Federal IT leaders say that they plan to allocate all of the remaining $756 million in the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) by the end of the current fiscal year.  That provides some good opportunities for contractors and their customers to propose projects for fund money.  The administration is also asking Congress for an additional $300 million for FY’23.  TMF projects are helping to modernize a variety of federal IT functions, but contractors can be forgiven if the issue of how fund money is used and the circumstances under which it has to be paid back are confusing.  The TMF was originally established as a revolving fund to help agencies modernize outdated IT and then pay the fund back from resulting savings so that other agencies could then make use of the money.  Inevitably, however, some agencies started pressing for access to funds for projects that could not show a discernable savings that would allow for fund reimbursement.  As a result, the Biden administration relaxed TMF repayment requirements last May for projects that cut across multiple agencies or involved cybersecurity improvements.  Now, contractors and their customers who want to access TMF funds not only have to create good proposals that stand out in a crowded field, but have to either specify how savings will be created to pay back the fund or create a case on why a project meets the criteria for non-payback.  The entire TMF idea has never achieved broad Congressional support, either, and concerns are growing on how money is being spent. “While the law does give latitude to the projects eligible for funding, recent awards exhibit a focus on other priorities such as customer experience and cybersecurity. It’s not that those projects are not important, but they do point to a shift away from the savings-based model intended in the law,” said Representative Andy Biggs (R-AZ) in a recent hearing.  All of this means that contractors need to prepare carefully for any proposal that would access TMF money.  The program is highly competitive and the money can be used to do good things.  Oversight and fund restrictions, however, mandate that each contractor do their homework before pursuing this route with their customer.