The bipartisan infrastructure legislation that President Joe Biden signed in 2021 allocated more than $50 billion to make America’s roads, bridges, power lines, and other infrastructure more resilient to climate change. But much of that money comes with a catch. According to a new analysis, 60 percent of the law’s funding for projects that are designed to help communities prepare for climate disasters requires communities to pony up between 20 and 30 percent of the cost of a given project. This is known as a “local match,” a certain amount of money that a grantee is required to contribute to the overall costs of a project in order to qualify for a federal grant.

The analysis — by Headwaters Economics, an independent research group that focuses on community development and land management — warns that local match requirements are putting rural communities in particular at a disadvantage. Many lack the resources to both apply for grant projects and also to sustain their portion of funding through the lifetime of a project.

Yet many of these rural communities are on the front line of climate change.

“They’re experiencing floods, they’re experiencing fires, and we see these events getting more and more extreme,” said Kristin Smith, a researcher at Headwaters Economics and the author of the analysis. “These are also the places that tend to have really small local governments.” Such communities are in a poor position to get the money together to invest in the projects they need to keep them safe.

Read the full article about a barrier to accessing federal climate funds by Brett Marsh at Grist.