What does the infrastructure law say?

Posted on November 17, 2021 by Aquiles Suarez and has no comment

Finally, after months of political play between progressives and moderates in the Democratic party, the House of Representatives on Nov. HR 3684, the Investment in Infrastructure and Jobs Act, which President Joe Biden signed into law this Monday. The Senate passed the bill on Aug. 10, and moderate Democrats in the House had eagerly voted on a bipartisan issue that was popular with the public. Progressives in the House, however, had refused to commit to backing HR3684 until they were sure of passing a budget reconciliation bill that contained many of their spending priorities. After an embarrassing loss to Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic nominee in the Virginia gubernatorial race the week before, and a closer-than-expected match in the New Jersey gubernatorial race, where the incumbent Democratic governor took a win, all but a few members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus agreed to vote in favor of the infrastructure bill in exchange for a promised vote this week on the reconciliation bill. Still, it took 13 Republican votes to pass the bill, compensating for six Democrats who refused to support it.

So now that the infrastructure bill is the law of the land, what are the highlights and how is this money being distributed? Below are the major infrastructure investments in the legislation:

  • $110 billion for roads, bridges and major projects
  • $73 billion to upgrade the power grid
  • $66 billion for passenger and freight trains
  • $65 billion for broadband access (including nationwide)
  • $55 billion for water quality
  • $50 billion for climate change action
  • $21 billion for environmental remediation
  • $15 billion for electric vehicles
  • $39 billion for public transportation
  • $25 billion for airports
  • $17 billion for ports

NAIOP has been advocating for more investment in infrastructure for several years, and we have achieved several of our priorities with the adoption of the legislation:

  • Increased funding for roads, bridges, freight trains, airports and ports.
  • Provides $16 billion to fund major infrastructure projects of national or regional importance, such as the Gateway Tunnel project between New Jersey and New York City, which may otherwise not fit neatly into a program funding structure.
  • Expanding the use of public-private partnerships (“P3s”). The bill raises the limits on tax-exempt private activity bonds for surface transportation projects, used in P3s, from $15 billion to $30 billion.
  • Streamlined permits for major infrastructure projects that are permanently enshrined in law, rather than just through executive orders that can be changed without legislative action. The bill sets a two-year permit target for major infrastructure projects.
  • Support efforts to improve energy efficiency. The bill creates a $250 million loan program in the Department of Energy to support energy audits and retrofits for commercial and residential buildings.

In terms of funding breakdown, it’s important to understand that the $1 trillion dollar bill includes a five-year extension of existing federal surface transportation and other infrastructure programs. About $550 billion is additional funding for infrastructure needs. Part of the funding will therefore be allocated to the states through existing formulas, while part will be distributed through competitive subsidies. However, much of the newer program funding will not be distributed until the federal agencies administering the programs have developed the grant formulas or award criteria required by law. In many cases, these are only due six months or a year after the effective date. Funding formulas are based on criteria such as the number of residents of the state or, in the case of specific programs, other criteria, such as, for example, the number of passengers from transit providers. Once the money is provided to the states, state and local officials will make most funding decisions for individual projects in their stead.

The White House has provided estimates of the funding individual states can expect from the infrastructure bill, based on historical formula allocations from previous legislation. This White House State Fact Sheets are estimates, of course, and the actual funding received will vary due to changes in population and other factors that may affect the distribution of funds. But they can give an idea of ​​what a state will receive. For example, the White House factsheet for: Massachusetts states it will receive $4.2 billion for allocated highway programs, and $1.1 billion for bridge replacement and repair. In five years, it can expect $244 million to upgrade its airports, and $1.1 billion for water infrastructure projects. As expected, the major states with larger populations and more extensive public transportation systems can expect the largest amounts, with California, Texas and New York the largest recipients, in that order.