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NewsroomACEC Kansas Rural Development Seminar

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One of our engineers, Mike Younger, attended the ACEC Kansas Rural Development Seminar to hear from agencies across the state on changes within the agency, funding opportunities, and updates both at the state and federal level. Those agencies included USDA Rural Development, Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT), Kansas Department of Commerce (KDOC), Kansas Department of Agriculture: Division of Water Resources, and Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). We want to share with you several important takeaways from their presentations.

Several changes have been made to federally funded projects regarding domestic preference. The Build America, Buy America Act (BABAA) now applies to all IIJA — also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) — or federally funded project and funding recipients must comply.. In general, BABAA is an expansion of the original American Iron and Steel (AIS) program. EBH works closely with clients and the contractors to ensure domestic preference policies are adhered to during construction.

For USDA Rural Development projects, the median household income (MHI) will be based on the 2020 census starting October 1, 2023. This is a factor that determines if a city qualifies for grant funding. Funding for USDA Rural Development projects is through the Farm Bill.

Rate effective October 1, 2023 – December 31, 2023*

Market 3.875%
Intermediate 3.125%
Poverty 2.375%
*Note: Rates Adjusted Quarterly


For USDA Special Evaluation Assistance for Rural Communities and Households (SEARCH) Grants, the requirements are as follows:

  • Communities of 2,500 or less in population
  • 100 percent grant
  • $30,000 maximum

For USDA Pre-Development Grants (PDG), the requirements are as follows:

  • Matching funds required.
  • Larger communities can apply.
  • Up to 75% grant.
  • $60,000 maximum

The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) gave an update on IIJA and how the State of Kansas will be involved in the funding. The State has created the Kansas Infrastructure Hub to help connect those who need funding to those who have funding and assist with the process. It’s a resource center for cities across Kansas. The Infrastructure Hub is still working out many of the details.

Through IIJA, there is $1.2 trillion being distributed through the federal government across the United States. Many of the Federal Grants require an 80:20 match, meaning that the Federal Agency will contribute an 80% grant, while the other 20% of the funding must be sourced locally. The state has made available $200 million to be used for local matching funds. For those large infrastructure projects that your city never thought was possible, this may be a means to fund those projects. These infrastructure projects may include:

  • Roads
  • Bridges
  • Rail
  • Aviation
  • Water Remediation
  • Energy and Power
  • Broadband Internet
  • Cyber Security

KDOT still offers many of the traditional funding programs that they’ve offered for years. Some of those include:

  • Transportation Alternatives
  • Safe Routes to Schools
  • City Connecting Link Improvement Program (CCLIP)
  • Access Management
  • Kansas Airport Improvement Program
  • Kansas Local Bridge Improvement Program (KLBIP) – They are increasing funds in this program.
  • Cost Share

EBH has assisted many cities that have utilized these programs.

The Kansas Department of Commerce presented on broadband development across the state. Because we work with rural communities, we want to make you aware of the opportunities to work closely with internet providers to expand broadband access in your areas. Over $450 million is being invested in broadband throughout the State of Kansas. Expanding broadband access benefits the entire community, so be proactive in considering this funding source. Prospective subgrantees must submit a network design, diagram, project costs, build-out timeline and milestones for project implementation, and a capital investment schedule evidencing complete build-out and the initiation of service within four years of the date on which the entity receives the subgrant, all certified by a professional engineer, stating that the proposed network can deliver broadband service that meets the requisite performance requirements to all locations served by the project.

The Department of Agriculture – Division of Water Resources (DWR) provided an overview of their regulations and permit requirements. Regulations and permit policies are the same as they have been in the past. DWR is optimistic that additional funding will be available soon for improvements to existing dams.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment gave a thorough update on the changes in their agency. The Kansas State Revolving Fund (SRF) is a partnership between the State of Kansas and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and operates a loan program with loan forgiveness. Loan forgiveness amounts have increased as a result of the available BIL funding. In addition to potential loan forgiveness, the SRF program also offers drinking water and clean water loans at below market rates. Interest rates provided during the presentation were as follows:

  • 20-year loans at 2.18%
  • 30-year loans at 2.54%
  • 40-year loans at 2.9%

Various categories are available which allow communities to qualify for loan forgiveness, including Disadvantage Community status, Emerging Contaminants, MCL violations, Consolidations, Lead Service Line Replacement, Affordability Criteria, and Qualified Improvements to Wastewater Facilities.

All of these funding agencies and resources within Kansas can be overwhelming if you aren’t familiar with them. Our engineering experts would be happy to talk more about your project and assist with available resources. Contact us today.

If you have questions about grants, funding, or design, we'd be happy to talk with you.

Contact Us Today