The Grant Assistance Program at the University of Delaware celebrates its first successful grant application, bringing vital bipartisan infrastructure funding to local municipalities throughout the State. The federal Department of Transportation selected GAP’s application, submitted on behalf of the City of Milford and Town of Slaughter Beach, as one of 64 nationwide recipients for its Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Awards.
Just over $21 million was set aside for this first round of projects, designed to “enable disadvantaged and under-resourced communities to advance a pipeline of transformative infrastructure projects that will increase mobility, reduce pollution, and expand affordable transportation options, connecting communities to the essential opportunities and resources that will help them thrive,” according to the grant application. The City of Milford and the Town of Slaughter Beach will be receiving $295,000 worth of technical assistance to support the design of a bicycle and pedestrian pathway that will connect the vibrant retail district of Milford with the natural resource amenities that Slaughter Beach has to offer.
“We hope this is the first of many applications we are able to work on with the City of Milford to help their citizens access more of the natural wonders in our area and give our citizens better transit options for shopping and dining in the city,” said Slaughter Beach Mayor Bob Wood.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, a “once-in-a-generation” infrastructure funding package, offers unprecedented opportunities for Delaware’s local governments to secure funding for critical projects, such as road repairs, power grid upgrades, climate-change resiliency, and more. In conjunction with the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act, municipalities are currently presented with an abundance of funding opportunities that can be tapped for much-needed infrastructure and resilience projects. There’s only one problem: many of Delaware’s municipalities don’t have the staff to chase down this funding. Municipalities with less fiscal and administrative capacity are hard-pressed to successfully pursue these opportunities, due to complicated and time-consuming processes. Fortunately, Delaware has a solution.
The Grant Assistance Program (GAP) is a state-funded initiative that provides free technical grant assistance to local governments for infrastructure initiatives and other competitive and formula grant opportunities. Housed within the Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy and Administration’s Institute for Public Administration (IPA), the program launched in August 2022 and is now fully staffed with three grant specialists to support the needs of Delaware’s communities. To date, the GAP team has submitted 11 funding requests for a total of $12.3 million on behalf of Delaware municipalities.
While the program works with all local governments in Delaware, outreach and support are especially focused on local governments that typically lack the resources and capacity to compete for large-scale infrastructure funding opportunities, including rural or underserved communities In addition to this successful grant application, the program is supporting the towns of South Bethany and Bowers Beach in their efforts to obtain funding for resiliency projects designed to offset impacts of climate change.
GAP provides a wide array of technical assistance and support services, allowing local governments to seek help at any stage of the grant application and project management process. This includes online resources, like the Funding Opportunities Portal (https://www1.udel.edu/uLink/10249) that details specific federal and state funding opportunities available to Delaware local governments. GAP hosts “drop-in” technical assistance sessions, where local governments can connect virtually with the GAP team to discuss particular grant opportunities. GAP offers hands-on services, such as training workshops for local government employees on grant management processes, as well as direct booking availability for in-depth project assistance.
The service is free to any qualified entity, and unlike many other grant assistance programs, the GAP offers technical grant assistance at any stage of the process, from grant research, writing, implementation, and reporting. The GAP team can also help prioritize and develop projects. The program’s goal is to help Delaware secure as much funding as possible while it is available to help improve the First State’s infrastructure and resilience.
Visit GAP here for more information on this new service opportunity.
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