Contract Surety

Good News+Bad News=More Work Ahead



The American Society of Civil Engineers reports that the $550 billion allocated in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) is preventing our infrastructure from deteriorating. However, without sustained funding efforts at the national, state and local levels, we will be unable to meet the demands of the current era and move ahead. 


Treading Water

Given the long-deferred attention to infrastructure needs across the country, even the unprecedented commitment made with the IIJA, and its resulting butterfly effect on additional public and private commitments across the country, we are still, as a nation, treading water just to keep up with emerging challenges:


Changes in the infrastructure landscape — including supply chain problems, stricter emission standards in the energy sector and extreme weather — have raised baseline spending needs and are keeping the investment gap from being noticeably reduced. Infrastructure inefficiencies like power outages, uneven roads, time spent in traffic, load restrictions on bridges and leaking water pipes all have consequences for businesses and consumers….ASCE President Marsia Geldert-Murphey said the failure to prioritize infrastructure has cost businesses and consumers for decades. “Federal action has made substantial progress stopping the growth of our needs, but this is just the beginning,” said Geldert-Murphey….“We need continued action at the federal level and collaboration from state and local governments and the private sector if we are going to succeed in transforming our aging infrastructure network to be more sustainable, resilient and best suit the future needs of American households and businesses.”


According to analysis by the ASCE, the infrastructure category most in need of increased investment is surface transportation, and the consequences of failure are steep: “Continuing to defer maintenance and modernization is impacting our ability to compete in a global marketplace and maintain a high quality of living domestically.” Other infrastructure categories that require ambitious attention and investment include energy, water (drinking, waste and stormwater), water transportation and aviation. As the ASCE further points out in Bridging The Gap: “When we invest in our infrastructure networks, American families and businesses save money. ASCE’s 2021 “Failure to Act” study found that sub-par infrastructure costs American families $3,300 annually, over 10 years. The 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and 2022 Inflation Reduction Act were positive steps forward, reducing that household burden to $2,700.”


Lots of Work To Do

What infrastructure woes–and investments–mean for builders, of course, is that there is plenty of work to do. Indeed, the U.S. DOT has continuously rolled out new rounds of funds from the IIJA since 2021. This spring, for example, applications are being accepted under both the Multimodal Project Discretionary Grant Program and Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Program. Meanwhile, the Federal Highway Administration is funding $1.2 billion of projects aimed at reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions as per the Inflation Reduction Act’s “Low Carbon Transportation Materials Program.” Looking further ahead, pending approval of the next wave of federal investment, ambitious new projects are already taking shape at planning tables across the country. 


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