What’s in the Senate Passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act?
The roughly $1 trillion measure makes generational investments in broad infrastructure priorities such as repairing roads and bridges, boosting transit and rail funds, electrifying vehicles, modernizing public works systems, ensuring broadband deployment, resilience, and updating our energy systems. About half of the $1 trillion, or roughly $550 billion over the next 5 years, is new spending above and beyond what would otherwise normally be appropriated by Congress, and includes the ACPA-supported surface transportation reauthorization bill (STRA) that the Senate EPW committee passed in May.
The legislation authorizes approximately $304 billion from the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) for roads and bridges over five years through FY 2026, including $110 billion in new spending with a significant amount of direct advanced appropriations in the form of competitive grants (RAISE grants at $7.5 billion; INFRA grants at $3.2 billion; bridges at $36 billion; and a new $5 billion multimodal “National Infrastructure Project Assistance Grant Program” to support multi-modal, multi-jurisdictional projects of national or regional significance). This represents a 34 percent increase over funding levels in the current surface transportation authorization (FAST Act) and would be the largest amount of highway funding ever authorized by a surface transportation bill.
Airports will see $25 billion in formula funds and discretionary grant programs to improve runways, gates and taxiways at airports and to improve terminals.
In a significant win for the concrete pavement industry, the ACPA-conceived $12 million/year Accelerated Implementation and Deployment of Pavement Technologies (or AID-PT) program which funds the vast majority of concrete pavement research and technology deployment efforts conducted by and funded through FHWA and the CP Tech Center is included in the package.
The measure also includes a variety of resilience provisions including a new Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-saving Transportation (PROTECT) grant program, which provides $7.3 billion in formula funding to States and $1.4 billion in competitive grants to eligible entities to make our surface transportation infrastructure more resilient to the effects of extreme weather and natural disasters. The bill also authorizes the creation of new Resilience and Adaptation Centers of Excellence, which will advance research to help make surface transportation infrastructure more resilient to natural disasters and extreme weather.
Various streamlining provisions are also included in the package, including codification of the One Federal Decision framework, which establishes a two-year goal for completion of environmental reviews for infrastructure projects. The bill also includes provisions to improve federal agency coordination and improved accountability around environmental review processes, including tracking and reporting to Congress the time to complete an environmental impact statement and an environmental assessment under the National Environmental Policy Act.
The IIJA also expands Buy America to construction materials, which must be “produced in the United States.” Importantly, the program specifically exempts cement and cementitious materials, aggregates such as stone, sand, or gravel or aggregate binding agents or additives from the definition of construction materials.
The five-year spending package would be paid for by tapping $210 billion in unspent COVID-19 relief aid and $53 billion in unemployment insurance aid some states have halted, along with an array of other smaller pots of money. The bill also includes a $90 billion general fund transfer to the Highway Account of the Highway Trust Fund to keep it solvent for the duration of the legislation.
ACPA will continue to track the legislation through the next steps in the process and keep you up to date on any meaningful amendments added prior to final passage. Passing a bipartisan infrastructure bill continues to be our top priority.
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