Top 5 Questions About Infrastructure Funding from Owners
by Chris Bell | September 16, 2021
As the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act makes additional progress, capital program owners are starting to ask questions about how such a drastic increase in federal funding will affect their capital improvement programs.
Trust e-Builder for the answers. We have over 25 years of experience supporting and managing infrastructure capital improvement projects that affect local governments. With capital-improvement-plan budgets potentially doubling or tripling because of the infrastructure plan, e-Builder can help local governments overcome the challenges you’ll face in addressing this immediate need to scale.
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 is relatively imminent—sometime in the August, September timeframe. Then as processes get defined...we would expect agencies to begin releasing dollars as late or as early as the end of this year and into the beginning of next year.
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 funded.
Q: What concerns are there to manage an increase in projects?
A: This really gets to a fundamental expectation of this increased 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 and capital projects, that becomes an inefficient use of the 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.
- The Definitive Guide to Digital Transformation for Owners of Capital Improvement Programs
- Webinar: Top 5 Questions Answered About the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill
- What is an Advanced Digital Construction Management System?
- Case Study: MMSD Pursues Ambitious Green Infrastructure Goals
- Infrastructure: Gain Confidence in Managing Your Infrastructure Projects
- Updated Fact Sheet: Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
Key Topics Covered: infrastructure, Top 5 Questions