframes to act, and competition for the funds – not to mention governments are already stretched thin running existing programs. Civix can help, and we can leverage innovative solutions to cover the costs of this critical program support,” he said.
Complementing its services, Civix offers a suite of software solutions designed for managing federal programs and funds. The company’s EM Grants Manager solution is designed specifically for FEMA programs and has managed over $40 billion in grants in 20 states and one territory. Civix’s Program Manager software is a complete end-to-end solution for HUD programs and has managed some of the largest grants and housing programs in U.S. history. And Civix’s Land Information Management System (LIMS), correlates various source documents and records them into a user-friendly, web-based system for assessing and managing landholdings.