“The coronavirus pandemic revealed and continues to reinforce the need for connectivity. While millions of Americans rely on the Internet to participate in critical activities and access basic services, others remain unable to fully access the Internet. Many of those living in rural areas, territories, and Tribal lands lack the necessary infrastructure to connect with others online. Some rural and urban areas with connections may still lack sufficient technology for functional use. Further, access may be out of reach because of the unaffordable costs of Internet service, equipment, devices, or skills training.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (American Rescue Plan) established the $10 billion Capital Projects Fund to provide funding to states, territories, and Tribal governments to carry out critical capital projects directly enabling work, education, and health monitoring, including remote options, in response to the public health emergency with respect to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID–19). The focus of the Capital Projects Fund on the continuing need for connectivity in response to the COVID-19 pandemic complements the broader range of uses, including for broadband infrastructure, of the American Rescue Plan’s separate $350 billion Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds.
Capital projects include investments in depreciable assets and the ancillary costs needed to put the capital assets in use. Under the American Rescue Plan, these projects must be critical in nature, providing connectivity for those who lack it. The Capital Projects Fund thus allows for investment in high-quality broadband as well as other connectivity infrastructure, devices, and equipment. In addition to supporting broadband, it also provides flexibility for each state, territory, and Tribal government to make other investments in critical community hubs or other capital assets that provide access jointly to work, education, and health monitoring. All projects must demonstrate that they meet the critical connectivity needs highlighted and amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eligible applicants will be required to provide a plan describing how they intend to use allocated funds under the Capital Projects Fund consistent with the American Rescue Plan and guidance to be issued by Treasury. Treasury will begin to accept applications for review in the summer of 2021 and will issue guidance before that date. Please check back regularly for updates.”