March 14, 2022
• The bipartisan infrastructure bill includes over $1 trillion in funding for improvements to U.S. buildings, roads, bridges, railways, and more.
• Many aspects of the bill focus on improving sustainability, reducing carbon emissions, and focusing on resiliency.
• At Ross & Baruzzini, we're excited to see the positive impact this bill has on the U.S. infrastructure.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed by President Joe Biden is a bipartisan bill that includes over $1 trillion in guaranteed funding for United States infrastructure. It isn't a one-time payment, but continual guaranteed funding through 2026.
But what’s in the infrastructure bill exactly, and why is our team at Ross & Baruzzini excited about it? As it turns out, there's quite a lot of information to unpack. Sectors such as transportation, aviation, and rail and transit, among others, will receive funding for various improvements. We’re particularly excited to see the positive impact the bill has based on its consistent theme of resiliency and sustainability.
Check out the infrastructure bill breakdown below to see what's included and why it matters.
Roads and Highways
The bill has a 34% increase in funding for existing highway programs, and every state department of transportation will benefit. Some of the key points the bill focuses on are reducing carbon emissions, increasing resiliency investments, and allocating new funding for Vision Zero. Some highlights of the bill include eliminating the "fiscal constraint" requirement in the transportation planning process and setting aside funds specifically for an EV charging infrastructure.
"The bill provides massive funding for both transit agencies and EV charging infrastructure, which excites me the most as I am part of the mobility team with an electrical background," says Rashmi Khatuja, Associate Consultant - Mobility Systems. "It would be very interesting to see how the transit agencies adopt and work with the new framework of EV over the next five years."
Transportation is another large part of the bill, with $500 million over five years going to the new Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation program. State and local governments will receive grants for planning and funding innovative tech that improves the safety and efficiency of transportation. Different projects that can be funded under the SMART program include smart traffic signals, smart grid, systems integration, and more.
Maroun Ghanem, Business Development Director - Mobility Systems, believes the SMART program is one of the most exciting aspects of the bill. "This will open the door for innovation and opportunities in our field," Ghanem says. "The most significant impact will be with smaller transportation agencies that historically struggled with funding. Most agencies will see at least a 30% increase from the infrastructure bill."
Rail and Transit
The bill allocates a 31% increase in formula funding for the Federal Transit Administration, and it increases funding for the FTA's Capital Investment Grant program. The bill increases funding for intercity rail (primarily for Amtrak and the Northeast Corridor), EV charging infrastructure, and rail-grade crossing improvements. In the next two years after the bill's enactment, U.S. DOT will create a cybersecurity product that protects transportation agencies, highway owners and operators, and product manufacturers from cyberattacks.
The aviation sector will receive $15 billion over five years for airport improvement projects. This almost doubles previous federal funding. Funds will be distributed among small, medium, and large airports based on a formula listed in the bill. Projects supported by the funding include improving air traffic towers, developing terminals, noise compatibility planning, gate area construction and maintenance, fuel storage tank replacements, power systems support, and facility security risk management.
Almost $40 billion is set aside for highway bridge projects, $27.5 billion for state bridges, and $12 billion for a new grant program. The Discretionary Grant Program is a competitive program designated to help state, local, federal, and tribal governments repair or replace existing bridges and construct new bridges. The size of each grant is intended to cover the entirety of the bridge project it’s allocated for. There is also grant money available specifically for large projects, which will be awarded through an application and evaluation process.
Port and Marine
The infrastructure bill sets aside $2.25 billion over five years for the Port Infrastructure Development program under Maritime Administration at the U.S. Department of Transportation. The program funding will go toward purchasing new equipment; addressing concerns related to rising sea levels, flooding, and extreme weather; developing microgrids for port terminals; electrification master planning; and installing infrastructure that supports electric vehicles and alternative refueling. The bill also designated $250 million over five years for reducing air emissions from idling vehicles at port facilities.
Existing water infrastructure programs will be supported by the bill, and funding will be administered by the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. There are several grants available that state and local governments can apply for. Over five years, $11.7 billion will go to the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, $10 billion will go toward removing water contaminants, and $15 billion will go toward removing lead in drinking water. Each year, $280 million will be set aside for sanitary sewer overflow and stormwater reuse. Western water infrastructure, which is overseen by the Bureau of Reclamation, will also receive $8.3 billion in funding.
Improving sustainability is a theme woven throughout the entirety of the bill. It also has a distinct focus on resiliency. Over five years, $14 billion will go to these efforts. Much of the funding will go to improving electric grid reliability as well as programs within the Federal Emergency Management Agency, such as the Flood Mitigation Assistance Program and the Building Resilient Infrastructure Communities Program.
The bill includes funding specifically for sustainable buildings and places a large emphasis on increasing energy efficiency in public schools. The Department of Energy will administer the new Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program, which will have $550 million in funding over five years. Local schools and education agencies can apply for funds to invest in building improvements focused on energy efficiency, renewable energy, low- to zero-emission vehicles for student transportation, and improvements that impact the health of students and staff.
Energy and Cybersecurity
The bill also focuses on addressing cybersecurity, which is an integral component of resiliency. There’s $1 billion in funding dedicated to new cybersecurity programs administered by FEMA for state, local, tribal, and territorial governments; an EPA study on potential threats to wastewater treatment facilities; and the previously mentioned U.S. DOT tool that will safeguard agencies from cyberattacks.
The new infrastructure bill contains a lot of exciting updates, and our team is excited to be a part of the change. The bill impacts many aspects of our business and expertise, so we’ll be participating in the future of U.S. infrastructure as it unfolds.
"I believe the most significant impact of the bill would be on society as a whole as it provides better and safer infrastructure by transforming our highway and transit modes and improving transportation facilities for us; thereby trying to decrease the greenhouse emission which is the need of the hour," says Khatuja.
At Ross & Baruzzini, we deliver integrated technology, consulting, and engineering solutions to a range of markets, including aviation, mobility systems, and public safety, among others. Reach out today to learn more about how we can help your team navigate the future of infrastructure and support your ongoing efforts.