Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

Updated: Nov 12, 2021

On Friday, November 5, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill by a vote of 228 to 206 after weeks of negotiations.

The bill will make available $1.2 trillion in funding for infrastructure programs across the transportation, energy and water sectors, through a combination of grants and loans. 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. Here's a brief look at the bill with an emphasis on new programs and policies.

Department of Transportation

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 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”).

  • Bridge Investment Program

  • Congestion Relief Program

  • Rural Surface Transportation Grant Program

  • Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient and Cost Savings Transportation (PROTECT) Grant Program

  • Grants for Reduction ofTruck Emissions at Port Facilities Program

  • Healthy Streets Program

  • Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Competitive Grants

  • National Electric Vehicle Formula Program

  • Carbon Reduction Formula Program

  • Wildlife Crossings Pilot Program

  • Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program

  • ActiveTransportation Infrastructure Investment Program

  • Safe Streets and Roads for All Competitive Grant Program

  • Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) Grant Program

  • Culvert Removal, Replacement and Restoration 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)

  • Railroad Crossing Elimination Program

  • Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Grants

  • Local and Regional Project Assistance (the RAISE/BUILD program)

  • National Infrastructure Project Assistance Program

Airport Programs

The bill appropriates $25 billion in supplemental funding for airports. This is on top of the funds authorized for airports under existing law. In addition, the bill makes airport projects eligible for low cost financing from DOT as discussed below.

Airport Infrastructure Grants. The bill appropriates $15 billion to the Airport Improvement Program (AIP). Of the $15 billion, up to $2.48 billion annually is for primary airports, up to $500 million is for general aviation and commercial service airports that are not primary airports and $20 million is for competitive grants to airports participating in the contract tower program and contract tower cost share program. The bill directs the DOT Secretary to distribute the funding under existing formulas.

  • Airport Terminal Program. There is $5 billion appropriated for a new competitive grant program for airport terminal development projects. The bill directs the DOT Secretary to issue a notice of funding opportunity within 60 days after the President signs the bill into law. Of the funding, up to 55 percent is available for large hub airports, up to 20 percent is available for medium hub airports and no less than 10 percent is for non-hub and nonprimary airports. Terminal development includes multimodal projects and projects for on-airport rail access. The bill requires the Secretary to give consideration to projects that increase capacity and passenger access, replace aging infrastructure, expand access for people with disabilities, improve airport access to historically disadvantaged persons and improve energy efficiency,

  • Facilities and Equipment Funding. There is $5 billion appropriated for airport facilities and equipment.

Public Transportati

The bill appropriates $106.9 billion for Federal Transit Administration (FTA) programs over five years. This includes $69.9 billion in contract authority and $15 billion in general funds for the Capital Investment Grant Program; $750 million for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) and $21.25 billion in supplemental appropriations for specified transit programs. The bill reauthorize FTA programs but, unlike the highway and rail titles, includes very few substantive changes to existing programs.

Port Funding

Port Infrastructure Development Program.

The bill appropriates $2.25 billion for the Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP), which is a competitive grant program that funds infrastructure projects at ports. Public ports and government entities are eligible applicants for these funds.

Army Corps of Engineers. The bill appropriates $9.55 billion in supplemental funding for Army Corps of Engineers projects.

Environmental Streamlining

The bill includes several provisions intended to streamline project delivery and provide for an expedited process to advance projects through the environmental review process. The following provisions are worthy of note:

Codification of One Federal Decision Policy. The bill codifies the One Federal Decision policy put into effect by the Trump administration.

The purpose of the policy is to facilitate more collaboration between the Lead Agency and Participating Agencies and provide guidelines and a schedule for undertaking environmental reviews of major projects. The bill requires DOT to publish a proposed rule and seek comment within a year after the law goes into effect. The bill also makes the FAST-41 permitting process permanent, sets a two-year goal for permitting covered projects and encourage federal agencies to use one document to track permitting decisions.

Innovative Financing for Transportation Projects

The bill reauthorizes and funds the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) and the Railroad Rehabilitation Infrastructure Finance (RRIF) programs and makes changes to those programs. Through these programs, DOT provides low interest loans and loan guarantees with attractive repayment terms to government and private sector borrowers to undertake transportation infrastructure projects.

Research and Innovation

The bill makes available $735 million for the Highway Research and Development program; $550 million for the Technology and Innovation Deployment Program; $127.5 million for Training and Education; $550 million for Intelligent Transportation Systems; and $405 million for University Transportation Centers.

The bill also authorizes the establishment of an Advanced Research Projects Agency-Infrastructure (ARPA-I) program to fund research and development on advanced transportation infrastructure technologies through grants, contracts and cooperative agreements. ARPA-I is based on similar programs at the Department of Energy (e.g., ARPA-E) and Department of Defense (DARPA). No funding is appropriated for the program requiring that it be separately authorized.

Additionally, the bill directs the Secretaries of Transportation and Energy jointly to establish and lead a 25-member electric vehicle working group, comprising of federal and nonfederal stakeholders. The working group will make recommendations regarding the development, adoption and integration of electric vehicles into the transportation and energy systems across the country. The working group will also develop a series of reports to Congress on barriers to electric vehicle adoption and possible opportunities and solutions.