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The Infrastructure Bill is Law. So How Can Contractors Find Opportunities?

Published: November 15, 2021

Federal Market AnalysisInfrastructurePolicy and Legislation

After months of political maneuvering, the House passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which President Biden will sign today, Monday, November 15. The bill provides more than a trillion dollars in funding across 5 years, much of which contractors can pursue. But how will they find it?

The top questions among federal contractors are “Where is the funding going?” and “How can I identify opportunities emerging from this bill?”

The question of tracking opportunities emerging from the bill is not so simple. Analysts and contractors have been fairly “spoiled” when it comes to identifying COVID-19 contract opportunities due to frequent references. Given the urgent nature of procurement, contract requirements typically included “COVID” or “coronavirus” within the documentation, which enabled identification by keyword. The IIJA is not emergency legislation, so references to it as the specific funding source is not as likely.

The story is similar in regards to tracking contract spending. Due to specific oversight requirements in COVID legislation, the federal government created a dedicated National Interest Action (NIA) code that agencies are required to use to report COVID-related contract actions. Unless OMB develops a NIA or other reporting classification for the IIJA, the ability to tie spending directly to the bill will rely on agencies’ contract requirement descriptions.

Bottom line: we should expect a potential change in opportunity volume, not search methodology.

So what CAN contractors do? They can start with assessing the agencies and programs in play to identify where their offerings may align.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Agency Familiarity. There are more than 20 agencies funded in the IIJA (the top 11 below represent 99.9% of funding). Contractors need to assess their footprint in those organizations and if none exists, develop a customer intelligence strategy for building up agency knowledge.

  • Program Identification. The IIJA focuses heavily on funding specific infrastructure programs, including the establishment of new ones. Contractors can identify programs within their agencies of interest and start to inform themselves of program missions, history, leadership, etc. Select program areas:

  • Refining Keywords. Identifying IIJA and contract opportunities and spending will be along the same lines as contractors search now – by smart tags and keywords. Although it’s unlikely that all related contracts will mention the IIJA, contractors should mine the legislation for specific terms, program names and even section numbers that agencies may mention in contract opportunity documents.
     
  • Consider State and Local. The majority of IIJA spending will flow down to state, local and tribal governments via grant programs. If your organization has relevant offerings and has not ventured into the state and local space, this could be an opportunity to consider doing so.
     
  • Look for Dedicated Industry and Academia Funding. There are some investments that spread the funding love directly to industry and academic institutions for energy, cybersecurity, and other R&D efforts. Investigate those to determine your organization’s eligibility. 

For more background, please reference Deltek’s previous articles on the infrastructure bill:

First Look at the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill

A First Look at Appropriations in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684)

First Look at Cybersecurity Provisions in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

Boosting Broadband Access through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill

Fed’s Share in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

Budget Appropriations for the Department of Transportation in the Infrastructure Bill

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill: Another Look