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USDOT Grants for Rural & Tribal Communities

The Notice of Funding Opportunity for a new pilot program for technical assistance has opened this week. The Rural and Tribal Assistance Pilot Program offers technical assistance grants to rural and tribal communities. The NOFO combines two years of funding (Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023), $3.4 million in total, to eligible applicants on a first-come, first-served basis. Individual awards will range in value up to the statutory limit of $360,000. There is no local funding match required to participate in this program. The grants may be used to hire staff or advisors to assist with early development-phase activities including, but not limited to, feasibility studies; preliminary engineering and design; environmental review; revenue forecasting; financial feasibility analysis; statutory and regulatory analysis and drafting and negotiation of agreements. Eligible applicants include local governments or political subdivisions with projects located outside of an urbanized area with a population of more than 150,000 residents as determined by the Census; state governments applying on behalf of a project in an area outside an urbanized area of more than 150,000 residents; federally recognized Indian Tribes; and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. As part of the Administration’s commitment to advancing equity and opportunity for all American Indians and Alaska Natives, the Rural and Tribal Assistance Pilot Program will set aside up to $800,000 for each fiscal year for Tribal applicants. The Build America Bureau has created a simple, four-page funding application, available here, and will begin accepting submissions at 2 PM ET on August 14, 2023. The Department of Transportation hosted a free informational webinar to provide more information for interested applicants and a recording of the webinar and a copy of the presentation will be made available here. While participation in the webinar is not mandatory to receive funding, it is encouraged and provides an opportunity for potential applicants to learn about the application process and what activities can be funded through this pilot program. The Rural and Tribal Assistance Pilot Program joins the Thriving Communities Program, the Regional Infrastructure Accelerators and other new technical assistance opportunities at DOT to ensure communities have the needed tools to access federal funding and financing for transformative infrastructure projects. Additional DOT technical assistance resources can be found on the DOT Navigator. This information is provided by the Federal Highway Administration Office of Tribal Transportation.

UAC Media Training Recap

A few weeks ago, UAC hosted a county official media training by a few esteemed professors from USU. The training was quite useful for those serving in public facing positions. A few highlights: - Don’t dodge the media - cultivate a relationship so a quick phone call will ensure accurate & fair information. - Press is necessary and guarantees 50K views. - Social media comments can get out of control. - The press does all the shooting, editing, and writing for free! - Press deadlines are now. CALL or text back. - It is ok to ask what information they need so you can be prepared. Please review the powerpoint slides below and listen to the recording! Please let Laura know if you have any questions.

2023 Flood Funding Opportunities

There are three funding sources available to the Division of Emergency Management (DEM) to help with the recovery from the 2023 Statewide Flooding Event: Senate Bill 00003, the State Disaster Declaration, and House Bill 1001. A Notice of Interest Survey is available to collect information on potential projects that could be funded by these sources. The Notice of Interest will help DEM determine the most appropriate funding source for each project. Once initial information is gathered from the Notice of Interest, official applications will be made available. The attached matrix provides more information about each funding source, including the amount of money available, the eligible applicants, the eligible costs, the application process, the time frame, and the matching requirements. A Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) is required for a project to be eligible for the largest number of potential funding sources. Official applications, determinations, obligations, and awards will primarily happen during the recovery phase of the 2023 Statewide Flooding Event.

TIF and TTIF Nomination Window Open!

The Transportation Investment Fund (TIF) and Transit Transportation Investment Fund (TTIF) nomination process for projects to be considered for funding prioritization is open. Per Utah Code, local governments and transit districts may nominate qualifying transportation projects for prioritization and possible funding by the Utah Transportation Commission. More detailed information about the nomination process, eligibility requirements, and nomination forms are available at Project Prioritization above. Nominations are being accepted for the following eligible project types until 5:00pm on August 31, 2023: TIF Highway, TIF Active Transportation Projects, TTIF Transit Projects, and TTIF First and Last Mile Projects.

PILT Payments Update

On Thursday, June 15, the Department of Interior announced the release of PILT payments to counties for FY23. This year’s total is $578.8 million nationwide, which is about a $29 million increase compared to last year. Counties in Utah will receive $46,208,003 total.

LeRay McAllister Working Farm & Ranch Fund

The LeRay McAllister Working Farm and Ranch Fund is a program in Utah that provides grants to preserve and restore working agricultural land, benefiting open space and wildlife. The program uses funds allocated by the Utah Legislature to purchase conservation easements on private land, acquire small parcels of land, and provide restoration grants for conserved lands. The fund is administered by the Land Conservation Board, and applicants eligible for grants include counties, cities, towns, Utah agencies, land trusts, and tax-exempt charitable organizations. For the 2023 funding cycle, a total of $3,000,000 is available, and matching funds are required. The important dates for the application process include the funding cycle opening on June 1, 2023, pre-applications due by June 30, and full applications due by September 1. The grant recipients will be notified in the fall of 2023, and they will have two years from acceptance to implement their projects. The review process consists of a pre-application stage to determine initial eligibility, followed by a full application stage by invitation only. The full application is evaluated by the Land Conservation Board and UDAF staff based on ranking criteria such as local support, impact on housing affordability, connectivity with other conserved lands, cost-effectiveness, project urgency, public benefit, impact on food production, water quality, and conservation values. Priority is given to projects that protect prime soils, crop land, pastureland, grassland, and range land. Eligible costs for easement or fee title acquisition include the purchase of land or conservation easement, as well as direct costs related to the transaction such as environmental assessments, surveys, title insurance, and legal costs. Restoration projects may include costs for project planning, engineering, wetlands delineation, acquisition of water rights, soil testing, grading, stabilization, and revegetation. Applicants are encouraged to prepare their project budgets accurately, as the funds are limited. The Board discourages requests for additional funds after a grant has been approved, although exceptions may be considered for compelling reasons. For more information, applicants can contact Jeremy Christensen, the Land Conservation Program Manager at 385-441-4106 or
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