On September 20, the U.S. Department of Treasury (Treasury) released new guidance for the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund, a $10 billion program authorized under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) for states and territories. The fund provides recipients States and territories with the ability to carry out critical capital projects that directly enable work, education, and health monitoring, including remote options, in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Eligible entities include states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, tribal governments and freely associated states. Although counties are not direct recipients of these grants, states can suballocate a portion of their award to local governments, non-profits and private entities.
For a Capital Project to be an eligible use of funds, it must meet all of the following three criteria:
- The Capital Project invests in capital assets designed to directly enable work, education, and health monitoring
- The Capital Project is designed to address a critical need that resulted from or was made apparent or exacerbated by the COVID-19 public health emergency
- The Capital Project is designed to address a critical need of the community to be served by it
In addition to the above criteria, Treasury’s guidance encourages recipients to invest funds in broadband infrastructure projects to address the digital divide exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and expand connectivity to underserved and unserved residents. Specifically, recipients are encouraged to prioritize projects designed to provide services to households and businesses that do not have access to a reliable connection, invest in middle-mile projects and fiber-optic infrastructure.
Ineligible uses of funds within this program include general infrastructure projects, such as roads, bridges, transit systems and ports. Improvements to hospitals and traditional schools are also generally ineligible, although Treasury will permit a case-by-case review for certain projects that meet the core criteria of enabling work, education and health monitoring.
The Treasury Portal for the fund will open on September 24, and applicants will have the ability to apply for 90 days, through December 24, 2021. Eligible entities will be able to use funds once they are awarded through December 31, 2026. Eligible entities can view their allocations of funds on the Treasury program’s resource page here.