On November 15, after months of setbacks and deep uncertainty, the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA) was signed into law by the President. The highly anticipated bill authorizes $1.2 trillion for transportation and infrastructure spending with $550 billion of that figure going toward “new” investments and programs. Also referred to as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework (BIF), the bill spent the summer toiling through tense meetings between the White House and Senate while policy leaders searched for a compromise. The IIJA was successfully passed in the Senate in August and after weeks of pushing back deadlines, passed in the House on November 5.
What’s in IIJA?
Funding from the IIJA is expansive in its reach, addressing energy and power infrastructure, access to broadband internet, water infrastructure, and more. Some of the new programs funded by the bill include:
- $7.3B Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient and Cost Saving Transportation Program (PROTECT)
- $5B National Infrastructure Project Assistance grant program
- $1.3B State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program
- $12.5B Bridge Investment Program
Here’s how the $550 billion will be allocated:
Further specifics on what programs and priorities will receive funding appears below:
$176 Billion Roads, Bridges & Railways
- Funds new, dedicated grant program to replace and repair bridges and increases funding for the major project competitive grant programs. Bill maintains the 90/10 split of federal highway aid to states.
- Expands access to Surface Transportation Block Grant through addition of a category for communities with populations between 50,000 & 200,000.
- Provides funding for Amtrak.
- Increases funding for rail safety measures.
$73 Billion Power Grid
- Creates Department of Energy (DOE) competitive grant programs for bolstering resiliency of the electric grid and modernizing energy infrastructure.
- Creates new DOE revolving loan fund for the replacement or enhancement of power transmission lines.
$65 Billion Broadband Access
- Funds the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment Program, which funds the deployment of broadband and the closing of the “digital divide.”
$55 Billion Water Infrastructure
- Provides funding for sustainability program for small public water systems.
- Funds the replacement of lead service lines through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF).
$39 Billion Public Transit
- Increases cap for available federal assistance for Capital Investment Grants (CIG), TIFIA loans, and Rebuilding American Infrastructure Sustainability and Energy (RAISE) grants.
- Establishes rural surface transportation grant program to improve and expand surface transportation infrastructure in rural areas.
$25 Billion Airports
- Funds Airport Improvement Program (AIP).
- Creates new competitive grant for airport improvements.
$43 Billion Misc. Infrastructure
- Electric and alternate transportation infrastructure, safety improvements.
- Ports and waterways.
The bill will be largely paid for through the re-appropriation of coronavirus relief fund and state unemployment insurance benefit aid monies that have gone unused. New taxes and requirements for cryptocurrency will factor in as offsetting tax revenue as well.
Additional external resources covering the bill can be found here:
What’s not in IIJA?
Although certainly an accomplishment, attention now turns to the budget reconciliation bill, also known as the Build Back Better Act (BBB). Action on the spending framework (currently amounting to $1.75 trillion) could happen before Thanksgiving but details are still being negotiated. Congress currently faces a December 3 expiration of the continuing resolution (CR) presently funding the federal government.
Although previously included, as of now, GFOA legislative priorities like the return of advance refunding bonds to the tax code, the expansion of the use of bank qualified debt, and the full or partial restoration of the SALT deduction face uncertainty around inclusion in the final text of the Build Back Better Act.
GFOA’s Federal Liaison Center will continue to monitor this Congressional activity.