The $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Signed into Law on November 15th

On November 15, 2021, President Biden signed into law the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (the “Act”), the largest investment in the nation’s infrastructure in more than a decade. The Act will inject $1.2 trillion into infrastructure programs throughout the country, with a primary focus on the transportation, energy and water sectors of the economy. Of the $1.2 trillion allocated for infrastructure projects, $550 billion is new federal spending for projects that were not previously authorized. Some highlights from the Act include:

• $110 billion for roads and bridges;
• $40 billion for bridge repair and replacement;
• $66 billion for railways;
• $39 billion for public transit;
• $65 billion to upgrade the electric grid;
• $65 billion for broadband infrastructure;
• $7.5 billion for zero and low emission buses and ferries; and
• $55 billion for water infrastructure.

Of particular interest are provisions relating to wastewater, stormwater and drinking water infrastructure projects. In particular, grant funds may be used for sludge collection, installation of anaerobic digesters, methane capture, methane transfer, facility upgrades to create or improve waste-to energy systems, and other new and emerging technologies that transform waste to energy. Subject to the availability of funds, grants may also be allocated to municipalities for increasing the resiliency of publicly owned treatment works against external threats from natural hazards to cybersecurity vulnerabilities. There are additional grants available to assist rural, small, and tribal communities in the development of publicly owned treatment plants.

Projects involving sewer overflow and stormwater reuse are eligible to receive funding through grants as well. A total of $1.4 billion has been allocated over a five year period to plan, design and construct treatment works that “intercept, transport, control, treat, or reuse municipal combined sewer overflows, sanitary sewer overflows” or for “other measures that manage, reduce, treat, or recapture stormwater or subsurface drainage water” that are eligible for assistance. 33 U.S.C. § 1301(a)(1).

Congress has also allocated money to promote clean drinking water initiatives, with a central focus on addressing drinking water concerns in rural and low-income communities. Municipalities located in areas with drinking water concerns may qualify for grants that eliminate lead pipes, improve small public water systems, and purchase filters and filtration systems to remove contaminants from drinking water, among other programs. In addition to the grant money that will be made available, the Act will also inject an estimated $14 billion into state revolving loan funds over the next five years, providing states with added resources to financially assist community water systems.