Investing in our country’s aging infrastructure has been part of the political landscape for years.
In 2021, this federal funding bill went through many iterations, moving from a stand-alone surface transportation bill to a Biden social spending bill. It was finally adopted in November in the Law on Infrastructure and Investment in Jobs. Venerated as “the one-generation investment in our country’s infrastructure,” it allocates $ 1.2 trillion over 10 years with $ 550 billion in new spending. To add a bit of foresight, this bill makes the largest investment in passenger rail transportation since the creation of Amtrak and the largest investment in a dedicated bridge since the construction of the interstate highway system.
The efficiency of the movement of materials and products to supply our local businesses has been drastically reduced due to these deficiencies in our infrastructure exacerbating the supply chain problems caused by the pandemic.
Below are some of the major investment areas of the Infrastructure Jobs and Investments Act:
Transport: Safety programs, street and road repairs, passenger rail transportation (including Amtrak and elimination of level crossings, etc.) airports (terminal upgrades, multimodal transportation and traffic control infrastructure, bridge repairs / replacements , electric vehicles (charging stations for example), etc..
Hydraulic infrastructure: Replacement of lead pipes, contaminants in economically struggling communities, water reuse projects, forest fire prevention and ecosystem restoration, disaster mitigation projects, sewage disposal, etc.
Broadband: Priority to underserved areas (education and employment), prevention of cyber attacks, etc.
Energy: Clean energy and hydrogen projects, research centers, promotion of RD&D in recycling, subsidies to plug orphan wells and recuperate abandoned mining lands, aid in weathering, energy efficiency and investment in renewable energies in public schools, replacement of diesel schools, etc.
Access to the funds allocated in this law will be distributed along several paths. Much of the money will be formula grants to states. However, some will be competitive federal grants and offers. Illinois is expected to receive $ 17 billion in funds.
According to representatives from the City of Naperville, the City has hired a consulting and engineering firm to help them both identify and submit a grant application associated with the Act. They expect their grant applications to be in the millions of dollars. High priority funding items include electrical and technological upgrades for the City.
There is speculation that part of the infrastructure funds received by the state will be invested in rail and public transport, which will put the Metra in a privileged position to make major changes. This could translate into high-speed rail service to meet the growing need for more frequent departures throughout the day from Naperville to more destinations throughout Chicago. This model is a shift from the commuter-to-downtown shuttle model and back during peak hours that was disrupted during the pandemic.
As the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce learns about more specific infrastructure capital projects in our area and grants become available, we will keep the community informed.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or would like to discuss any political issues affecting your business or industry.