The disbursement of $1.2 trillion in federal infrastructure investment approved by Washington policymakers two months ago is moving forward – in careful coordination with federal agencies, state and local partners – according to recent announcements by President Biden and White House Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator Mitch Landrieu, above. (News conference transcript and video, Jan. 18)
Improving Infrastructure Assets
- The bipartisan infrastructure law enacted in November includes measures to improve infrastructure assets via public-private partnership efforts, streamline the federal permitting process, and improve key federal energy data that supports Environmental Protection Agency building labels. (Roundtable Weekly, Nov. 12, 2021 and White House Executive Order on Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs Through Federal Sustainability, Dec. 8, 2021)
- Real Estate Roundtable Chair John Fish (Chairman and CEO, Suffolk) commended the bipartisan effort and called the legislative package “an historic opportunity to position our nation for sustainable growth and greater economic prosperity.” (Roundtable Statement, Nov. 8, 2021)
- Former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu now leads a task force of federal agency officials charged with implementing the infrastructure law through a combination of direct federal grants and competitive bidding. (White House Infrastructure Implementation Fact Sheet, Jan. 14)
- Landrieu on Jan. 4 sent a request to all the nation's governors, urging them to appoint their own infrastructure implementation coordinators to work on the smooth disbursement of funds over the next several years, in coordination with both federal agencies and state and local leaders.
- Landrieu noted during his Jan. 18 White House news conference that the $1.2 trillion disbursement involves 14 federal agencies. He also said federal talks are also underway with Amtrak and that “the Northeastern Corridor … needs immediate attention.” (News conference transcript and video)
Specific Programs Impacting CRE
President Biden on Jan. 14 discussed a variety of recently announced infrastructure projects and funding commitments with Infrastructure “Czar” Landrieu. (White House Remarks and Infrastructure Implementation Fact Sheet, Jan. 14 and Competitive Infrastructure Funding Opportunities for Local Governments Fact Sheet, Jan. 21).
- The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) launched the “Building a Better Grid” Initiative, which will catalyze the nationwide development of new and upgraded high-capacity electric transmission lines by deploying more than $20 billion in federal financing tools. (DOE news release, Jan. 12)
- The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Highway Administration announced $27 billion in funding to replace, repair, and rehabilitate thousands of bridges across the country. (Wall Street Journal and ABC News, Jan. 14)
- DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg and DOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm formed a Joint Office of Energy & Transportation focused on building a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers. (Department of Energy news release, Dec. 14, 2021 and White House EV Charging Action Plan, Dec. 13, 2021)
- The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced $3 billion for 3,075 airports across the country to upgrade critical infrastructure.
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $1 billion investment to initiate cleanup and clear the backlog of 49 previously unfunded Superfund sites and accelerate cleanup at dozens of other sites across the country. (EPA news release, Dec. 20, 2021)
- Additionally, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh discussed in an interview today with The Hill how he is focused on implementing the infrastructure law and launching a new program called the Good Jobs Initiative. Walsh emphasized the need for "workers at all different levels of construction” and stated, “I think we’re going to need additional housing in our country in the next five to 10 years, we’re going to have lots more development going on in our country.” (The Hill, Jan. 21)
The various infrastructure improvement programs and their impact on the economy, commercial real estate and local communities will be a focus of discussion during The Roundtable’s Jan. 25-26 Virtual State of the Industry Meeting and its policy advisory committee meetings.
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