Monumental $1.2 Trillion Bill Passed to Revitalize the Nation’s Infrastructure
Highlights of the Bill President Biden Signed Into Law on Nov. 15
President Biden has signed into law a historic $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. The bill contains significant federal investments for roads, bridges, ports, rail transit, water infrastructure and internet connections, and $550 billion in new federal spending over a five-year period, in addition to routine funding for transportation programs. The programs within the infrastructure bill will be administered by the designated federal agency, with the first round of funding from the package to be made available in 2022.
Across federal agencies, several existing and new programs will receive unprecedented levels of investment. For municipalities and special districts, this bill presents a plethora of opportunities to address various infrastructure needs within communities and across the nation. Through this historic infrastructure bill, various existing programs are being increased at unprecedented levels to provide much needed federal financial support.
For local government and special district, this package provides means to seek federal financial support for projects that are of priority to each. The key to successfully receiving financial support from the federal agencies is to identify the best matching federal funding pot for the desired project. Local governments and special districts will need to navigate the funding opportunities in existing programs as well as the funding in new programs. Best Best & Krieger is available to assist local governments and special districts in successfully navigating this infrastructure package and the opportunities to come throughout the next five years.
The infrastructure package is a key part of President Biden’s multi-part economic agenda. A second part is the Build Back Better Plan, which will provide additional investments in the nation through a multitude of avenues, including healthcare, childcare, additional water infrastructure and labor standards. The Build Back Better Plan is awaiting passage in the House and, once it passes, the timing of any potential Senate action remains to be seen.
Below represents highlights from the infrastructure bill:
Roads and Bridges
The bill provides $110 billion in new funding for road and bridge infrastructure. Specifically, the $40 billion for bridge repairs is the largest dedicated investment in bridges since the construction of the interstate highway system.
Water and Wastewater
In total, water infrastructure will receive $55 billion in funding to be administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, $8.3 billion to be administered by the Bureau of Reclamation, and $16.65 billion to be administered by the Army Corps of Engineers of Civil Works. These significant funding investments will be available for both new and existing water and wastewater projects.
Water funding highlights:
- $11.7 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, states are required to distribute 49 percent of funds as grants or principal forgiveness loans
- $11.7 billion for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, states are required to distribute 49 percent of funds as grants or principal forgiveness loans
- $15 billion for lead pipe replacement through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, states are required to distribute 49 percent of funds as grants or principal forgiveness loans
- $4 billion for the Drinking Water State Revolving Funds capitalization grants to mitigate emerging contaminants, including perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)
- $1.15 billion for water storage, groundwater storage and conveyance projects
- $3.2 billion for the Aging Infrastructure Account
- $1 billion for previously authorized rural water projects
- $550 million for water recycling and reuse projects
- $450 million for large-scale water recycling and reuse projects with a construction cost of more than $500 million
- $500 million for dam safety
- $400 million for WaterSMART
- $300 million for Bureau of Reclamation obligations under the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan
- $250 million in Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration
- $250 million for water desalination projects
- $11.6 billion for Construction funding (Army Corps of Engineers)
- $4 billion for Operations and Maintenance funding (Army Corps of Engineers)
- $150 million for Investigation funding (Army Corps of Engineers)
- $75 million for WIFIA direct loans and guaranteed loans (Army Corps of Engineers)
Broadband and Internet Access
The bill invests $65 billion in broadband infrastructure, affordability and adoption. The bill establishes new minimum speeds of 100 megabits per second (Mbps) for downloads and 20 Mbps for uploads to be eligible for funding.
Broadband funding highlights:
- $42.5 billion to create the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program (BEADP) to be administered by NTIA at the Department of Commerce
- $14 billion to permeate the “Emergency Broadband Benefit,” which was originally passed as part of the December COVID-19 relief package. The permanent benefit would reduce from $50 to $30 the subsidy for a qualifying household’s monthly broadband bill
- $2.75 billion for implementing the Digital Equity Act, which provides money to states to develop plans to make sure at-risk, disadvantaged and vulnerable communities have affordable internet connections
- $2 billion for USDA’s ReConnect program
- $1 billion for enabling the build-out of “middle mile” broadband infrastructure
- $1 billion for the new State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program, which will provide funding over four years to address cybersecurity risks and threats. Funding will be distributed through the states to local governments, with local shares going from a 10 percent local match in year one up to a 40 percent match in year four.
- Starting on Jan. 1, 2022, Broadband Facilities capable of 100/20 service may now be financed with private activity bonds (Section 80401). There are specific eligibility requirements that could bar the use of such a funding tool in urban America.
Power Grid, Cybersecurity and Resilience
A significant portion of the bill aims to increase safety and resilience across the power grid and cyber systems, with $65 billion directed towards updating power lines and cables, and hacking prevention efforts. In addition, $47 billion is designated for cybersecurity investments and climate resilience measures for infrastructure at risk of natural disasters impact, including flooding, wildfires and droughts.
Public Transit, Electric Vehicles and Ferries
Public transit will receive $39 billion to expand transportation systems throughout the nation, with a focus on green investments. The bill will invest $7.5 billion in electric vehicle charging stations, and $5 billion in electric and hybrid school buses.
A total of $2.5 billion is provided for ferry construction and replacement. Over the next five years, $570 million is provided for the construction of new ferries and ferry terminals. In addition, $250 million is appropriated for electric and “low-emitting” ferries.
Passenger and Freight Rail
In the largest investment in Amtrak since its creation over 50 years ago, Amtrak will receive $66 billion in funding to improve the rail service’s routes. These funds will eliminate Amtrak’s maintenance backlog.
Airports, Ports and Waterways
The bill includes $25 billion for airports to improve runways, gates, terminals and traffic control towers. Port infrastructure will receive $25 billion.
The deal will invest $21 billion in environmental remediation of superfund and brownfield sites, abandoned mines, and old oil and gas wells.
Disclaimer: BB&K Legal Alerts are not intended as legal advice. Additional facts, facts specific to your situation or future developments may affect subjects contained herein. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information herein.