Construction Project Management
Peeling back the Curtain on the White House’s Funding Guide
by Evan Hill | March 9, 2022
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill (BIL), was officially signed into law by President Biden on November 15, 2021. After months of deliberations between both parties in Congress, both sides were finally able to come to a compromise on a desperately needed, historic investment into America’s aging infrastructure.
The bill comes in at approximately $1.2 Trillion in federal funding, with $550 Billion being new funding above Congress’ scheduled investment in infrastructure. Since the President officially signed the bill into law, the White House has released a 465-page guide that dives deep into the operational logistics of applying, receiving, and executing for the federal infrastructure funds.
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The funding allocated by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill is designed to rebuild America’s infrastructure, expand community access to clean drinking water, invest in aging communities, tackle climate change, and create sustainable, long-term jobs. Since the bill's final passage into law, the Administration has worked quickly to build out the operational logistics to support America’s agencies, state partners, and tribal groups in rebuilding America.
Mitch Landrieu, who was recently appointed as the Senior Advisor and Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator for the White House, had this to say:
“There’s a lot to do together in this new year. The President has been clear in his charge to me as we build a better America: make sure these programs get implemented without unnecessary bureaucracy and delay to rebuild America’s infrastructure—while at the same time being good stewards of taxpayer dollars and working to achieve goals around creating good middle-class union jobs, supporting disadvantaged and underserved communities, advancing climate resilience and sustainability, and investing in American manufacturers. It is our hope this resource is another step forward in our work together to build a better America.”
The guide published by the White House is a stunning 465 pages long, packed full of detailed breakdowns, specific funding requirements, expiration dates, program information, accountability measures, recommendations for state leaders, and defined goals for success. To make this guide easier to digest, we, Trimble, split it into four smaller sub-guides.
We read the 465 pages, so you didn’t have to—and so you and your team can focus on getting started on the projects that matter. We’ve made each sub-guide available for download, so you can take back the relevant information to your organization and take the following steps in pursuit of obtaining funding.
Get Smart: Capital Guide Overview
The Capital Guide, which is intended to make information on the bill’s funding requirements readily available, is separated into four main categories:
- Transportation - roads, bridges, major projects, freight rail, ports, waterways, safety, electrical vehicles, ferries, etc.
- Climate, Energy, and the Environment - clean energy and power, water, resilience, and environmental remediation
- Other Programs - regional program commissions, solid waste management recycling, etc.
Knowing that each infrastructure category might not apply to every single agency or partner, we took the initiative to separate the document into four separate smaller sub-guides for your consumption.
The guides all follow a standard template, with each allocation including:
- Funding amount
- Period of availability
- Funding mechanism
- Status of a new program
- Potential recipients
- Program descriptions
- Eligible uses
- Critical milestones for success
Mitch Landrieu detailed what to expect when reading through the newly released guide:
“This guidebook is another step in our effort to be as transparent as possible, so you know what to apply for, who to contact, and how to get ready to rebuild. After all, most of the building will actually be done by the state, Tribal, and local government partners. Where they exist at this moment, we have also included upcoming key dates and date ranges for key activities, along with planning activities you can be doing now to prepare for these programs coming across 2022 and 2023."
"The online version at Build.gov will also host an application to quickly sort and filter programs by agency, issue, or eligible recipient to better understand the available funding within the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. We will continue to update this resource online. Our goal is for you—communities all across America—to take full advantage of the opportunity this new funding presents.”
The conclusion of the guide also includes agency contact information, a letter to the governors with key recommendations for best-case implementation, and other supporting documents, such as this helpful excel spreadsheet, which you can download and easily filter to your applicable funding criteria. The goal of providing these new resources is to ensure the bill’s funding is used as effectively as possible.
Get Started: Clear Next Steps for Owners
If you’re a state, local, or tribal partner wondering what to do with all of this information, we’ve got you covered. We’ve condensed our recommendations into three (3) critical next steps.
Recommendation #1: Hire the appropriate staff to aggressively pursue your slice of the federal funds (lobbyist groups, grant writers, supporting staff).
When the federal government passes legislation, state and local entities will often hire lobbyists & outside partners to help them process new requirements and establish strategies for execution. However, the Biden administration is working to curtail that established trend.
“The whole point is you should not have to hire a lobbyist to access your government,” Mitch Landrieu, the former mayor of New Orleans who was tapped by President Biden to oversee infrastructure spending, said in an interview Sunday. “This book makes a really strenuous effort to make sure that people that don’t have access can actually get it because now they have knowledge.”
Despite this, data from the Washington Post indicates that state and local agencies are building up their lobbying muscles in preparation for this massive injection of federal funds.
“You can never say never, but the reality probably is that this is the mother lode of funding for probably the next seven, eight, nine, 10 years,” said Richard Spees, a lobbyist at Akerman LLP, a firm hired by Alameda, Calif., and Orlando, among other cities. “So you miss the boat on this one, you’re out.”
Regardless of the Biden Administration’s efforts to reduce red tape and make the bill’s funding as available as possible, it’s still a wise decision to engage with any outside partners to maximize your organization’s chances of success. This is a historic investment in the nation’s infrastructure, and missing out on a slice of the federal pie would be a real missed opportunity.
Recommendation #2: Verify that your agency’s projects have social equity & environmental resiliency as priorities.
Per multiple statements made by the Biden administration, it's become clear that projects inclusive towards addressing social inequities and climate resiliency will be looked on “more favorably". If your projects aren’t already considering these factors in their design process, do so now. Here’s what the Washington Post had to say:
Lobbyists said in interviews "that while it is still early in the funding process, they are busy helping their municipal clients parse dense legislative text and regulatory notices to determine which of their infrastructure needs may fit well with the priorities of Congress and the Biden administration. Biden officials, for instance, have signaled that they will look more favorably on projects that incorporate climate resiliency and equity for marginalized communities."
"You’re beginning to see an emphasis on climate change and equity and investment in neighborhoods that maybe haven’t been invested in previously,” said Jeffrey Brooks, a partner at Adams and Reese in D.C., who is representing a swath of municipalities in Alabama and Louisiana.
Recommendation #3: Have the correct technology in place to ensure that projects can begin on time and stay on budget.
The final recommendation is the most important of the three: having a top construction project management software in place to ensure excellent delivery on the projects funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. This is where e-Builder Enterprise, the #1 construction project management software in the market, comes in to support you.
e-Builder serves as a single source of truth to seamlessly connect all project stakeholders, ensure that your projects are delivered on time and on budget, and organize all documents throughout the design and construction.
The reality is that a labor shortage combined with a dramatic increase in project volume will be stretching your internal resources thin. You’re going to be forced to do more with less, and having a modern construction project management system to deliver your projects through is absolutely critical. Add in tight expiration dates for the availability of these federal funds, and waiting to “modernize” your project delivery methods will prove to be a pivotal mistake.
Key Topics Covered: infrastructure