Important point from Holly Edinger at the LVEDC blog:
LVSC submitted its application for a $5 million regional planning grant in August 2010. Although the LVSC did not receive a grant award, the Consortium did score high enough to be designated by HUD as having Preferred Sustainability Status, a major accomplishment. Out of 805 applicants for these regional grants, only 45 regions received the grant awards and another 114 obtaining Preferred Sustainability Status.
The Preferred Sustainability Status (PSS) allows applicants access to bonus points for selected federal grant programs, technical assistance, and other capacity building opportunities through HUD. Recently HUD released a list of grant program where applicants can get an additional two points if they are endorsed/ member of a PSS. It is very important to recognize that while LVEDC was the lead applicant for the PSS and these bonus points are available to others Lehigh Valley agencies and municipalities that may apply for these HUD grants.
The Lehigh Valley stands a better chance at receiving federal money for economic development projects if it’s applying as a region rather than individual municipalities. It’s about the leverage. For instance, there’s no reason the LV wouldn’t qualify for the Obama administration’s Innovation Accelerator Challenge:
Sixteen federal agencies are working together on this unprecedented initiative to drive job growth through public-private partnerships in at least 20 regions around the country. High-growth clusters from rural and urban regions across the nation will compete for award funds. Each Challenge investment will serve as a catalyst for leveraging additional private capital to the winning regions from sources including foundations, financial institutions, corporations and other private-sector partners.
The Innovation Accelerator Challenge represents the Obama Administration’s commitment to accelerate the development of strong industry clusters – like the Research Triangle in North Carolina – that promote robust economic ecosystems and the development of a skilled workforce, both of which are critical to long-term regional success. We’re looking to be a catalyst for regional clusters that can:
- Promote sustainable economic growth in the region;
- Support business formation, especially of small businesses, while leveraging existing businesses’ assets;
- Advance commercialization of federal and private research;
- Increase exports;
- Develop a skilled workforce through outreach, training, and the creation of career pathways, and;
- Integrate historically underserved businesses and communities into the economic activities of the cluster.
This cluster announcement reflects another important goal of the Obama Administration – to streamline government while maximizing resources. Applicants will submit ONE application, instead of multiple applications to several agencies, cutting down on costs and time. Awardees will receive funds in a coordinated, integrated manner that is more efficient and predictable. When President Obama was elected, he promised to change the way government does business. The Accelerator and 40 other innovation cluster projects that were awarded in FY 2010 reflect his commitment to deliver on his promise.
It would be a gross failure of local government leaders to get their act together if the Lehigh Valley didn’t get some of this money. The raw materials are there to accomplish all these goals. The human talent and productivity are there, the infrastructure is there. It’s the short-sighted fiefdom politics and the lack of imagination of too many political officials that’s the problem.