Several ARRA grants—State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF), Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Quality Renovation and Repair—allow expenditures for infrastructure. All infrastructure investments using ARRA funds require a certification that project has received the full review and vetting required by law and that the investment is an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars. Infrastructure investments using IDEA funds are subject to additional requirements beyond Section 1511. This page provides information on the certification process for SFSF and CCDF grants; for information on using IDEA funds for infrastructure, see the IDEA ARRA Web page.
Section 1511 Certification Process
The process for collecting required Section 1511 certifications and posting them on the Web as follows:
- Download and complete the Certification Form (DOC).
- Print the completed form and obtain the appropriate signature.
- Keep the posted form on file for compliance reviews, complaint investigations or audits.
- Post the form on the subrecipient's Web site, if available.
- E-mail the completed form to email@example.com. An unsigned copy is acceptable for the purpose of electronic posting of the information by CDE.
The form contains a list of the requirements that must be met to certify that the investment “has received the full review and vetting required by law.” It also requests the following information about the investment to comply with Section 1511: a description of the project, the total cost of the project, and the amount of the cost to be funded with ARRA funds.
The ARRA itself does not define infrastructure. However, guidance from the U.S. Department of Education (ARRA Reporting Tip Sheet for Elementary and Secondary Programs [XLS]) indicates:
“An infrastructure investment is financial support for a physical asset or structure needed for the operation of a larger enterprise. Therefore, infrastructure investments include support for tangible assets or structures such as roads, public buildings (including schools), mass transit systems, water and sewage systems, communication and utility systems and other assets or structures that provide a reliable flow of products and services essential to the defense and economic security of the United States, the smooth functioning of government at all levels, and society as a whole.”
Section 1511 of the ARRA requires that a recipient Governor or other appropriate chief executive certify that any infrastructure investment made with ARRA funds has received the full review and vetting required by law and that the executive accepts responsibility that the infrastructure investment is an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars. This certification, along with a description of the investment, estimated total cost, and amount of ARRA funds to be used, must be posted and linked on the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board Web site. A state or local agency may not use funds under the ARRA for infrastructure investments until this certification is made and posted. Also, the state or local agency must report the purpose, total cost, and rationale for funding the infrastructure investment with ARRA funds, and the name of the person to contact at the agency if there are concerns with the infrastructure investment.
ARRA contains other requirements affecting infrastructure investments. Among the most significant of these provisions are: (1) Section 14003, which states that local educational agencies may not use funds received under this title for payment of maintenance costs; stadiums or other facilities primarily used for athletic contests or exhibitions or other events for which admission is charged to the general public; purchase or upgrade of vehicles; or improvement of stand-alone facilities whose purpose is not the education of children, including central office administration or operations or logistical support facilities or school modernization, renovation, repair that is inconsistent with state law; (2) Section 1604, which provides that none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available in this Act may be used by any State or local government, or any private entity, for any casino or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, or swimming pool; (3) Section 1605, which provides that grantees must use iron, steel, and manufactured goods that are produced in the United States for their projects; and (4) Section 1606, which provides that all laborers and mechanics employed by contractors and subcontractors on projects funded directly by or assisted in whole or in part by and through the Federal Government pursuant to the Act, shall be paid wages at rates not less than those prevailing on projects of a character similar in the locality as determined by the Secretary of Labor in accordance with Subchapter IV of Chapter 31 of Title 40, United States Code.
In considering the rationale for funding an infrastructure investment with ARRA funds, it is useful to refer to the purposes of ARRA: "(1) to preserve and create jobs and promote economic recovery; (2) to assist those most impacted by the recession; (3) to provide investments needed to increase economic efficiency by spurring technological advances in science and health; (4) to invest in transportation, environmental protection, and other infrastructure that will provide long-term economic benefits; and (5) to stabilize state and local government budgets, in order to minimize and to avoid reductions in essential services and counterproductive state and local tax increases."