The investment in our country’s aging infrastructure has been on the political landscape for years.
In 2021, this federal funding bill underwent many iterations from an independent surface transportation bill to being packaged in Biden social spending bill. It finally passed in November in the Infrastructure and Invest Jobs Act. Being revered as the “once-in-a-generation investment in our nation’s infrastructure,” it allocates $1.2 trillion over 10 years with $550 billion in new spending. To add a little prospective, this bill makes the biggest investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak and the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the interstate highway system.
The efficiency of the movement of materials and products to supply our local businesses have been significantly impaired due to these inadequacies in our infrastructure compounding supply chain issues brought on by the pandemic.
Below are some of the key investment areas of the Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act:
Transportation: Safety programs, streets and roads repair, passenger rail (includes Amtrak, and rail crossing elimination, etc.) airports (terminal improvements, multimodal transport and traffic-control infrastructure, bridge repairs/replacements, electric vehicles (charging stations for example), etc.
Water Infrastructure: Lead pipe replacement, contaminants in economically distressed communities, water reuse projects, wildfire prevention and ecosystem restoration, disaster mitigations projects, waste water disposal, etc.
Broadband: Priority to underserved areas (education and employment), prevention of cyberattacks, etc.
Energy: Clean energy and hydrogen projects, research hubs, advancing recycling RD&D, grants to plug orphaned wells and reclaim abandon mine land, weatherization assistance, energy efficiency and investment in renewables at public schools, replace of diesel school business, etc.
Distributions of funds
Access to the funds appropriated in this act will be distributed in several avenues. Much of the funds will be formula grants to states. However, some will be competitive federal grants and bids. Illinois is expected to receive $17 billion of the funds.
According to City of Naperville officials, the City has engaged a consulting and engineering firm to assist them with both the identification and grant submission associated with the Act. They are expecting their grant applications to be in the millions of dollars. High priority funding items include electric and technological improvements for the City.
There is speculation that portion of the infrastructure funds received by the state will be invested rail and mass transit that will put the Metra in a prime position to make major changes. This could result in high-speed rail service to meet the growing need for more frequent departures throughout the day from Naperville to more destinations all over the city of Chicago. This model is a shift from the suburbs-to-downtown-and-back commute during rush hours model which got upended during the pandemic.
As the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce learns about more specific infrastructure capital projects in our area and as grants are awarded – we will keep the community apprised of this information.
As always, please reach out if you have questions or wanting to discuss policy issues impacting your business or industry.