Over the last 18-24 months, there have been numerous bills signed into law, including the CARES Act, Omnibus COVID Relief Act, ARPA and most recently the Infrastructure Investments and Job Act (IIJA). The IIJA is not to be confused with the Build Back Better Act, which is still going through congress. The Infrastructure Investment and Job Act was passed by congress with a bipartisan effort and focuses on tangible infrastructure. With all these different forms of federal funding being available to entities in such a short time frame, it can become quite confusing on what types of projects or expenses the funds can be used for. Most recently with ARPA, we have received inquiries from many of our governmental audit clients asking if they can use their ARPA funds for road and bridge infrastructure projects. The answer to that question is often “no”, as that money was intended by congress for pandemic relief and some infrastructure related to water, sewer and broadband. But there’s no need to worry, that’s where IIJA comes in.
Right around six months after ARPA was signed into law by President Joe Biden, the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act of 2021 was passed by Congress and signed by the President on November 15, 2021. Of that $1.2 trillion, $550 billion pertains to investments for all forms of transportations. To break down this Act even more, $110 billion is allocated specifically to roads and bridges. Now these governmental entities can sleep well at night, knowing that their projects for roads and highways may have the proper funds to be completed.
The goal of the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act is to invest toward modernizing and making improvements to the United States infrastructure relating to transportation – resurfacing roads and investing in greener energy and transportation. Why is this so important you may ask? This funding is not a method to aid entities in need of funds after the COVID-19 pandemic began nearly two years ago. That’s what separates it from other forms of funding like ARPA or CARES. The funds associated with Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act is to provide funding for specific projects relating to transportation and providing entities with those funds to help streamline the process.
IIJA funding for cities and towns allows these entities to improve their roadways, creating safer transportation means for those in the community. Around $16 billion of this Act is for major projects that may be deemed too large or complex for traditional funding programs, but these projects can be crucial in providing positive economic effects on a community, which is why IIJA can help. While most governmental entities have received their ARPA funding in the last three to six months, some were wanting to use those funds for highway or road projects. They should instead use that money for possible negative economic impacts that relate to the pandemic. It is not yet known how your city or town can apply for and received the grant funds from IIJA but be on the lookout as that information is sure to be out soon. The Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act is here to stay and will provide you with all your road infrastructure needs for the time to come.