Top 5 Questions About Infrastructure Funding from Owners
by Chris Bell | September 16, 2021
The funding allocated by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill is designed to rebuild America’s infrastructure, expand access to clean drinking water, invest in aging communities, tackle climate change, and create sustainable, long-term jobs. The bill comes in at approximately $1.2 Trillion in federal funding, with $550 Billion being new funding above Congress’ scheduled investment in infrastructure.
As infrastructure initiatives progress, owners are asking questions about how such a drastic increase in federal funding will affect their capital improvement programs.
Q: Are you expecting an increase in funding from the infrastructure bill?
A: We're looking at several key categories where there is a sharp increase in funding—areas like:
- Mass Transit = $105 billion
- Highways, Roads & Bridges = $110 billion
- Utilities / Power = $73 billion
- Water / Wastewater = $63 billion
- Airports, Ports & Harbors = $42 billion
So yes, it's a significant increase...and according to the most recent fact sheet from the white house, this is one of the largest federal investments ever made.
Q: Do we know when the funding will be released?
A: Passing of the bill occurred in November 2021. Then as processes get defined...we would expect agencies to begin releasing dollars as late or as early as the end of 2021 and into 2022.
UPDATE: The White House has published a fact sheet that contains 25 competitive grant opportunities. Some of these grants are already available and application deadlines apply, so if you haven't started, now is the time.
Q: Is it true that the infrastructure bill is aimed to fund projects that can make immediate impacts?
A:There are three areas of impact that the administration is really looking for out of these capital projects. The ability for projects to:
- Create jobs
- Promote sustainability and environmental protection
- Impact socioeconomic
If you have a project that hits on all three aspects, then those are the projects that are going to get prioritized and more likely to get infrastructure funding.
Q: What concerns are there to manage an increase in projects?
A: This really gets to a fundamental expectation of this increased project funding...the Biden administration is looking for agencies to maximize the amount of infrastructure put in place for the dollar of funding given. One of the key areas in which to do that is to be very productive and efficient, and drive out all the waste in the process. So, if you're an organization that's currently taking a manual (vs digital) approach to managing projects that affect local governments and capital improvement programs, that becomes an inefficient use of the infrastructure funding.
This brings us to the ‘solution’ part of the proposed language in the bill, “advanced digital construction management systems”...as a category this creates the concept of an allowable expense where public authorities and agencies can submit the cost of their digital transformation as a part of their infrastructure work.
The advanced digital construction management system for the definition here is a commercially proven digital technologies and processes for the management of the construction in engineering activities, including systems for infrastructure, planning, coordination, construction, maintenance, modernization, and management—which correlates nicely to the integrated procurement model of design, build, operate, and maintain.
Q: How is resiliency being accounted for in the planning and management of your projects and assets?
A: When you look at the infrastructure bill, resiliency is really important and there are two clear categories:
- Security, as it relates to cyber threats
One of the important components is that there is funding associated with resiliency to make sure that today's infrastructure organizations are equipped to battle cyber security threats. As you choose your digital technology providers, verify that they have strong, hardened security capabilities both within their technologies and organizations. The other component is the operations and maintenance as it relates to the resiliency of keeping our infrastructure up to date. This necessitates having a clear picture of digital as-built models during construction and later the digital twins as assets change over time.
Trust e-Builder for the Infrastructure Answers
With capital improvement budgets potentially doubling or tripling due to infrastructure funding—how you manage and execute your projects going forward will need to be quite different.
e-Builder can smartly position you local government to overcome this immediate need to scale. At e-Builder, we have over 25 years of experience supporting and managing infrastructure capital improvement projects.
- Infrastructure Bill: Get Smart, Get Started, Get Funded
- Infrastructure: Gain Confidence in Managing Your Infrastructure Projects
- Get Smart: Capital Guide Overview based on White House’s Funding Guide
- The Definitive Guide to Digital Transformation for Owners of Capital Improvement Programs
- Blog: Breaking Down Infrastructure Funding for The American Rescue Plan Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
- 25 Competitive Infrastructure Funding Opportunities for Local Governments, Fact Sheet by the White House
Key Topics Covered: infrastructure, Top 5 Questions