In February, the Administration rolled out its infrastructure investment plan, which would provide $1.5 trillion over ten years for infrastructure improvements. Since then, Congress has been working on finalizing certain aspects of the bill and putting together their ideas for how to move forward with this legislation. Several vital components would benefit small businesses:
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Acts Promises $550 Billion in Aide.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act proposes that the federal government invest $550 billion toward an infrastructure framework that will be allocated across the country for roads and bridges, public transit and utilities, the internet, etc. This is a significant investment in our nation’s infrastructure—which has been neglected for decades—and will create jobs while strengthening our economy.
$1.75 billion for public transit
The Act would provide $1.75 billion for public transit projects nationwide. The legislation would be used to invest in existing systems or expand them, or build new systems altogether. The bill also calls for the creation of a national infrastructure and investment program that aims to provide direct grants, loans, and loan guarantees to communities so they can make necessary improvements to their infrastructure without having to pay back the federal government.
$65 billion for upgrading power infrastructure
Electricity is an essential service, and the infrastructure that supplies it is aging. We need to upgrade the grid and make it more resilient so that our power network can continue to meet rising demands for electricity and support new technologies like electric vehicles and renewable energy. The Administration is proposing to invest $65 billion in this area over ten years, including:
- $500 million in grants for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects through existing programs;
- $4.5 billion for rural infrastructure related to broadband access;
The Administration will streamline Federal permitting through a fast-track process and a new interagency infrastructure council.
The Administration will streamline Federal permitting through a fast-track process and a new interagency infrastructure council. The announcement follows an executive order signed by President Trump on February 24, 2017, establishing the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity. The task force is charged with developing recommendations for improving access to capital for rural businesses, identifying regulatory barriers in agriculture, conducting a study of rural transportation issues, and reviewing existing federal programs that support rural America. Yesterday’s announcement builds on this work by establishing an “Interagency Infrastructure Permitting Coordination Council” to ensure permitting processes are coordinated across each federal agency responsible for infrastructure projects.
Small businesses benefitting from this infrastructure investment should know what is on the horizon.
If your small business is one of the 25 million that will benefit from this infrastructure investment and jobs act, you should know what’s on the horizon. Faster permitting and streamlined project delivery: The bill makes it easier for states to work with federal agencies to coordinate permits and approvals. It also simplifies environmental reviews, allowing projects to move forward more quickly once regulators approve them. More projects for contractors: The bill authorizes water infrastructure programs like drinking water treatment plants and wastewater treatment facilities, which will create jobs for many small businesses in these fields. In addition, this legislation provides funds for broadband deployment—the fastest-growing industry in America—and energy efficiency improvements at schools and other buildings nationwide. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is an exciting legislation that will benefit small businesses across the country. The new law could potentially create an additional $1.5 trillion in investments by 2027 while creating another 15 million jobs over the next decade. If you’re looking to expand your business or hire new employees, this would be a good time to do it!