While the details are far from certain, a federal infrastructure stimulus package is beginning to take shape. This will be a huge opportunity for municipalities and agencies across the country to fund and implement much-needed critical infrastructure projects. Now is the time to be laying the foundation and positioning projects for this funding. And as municipal leaders prepare, it can be instructive to look back at past stimulus programs for examples of effective preparation, application submissions, and projects.
In a recent webinar we hosted, we invited three leaders from communities that successfully won stimulus funding for their projects to tell the story of how they prepared, what worked, and what they are doing now to get ready for future funding opportunities. The session was called, Capturing Stimulus Funding: Stories of Successful Approaches, and a recording of the full webinar is available here and a PDF of the slides is available here. Representatives from the City of Quincy, Massachusetts; the City of Tavares, Florida; and the City of Modesto, California shared their experiences.
From Quincy’s Mayor Thomas P. Koch, we heard about how close work with state funding agency leaders and a comprehensive project identification and prioritization allowed them to win $25 million to advance infrastructure and community development projects that are still paying dividends today.
From Tavares’ John Drury, we heard about how collaborating with funders and focusing on the infrastructure projects that underpin economic development helped transform the city into a destination and attracted significant business investment.
From Modesto’s Will Wong, we heard about how a nimble approach and willingness to adapt to funding program requirements allowed them to rethink a project on the fly in order to qualify for a $35 million super-low interest loan that enabled a unique water recycling project. This project yielded significant job growth and millions in new income while supporting agricultural businesses in the region.
These three stories all illustrate successful approaches, and each has lessons for us to learn from today. By choosing a focus, preparing well, and being willing to adapt to new requirements, communities can position themselves to seize this opportunity and invest in the infrastructure that will support their future economic recovery and help them thrive.