The 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, provides communities with opportunities to improve their local infrastructure. It’s now possible for cities and towns to invest in cost-effective projects that will bring long-term benefits. Learn more about the IIJA and some cost-effective ways communities can improve infrastructure.
What the IIJA Includes
The Infrastructure Improvement and Job Act (IIJA) includes several provisions that can help communities of all sizes. It gives local governments the flexibility to tailor projects to their specific needs while also investing in infrastructure that will benefit the entire nation.
The IIJA provides funding for a variety of infrastructure improvement projects, such as roads, bridges, water and sewer systems, energy infrastructure, and broadband access. It also includes funding for projects that address preparedness for climate change.
Assess Needs and Prioritize Projects
An important first step for city managers and financial officers is to assess current needs and prioritize projects. Many infrastructure projects require significant investments of time, money, and resources, so it’s important to identify which projects require immediate attention for public health and safety. This could include looking at factors such as population growth, potential economic benefits, or environmental impacts.
Consult Community Members
As with any infrastructure improvement project, it’s important to consult with community members and get their input on what projects they deem most important. By engaging the public in decision making and allowing residents to voice their opinions, municipalities can ensure that they make investments responsibly.
Apply for Grants
The White House issued playbooks for the IIJA that provide communities with access to grants to fund infrastructure projects. Each grant comes with specific requirements regarding how the community can spend the money, but these grants can be a great way to make improvements to infrastructure while minimizing costs.
The grants come in two forms: state-specific grants and competitive grants. Communities must apply for state-specific grants through the relevant state agency or department, while competitive grants require communities to submit proposals to a designated federal agency.
A grant application will spell out needs and how the municipality intends to address them. Some cost-effective projects, such as using culvert slip liners to rehabilitate deteriorating culverts or planting trees to absorb storm runoff, are efficient for water management. One thing you should know about culvert slip lining, though, is that rehabilitation is better than replacing it if you want to stretch out the grant money.
The IIJA provides municipalities with a unique opportunity to find cost-effective ways to improve infrastructure. Investing in infrastructure improvements that will benefit the community for years to come. By taking advantage of grants and using efficient systems, such as culvert slip liners, cities, and towns can make much-needed improvements while minimizing costs. Doing so will benefit the entire nation.