In coordination with the Senate, the Biden Administration has created the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which would provide $550 billion in spending on capital programs beyond the standard budget. Sunday night, nearly 70 senators voted to advance the legislation, and it is expected that the long-awaited funding package will pass this week.
A five-year reauthorization of drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, as well as surface transportation programs and energy policy provisions, have been approved by select Senate committees and coupled with water, transportation, energy, and broadband expansion.
Below is a breakdown of the water and infrastructure measures included within the proposed bill, with funds allocated between the 2022-2026 fiscal years:
- Supplemental provisions for existing Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) programs would include $3.5 billion for superfund sites, $1.5 billion for brownfields, $1.7 billion for geographic programs, and $55.4 billion for water infrastructure, including $25 billion for addressing lead pipe replacements, PFAS, and drinking water contaminants and $11.7 billion each in State Revolving Loans for clean water and drinking water.
- Over the next five years (2022-2026), the bill would include a guaranteed budget of $567.5 billion for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). This would encompass $303.5 billion for highways under the Highway Trust Fund; $36.735 billion in funds for bridge replacements, repairs, safeguarding, and construction, with $27.5 billion of the funds allocated based on a cost-benefit ratio for addressing poor or fair bridges; $5 billion for a grant program promoting safe streets and roads, with funds allocated over five years; $1 billion for the restoration, demolition, or extraction of culverts; and $3.2 billion in additional funding for Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grants for freight and highway renovations.
Maintaining and upgrading basic infrastructure is key to supporting our economy and to protecting public health and the environment. An ACEC article published on August 4th provides additional insight on the breakdown of funds.
Much like we saw in 2009 with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, utilities prepared with projects ready to move to bidding and construction will likely be better positioned to get funding. Some ways utilities can prepare to take advantage of these funds include:
- Reviewing your Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) to identify top-candidate projects to advance through design.
- Working with local decision makers to advance and reprioritize projects.
- Advancing schedules for identified projects so they can be “shovel ready” to help qualify for funds.
Identifying priority projects to advance could go a long way in addressing infrastructure needs and positioning your community for favorable funding. Please contact us if there is anything we can do to help align your community to successfully qualify for these funding sources.