What the Infrastructure Bill Means to You
– by Lynne Brandon
Over the next five years, legislation is expected to increase infrastructure spending by $550 billion. Here are some components of the bill and what it means to the trade industry.
Congress has been working on a $1 trillion dollar infrastructure bill for months. As of the time of this writing, the bill is in the House. Negotiations will ensue for the foreseeable next few weeks. Industry sources hope to see a final bill passed by Congress and signed by President Biden by fall 2021.
Over the next five years, legislation is expected to increase infrastructure spending by $550 billion. The infrastructure bill is “meaty” and covers a lot of ground. Here are some components of the bill (as we know them) and what it means to the trade industry.
What’s in the Bill?
In addition to the traditional funding of road, bridge, rail, port and air priorities, the bill also authorizes the following:
- $14.7 billion from 2022-2026 for the EPA’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund
- Extends a deadline for replacement of lead pipe related to schools to 2026 (while increasing funding from $60 million to $100 million)
- Includes: $280 million a year (through 2026) to address sewer maintenance
- Provides $15 billion in emergency appropriations to replace lead service lines (the White House has been seeking $45 billion).
Aside from projects working on bridges and roads, contractors will benefit from projects in residential construction in the private sector (a by-product of new infrastructure), improving air qualities in schools, and others. Free community college, which is also included in the bill, would impact the lack of workers in the workforce and make a difference with apprenticeships.
Tapping the Money Flow
How will the contractors get these funds?
The funds will flow from the Federal government where it is administered through appropriate agencies to states (individual states will have to apply for the funds) and then to municipalities. Once state and municipalities decide their priorities, they will put out bids to contractors.
Industry experts say it is too early to know how the formulas for receiving funds will be calculated but contractors should be aware that there will be grant funds available in the near future for these infrastructure projects.
Receiving funds will be a gradual implementation – not fast or easy, but is expected hopefully at some point beginning in 2022. Stay tuned as we talk about these funds and what it means for your company or business.