Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Includes $110 Billion for Roads and Bridges
Published: September 17, 2021
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act would provide $110 billion to revitalize roads and bridges.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which would provide $1.2 trillion to revitalize national infrastructure, passed in the Senate in August and is currently under review in the House. The bill proposes a massive influx of funding to support infrastructure that is in dire need of repairs and enhancements. There are several critical areas being addressed by the bill, including $110 billion of new funds slated for roads, bridges, and major projects.
Earlier in 2021, the American Society of Civil Engineers rated the US infrastructure at “C- Grade.” According to their report, 43% of all roads are in poor or mediocre condition. Of these, the vast majority of roads in poor or mediocre condition tend to be on urban and rural collectors and the non-interstate system, while the interstate system is in comparably better condition. Their analysis also found that 42% of all the 617,000 bridges in the county are at least 50 years old, and 7.5% are considered structurally deficient. Overall, nearly 231,000 bridges are in need of repair and preservation work.
According to the White House Fact Sheet for the Infrastructure Bill, the $100 billion investment will repair and rebuild our roads and bridges with a focus on climate change mitigation, resilience, equity, and safety for all users, including cyclists and pedestrians. Of this funding, $40 billion is set aside specifically for bridge repair, replacement, and rehabilitation, which is the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the contracture of the interstate highway system. It also includes around $16 billion for major projects too large or complex for traditional funding programs but will still deliver significant benefits to communities. Additionally, the White House has also released Fact Sheets for each state providing insights into the current environments and areas of need.
While states and localities wait to see if the bill will pass the House, several state officials have expressed support for the bill, and others have highlighted areas of need and expected potential funding allocations that may come to fruition. Expected funding allocations for each state can be found here, and some selected highlights for potential usage of these funds are listed below.
- California may see $25.3 billion for highways and $4.2 billion for bridge replacements from the bill. A list of projects earmarked for funding requests submitted by local members of Congress throughout the southern California region is available here. The Bay Area may receive about $250 million per year for road and bridge repairs as well.
- New Hampshire Officials have specifically mentioned the Neil R. Underwood Bridge connecting Hampton to Seabrook Beach, which is number one on the state’s list of bridges requiring major work, as an example of where these funds could be useful.
- According to estimates from the White House, Florida could see funding in the amounts of $245 million for bridge repairs and $13.1 billion for “federal-aid highway apportioned programs.”
- Illinois has over 2,300 bridges and over 6,200 miles of highway that are in poor condition. The bill could see nearly $10 billion coming to support major road and bridge projects in the state.
- The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Shawn D. Wilson is hopeful the bill will pass, as it represents a chance to capitalize on funding in several major priority areas.
- Texas could see $20 billion for highways and more than $500 million for bridges. This would be a boost for the state as many capital projects are on hold due to a lack of funding at present.
- Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont and State Transportation Officials have shown support for the bill, which could yield $3.29 billion for corridor congestion and safety, accelerating construction projects, and creating smarter roads for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. It also includes $561 million to address the state’s aging bridges.
- Wisconsin Transportation Secretary Craig Thompson said that the bill would provide the state certainty over funding that’s available for the next five years. Around 7% of Wisconsin’s bridges are structurally deficient, and more than a third of Wisconsin roads are only in fair or poor condition. The bill would provide around $5.2 billion for highway programs and $225 million for bridge replacement and repair projects in Wisconsin.
- Washington State has 321 bridges in poor condition and almost 5,000 in need of repair that could benefit from the passage of the bill. The state is in line to receive around $4.7 billion for highway programs and $605 billion for bridges over the next five years.
Regarding roads and bridges, funding is not the only concern. Finding an adequate skilled workforce is also a question that has been raised. Some critiques point out that there is nothing allocated for manufacturing, making it a significant undertaking to execute the infrastructure improvement plans on a reasonable timetable. Earlier versions of the bill included investment in workforce development, however in the latest version this was left out.
Despite these concerns, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act represents a historic effort to revitalize the country’s infrastructure with a once-in-a-generation level of funding. Improvements are certainly needed in the areas addressed by the bill, however it is not without its challenges. First and foremost, it must pass the House, which is scheduled to vote by September 27. If it does pass the House and returns to President Biden’s desk for signature into law, there will be much to follow as funds trickle down to the states and localities and potential work is planned and begun.