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| 3 minutes read

Has the “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act” Delivered the Promised Infrastructure?

The “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act" or IIJA was signed into law on November 15, 2021.  The IIJA provides for $1.2 trillion in federal spending, with $550 billion to be allocated over the first five years. The stated purpose of the IIJA is the replacement or repair the deteriorating infrastructure throughout the Country. However, a closer inspection of how the funds were allocated under the IIJA, reflects a broader purpose.

The IIJA allocated the first $550 billion (or 50% of the Act) across 12 distinct areas based upon a very expansive definition of infrastructure as follows.

  • Roads & Bridges  - $110 billion – including $40 billion for bridge replacement or repair, $17.5 billion for major projects, and the remainder for fixing surface transportation.
  • Power Grids- $73 billion – for upgrading power grids, including transmission line for renewable energy, and research for nuclear and carbon capture.
  • Railway- $66 billion – for the maintenance and upgrades to Amtrak in the northeast and create high-speed rail in other parts of the country.
  • Broadband Internet - $65 billion – for the development of high-speed internet services.
  • Drinking Water.- $55 billion – for improving the quality of drinking water.
  • Cyber and Climate Change- $50 billion – to fight cyber attacks and the effects of climate change.
  • Airports and Ports,- $43 billion – including $25 billion for airport repairs and $18 billion for port improvements.
  • Public Transit– $39 billion – to modernize and improve accessibility.
  • Environment- $22 billion – for remediation of existing hazardous waste sites.
  • Transportation Safety - $11 billion – for improving safety of cyclists and pedestrians.
  • Charging Stations- $7.5 billion – to build a nationwide network of charging stations for electric vehicles.
  • Electric Buses & Ferries- $7.5 billion – including $5 billion for school buses that run on electric, natural gas or diesel, and $2.5 billion for ferries.

Although some have boldly claimed the IIJA would cure all ills with respect to the deteriorating infrastructure throughout the Country, few took such claims seriously

A review of how the funds were used reflects an even broader purpose of what the IIJA was intended to achieve,  During the first year of the IIJA, various government bodies spent or committed to spend more than $260 billion of the $550 billion allocated over the first five years.  While approximately $170 billion clearly went to traditional infrastructure construction, the other $90 billion appears to have been used for other purposes. 

  • Roads & Bridges- $120 billion – including 2,800 bridge repair and replacement projects.
  • Power Grids- $15.6 billion – including $7 billion for the clean hydrogen program, $3.2 billion for making homes energy efficient, $2.8 billion to boost production of advanced battery components, $2.3 billion to update the power grid, $200 million to pay homeowners energy bills, and $74 million for mapping critical minerals for clean energy.
  • Railway- $3.71 billion - including $3.7 billion for intermodal freight projects, and 10.8 million – including $5 million for research and $5.8 million for grant programs to administer IIJA.
  • Broadband Internet - $42 billion to fund the “internet for all initiative, and unstated amounts to subsidize home internet bills.
  • Drinking Water.- $21 billion – including $9.2 billion for infrastructure improvements, $4.75 billion for flood resilience, $2 billion for ecosystem restoration, $1.75 billion for settlement of Tribal water rights lawsuits;, $1.4 billion for drought resistance, $798 million for flood prevention, $700 million for tribal wastewater treatment, $131 million for wildfire mitigation, un-stated amounts to increase pay to wildland firefighters by $20k.
  • Cyber and Climate Change- $0.
  • Airports and Ports,- $12 billion - including $4 billion for airports - $3 billion for infrastructure and $1 billion for terminal upgrades; $4.6 billion for water based ports of entry, and $3.4 billion for land based ports of entry.
  • Public Transit– $22.2 billion – including $20.4 billion – to modernize public transit systems in 8 States, and $1.75 billion to make transit stations compliant with the American with Disabilities Act or ADA.
  • Environment– $19.5 billion - including $11.3 billion to reclaiming surface mining, $4.7 Billion to cap orphaned oil and gas wells, $1.5 billion to clean brownfield sites $1 billion for superfund sites, and $1 billion for Great Lakes restoration.
  • Transportation Safety - $0.
  • Charging Stations- $1.5 billion for charging stations and the creation of the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation.
  • Electric Buses & Ferries- $2.6 billion – including $1.6 billion for 1,800 transit buses and $1 billion for 2,400 school buses.
  • Expanded Government Programs.  Unstated amount to create new federal agencies, permitting requirements, create action plans, create guidebooks, create initiatives, promote disadvantaged business enterprises, and create a Made in America Office.

While the stated purpose of IIJA was to mend our Country’s crumbling infrastructure, approximately 35% of the projects funded to date are unrelated to infrastructure construction.  Only time will tell how much of the the other $940 Billion appropriated under the IIJA will be used to rehabilitate or repair our nation's crumbling infrastructure.


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