Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act: Latest for IT-related funding
How state, local, and education organizations can fund their IT priorities
The $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) is not only an investment in our nation’s infrastructure, but also an investment in innovation and technology. The legislation allocates $550 billion in new federal spending, while redirecting other federal funds to improve the nation’s infrastructure. Infrastructure funding includes competitive grant programs and allocations based on factors such as population.
How (and when) can you access these funds?
While there are still a number of unknowns in terms of how the money will be distributed, it is expected that between May and November 2022 agencies will begin to receive funds and issue guidance for grant programs. The SHI Grants Program team is actively monitoring progress so that we can keep you informed as to how and when these funds can be accessed.
How does this investment translate to technology?
References to technology implementation and innovation in the public sector are interspersed throughout the bill. While most infrastructure projects involve some degree of technology, there are specific technology implementation and innovations called out in the legislation, some of which are highlighted here.
Road and bridge infrastructure are allocated $110 billion. Technical innovation is emphasized with $100 million directed towards digital construction technologies such as 3D modeling and digital project management platforms.
Transportation infrastructure includes $66 billion for passenger and freight rail, $39.2 billion for public transit and $7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Allocations to technology-specific transportation initiatives are significant, such as traffic monitoring and management, advanced transportation and congestion management technologies, deployment of infrastructure-based intelligent transportation systems, and allocation of over $500 million to the Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) grant program.
Airport infrastructure funding of $25 billion includes competitive grants to improve air traffic control towers and facilities to enhance aviation safety and improve air traffic efficiency.
Improvements to the power infrastructure are allocated $65 billion. Of significant importance are the enhanced physical and cybersecurity of the electricity grid. The bill provides grants and programs administered by the Department of Energy to utilities to respond to threats and promote the use of advanced technologies. A $250 million Rural and Municipal Utility Grant and Technical Assistance Program awards grants to public and private utilities to deploy advanced cybersecurity technologies and increase the participation in cybersecurity threat information sharing programs. Through the $250 million Cybersecurity for the Energy Sector Research, Development, and Demonstration Program, the DOE will develop and coordinate programs with public and private stakeholders including energy companies, states, tribes, and territories.
Investment in connectivity
The importance of connectivity is emphasized through the $65 billion allocation to broadband, including $42.45 billion in formula-based allocations to states and territories to award sub-grants for broadband infrastructure; $2.75 billion in grant programs to public and non-profit entities for digital equity grant programs; $2 billion to improve infrastructure in rural areas; $1 billion to improve middle mile infrastructure necessary to connect unserved and underserved areas; and $2 billion for the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program.
Focus on cybersecurity
Of the significant funding allocated towards cybersecurity, a $1 billion state and local cybersecurity grant program administered by the Department of Homeland Security will address cybersecurity risks and threats to information systems owned or operated by state, local, or tribal governments. In addition, $100 million is allocated to the Cyber Response and Recovery Fund to be held in reserve for state, local and tribal entities to provide support following a cyber-attack.
Want to know more?
If you would like to read further information about the Infrastructure law, please check out our original article on this subject. SHI’s Public Sector grants team will continue to provide updates regarding government programs that assist state, local, and education institutions to procure and adopt technology solutions to better serve its constituents. If you need help finding grants, understanding your eligibility, and getting through your applications, please visit www.shi.com/grants and reach out–we’re here to help.