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County and cities apply for 3 mega-grants!

Cross your fingers! 3 mega-grants are in the works!

This Monday, Victor, Driggs, and Teton County submitted applications for 3 major federal grants, all funded through the EPA, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development,  and the U.S. Department of Transportation totaling over $21,000,000 in funds. The earliest any of these grants may be awarded is September 15, 2010.

Grant #1 – The TIGER 2 Transportation Grant
The long name is Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery – an approximately $16,000,000 transportation grant to develop regional public transportation alternatives in the greater Yellowstone region. This would include regional transit centers and expanded pathway systems for bicycles. The vision is to create a car-free eco-tourism hub for touring the Yellowstone area. The County planning department has set up a Web page to include information on this grant, including transportation maps and copies of the 40-letters of support written by regional cities, administrative agencies, and local nonprofits. Click here to check it out.

Grant #2 – Yellowstone Business Partnership Planning Grant
This is an approximately $5,000,000 regional planning grant for the greater Yellowstone area. The grant would fund a comprehensive plan writer and code writer to create an integrated regional land use plan, including cities as far away as Pocatello.

Grant #3 – Victor, Driggs, Teton County Planning Grant
This is a $500,000 regional planning grant for Driggs, Victor, and Teton County. It is the same kind of grant as grant #2 above, but only on a smaller scale. Driggs, Victor, and Teton County applied for this grant to fund the creation of a unified comprehensive plan and code. If these grant funds are awarded, it will more than quadruple Teton County’s current budget for their 2011 Comprehensive Plan!

Are any matching funds required?
Grant #1 requires no financial match for the cities or county. Grant #2 would require the cities to commit at total of approximately $190,000 in matched funds or in-kind services. In-kind services includes things like staff time and labor.  (By comparison, the City of Pocatello will have to commit $900,000 in matched funds for this grant). Grant #3 will requires Victor, Driggs and the County to commit a total of $100,000 in matched funds or in-kind services.

Can we afford to match these grants?
YES! Both the cities and the county have already budgeted the matching funds and planned for the donation of in-kind services if these grants are awarded.

We can’t afford to NOT match these funds.
With grant #3 for example, Victor, Driggs, and Teton County will need to commit a total of $100,000 in matched funds or in-kind services, to which they will receive an additional $500,000 to help fund their comprehensive planning efforts.  This is a 5:1 return on our investment! By committing a portion of Victor, Driggs, and Teton County’s planning budgets, we will received half a million dollars in planning assistance, more than quadrupling the current budget for the 2011 Teton County Comprehensive Plan. Furthermore, we'll be taking a regional planning approach. Our community will benefit from a better final product: a cohesive, integrated plan for growth involving both major cities and the county.  

We will keep you posted on the progress of these grants. Until then, keep your fingers and toes crossed!


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