Quite often we are asked by Montana community leaders if we are aware of any funding available to assist with their infrastructure woes. Fortunately, there are several grant options available to assist communities with infrastructure construction and upgrades. To be successful, an understanding of the grant cycle and requirements to qualify for funding is necessary. The typical grant cycle starts at the planning grant phase where a Preliminary Engineering Report (PER) is developed as a precursor to the construction grant phase and full development of the funding package. There are three primary grant programs available in Montana.
The Treasure State Endowment Program (TSEP) offers two grant opportunities starting with a planning grant. This planning grant, in the amount of $15,000, is available for PER development for drinking water systems, wastewater treatment facilities, sanitary or storm sewer systems, and/or bridges. The planning grant requires a 1:1 match. The TSEP construction grant requires a PER and is available for construction or repair of drinking water systems, wastewater treatment facilities, sanitary or storm sewer systems, and/or bridges. The TSEP construction grant is available up to $750,000 and requires a 1:1 match. TSEP grants are available on two-year cycles.
Another similar program is theCommunity Development Block Grant (CDBG). The CDBG also offers two grant opportunities starting with a planning grant. This planning grant is available in the amount of $50,000 for preparation of Preliminary Engineering Reports for and Capital Improvement Plans for drinking water systems, wastewater treatment facilities, sanitary or storm sewer systems, and/or bridges. This grant also requires a 1:1 match. The CDBG construction grant is available in amounts up to $450,000 and requires a 25% match. CDBGs are available on one-year cycles.
Finally, there is the Renewable Resource Grant and Loan Program (RRGL). This program also offers two grant opportunities with planning grants available in the amount of $10,000 and construction grants in the amount of $125,000. There is no match required for either grant. However, the RRGL planning grant must be paired with a TSEP planning grant and used to pay for contracted engineering or technical consulting services that result in a Preliminary Engineering Report. The RRGL construction grant is a public facilities grant, available for construction and upgrades to drinking water systems, wastewater, solid waste, irrigation rehabilitation, dam repair, soil conservation and other renewable resource projects. RRGL grants are available on two-year cycles.
It is common to secure multiple grants for a single project, and there is a strategy to stacking planning and construction grants to secure as much funding as possible for your project. It is extremely important to work with someone familiar with eligibility requirements and grant scheduling cycles to strategically plan your applications. The most common pitfall is not allotting enough time or effort to plan for your project, so it meets the grant criteria.
Territorial-Landworks, Inc. is proud of our ability to Partner with our clients to Build Better Communities and our team can be your resource to assess opportunities to secure grant funding for your community.