Public Agencies Prepare: The $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act Has Been Signed
Tuesday, November 16, 2021
After many months of negotiations between the Progressive and Moderate factions of the Democratic party, the House finally passed (228-206) a major legislative goal for President Biden—the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act (IIJA). Then Monday, November 15, 2021 on the South Lawn at the White House, President Biden signed the legislation into law.
For the construction industry and the nation as a whole, this represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to rebuild, expand, and improve America’s aging infrastructure. The IIJA includes $550 billion in new spending (above the projected levels), including new funding for roads, airports, bridges, and rail transport.
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“This is a generational opportunity to do something about our aging infrastructure, to increase the competitiveness of our country, and to create job growth..."
- Rob Painter, CEO of Trimble
Several highlights of the bill’s spending include:
- Roads, bridges, and significant projects at ~$110B
- Passenger and freight rail at ~$66B
- Internet service provider (ISP) infrastructure at ~$65B
- Water infrastructure at ~$55B
- Public transit at just under ~$40B
- Electrical grid improvements at ~$75B
- EV infrastructure at ~$7.5B
- Port improvements at ~$17B
- Airports at ~$25B
- The cleaning of polluted sites & environments at ~$21B
The IIJA represents the most significant federal investment in infrastructure spending over the last several decades for public agencies. Our country has long suffered from declining investment in infrastructure, and analysts had projected that a failure to invest in the nation’s infrastructure “could cost the United States $10 trillion in lost GDP by 2039.”
To help portray the neglected status of America’s infrastructure, The Council on Foreign Relations published an excellent graph detailing the decline:
The response from the construction industry has been overwhelmingly positive. For decades, agencies, contractors, and owners have been constrained by declining budgets and increasing infrastructure needs.
Michael Bellaman, the President of Associated Builders and Contractors, had this to say:
“Passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill creates an opportunity to effectively modernize our nation's most critical infrastructure, and ABC and our members stand ready to do the important work to bring America's infrastructure into the 21st century.”
Rob Painter, CEO of Trimble, had this to say:
“This is a generational opportunity to do something about our aging infrastructure, to increase the competitiveness of our country, and to create job growth. The plan does address highways, roads, ports, airports and water infrastructure...and we are in the business of digitizing the end market, such as construction, agriculture and transportation.”
However, with this generational level of funding comes an increased public focus around tax dollar accountability, transparency, and high expectations for results. Therefore, the industry’s historical resistance to adopting new systems, technologies, and processes to drive greater efficiency will no longer be acceptable.
Accountability, transparency, and results will be the three (3) key areas by which the public measures the success of this massive infrastructure investment. Owners will need a system to digitally centralize all project communications, track project status, properly manage the cost and cash flow, and deliver transparency and accountability to all stakeholders throughout the entire project lifecycle.
If a lack of cost control, visibility into project status, data de-centralization, and fragmented collaboration across stakeholders are constant sources of grief across your capital improvement program, then partner with e-Builder Enterprise and advance your project management expectations.