News Article | March 24, 2022
Bipartisan Infrastructure Law: How Counties Can Access Transportation Funds
The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) provides $973 billion over five years, from FY 2022 through FY 2026, for infrastructure projects nationwide. This includes $550 billion in new investments for all modes of transportation, and for water, power, energy, environmental remediation, public lands and broadband infrastructure. The following amounts have been allocated to Texas transportation:
- $26.9 billion for highway programs.
- $537.2 million for highway bridge replacement, rehabilitation, preservation, protection and construction projects on public roads.
- $450 million to the Texas Department of Transportation for rural transit.
- $407.8 million for electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
Counties can access IIJA funding through various ways. Some examples:
- Federal Formula Funds.
- Suballocations from the state.
- USDOT Grant Programs.
- Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) Transportation Discretionary Grant Program.
- Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) Grant Program.
- Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Grant Program.
- Low or No Emission Vehicle Grant Program.
The National Association of Counties has a new resource that lists all IIJA Funding Opportunities for Counties, including details on how to access the funding.
Programs Affecting Counties in Omnibus Spending Bill
On March 10, the U.S. Senate voted 68-31 to pass the FY 2022 omnibus appropriations bill, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022 (H.R. 2471), providing $1.5 trillion in federal spending. The U.S. House passed the bill on a 249-180 vote, and President Joe Biden signed the bill into law. Passage of the budget officially concludes months of negotiations between the top appropriators, congressional leadership and the White House.
The FY 2022 omnibus bill includes several key investments in federal programs affecting counties, including one year of full, mandatory funding of the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program, funding to stand up new competitive grant programs established by the IIJA, and increased funding for broadband deployment, rural development programs, health programs and more.
Of particular interest in Texas, the bill includes $1.45 billion for southern border response, including more than $23 billion for two key federal agencies that oversee immigration: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The $1.45 billion funds:
- Managing the volume of migrants arriving at the southern border.
- Processing facilities.
- Migrant medical care.
- Body-worn cameras and video recording equipment for Border Patrol stations.
- Aircraft and aircraft sensors.
U.S. border officials processed migrants at the southwest border 153,941 times in January, according to CBP data provided to a federal court in Texas.
Additionally, the latest spending package allocates $4 billion to rural development programs, including $550 million for the expansion of broadband service and $450 million for the ReConnect program, which provides loans and grants to cover the cost of broadband construction and improvement. The White House estimates that more than 30 million Americans live in areas that lack broadband infrastructure to provide minimally acceptable speeds.
The bill also earmarks investments in basic utility infrastructure, including $1.45 billion for rural water and waste program loans and over $653 million in grants to provide safe drinking water and sanitary waste disposal systems.