Area Development Program & Access Road Program

  1. Contact NEPA for an initial conversation about your potential project before beginning your pre-application to ensure the project will be competitive. To obtain a basic introduction to the ARC Grant Application process, you can watch a recorded webinar here, with the corresponding PowerPoint slides here, should you want to view them separately.
  2. Check this timeline to make sure your organization can meet the required deadlines.
  3. Review the ARC 2022-2026 Strategic Plan, the PA Appalachian Area Development Plan, Appalachian Regional Commission Program Guidelines and the PA FY20 Strategy Statement to ensure your project matches the most current goals and strategies at the federal and state levels.
  4. Currently, all of the counties NEPA serves are designated as transitional, meaning the Area Development grants require a 50% match to leverage the 50% grant funds, and while the Access Road Program no longer requires a match, it is highly encouraged.
  5. This is a reimbursement grant.  You cannot make purchases prior to receiving a grant contract from ARC. (This includes the purchase of equipment or services that will be used for match.)  Once you execute the contract, you will submit invoices after each 120-day period.  Your contract period will likely start August, September or October 1st.
  6. ARC is federal agency and funds from their grant are federally sourced. Federal wage rates (Davis Bacon Act) will be required for grant and matching funds.
  7. For project budgets: Supplies should include items that are less than $5,000 and Equipment should include items that are over $5,000.
  8. Higher Education Projects:
    1. Please include the job placement rate of graduates for Appalachia and non-Appalachia counties. ARC and DCED typically wish to see that 80% of graduates stay within Appalachia. If your number is not this high, please provide some justification based on job centers/clusters.
    2. ARC central office takes notices of current Community College of Appalachia members.
  9. Any construction project (Area Development and Access Road) requires a federal cognizant agency, often referred to as a BFA (Basic Federal Agency), as a partner (USDA, Army Corp of Engineers, US DOT FHWA, EDA). PennDOT serves as the BFA for Access Road projects and the PA CDBG office can serve as the BFA for Area Development – if no other federal fund is involved in the project.
  10. All Local Access Road applications must address the following points:
    1. Projects must be coordinated with PennDOT and the NEPA Alliance or Lackawanna-Luzerne Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to be added to the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).
    2. List PennDOT as the Basic Agency in the Executive Summary.
    3. Note in the project description whether the road is owned by the county or local municipality. If the property has not been transferred to a local government entity, include a letter of intent, including the planned date of transfer.
    4. Clarify in the project descriptions whether the cost is for “construction only” or “design and construction”. If construction only, note if design is complete and if design is in conformity with PennDOT standards. Be sure to include date (or anticipated date) for design completion.
    5. Describe the length of the access road constructed as part of the project, in miles or decimals of miles (not linear feet). Include the current road width, if applicable, as compared to width of completed project as well as list other enhancements to the project, such as bus stops, sidewalks, utility relocation, signalization etc.  Note this change with appropriate details in the explanation and financial sections. Priority is generally given to projects which create, expand or enhance access to help accommodate or attract new development. Maintenance only projects will not be considered.
    6. Match is no longer required but highly encouraged.
    7. If you are using Liquid Fuel Funds as the match, please label them as “State” funds.
    8. List current employers and number of employees that are tenants of the road section that is being repaired or built.
    9. If the road is new, list the number and size (acres) of available lots. Are there any commitments for sale/lease? Is there other infrastructure (sewer, water, natural gas, broadband) in place?
  11. If you are selected for a full application, you must have the match committed. Before beginning a pre-app, please make sure your matching funds can be committed by the Fall. It is ok to pledge reserves as match and then substitute new revenue or grant award at a later time.  However, this option should not be used unless you are willing to use your reserves if your options fall short.
  12. You must have outcomes and outputs that match ARC’s guidelines for reporting to Congress; however, you may also include additional outcomes and outputs that show the full impact of the program or project.  Please review ARC’s guidance for performance measures here.
  13. After these steps, use the pre-application template for the Area Development projects (AD) or the Local Access Road (LAR) to guide the development of your proposal.  Here is a listing of the Census Tracks to reference when completing the Counties to be Served section. Documents must be submitted in MS Word so we (NEPA & DCED) can make necessary edits to strengthen the pre-applications. Use ARC Pre App Template provided above and save the name of your organization to title the document. For example: AD ARC 2020 NEPA Alliance Pre App.
  14. Below is a listing of example pre-applications to help clarify the information requested under each section. Since these examples are from previous years and may have different requirements, it is in your best interest to use the downloadable blank pre-application document (linked above) as the template to complete your pre-application.
    1. Local Access Road Pre-Application (Stauffer Road, Lackawanna County)
    2. Local Access Road Pre-Application (Orwigsburg Industrial Park, Schuylkill County)
    3. Area Development Pre-Application (Earth Conservancy Solar Feasibility Study, Luzerne County)
    4. Area Development Pre-Application (Johnson College Mobile Training Laboratory, Lackawanna County)
    5. Area Development Pre-Application (Northampton Community College Expanding the Regional Sustainable Energy Workforce, Monroe County)
    6. Area Development Pre-Application (University of Scranton Women’s Entrepreneurship Center: Online StartUP Series Project, Lackawanna County)

If you have any questions, please contact:

Kurt Bauman
Vice President, Community & Economic Development Services – 570-891-4665