Here at Constructech, I have written many times about our nation’s infrastructure, urging industry, government, academia, and technology to come together to create smart cities and smart infrastructure that can stand the test of time. I have urged that now is the time to invest and build structures that are intelligent and resilient. Certainly, we have come a long way—and we still have a long way to go.
Prior to 2020, one of the last major nationwide infrastructure initiative in America happened almost 70 years ago with the creation of the Interstate Highway System, which began in the 1950s under the leadership of then President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Flash forward to the present day, and we see the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, also known as the IIJA (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act) has spurred new interest in our infrastructure and rebuilding what has begun to crumble.
Since the passing of that initiative in late 2021, I have written numerous times about the progress that has been made. Let’s now examine some of the recent news from 2024. In late January, the Biden-Harris Admin., announced $4.9 billion in funding for infrastructure projects, which was created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and is being funded through two major grant programs:
- The National Infrastructure Project Assistance (Mega) grant program
- The INFRA (Infrastructure for Rebuilding America) grant program
The Mega program is focused on projects that are large, complex, and difficult to fund under traditional grant programs. For this round of funding, the Biden-Harris Administration is investing in 11 different projects that will generate national and regional economic, mobility, and safety benefits.
Some of the Mega projects include an interstate bridge replacement program between Oregon and Washington, a multimodal corridor project in eastern Pittsburgh, a bridge project, and a railroad bridge replacement project.
The INFRA program, for which funding was increased more than 50% by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, also funds large scale, transformational infrastructure projects. For this round of funding, the Biden-Harris Administration is investing in 28 projects that will improve the safety, efficiency, and reliability of the movement of freight and people in and across rural and urban areas. More than half of the projects being funded through the INFRA program are in rural communities—which is also a trend I have covered here on the blog.
Some of the INFRA projects for this round include a bridge replacement project in Duluth, Minn., and Superior, Wis., a bridge replacement project in Fairbanks, Ala., and the completion of the I-95 missing move and ramps to Quonset Business Park, in Rhode Island.
Some projects received funding from both programs including an international container terminal in Louisiana and an I-90 improvement project in Montana.
I am encouraged to see the funding is focused as much on rural programs—where local communities are often in dire need of repair. What are you seeing in your own communities? Is infrastructure being repaired? Is there enough funding and workers to go around?
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