The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (the "bill") is historic and transformational legislation that, when it becomes law, will make available $1.2 trillion in funding for infrastructure programs across the transportation, energy and water sectors, through a combination of grants, loans and tax incentives. Of the $1.2 trillion in spending, $550 billion is new federal spending not previously authorized. The bill also reauthorizes the highway, public transportation and rail programs for five years.
On August 10, the Senate approved the bill with bipartisan support. While the timeline for approval in the House is unclear, all indicators suggest that the House will pass the bill. To that end, we are pleased to provide an analysis of the bill with an emphasis on new programs and policies.
Department of Transportation1
Key Highway Programs
The bill makes available $219.6 billion over five years for the Federal-Aid Highway Program and $110 billion in supplemental funds for roads, bridges and major projects. Many of the programs are existing programs authorized in previous laws with more significant funding. Of note, a number of programs have expanded eligibility for electric vehicles and alternative fuel charging infrastructure, resilient infrastructure and projects in low-income neighborhoods. We also note new programs and important changes to existing programs, and that many grant programs have a nonfederal match requirement.
- Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects program (also known as "INFRA"). $8 billion is available for a program authorized in current law that funds highway and rail projects of regional and national significance. Of this funding, $4.8 billion is made available in the base bill text and a supplemental $3.2 billion is appropriated. The bill also makes modest changes to current law such as providing pre-award authority to incur costs after award and before the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) enters into a grant agreement with a project sponsor, clarifying eligibility of resiliency projects and establishing a pilot program to give priority for some of the funding to applicants that provide a higher nonfederal funding match. The bill also increases the cap on multimodal projects, such as those on port property, from $600 million over the life of the authorization to 30 percent of funding available over the life of the authorization.
- Bridge Investment Program. The bill makes available $12.5 billion for a new competitive grant program for bridge investments to assist state, local, federal and tribal entities in rehabilitating or replacing bridges.
- Congestion Relief Program. The bill makes available $250 million for a new competitive grant program. States, metropolitan planning organizations and cities with a population of more than one million may apply. Eligible projects reduce congestion, including implementing or enforcing high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, toll lanes, cordon pricing, parking pricing and congestion pricing, deploying and operating mobility services and implementing incentive programs that encourage nonhighway travel and travel during nonpeak times.
- Rural Surface Transportation Grant Program. The bill makes available $2 billion for a new competitive grant program to increase connectivity, improve safety and reliability of the movement of people and freight, generate regional economic growth and improve quality of life in rural areas. States and local government entities are eligible applicants.
- Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient and Cost Savings Transportation (PROTECT) Grant Program. The bill authorizes a new formula and competitive grant program and makes $7.3 billion available for formula grants to states and $1.4 billion available for competitive grants to states and local governments for infrastructure projects that make resilience improvements to address vulnerabilities to current and future weather events and natural disasters and changing conditions, including sea level rise. Funds may be used for highway projects, transit facilities and port facilities.
- Grants for Reduction of Truck Emissions at Port Facilities Program. The bill provides $400 million for a new program to reduce idling at port facilities.
- Healthy Streets Program. The bill makes available $500 million for a new competitive grant program that funds grants to states, local governments and tribes to deploy cool pavements and porous pavements and to expand tree cover.
- Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Competitive Grants. The bill makes available $2.5 billion for a new competitive grant program to deploy publicly accessible electric vehicle charging infrastructure, hydrogen fueling infrastructure, propane fueling infrastructure and natural gas fueling infrastructure along designated alternative fuel corridors. States, local governments, transit agencies, port authorities and territories may apply for grants. DOT will prioritize grants to rural areas, low to moderate income neighborhoods and communities with low ratios of private parking or high ratios of multihousing units. Fifty percent of grants each year are available for community grants to install charging infrastructure on public roads, schools, parks and publicly accessible parking facilities.
- National Electric Vehicle Formula Program. The bill provides $5 billion to carry out a new National Electric Vehicle Formula Program for states to deploy electric vehicle charging infrastructure and to establish an interconnected network to facilitate data collection, access and reliability
- National Electric Vehicle Formula Program. The bill provides $5 billion to carry out a new National Electric Vehicle Formula Program for states to deploy electric vehicle charging infrastructure and to establish an interconnected network to facilitate data collection, access and reliability.
- Carbon Reduction Formula Program. The bill makes available $6.4 billion for a new carbon reduction formula program. States may use funds for projects that reduce transportation emissions, including traffic management, public transportation, trails and paths for bicyclists and pedestrians, advanced transportation congestion management technologies, intelligent transportation systems, projects to deploy alternative fuel vehicles, including charging infrastructure, zero emission construction equipment and vehicles and supportive facilities, diesel engine retrofits and projects that reduce transportation emissions at ports. States must develop carbon reduction plans and coordinate and consult with urbanized and rural areas.
- Wildlife Crossings Pilot Program. The bill creates a new competitive grant program for projects to reduce wildlife vehicle collisions. State and local governments are eligible applicants and may partner with nonprofits and foundations. The bill makes available $350 million for the program.
- Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program. The bill makes $1 billion available for a new competitive grant pilot program of which $250 million is for planning grants and $750 million is for construction grants. This program is a priority of the Biden-Harris administration and funds projects that remove, retrofit or mitigate previously constructed barriers to mobility, access or economic development to restore community connectivity. State and local governments are eligible applicants.
- Active Transportation Infrastructure Investment Program. The bill authorizes $1 billion for a new competitive grant program for infrastructure improvements that create safe and connected active transportation facilities, including adding sidewalks, bikeways and pedestrian trails. Eligible entities include government entities. The program's funds are subject to appropriation.
- Safe Streets and Roads for All Competitive Grant Program. Subject to appropriation, the bill authorizes $1 billion for a new competitive grant program for local governments to implement "vision zero" plans and other improvements to reduce crashes and fatalities, especially for cyclists and pedestrians. The bill also provides an additional $5 billion in supplementary appropriations.
- Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing
Transportation (SMART) Grant Program. Subject to
appropriation, the bill authorizes $500 million for a new
competitive grant program for demonstration projects that implement
advanced smart city or community technologies and systems to
improve transportation efficiency and safety. The bill also
provides an additional $500 million in supplementary
appropriations. States, local governments, public transit agencies,
- public toll authorities and tribes are eligible for funding. The bill directs the Secretary to consider the extent to which a project will use advanced data, technology and
- applications to: (1) reduce congestion; (2) improve safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and the broader public; (3) increase access to jobs and essential services; (4) connect or expand access to underserved communities; (5) contribute to economic competitiveness; (6) improve reliability of the transportation facilities and systems; (7) promote connectivity between transportation modes; (8) incentivize private investment and partnerships; (9) improve energy efficiency, reduce pollution and increase the resiliency of the transportation system; and (10) improve emergency response. The program encourages private sector innovation and will fund a variety of projects, including coordinated automation, connected vehicles, intelligent sensor-based infrastructure, systems integration, commerce delivery and logistics, leveraging innovative aviation technology such as unmanned aircraft systems, smart grids and smart technology traffic signals.
- Culvert Removal, Replacement and Restoration Grant Program. The bill appropriates $1 billion for a new competitive grant program for states to remove, replace and restore culverts to address the flow of water through roads, bridges, railroad tracks and trails. Subject to appropriation, the bill authorizes an additional $4 billion for the grant program.
Passenger and Freight Rail Programs
The bill appropriates $66 billion in new spending for passenger and freight rail programs. The following summarizes new programs or current programs that the bill has expanded in scope.
- Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Grants (CRISI). There is $5 billion appropriated for this program that exists in current law. The bill expands eligibility to projects that prevent trespassing, incorporate innovative rail technologies and improve hazardous material response plans.
- Railroad Crossing Elimination Program. The bill appropriates $3 billion for a new competitive grant program to eliminate at-grade railroad crossings, add gates or signals, relocate tracks and install bridges. The bill also sets aside funding for planning and for grants and contracts to carry out a highwayrail grade crossing safety information and education program.
- Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Grants. The bill appropriates $36 billion for this competitive grant program. While it is an existing program, the bill significantly expands funding and program scope to reflect President Biden's focus on passenger rail investment. The bill expands eligibility for projects that improve performance or expand/establish new intercity passenger rail, including privately operated passenger rail service if an eligible applicant is involved. Governmental entities, Indian tribes and Amtrak are eligible applicants. DOT is required to consider project selection criteria, including a comparison of costs to benefits, safety, economic development, private sector participation in the financing, construction and operation of a project and whether the applicant has the legal, financial and technical capacity to carry out the project. At least 45 percent of the funding must go to the Northeast Corridor. DOT can enter into multiyear phased funding agreements for projects.
- Local and Regional Project Assistance (the RAISE/BUILD program). Subject to appropriation, the bill authorizes $7.5 billion for a new competitive grant program to fund projects that will have a significant local or regional economic impact and improve transportation infrastructure. Eligible applicants are states, local governments, transit agencies and tribes. Eligible projects are highways and bridges, public transit, passenger or freight rail, port infrastructure, surface transportation components of airport projects, infrastructure projects on tribal land, projects to replace culverts or prevent stormwater runoff and other infrastructure projects the Secretary determines are necessary to advance the program's objectives.
- National Infrastructure Project Assistance Program. Subject to appropriations, the bill authorizes $10 billion for a new competitive grant program to fund large-scale projects that are likely to generate national or regional economic, mobility or safety benefits and are cost-effective. The new program is subject to appropriations. Eligible projects include highway, bridge, freight intermodal (including at public ports), railway-highway grade separation or elimination projects, intercity passenger rail projects and public transportation projects. Eligible projects must have a cost of at least $500 million unless they are in a rural area. The Secretary is required to rate applications as highly recommended, recommended or not recommended, enter into multiyear grant agreements for funding and report on awards to Congress.
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1. The bill reauthorizes highway, transit and rail programs for five years and provides supplemental funding for a number of transportation programs. Most highway and transit program funding is contract authority, which is a mandatory form of budget authority. This essentially guarantees that the authorized funding will be available at the start of each fiscal year even if reliant on a subsequent appropriation. For purposes of this alert, we distinguish between programs authorized with contract authority and treat the funds for those programs as being made available in the bill versus programs that are not authorized with contract authority and is, therefore, more speculative if the program will receive a subsequent appropriation.
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