Local matching requirement waived for small grants awarded to US territories
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Guam and other U.S. territories will be able to access funds for projects authorized under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act without having to produce a local matching fund, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced today.
DOI said the Office of Management and Budget has directed all federal agencies and departments to waive local cost share requirements under $200,000 for grants awarded to Guam, the Northern Marianas, American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
For local matching funds $200,000 and greater, agencies and departments may waive the matching requirement for these four territories.
Most federal grant programs involve sharing project costs. Matching or “cost sharing” means that a portion of the project’s cost is not paid by federal funds. Matching funds are typically stated as a percentage of the total project cost.
“Today’s announcement will help ensure U.S. territories have the investments they need to develop a long-term plan to facilitate conservation, resiliency and economic growth,” DOI said.
President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act are providing once-in-a-generation climate and infrastructure resources to the U.S. territories, including investments in ecosystem restoration and climate resilience.
As of July 2022, Guam received $57 million in grants under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
The U.S. Department of Transportation last year announced more than $1.14 billion to repair and rebuild roads and bridges in U.S. territories including Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. In fiscal 2022, U.S. territories received a total of $219 million.
At the Interagency Group on Insular Areas (IGIA) annual conference for territorial governors, members of Congress and other federal government officials today, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced that the Interior Department will extend the waiver of all match requirements, regardless of amount.
“Accelerated by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, the Interior Department is making coordinated investments in the U.S. territories to conserve public lands and ecosystems, bolster climate resilience, and safeguard the environment for future generations,” Haaland said. “In implementing this new policy, territorial governments will have greater flexibility to access these funds, further equipping them to upgrade critical infrastructure and invest in climate resilience.”
Haaland and Senior Advisor to the President and Director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs Julie Chávez Rodriguez serve as the IGIA co-chairs and delivered remarks at today’s event, which was moderated by Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Carmen G. Cantor. Senior Advisor to the President and White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu and Interior Department Senior Advisor and Infrastructure Coordinator Winnie Stachelberg also participated.
“President Biden is committed to expanding access to federal programs and breaking barriers for disadvantaged and underrepresented communities,” said Rodriguez. “This policy will help level the playing field and enable access to new resources for the territories.”
At today’s IGIA meeting, representatives from the Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, Transportation, and the Environmental Protection Agency shared updates related to the ongoing implementation of these historic laws. They highlighted how these resources are helping assist the territories in upgrading critical infrastructure and bolstering resilience against climate change and extreme weather events.