Six months have passed since the passing of the Infrastructure Investment Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Crumbling infrastructure has long afflicted the United States, and the bipartisan support needed to pass the infrastructure investment bill is a significant achievement for The Biden-Harris administration and welcome news to the country in need of a fresh infusion of federal funding.
The Route Fifty article “Infrastructure Week Finally Yields Actual Infrastructure Projects” says that as the US rolls out thousands of infrastructure projects across the country, a trio of challenges – inflation resulting in a high cost of supplies and materials, supply chain problems, and the lack of construction workers can threaten to derail the widespread implementation of the projects at least in the short term.
According to the article, while local official welcomes the infrastructure law and get to spend their share of the US$1.2 trillion packages, the rising material costs and disruptions in the supply chains could hinder the implementation of infrastructure projects.
On the other hand, inflation remains the most pressing issue Americans face. A 2022 poll by the Pew Research Center shows that 70% of the Americans view inflation as “a very big problem” compared to only 30% of them who sees poor infrastructure as a “very big problem”, although almost 50% of them think that poor infrastructure is “a moderately big problem”.
While local authorities hope that fixing infrastructure could open many employment opportunities, the rising cost of materials and supplies could erode the spending power of federal money going to the states and localities.
For instance, Vince Williams, the mayor of Union City, Georgia, and the president of the National League of Cities says that improving its transit connections near Atlanta will help its 20,000 residents get to jobs at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and to the hundreds of potential projects that the IIJA could fund.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said that this “trifecta” of problems is hampering local infrastructure efforts, as seen by some requests for proposals coming back with just a single or no bidders or the prices submitted are significantly higher than agency officials anticipated.
Massive Infrastructure Roll-Out Across the States
President Biden’s administration has put up a website showcasing the projects in every state paid by the IIJA and the allocation of funds across the states.
News from The White House says,
“at this stage, $110 billion has been announced and headed to states, Tribes, territories, and local governments with over 4,300 specific projects identified for funding. Thousands more projects will be added in the coming months, as funding opportunities become grant awards and as formula funds direct states become specific projects.”