State and local governments (SLGs) have primarily utilized funds made available by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to develop broadband infrastructure, but another significant broadband infrastructure funding opportunity available to SLGs seems to have been overshadowed.
The Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund (CPF) was established to support increased broadband adoption and access, in addition to supporting new broadband deployment. The CPF intends to “address many challenges laid bare by the pandemic … helping to ensure that all communities have access to the high-quality modern infrastructure, including broadband, needed to access critical services,” the Treasury Department announced.
Unlike provisions in funding specific to broadband, the CPF will fund all projects that demonstrate they meet the critical connectivity needs highlighted and amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Treasury has made clear that broadband infrastructure is an acceptable use of CPF funds.
The Treasury Department has actively encouraged it, giving more emphasis to broadband than to any other purpose to which the funds may be put.
“Treasury is launching the Capital Projects Fund to allow recipients to invest in capital assets that meet communities’ critical needs in the short- and long-term, with a key emphasis on making funding available for broadband infrastructure,” the agency stated.
Each state is allocated at least $100 million. Notably, this is in addition to ARPA state recovery funds that the states may already have received. All eligible states need to submit their funding request on Dec. 17 and Tribal governments must submit their funding request on June 1.