Overcoming Barriers Created by Cost Share Requirements: Considerations for advancing natural infrastructure throughout the Mississippi River Basin

Cecilia Diedrich
Sofia O'Connor
Isabella Blanco
Date Released
December 2023
Cost Share Report Cover

The federal government administers many programs to help states, local communities, tribes, and territories as they undertake infrastructure projects of all types, including resilience measures and natural infrastructure aimed at mitigating risks from natural hazards and disasters. The increasing impacts of climate change make investment in these project types more important than ever to help prepare and protect communities across the country. While this work is paramount, it comes with a high price tag. Various federal agencies issue grants to help finance resilience and natural infrastructure projects, but these programs often do not cover the full cost of a project and require non-federal sponsors to shoulder some of the financial burden. This practice is known as “cost sharing,” and while it ensures that federal funding recipients have a financial stake in a project’s success, it can create an insurmountable obstacle deterring many communities—particularly small, rural, and/or low-capacity communities—from applying for federal grants and pursuing important infrastructure projects.

This report examines barriers to infrastructure investment created by cost share requirements and suggests some potential steps governments can take to make funding programs more accessible and equitable, as well as steps communities themselves can take to raise funds to meet the local cost share requirement. Appendices I and II of this report provide a survey of various federal and state programs that fund resilience and natural infrastructure projects and highlight best practices and challenges from those programs with respect to cost share implementation.