$700 Million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funds to go to Virginia Telecommunications Initiative (VATI) and other Broadband Updates

August 24, 2021

As part of the August 9 Appropriations Act allocating federal relief funding approved by the General Assembly and Governor Northam, Virginia will see a massive influx of funding to the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative (VATI). This represents an historic investment in broadband infrastructure and will hopefully help achieve universal broadband coverage by 2024. The Commonwealth Connect Coalition provided updates on these developments and will provide further discussion at the next meeting of the Coalition on August 25.

With the influx of federal ARPA funds into the VATI program, the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has released a memo outlining the interaction between ARPA and VATI, the memo may be accessed here and key points are also included below:

  • All VATI applicants will be considered for funding under both the state general fund $50 million VATI budget as well as ARPA funding. DHCD reserves the right to determine the source of funds through which VATI awards are made.
  • Applications, solicited project structure, and evaluation of projects will primarily be reviewed using FY22 VATI guidelines, although U.S. Department of Treasury ARPA guidance may be taken into account in certain instances (recognizing that VATI and ARPA guidance may diverge at times).
  • All applications will be scored using the FY22 VATI scoring criteria.
  • Awarded projects sourced from state general funds will be governed and administered via FY22 VATI guidelines. Awarded projects sourced from ARPA funds will be governed and administered via U.S. Department of Treasury ARPA guidance. Awarded projects sourced from ARPA funds may be required to provide additional project and expenditure reports pursuant to U.S. Department of Treasury reporting requirements.

Upcoming Events and Deadlines

August 25 – Commonwealth Connect Coalition Meeting
11am – 12pm
Webinar link (video and audio) –  https://meet.google.com/zvy-tsue-uqz
Conference Call (audio) – 240-514-8805 PIN: ‪610 184 806#
Meeting Agenda may be found here.

September 14 – VATI Application Deadline | Learn more here

October 21 – VATI Challenges Due

November 18 – Deadline for Challenge Rebuttals

December 1-2 – VCTA/VACo/VML Broadband Together Conference | Learn more here

December 3 – DHCD Notifies All Parties of Challenge Determination

December – Anticipated Announcement of Awards

VACo encourages members to reach out if you have any additional questions or concerns regarding VATI or other Broadband related issues.

VACo Contacts: Jeremy R. Bennett and Joe Lerch, AICP

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