Lack of funding is consistently cited as a barrier to the implementation of green infrastructure. One advantage that green infrastructure projects offer, however, is that they generate so many benefits that they can compete for a variety of diverse funding sources.
On this page:
Learn about federal funding sources in this section, including the following agencies:
- Department of Energy (DOE).
- Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
- Department of the Interior (DOI).
- Department of Transportation (DOT).
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
- U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
- U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA).
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
EPA Clean Water Act Nonpoint Source Grant (Section 319 Grants)—Congress amended the Clean Water Act in 1987 to establish EPA’s Section 319 Nonpoint Source Management Program to provide greater federal leadership in focusing state and local nonpoint source efforts. Under Section 319, states, territories, and Indian tribes receive grant money to support a wide variety of activities, including:
- technical and financial assistance,
- education and training,
- technology transfer,
- demonstration projects, and
- monitoring to assess the success of projects implemented under the grant.
EPA Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF)— The Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) program is a federal-state partnership that provides communities a permanent, independent source of low-cost financing for a wide range of water quality infrastructure projects:
- wastewater treatment,
- stormwater management,
- nonpoint source pollution control, and
- watershed and estuary management.
Learn more about the program in Green Infrastructure Approaches to Managing Wet Weather with Clean Water State Revolving Funds.
EPA Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds (OWOW) Funding—OWOW has created this website to provide tools, databases, and information for practitioners that serve to protect watersheds.
Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) EXIT—ARC funds several hundred projects every year in the Appalachian Region in a wide range of program areas, including community infrastructure and asset-based development.
DOE Weatherization and Intergovernmental Program—The Weatherization and Intergovernmental Program provides grants, technical assistance, and information tools to states, local governments, community action agencies, utilities, Indian tribes, and U.S. territories for their energy programs. The funding can be used to encourage installation of green infrastructure—such as green roofs—as part of the weatherization process.
DOI Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) Program—Under the National Park Service, the RTCA program assists community-led natural resource conservation and outdoor recreation initiatives. RTCA staff provide guidance to communities on:
- conserving waterways,
- preserving open space, and
- developing trails and greenways.
EDA Funding Opportunities—EDA grants support a range of business and industrial development activities—including infrastructure development—that create or retain jobs. EDA-capitalized revolving loan funds encourage new business development in economically distressed communities.
HUD Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program—This flexible program works to ensure the availability of decent affordable housing, provide services to the most vulnerable in our communities, and create jobs through expanding and retaining businesses. CDBG-financed projects can incorporate green infrastructure into their design and construction. Chicago, for example, has used CDBG funding to put a new green roof on its historic Cultural Center.
HUD Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program—The Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program allows future CDBG allocations to be used to guarantee loans for neighborhood revitalization projects, including construction and installation of public facilities and infrastructure. Section 108-guaranteed projects can incorporate green infrastructure into their design and construction.
HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grants—This program supports metropolitan and multijurisdictional planning efforts to integrate housing, land use, economic and workforce development, transportation, and infrastructure investments in a manner that empowers jurisdictions to consider the interdependent challenges of:
- economic competitiveness and revitalization,
- social equity, inclusion, and access to opportunity,
- energy use and climate change, and
- public health and environmental impact.
NOAA Community-Based Restoration Program—This program began in 1996 to inspire and sustain local efforts to restore coastal habitat. It has funded more than 1,500 projects in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Islands that have restored more than 41,000 acres of habitat and opened more than 1,700 stream miles for fish passage.
USDA National Urban and Community Forestry Program—Under the U.S. Forest Service, this program’s objectives are to establish sustainable community forests that improve the public’s health, well-being, and economic vitality, and create resilient ecosystems for present and future generations. When funds are available, cost-share grants support urban and community forestry projects that have national and multistate application and impact.
USDA Rural Development Water and Environmental Programs (WEP)—WEP is the only federal source exclusively focused on the water and waste infrastructure needs of rural communities with populations of 10,000 or less. The programs provide technical assistance and financing for development of drinking water, waste disposal, and stormwater systems in rural areas.
Tax Incentive Programs—You can use some federal tax incentive programs to support green infrastructure projects, including:
- DOE Energy Efficiency Savings -Green infrastructure can be integrated into project design to claim tax incentives and rebates. For example, in Eugene, Oregon, a new biofuel station built on an abandoned gas station site included a green roof, bioswales and rain gardens. Nearly $250,000 worth of tax credits reduced income and sales tax for the private company that built and operated the project.
- Department of Treasury’s New Markets Tax Credit program, which encourages private investment in a range of project types in distressed areas (e.g., real estate or business development projects). Awards are allocated to nonprofit and private entities based on their proposals for distributing the tax benefits.