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Federal Infrastructure Policy and Funding Update: Week of August 15, 2022

Swift action by the House of Representatives last week delivered a landmark investment in climate action. With tax incentives and direct appropriations, the Inflation Reduction Act, is heading to President Biden’s desk for signature. Much more to come on the details of this legislation, but that wasn’t the only thing of note to happen in federal infrastructure policy and funding circles last week. 

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USDOT Announces Over $2 Billion in Grants From the RAISE Program

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced $2.2 billion in grants from the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program. This substantial allocation was made possible by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which provides for an additional $7.5 billion over fives years for the program. In total, 166 projects across the country received awards. Selections were based on a project’s ability to deliver improved accessibility for all travelers, bolster supply chain efficiency, and support racial equity and economic growth — especially in historically disadvantaged communities and areas of persistent poverty. HDR is proud to have supported 13 clients with winning applications, totaling $212 million in grant awards. Full List of Awards 

Tribal Broadband Connectivity Awards

The White House announced that the National Telecommunications and Information Administration is making $146 million in awards to bring high-speed internet to tribal communities in New Mexico through the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program. Additional awards totaling more than $500 million directed to tribes across the country, including in Alaska, Nebraska, South Dakota, Arizona, California and more states is expected throughout the month of August.

In addition to the awards announced this month, the NTIA is making an additional $1 billion in funding available to tribal communities. This additional funding is in response to the over-subscribed TBCP which received over $5 billion in funding requests. The total now available for award is $1.98 billion, still short of the clear needs expressed through the applications.

In an effort to deliver these much-needed broadband investments sooner, the NTIA and Bureau of Indian Affairs announced an agreement to coordinate responsibilities in ensuring compliance with environmental, historic preservation and cultural resources requirements related to the TBCP.

President Signs CHIPS Act — Investing in Semiconductor Research, Development and Production

The CHIPS Act provides $52.7 billion over 5 years to develop domestic manufacturing capability, conduct research and development, and provide for workforce development. According to the White House Fact Sheet, the law will boost American semiconductor research, development and production, ensuring U.S. leadership in the technology that forms the foundation of everything from automobiles to household appliances to defense systems

In conjunction with the bill signing, the Administration announced the launch of a sector-specific interagency expert working group on permitting and permitting-related project delivery issues for high-tech manufacturing. This builds on work already underway with the Council on Environmental Quality, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Commerce. The intent of this effort is to ensure that investments made under the CHIPS Act will realize benefits sooner, avoiding unnecessary delays.

Department of Energy Creates Two New Offices

The Department of Energy launched two new program offices — the Grid Deployment Office and the Office of State and Community Energy Programs to support over $23 billion in investments to modernize and expand capacity of the nation’s power grid and deploy cheaper, cleaner energy across America. The two offices are tasked with implementing portions of the IIJA but will also be critical in delivering investments made through the Inflation Reduction Act. More to come on this!

Eric Beightel | HDR | advisory services
Principal Infrastructure Policy/Environmental Strategist
Nathan Macek
Infrastructure Finance Director
Subservices

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