On Friday, Nov. 5, Congress came to an agreement on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal. The legislation is focused on repairing physical infrastructure, creating jobs, and making America more competitive globally. Over the next five years, the $550 billion plan hopes to deliver new federal investments to repair and rebuild American roads, bridges, water systems, and more. To break down the potential effects of this plan, Equipment Trader has taken an unbiased look at five ways the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act could impact the construction industry.
1. It Could Achieve Historic Infrastructure Developments
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes a proposal to repair the country’s roads, bridges, ports, and transit systems. The legislation could modernize 20,000 miles of roads, main streets, and highways, as well as rebuild and repair 10 significant bridges and 10,000 smaller bridges. It could also repair hundreds of transit stations, new airports, and expand transit and rail connections. These construction projects create an opportunity for small businesses to participate in the design and development of this infrastructure.
2. It Could Invest Billions in the Construction Industry
Of the more than $550 billion of new federal investments in this plan, here are some of the ways that money could be allocated to construction projects:
- $110 billion to modernize bridges, roads, main streets, and highways
- $55 billion to replace the country’s lead pipes and service lines, plus upgrade drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater systems
- $50 billion to improve infrastructure resilience
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act could be one of the largest investments in the construction industry.
3. It Could Create New Jobs
A major part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is infrastructure job creation. According to a report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, the plan could create and/or save 15 million jobs, including construction and extraction occupations. Construction and extraction makes up about 11% of the legislation’s infrastructure-related occupations, about 1.6 million jobs. The construction industry has been rebuilding its workforce following the loss of jobs in the earlier stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. This plan could continue that growth and hopefully staff more skilled workers to tackle these projects.
4. It Could Expand Unions
In addition to creating new jobs, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act puts an emphasis on giving workers a chance at obtaining good-paying jobs and being part of a union. The legislation strives to retain well-paid union jobs and create more across the country so American workers can build more sustainable infrastructure. Many of these projects, including the historic transportation infrastructure developments, could show favor to union workers.
5. It Could Expand Green-Energy Advancements
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act strives to address climate change concerns, along with the country’s aging electric grid, by investing in infrastructure resilience and modernizing the power grid. The construction industry could benefit from a potential $65 billion investment in clean energy transmission. This plan could upgrade power infrastructure by building thousands of miles of new transmission lines to facilitate the expansion of renewable energy. Contractors who want to compete for these projects should consider integrating green-development techniques into their operations now.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act could be the most significant and comprehensive investment in infrastructure history. Under this plan, the construction industry could see repairs to critical infrastructure, expanded green construction, new forms of infrastructure, job creation, union expansion, and billions of dollars invested in the industry.