Federal Business Opportunities for Landscape Architects


Economic Recovery
     2009 Professional Honor Award
     Teardrop Park, NY, NY Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc.,

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was enacted into law to spur job creation and economic development, and jumpstart the nation’s lagging economy. After passage of ARRA, the federal government began allocating funding to states and localities to begin economic stimulus projects in the areas of education, housing, health care, infrastructure, and renewable energy. State and local governments have received stimulus funding and are now awarding contracts, grants, and loans for projects that will create employment opportunities and promote economic growth in local communities. Many federal agencies still have untapped funding available for stimulus projects. 

This guide outlines federal stimulus opportunities that benefit landscape architects and other design professionals. Federal opportunities are organized into the following sections: transportation, water, sustainable design, climate change, small business, and government procurement. 

You can also find a list of state recovery sites where you can find more about local opportunities.


Grants: Transit Capital Assistance

 The Transit Capital Assistance program will administer ARRA funds under the existing Federal Aid Highway Program goals and regulations. Funds may be used for restoration, repair, construction and other activities eligible under the Surface Transportation Program (STP) as defined within 23 U.S.C. 133(b), and for passenger and freight rail transportation and port infrastructure projects eligible for assistance under subsection 23 U.S.C. 601(a)(8). Priority will be given to projects with a completion time prior to February, 2012 and to projects located in Economically Distressed Areas as defined by section 301 of the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965, as amended (42 U.S.C. 3161). Funds will also be used by recipients in a manner that maximizes job creation and economic benefits.

Funding:  $6.9 billion

Duration:  Through 2010 (two years)

Process: Eligibility is limited to capital costs. Project selection is up to the local planning process, but project eligibility is reviewed by FTA regional offices prior to grant approval. Regional offices will also review projects for compliance with all necessary federal requirements such as: civil rights, planning regulations, and National Environmental Policy Act.


Grants: Highway Infrastructure Investment

Info: The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is uniquely positioned to administer the Highway Infrastructure Investment portion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act); in particular, the goal to “invest in transportation, environmental protection, and other infrastructure that will provide longer term economic benefits” to the Nation. Funds may be used for restoration, repair, construction and other activities eligible under the Surface Transportation Program (STP) as defined within 23 U.S.C. 133(b), and for passenger and freight rail transportation and port infrastructure projects eligible for assistance under subsection 23 U.S.C. 601(a)(8). Priority will be given to projects that can be completed by February 17, 2010 and those projects located in economically-distressed areas.

Funding:  $27.5 billion

  Through 2010 (two years)

 Projects are selected by each State under normal Federal-aid Highway Program procedures (CFDA 20.205) and Recovery Act-specific guidance. Recovery Act funds are not eligible to be used for advanced construction purposes, or for expenses incurred prior to their obligation on a project.

Agency:  Federal Highway Administration

Grants: Grants-in-Aid for Airports

Info: Grants-in-Aid for Airports (Recovery Act) funds the planning and development of a safe and efficient national airport system to satisfy the needs of U.S. aviation interests. This includes (but is not limited to) airport improvement grants for development projects that enhance safety, capacity and security. These projects include construction or rehabilitation of new airports, runways, runway safety areas, taxiways, aprons, terminal buildings, and Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) buildings.

Funding:  $1.1 billion

Duration:  Two year funding (thru 2010)

Process: Any project eligible for pure discretionary funds in normal AIP is eligible for consideration in ARRA funding. However, beyond eligibility, the ARRA statute requires that economic recovery funds must supplement and not supplant planned expenditures from airport-generated revenues or from other State and local sources for airport development activities. In other words, funds are specifically precluded from being used for projects where there were "planned expenditures from airport-generated revenues or from other State and local sources." Accordingly, if a project is identified for funding in the normal AIP program in FY-09, it is not eligible for funding under ARRA.

Agency:  Federal Aviation Administration

Learn more about this grant program

Grants: Disadvantaged Business Bonding Assistance 

Info: The objective of the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Recovery Act Bonding Assistance Program is to assist DBEs to obtain bid, payment, and performance bonds in a timely and efficient manner, which will enable DBEs to compete for and perform transportation-related projects receiving Recovery Act funding from DOT.

Funding:  $20 million

Duration:  Two years funding (thru 2010)

Process: This is not a formula-based program. Bonding assistance will be equally available to primary and subtier contractors competing for and performing transportation-related projects receiving Recovery Act funding from DOT.

Agency:  Office of the Secretary of Transportation

Grants: FTA Transit Investment in Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) 

Info: ARRA made available $100 million for a discretionary program to support transit capital projects that resulted in greenhouse gas reductions or reduced energy use.

Funding: $100 million

Duration: May 22, 2009 deadline. May reopen again in future.

Process: FTA is currently reviewing the proposals and expects to announce project selections in the Federal Register by the end of the fiscal year

Agency: Department of Transportation

Grants: Multi-modal Discretionary Program (TIGER)

Info:  ARRA made $1.5 billion available to the Department of Transportation for a multi-modal discretionary program to support major capital infrastructure investments for highways, transit, aviation, and ports.  The program is administered by the Office of the Secretary.

Funding: $1.5 billion

 September 15, 2009 deadline. May re-open again in future.

  Transit projects are eligible. Learn about the application process.

Agency:  Department of Transportation


Grants: Clean Water State Revolving Fund and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds 

Info: The Clean Water State Revolving Fund program, in place since 1987, received $4 billion, including funds for Water Quality Management Planning Grants. The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program, in place since 1997, received $2 billion. The State Revolving Funds will issue $6 billion to help communities with water quality and wastewater infrastructure needs and drinking water infrastructure needs. A portion of the funding will be targeted toward green infrastructure, water and energy efficiency, and environmentally innovative projects.

Funding:  $6 billion

  Until 2010

EPA is making Recovery Act grants to states and Puerto Rico to capitalize their State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs, from which assistance is provided to finance eligible high priority water infrastructure projects. The states will set priorities based on public health and environmental factors, in addition to readiness to proceed to construction, and identify which projects will receive funding. States must provide at least 20% of their grants for green projects, including green infrastructure, energy or water efficiency, and environmentally innovative activities.

Agency: Environmental Protection Agency

Sustainable Design


Grants / Loans: Green Retrofit Program for Multi-family Housing  

Info: Grants and loans will be made available through HUD’s Office of Affordable Housing Preservation (OAHP) for eligible property owners to make energy and green retrofit investments in the property, to ensure the maintenance and preservation of the property, the continued operation and maintenance of energy efficiency technologies, and the timely expenditure of funds. Physical and financial analyses of the properties will be conducted to determine the size of each grant and loan. Incentives will be made available to participating owners.

Funding:  $250 million

Duration:  Grants and loans used within two years.

Process: Eligible participants are owners of properties receiving project-based assistance pursuant to section 202 of the Housing Act of 1959 (12 U.S.C. 17012), section 811 of the Cranston- Gonzalez National Affordable Housing Act (42 U.S.C. 8013, or Section 8 of the United States Housing Act of 1937, as amended (42 U.S.C. 1437f).

Agency:  Department of Housing and Urban Development

Learn more about this grants / loan program

Grants / Loans: R--Smart Growth Mission Support 

Info: The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), Office of Policy, Economics and Innovation (OPEI) anticipates conducting a full and open competition for technical support services for its Development, Community and Environment Division (DCED). The work performed by the Contractor shall include technical support in the areas of Research and Policy Analysis, Technical Assistance and Communications and Outreach all of which are related to: the impacts of current development patterns, alternative forms of development, the policy and regulatory framework that supports or hinders smart growth, the development of mechanisms that encourage smart growth, green building, and related environmental practices, improved management of community resources and growth, and green building standards, practices, and products.

Funding: No details found

Duration:  Contracts are yearly with up to four years of extensions for a total of five years.

Process: Application due November 2, 2009

Agency:  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Learn more about this grant / loan program 

Climate Change

Grants: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administation (NOAA) Operations, Research, and Facilities Recovery Plan 

Info: The Recovery Act provides a total of $830 million in funding to NOAA. Funding includes $230 million for habitat restoration, navigation projects, vessel maintenance, and other activities. An additional $430 million will be dedicated for construction and repair of NOAA facilities, ships and equipment, improvements for weather forecasting and satellite development. A total of $170 million also will be directed for climate modeling activities, including supercomputing procurement and research into climate change.

Funding: $167 million for habitat restoration; $3.0 million for environmental reviews and consultations; $20 million for vessel maintenance and repair; and $40 million to address NOAA’s hydrographic survey backlog.

Duration: Not specified.

Process: Applications for funding will be accepted once instructions are posted for specific competitions. Central federal government funding Web sites:,

Agency:  NOAA, United States Department of Commerce

Grants: Wildland Fire Management 

Info: All of the $15 million appropriated to the Department of Interior (DOI) Wildland Fire Management program in the Recovery Act will be used for high priority hazardous fuels reduction projects on Federal lands. Fuel reduction and restoration treatments remove or modify wildland fuels to reduce the potential for intense wildland fire behavior, lessen post-fire damage, limit the proliferation and spread of invasive species and diseases, and restore and maintain healthy, diverse ecosystems.

Funding: $15 million

Duration: 5 year plan process – obligation of funds by September 30, 2010.

Process: In recognition of the urgency to select and execute projects expeditiously, the Department established unified priorities and formulated guidance to lead the bureaus in the project selection process.

Agency: Office of the Secretary of Transportation

Learn more about this grant program

Grants: E.P.A. Brownfield Program

Info: The funds will be awarded to eligible entities through job training, assessment, revolving loan fund, and cleanup grants.

Funding: $100 million

Duration: Closed April 20, 2009. Application process passed but may re-open again.

Process: Program currently requires pre-application community notification for all cleanup cooperative agreement applicants.

Agency:  Environmental Protection Agency

Small Business

Loan: ARC Loan Program 

Info: Small, temporary loan program targeted for business stabilization offers interest-free loans to viable small businesses, which carry a 100 percent guaranty from the SBA to the lender and require no fees paid to SBA. Loan proceeds are provided over a six-month period and repayment of the ARC loan principal is deferred for 12 months after the last disbursement of the proceeds. Repayment can extend up to five years.

Funding: Offer up to $35,000 Associated funding for this program is $255 million in credit subsidy budget authority, to cover the estimated lifetime default costs to the taxpayer.

Duration: Application acceptable as long as funding is available or until September 30, 2010.

Process: The ARC loan program is open to any SBA-approved lender. Non-SBA lenders can easily become SBA participants by working with their nearest SBA district office. Businesses interested in applying for an ARC loan should first contact their current lender. ARC Loans are provided by commercial lenders and guaranteed by the SBA. Your next step is to contact your lender who will help you determine if you are a candidate for an ARC Loan. DUNS Number Instructions: Small Businesses should use the instructions to verify or obtain a Dun & Bradstreet DUNS Number to complete an ARC Loan application.

Agency:  Small Business Administration

Loan: Microloan Program

Info: Loans may be used for typical business purposes such as working capital, machinery and equipment, inventory and leasehold improvements.

Funding: Total associated funding for this program are $6 million for loan subsidy and $24 million for technical assistance grants. The average microloan size is about $13,000. Small loans of under $500 and up to $35,000 to start-up.

Duration:  Application acceptable until September 30, 2010 or as funds allow.

Process: Microloan applications are submitted to a community-based, non-profit intermediary that serves as a microlender who then makes loans directly to entrepreneurs like you. All credit decisions are made by the microlender at the local level. List of microlenders.

Agency: Small Business Administration

Loan: 7 (a) Loan Program

Info: Reduce or eliminate program fees. SBA temporarily eliminated most of the guaranty fees paid by borrowers in the 7(a) program. SBA also temporarily eliminated processing and participation fees paid by borrowers and lenders in the 504 Certified Development Company (CDC) program.

Funding: $375 million (includes Section 501 and 502); $8.7 billion for 7 (a); $3.7 billion for 504

Duration: Elimination of certain borrower fees in both the 7(a) and 504 program, projected through December 31st, 2009. Elimination of certain lender fees in the 504 program, projected through December 31, 2009. Or until funds are exhausted

Process: The business must be established for profit, and must also meet SBA size standards that define a small business. To qualify for an SBA 7(a) guarantee, a small business must meet the lender’s criteria and SBA’s 7(a) program requirements. In addition, the lender must certify that it could not provide a loan under the proposed terms and conditions without SBA’s guarantee. Under the Recovery Act, no funds may be used by any state or local government or any private entity, for any casino or gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course or swimming pool. If your business or project includes one of these purposes, you may still qualify for an SBA guaranteed loan with the traditional fees and guarantee percentages. To locate a bank, credit union, other lender or Certified Development Company providing SBA-backed loans in your local area, go to SBA’s Web site. Click on the button for “local resources,” for the SBA district office nearest you, which has a list of SBA lenders in your area. On the Web site, you will also find links to information on how to start a business, government contracting, and counseling and training opportunities provided by local SBA offices and SBA resource partners.

Agency:  Small Business Administration

Learn more about the loan programs, including new enhancements and improved financing

Loan: 504 Certified Development Company Loan Program

Info: The SBA’s 504 loan program helps small businesses obtain long-term financing for fixed asset projects. SBA’s 504 loan program is designed to help small businesses purchase land and buildings, heavy equipment or machinery, and expand current development projects. Working capital is not an eligible use of the proceeds. Loans generally have 10 or 20-year terms.

Funding: No information found. 
Duration:  Through September 30, 2010

 No information found. 
Agency: Small Business Administration

Learn more about this loan program

Loan: Surety Bond Programs

Info: The SBA guarantees (up to 90 percent) surety bonds for small businesses, allowing them to compete for contract dollars, including construction projects supported by Recovery Act funds. Through the Recovery Act, the SBA has temporarily raised the Surety Bond limit for small business contracts from $2 million to $5 million dollars. Under certain circumstances (with certification from a Federal contracting officer), that limit can be raised to $10 million.

Funding: $15 million

Duration: Through September 30, 2010

Process: Must meet the small business size standard for the industry in which your company is primarily engaged, as defined by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Code. The SBA does not directly bond a contractor. The contractor chooses a bonding agent who represents an SBA surety company participant. An agent is an individual who has power-of-attorney to issue bonds on behalf of a surety. The contractor fills out the surety application and the required SBA forms, providing the agent with the required credit, capacity and character information. The agent then underwrites the application and decides whether to execute the bond with or without an SBA guarantee. View list of Participating Surety Companies and Agents.

Agency: Small Business Administration

Learn more about the loan program through their report and fact sheet


Government Procurement

Business Opportunities in Buildings and Real Estate

Info: Construction / Design Acquisition: The General Service Administration (GSA) uses this process to award Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) and small project contracts. Construction Acquisition - a two-step advisory process that allows for technical proposals to be evaluated, and offerors are advised of whether they are technically viable to compete in a particular procurement. Performance and Payment Bonds: Payment bonds represent a promise of surety of payment to all persons supplying labor or materials in the work provided for in a contract.

Process: All GSA design and construction contracting opportunities are advertised on Federal Business Opportunities ("FedBizOpps"). Announcements will contain instructions on obtaining classified drawings and specifications which are not distributed through FedBizOpps.

Agency:  U.S. General Service Administration


Schedules and Contracts

Info: Indefinite Delivery indefinite Quantity (IDIQ): The General Service Administration (GSA) has awarded several Multiple Award IDIQ contracts to procure technical expertise in areas such as cost estimating, architect/engineer services, seismic/structural/blast services, construction management and inspection, general construction, repair and alteration, design-build, demolition and remediation services.

 Visit list of GSA's Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracts.

Agency:  U.S. General Service Administration


Opportunities for Small Business

Info: Partnering and Subcontracting: Small business concerns should not overlook procurement opportunities existing on a prime contract award basis with GSA.  Large business prime contractors receiving federal contracts valued at over $1 million for construction and $550,000 for all other contracts are required to establish plans and goals for subcontracting with small business firms. Small Business Set Asides (SBSA): This program helps assure that small businesses are awarded a fair proportion of government contracts by reserving (i.e., "setting aside") certain government purchases exclusively for participation by small business concerns.

Funding: $5.5 billion

Process: Learn more

Agency: U.S. General Service Administration

Federal Opportunities

The following sites provide additional information on ARRA opportunities and other federal grant and loan programs and information on how to apply: 

Recovery opportunities in U.S. States and territories

Most federal agencies have allocated funds to each state. To learn more about ARRA opportunities in your state, go to state recovery sites. Check out calendars to find application deadlines:

American Samoa  
District of Columbia 
New Hampshire 
New Jersey 
New Mexico 
New York 
North Carolina 
North Dakota 
Northern Marianas Islands 
Puerto Rico 
Rhode Island 
South Carolina 
South Dakota 
U.S. Virgin Islands 
West Virginia 

If you know of useful loan or grant programs we've missed or you are a provider of a government programs and would like to be included, please e-mail


Kevin Fry
Director, PR and

JR Taylor
PR Coordinator