Monumental $ 1.2 Trillion Bill Passed to Revitalize Nation’s Infrastructure | Best Best & Warrior LLP

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Highlights of the law President Biden signed on November 15th

President Biden signed a historic $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. The bill includes significant federal investments in roads, bridges, ports, rail, water infrastructure, and internet connections, as well as new federal spending of $ 550 billion over five years in addition to routine funding for transportation programs. The infrastructure draft programs are administered by the responsible federal authority; the first funding round from the package is to be made available in 2022.

All federal agencies are investing in several existing and new programs at unprecedented levels. For municipalities and special districts, this bill offers a wealth of opportunities to meet various infrastructure needs within municipalities and across the country. This historic infrastructure law increases various existing programs to an unprecedented level in order to provide urgently needed federal financial support.

For local government and the special district, this package provides an opportunity to seek federal funding for projects that are priority for each of them. The key to successful financial support from the federal authorities is to find the most suitable federal funding pot for the desired project. Local governments and special districts need to navigate funding opportunities in existing programs as well as funding in new programs. Best Best & Krieger is available to local governments and special districts to successfully cope with this infrastructure package and the opportunities that arise over the next five years.

The infrastructure package is an important part of President Biden’s multi-part economic agenda. A second part is the Build Back Better Plan, which provides for additional investment in the land through a variety of avenues including health care, child care, additional water infrastructure, and labor standards. The Build Back Better Plan is waiting to be passed in the House of Representatives, and once passed, the timing of possible Senate action remains to be seen.

The highlights from the Infrastructure Act are listed below:

Roads and bridges
The bill provides $ 110 billion in new funding for road and bridge infrastructure. In particular, the $ 40 billion in bridge repairs is the largest dedicated investment in bridges since the interstate highway system was built.

Water and sewage
Overall, the water infrastructure will receive $ 55 billion in funding managed by the Environmental Protection Agency, $ 8.3 billion from the Bureau of Reclamation, and $ 16.65 billion from the Army Corps of Engineers of Civil Works. These substantial financial investments will be available for both new and existing water and wastewater projects.

Highlights of the water pumping:

  • $ 11.7 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, with states required to distribute 49 percent of funds as grants or major forgiveness loans
  • $ 11.7 billion for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, with states required to distribute 49 percent of funds as grants or loans for major forgiveness
  • US $ 15 billion for lead pipe replacement through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, with states having to distribute 49 percent of funds as grants or mortgage loans
  • $ 4 billion for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund capitalization grants to mitigate emerging pollutants, including perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) substances
  • $ 1.15 billion for water storage, groundwater storage and extraction projects
  • $ 3.2 billion for the aging infrastructure account
  • $ 1 billion for previously approved rural water projects
  • $ 550 million for water recycling and reuse projects
  • $ 450 million for large-scale water recycling and reuse projects with construction costs exceeding $ 500 million
  • $ 500 million for dam security
  • $ 400 million for WaterSMART
  • $ 300 million for Bureau of Reclamation commitments under the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan
  • $ 250 million to restore the aquatic ecosystem
  • $ 250 million for water desalination projects
  • $ 11.6 billion in construction finance (Army Corps of Engineers)
  • $ 4 billion to finance operations and maintenance (Army Corps of Engineers)
  • $ 150 million to fund investigation (Army Corps of Engineers)
  • $ 75 million in WIFIA Direct Loans and Army Corps of Engineers guaranteed loans

Broadband and Internet access
The bill invests $ 65 billion in broadband infrastructure, affordability, and adoption. The bill sets new minimum speeds of 100 megabits per second (Mbit / s) for downloads and 20 Mbit / s for uploads in order to be eligible.

Highlights of broadband funding:

  • $ 42.5 billion to create the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program (BEADP) to be administered by NTIA at the Department of Commerce
  • $ 14 billion to penetrate the Emergency Broadband Benefit, originally passed as part of the December COVID-19 relief package. The ongoing benefit would reduce a qualified household’s monthly broadband bill grant from $ 50 to $ 30
  • $ 2.75 billion to implement the Digital Equity Act, which provides money to states to develop plans to ensure vulnerable, disadvantaged, and vulnerable communities have affordable internet connections
  • $ 2 billion for the USDA’s ReConnect program
  • 1 billion US dollars for the expansion of the broadband infrastructure of the “Middle Mile”
  • $ 1 billion for the new state and local cybersecurity grant program, which will provide funding to combat cybersecurity risks and threats over a four-year period. The funds are distributed across the states to local governments, with local proportions ranging from 10 percent in the first year to 40 percent in the fourth year.
  • From 01/01/2022, 100/20 broadband systems can now be financed with Private Activity Bonds (§ 80401). There are certain regulatory requirements that could prevent the use of such a funding vehicle in urban America.

Power grid, cybersecurity and resilience
A significant portion of the bill aims to increase the security and resilience of the power grid and cyber systems, with $ 65 billion earmarked for updates to power lines and cables and measures to prevent hacking. In addition, $ 47 billion is earmarked for cybersecurity and climate resilience investments for infrastructure threatened by natural disasters such as floods, forest fires and droughts.

Public transportation, electric vehicles and ferries
Public transportation is receiving $ 39 billion to expand transportation systems across the country, with an emphasis on green investments. The bill will invest $ 7.5 billion in electric vehicle charging stations and $ 5 billion in electric and hybrid school buses.

A total of 2.5 billion US dollars will be made available for the construction and replacement of ferries. Over the next five years, $ 570 million will be allocated to build new ferries and ferry terminals. In addition, $ 250 million will be allocated for electric and low-emission ferries.

Passenger and freight railways
The largest investment in Amtrak since its inception over 50 years ago, Amtrak will receive $ 66 billion in funding to improve rail routes. These funds will clear the Amtrak maintenance backlog.

Airports, ports and waterways
The bill provides $ 25 billion for airports to improve runways, gates, terminals and traffic control towers. The port infrastructure will receive $ 25 billion.

Environmental remediation
The deal will invest $ 21 billion in the environmental remediation of superfound and fallow land, disused mines, and old oil and gas wells.

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