Wyoming poised to pursue federal Infrastructure Act money

The State of Wyoming is preparing for a deluge of federal money from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

The bill will send $1.2 trillion out to more than 375 federal programs, Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon’s senior advisor Rob Creager said last week during a meeting of the Wyoming Legislature’s Transportation, Highways and Military Affairs Committee.

Forty percent of that money will be distributed via competitive grants, Creager said.

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He thanked Wyoming Legislature for appropriating funding for federal grant matches during the most recent legislative session.

The legislative allocation included $100 million for infrastructure matches related to energy projects; $75 million for infrastructure program matches in general, with the caveat that the state match can’t exceed 25 percent of the entire grant; $10 million for wildlife crossing matches; and $25 million for broadband matches, Creager said.

That last allocation is “really crucial,” he said, since notices for broadband funding opportunities are expected to come out next week – and “there’s a lot of money” available in that area.

Combining funding totals from the Infrastructure Act and the American Rescue Plan Act, Creager said “we’re looking at upwards of $400 million in broadband infrastructure over the next four years, which is a very substantial amount.”

His team has been working with federal officials to help them understand that it will cost more money to provide broadband infrastructure in rural states like Wyoming.

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“Some of the folks that are still not served, it will be very expensive to get to those areas,” he said. “They’re really taking into account Wyoming, the west, and rural communities so we’re not disadvantaged.”

Wyoming also wants to use Infrastructure Act funding to develop a hydrogen hub with Utah, Colorado and New Mexico; pursue carbon capture demonstration projects; and improve irrigation, water, and transportation infrastructure, among other projects, Creager said.

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