A new role for small cities thinking big about infrastructure

The trillions of dollars flowing to America’s cities and states as a result of the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and other recent federal investments are doing more than help build new roads, water systems, broadband access, and climate resilience. They’re also prompting a growing number of small- and medium-sized cities to introduce a new role to their city halls: infrastructure coordinator.

The position is about more than pursuing the hundreds of new available grants—although that’s part of it. It’s also about helping cities think big about this unprecedented funding opportunity. “While many large cities have full teams dedicated to this work, small cities haven’t always had that capacity,” explains Ryan Whalen of Bloomberg Philanthropies, which, through its Local Infrastructure Hub, provides small- and medium-sized cities access to the resources their mayors say they need to overcome challenges to accessing and utilizing these federal funds. “Infrastructure coordinators are one of the innovative ways smaller cities are bridging that gap.”