January Infrastructure Bill Tracker – Where Is the Funding Going?
Notable roadways, bridges & waterways spending were all announced in January’s Infrastructure Bill.
With all the excitement over $1.2 Trillion in funding to the nation’s infrastructure, many are wondering where and when those budgets will be allocated.
Across the nation, projects are being funded and commissioned. Here are a few that we found particularly interesting and illustrate the all-encompassing nature of this Bill.
Florida Everglades Restoration – $1.1 Billion
The health of the Florida Everglades is critically essential on many levels. From protecting endangered species to securing the water supply for around a third of all Floridians, protecting and preserving it is a high priority for all Floridians. The 1.5 Billion that was requested saw full support across the majority of Floridians. The restoration project’s impact goes beyond state boundaries as the Everglades play an essential role in combating climate change.
Known locally as the “River of Grass,” the Everglades in many places look like not much more than an “unremarkable field.”
“The Everglades is the lifeblood of South Florida, and this historic funding commitment by the Biden administration will ensure we can much more aggressively move to restore and protect the natural sheet flow of water,” cited one source.
Some improvements will go toward pump stations, southern ecosystem restoration, and work on reservoirs and stormwater treatment areas. The plan includes projects designed to capture and store excess surface water while minimizing pollution. Eight million Floridians depend on the Everglades for drinking water, and this much-needed endowment will create many jobs.
North Dakota Flood Protection & Water Supply Projects – $534
The Army Corps of Engineers announced it is allocating $534 Million for water projects in North Dakota. The projects span flood protection, water supply, infrastructure, and recreation projects.
The three largest line items are as follows.
- $437M for Fargo Moorhead Comprehensive Flood Protection
- $61M for Souris River Basin
- $20M for Garrison Dam & Lake Sakakawea
The full breakdown of the budget allocation is here on the official government website.
Orange County, CA. Dredge Newport Harbor – $8.3 Million
$8.3 million dollars was awarded for the San Clemente Shoreline Project in Orange Country, CA. Dredging the Newport Harbor accounts for the bulk of the funding.
The San Clemente Shoreline Project is an affluent coastline area spanning 3,000 feet of picturesque shoreline views. Its highest priorities are minimizing beach erosion to keep the properties safe and structurally sound.
To read more about this essential coastline project, see the full article in the OC Register (paywall).
Michigan Soo Lock Construction – $479 Million
First authorized by Congress in 1986, the Soo Lock project has been stalled up until its reauthorization in 2018.
Currently, there are four shipping locks that connect Lake Superior to the lower Great Lakes. Only one of them, the 49-year-old Poe Lock, has the capacity to handle the largest freighters.
Described in a 2016 Financial Post article as “one breakdown away from crippling North America’s economy, the Soo Lock would provide much-needed redundancy while increasing the overall capacity of the passage. In its doomsday scenario, it projects that a six-month breakdown (which is entirely possible given the nature of the structure) would plunge the US into a recession and put 11 million out of work. Four thousand huge lake vessels each year haul goods, primarily iron ore and wheat, through the Poe. A disruption to its service would be devastating to the already struggling region and would have long-reaching effects throughout the US and Canada.
Funds are allocated to continue construction for the next five years, with project completion targeted for 2030.
“The revitalization of the Soo Locks will strengthen America’s commercial shipping capabilities and support good-paying jobs throughout the Industrial Heartland,” one figure was quoted as saying.
To read the full details on the Soo Lock funding from the Infrastructure Bill, see The Detroit News article here.
Alabama Bridges – $225 Million
A 63-year-old truss bridge over the Tennessee river – the John Snodgrass bridge – is due for what’s described by insiders as “major rehabilitation.” $6.3M of these funds is targeted toward it and over 8000 other bridges throughout Alabama. Six hundred twenty of those are listed in poor, structurally deficient condition, and the rest are in fair condition but due for maintenance and upkeep.
The funds are aimed to ensure the structural integrity of the bridges and modernize them to withstand the impacts of climate change and accommodate cyclists and pedestrians.
One goal will be to upgrade bridges with weight restrictions that force travelers to take long detours to stay on safe roadways.
Pennsylvania Bridges – $1.6 Billion
While most if not all states will have some funding targeted toward bridges and roads, the 1.6 Billion aimed to shore up Pennsylvania bridges is a large portion of the $26.5 billion overall “bridge” budget.
More than 3,000 bridges are listed in poor condition, the second most of any state. Given the high volume of east coast traffic, many people would be impacted by their failure. Around 15,000 bridges need upgrades and repairs.
The funding will be distributed through a needs-based formula to expedite funds for the most critical structures and most affected communities.
The official announcement was made recently, and funds are expected to begin being obligated in the coming weeks.
Read more about the Pennsylvania bridge funding on WHYY.org.
Colorado Bridges – $225 Million
The first $45M of the $225M allocated is on its way to Colorado to address its 481 bridges in poor condition. With much of the state subject to harsh weather conditions, the wear and tear on its infrastructure are finally getting the cash influx it needs.
“Colorado’s bridges are vital, but too many are near the point of failure,” said one senator. “Our Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill is restoring our infrastructure one road, one lead pipe, and one bridge at a time.”
See full details in The Ark Valley Voice’s coverage of this story.
Conclusion of January Infrastructure Bill Announcements
With so many new projects about to get underway, the US economy and transportation systems will look very different. Construction crews will be hard at work throughout the entire United States getting hard at work on these long-overdue construction projects.
What projects are you most interested in? Is there an Infrastructure Bill funded project that you’re following? Tell us about it here.