The $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Bill – What the Construction Industry Needs to Know
The $1.2T infrastructure bill marks one of the most significant investments in the country’s infrastructure since Congress responded to the Great Recession.
The bill, signed into law on Monday, November 15, will send billions of dollars to states and local jurisdictions, over the next five years. More than $110 billion will be directed to replace and repair roads, bridges, and highways, and $66 billion to boost rail, making it the most substantial such investment in the country’s passenger and commercial network since the creation of Amtrak. In addition, lawmakers provided $55 billion to improve the nation’s water supply and replace lead pipes, $60 billion to modernize the power grid and expand broadband and other public works projects.
This means the biggest impacts of this bill will be felt by those in the construction industry and the communities where the resources will be spent. Some reports are estimating that this could create 1 million jobs over the course of five years.
Clearly, this is an incredible opportunity for those contractors who typically bid on projects with public-funding, and given the scale, this represents a new market for those firms who haven’t. So, what does that mean for the industry’s that will be charged with putting this money to work?
Here’s What We Know
The ability to demonstrate the economic impact of this funding and the specific individual projects is going to be paramount for both the funders and the contractors. There is a continuation of the existing disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) program to address race and gender discrimination in surface transportation related business. Funded projects must have at least 10 percent of the work provided to small business concerns owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. Additionally, there are requirements to ensure prompt payments to DBE contractors. Finally, projects receiving any funds must ensure they are paying prevailing wages to those workers on the project.
To ensure that the funds are both building the infrastructure, as well as having the desired economic impact across the country, it will be important for projects to capture information about business participation, labor demographics, and prevailing wages in order to demonstrate these positive benefits.
Three Things to Consider (and how SkillSmart can Help)
You can’t manage what you can’t measure. The key to ensuring full access to the benefits of this bill is data tracking and reporting. This shouldn’t sound new, as it is a refrain that projects owners, both public and private, have been saying for some time, but the demands of the Infrastructure Bill are absolutely amplifying the importance of data collection, monitoring, and reporting to ensure equitable and inclusive projects.
This is an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed. Here are three things to consider before this funding starts flowing into your project pursuit pipeline:
- The requirements outlined in the law can be straightforward and inexpensive to track so don’t let it keep your company from bidding on this new work.
- It’s a simple and straightforward process to track, manage and report on the key elements contained within the law and meet any reporting requirements that may arise.
- The ability to proactively demonstrate the economic benefits of a project can provide you a competitive advantage when bidding on new work.
SkillSmart will be digging into this bill over the next few months, providing a deeper dive into:
- Specific construction sectors where funding is being allocated.
- Where our team is currently supporting contractors and owners on projects like the ones anticipated within the infrastructure bill.
- How technology will play a key role in executing these projects into the future.
If you are interested in discussing any of the information above or how SkillSmart can support your team with tracking, managing, and reporting your project data, please contact Joshua Lowery (firstname.lastname@example.org).