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How Can You Benefit from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009?

Access to Federal Stimulus Package Dollars Will Require a Well-Planned Advocacy Strategy

Whether you are a corporation, government agency, utility, public/private partnership or economic development authority, you may benefit from President Obama's proposed economic stimulus plan.  The summary below outlines the proposal and identifies the key steps to take when making a request for an allocation.  If you have specific questions regarding the economic stimulus plan, Greenebaum's professionals can help answer those questions and determine the strategy and team that best fits your organization's unique needs when pursuing an allocation.

A Summary of the Act
President Obama along with Congressional and Senate leaders have made it clear that passing an economic recovery bill worth nearly $790 billion, now known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 ("ARRA"), entitled HR1 in the House of Representatives and S.1 in the Senate, is at the top of the federal legislative agenda.  The intent of the ARRA is to dedicate a large portion of funding to infrastructure projects in order to create jobs quickly. Thus funding for these projects will target ready-to-go construction, meaning those projects which can break ground within 60 to 120 days, and  which would spend the funding overlays within the next two fiscal years. 

As of February 11, 2009, the House and Senate struck a deal on a package totaling $789 billion and this compromise legislation is expected to be delivered for the President's signature in the next few days.

In addition to federal spending, the ARRA is anticipated to distribute funds through state agencies.  As it stands today, the ARRA legislation anticipates distributing a significant amount to the states by right and a separate portion of funds through a competitive bid process, with the intent to invest in infrastructure related projects.

For those municipalities, developers and stakeholders seeking to advocate for infrastructure and job-creating projects, it will be important to take a proactive approach at the state and federal level.  Many competing public and private sector groups have employed a two-tiered strategy to solicit funds for their projects: 

  • First, federal lawmakers and agencies will be given significant discretion in funding projects through federal sources; and
  • Second, state lawmakers and agencies receiving the state-designated amount in the ARRA legislation will play an important role, both through direct funding of projects and through the ability to provide matching dollars for federally-allocated funding.  

The Process
When pursuing a strategy to access ARRA funding, you will want to consider the following actions:

  1. Analyze federal and regional current and historic infrastructure funding decisions to determine which agencies best align with funding needs and begin discussions with them regarding criteria, timelines and other relevant information;
  2. Prepare a "white paper" setting forth the analysis and comparison results; 
  3. Meet with appropriate trade associations (Associated Industries; Chambers of Commerce) to present the "white paper" to others with similar interests and seek support;
  4. Concurrently monitor legislative and administrative funding options and provide relevant information regarding the proposed project to administrative agencies; and
  5. Identify and contact the key constituents/players overseeing the appropriate agencies.
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