The Infrastructure Invest and Jobs Act (IIJA), also colloquially called the "Infrastructure Bill", was a $1.2T spending bill passed in November 2021. Of the $1.2T in total appropriations, $550B was new funding. The Biden Administration summarizes the bill as:
"The legislation includes around $550B in new federal investment in American's roads and bridges, water infrastructure, resilience, internet, and more. The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will grow the economy , enhance our competitiveness, create good jobs, and make our economy more sustainable, resilient, and just."
The Infrastructure Bill is organized into several large subsections. It may be helpful to think of each subsection as a separate entity, with its own funding amounts, rules, and processes. The graph below shows the distribution of new funding in the legislation, on top of already appropriated dollars.
Infrastructure Bill - New Spending by Category
Defining Infrastructure Categories
Funding in the Infrastructure Bill is categorized into broad groups corresponding to certain use cases. While some of these categories may be self-explanatory, others are not so straightforward. This list below shows how these categories are defined in the IIJA.
Transportation - Roads and bridges, rail, public transit, airports, ports and waterways, transportation safety research, green and electric vehicles, reconnecting communities
Water - Drinking water infrastructure, wastewater infrastructure
Broadband - High-speed and reliable internet connectivity; a focus on rural, underserved, and "last mile" communities
Resiliency - Developing, implementing, or revising a cybersecurity response plan; responding to immediate cyber threats; not to pay ransoms
Power & Grid - Infrastructure used to create, distribute, and manage electricity
Environment - Protecting natural resources such as water, reducing pollution, protecting wildlife and "natural infrastructure"
How is the Money Distributed?
There are three primary ways IIJA funds will be distributed from the federal government to state and local agencies.
Direct funding from the federal government to state, local, and tribal governments
Direct funding from the federal government to any entity (e.g. private)
Sub-grants from state governments to other entities
The graphic below shows an example of how money flows from the federal government to different levels of state and local agencies, either directly or through sub-grants.
Information Technology and the Infrastructure Bill
Key Concept - Is Tech the End Goal or the Medium?
Technology is both the end goal and the medium for accomplishing other goals in the IIJA. Certain parts of the bill provide funding for specific technology purchases (e.g., subsidizing broadband, electric vehicles, cybersecurity, intelligent transportation software). Other parts of the bill provide funding for projects whose main goal is not necessarily technology (e.g., highways, airports, power grid, school buses). However, these opportunities are still ripe for technology. For example, this would include opportunities to procure advanced traffic software to monitor highways or electronic ticketing systems and devices for public transportation.
IIJA creates a new federal grant program administered by the US Department of Homeland Security - the State & Local Cybersecurity Grant Program. This program will provide $1B in grants for public agencies below the federal level to develop, implement, or revise a cybersecurity plan or address an imminent threat. The majority of this funding will flow through state governments, who are then required to distribute at least 80% of their funding to lower-lower governments. Other provisions of the IIJA contain cybersecurity provisions - especially those affecting transportation, rail, power & grid, and water.
Putting It All Together
The collapsible list below organizes critical information about each of the Infrastructure Bill's major use case categories - including applicable agencies, uses, tech alignment, and a funding example.
Agencies: DOTs; planning, zoning, permitting, licensing; schools, special districts
Uses: Roads and bridges, rail, public transit, airports, ports and waterways, transportation safety research, green and electric vehicles, reconnecting communities
Tech Alignment: Intelligent and emerging tech, transportation cyber, traffic control devices, charging infrastructure, self-driving vehicles, electronic logging devices, impaired driving tech, clean school bus tech, automated braking systems, vehicle safety databases, public safety case management, digital alert tech, data collection and modernization, safety data projects, data sharing programs, congestion management systems, integrated mobility systems, web-based tools
Funding Example: PROTECT grant program ($8.7B) - funding to help state and local agencies improve transportation infrastructure resiliency
Agencies: Special districts, utilities, energy, environment and natural resources
Uses: Drinking water infrastructure, wastewater infrastructure
Tech Alignment: Cybersecurity, monitoring and control tech, adaptive protection tech, demand-response tech, GIS, advanced water tech, stormwater infrastructure tech, water agency modernization
Funding Example: Cybersecurity event funding through the US Environmental Protection Agency ($50M) - grants to assist states in emergency situations stemming from cybersecurity events or public health threats from contaminants
Agencies: General government, broadband offices, private business
Uses: Provides funding for high-speed and reliable broadband especially in rural areas and other underserved areas; this is accomplished though subsidies to citizens and broadband providers and funding to state governments
Tech Alignment: Broadband, networks
Funding Example: Broadband deployment grants ($42.5B) - formula-based grant program for broadband deployment, targeting underserved areas
Agencies: All, public and private
Uses: Developing, implementing, or revising a cyber response plan; responding to an imminent cyber threat
Tech Alignment: Cybersecurity, disaster recovery, business continuity, data protection, data storage
Funding Example: State & Local Government Cybersecurity Grant Program ($1B)
Power & Grid
Agencies: Special districts, public utilities, private
Uses: Grid security, modernization, resiliency
Tech Alignment: Demand-response tech, carbon removal and storage tech, solar energy tech, GIS, monitoring software, microgrids
Funding Example: Rural and Municipal Utility Advanced Cybersecurity Grant and Technical Assistance Program ($250M) - Grants for utilities to protect against and respond to cybersecurity threats
Agencies: Natural resources agencies, energy agencies, special districts
Uses: Protecting water, reducing pollution
Tech Alignment: Weatherization tech, fire tech, monitoring and control tech, adaptive protection tech, carbon removal and storage tech, solar energy tech, other green tech
Funding Example: $50B to protect against droughts, heat, floods, wildfires, and to improve weatherization; $21B to clean up superfund and brownfield sites
Guidance takes time - Federal agencies must administer new grants and design new programs. States and localities must identify and execute new projects all amid continuing efforts with CARES Act and ARPA programs.
Funding will not flow consistently over time - The pace at which federal funds area released will vary. Some funds may not begin flowing until late 2022.
Funding will be available beyond state governments - Localities and the private sector will be eligible for some of the programs - either receiving sub-grants or directly from the federal government.