The landmark Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), for which ASCE strongly advocated in support of, marked its first year as law on November 15th. The five-year, $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, which garnered just enough bipartisan support to pass in Congress, is the country’s largest investment in infrastructure in nearly a century.
Since its enactment last year, funds from the law have been issued to support efforts to improve each of the categories included in ASCE’s 2021 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure. According to the Biden-Harris Administration, some $185 billion in funding has been announced through the law to support thousands of projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the territories. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports $5.5 billion of the $14.1 billion available in Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 has been awarded, supporting water infrastructure projects and clean school buses. Further, the EPA released the “Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Year One Anniversary Report” detailing the agency’s investments in communities. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has churned out various grant awards, including $120 billion in apportionments for roads and bridges for FY 2022 and 2023, $2.2 billion through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program, and $703 million for port facilities. With the infrastructure law’s support, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced funding for rural broadband development through the ReConnect Program to narrow the digital divide.
ASCE has stayed engaged with implementation of the bipartisan infrastructure law, having created the IIJA Resource Center to offer legislative analysis and track announcements as well as hosting regular webinars to explore different aspects of the legislation. Additionally, ASCE created a timeline listing open funding opportunities and launched a map highlighting projects. To optimize the investment of the many programs included in the IIJA, ASCE developed key implementation recommendations geared toward Congress, the Administration, and state and local government agencies.
The White House Infrastructure Implementation Team released updated state-by-state fact sheets and a new map indicating where funding has been awarded. To commemorate the IIJA’s one-year mark, the White House held a briefing November 15th with various officials, including Senior Advisor and Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu and Senior Advisor for Public Engagement Keisha Lance Bottoms.
Over the past year, the White House has also issued guidance to assist state, local, Tribal, and territorial government agencies with implementing the law. Among them are the Permitting Action Plan, the Accelerating Infrastructure Action Plan, and the Talent Pipeline Challenge. Additionally, President Joe Biden convened a National Infrastructure Advisory Council, which includes two ASCE leaders— Maria Lehman, P.E., ENV SP, F.ASCE, ASCE’s President, and Norma Jean Mattei, Ph.D., P.E., F.SEI, F.ASCE, who served as President of ASCE in 2017 and currently sits on the ASCE New Orleans Branch’s Chapter of the Structural Engineering Institute.
The IIJA reached the one-year mark one week after the 2022 midterm elections, prompting analysis of the law’s effect on results. All six Republicans in the House of Representatives who voted for the IIJA won their re-election campaigns. Additionally, even with the massive investment contained in the IIJA, voters indicated infrastructure is still an important issue. The American Road and Transportation Builders Association reported voters in 18 states approved 88% of the 380 state and local ballot initiatives dedicated to improving infrastructure across the country.
With one year of the five-year IIJA in the rearview mirror, ASCE will continue to track implementation of the law as key investments are realized long into the future.