NetworkTigers discusses the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act 2021.
The historic Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was signed into law by President Biden on November 15, 2021. This bipartisan bill passed with 228 yes votes from the House of Representatives and a 69-30 split in the Senate. The bill provides for a landmark investment in American infrastructure. The bill allows for more jobs, funds, and grants to be made available in many areas. Information technology will be impacted as a crucial sector in the economy.
Understanding the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also known as H.R. 3684, is estimated to add an average of 1.5 million jobs to the American economy each year for the next decade. The bill also allocated $550 billion in new spending on infrastructure over the next five years. This spending is to be broken down as follows:
- $110 billion for roads and bridges
- $66 billion for passenger and freight railways
- $11 billion for transportation safety
- $39 billion for public transit, such as buses and subways
- $17 billion for ports and waterways
- $25 billion for airports
- $7.5 billion for environmentally-conscious school buses and ferries
- $7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging capabilities
- $1 billion to connect communities historically or structurally underserved by energy infrastructure
I.T. and American infrastructure investments
The infrastructure referenced in H.R. 3684 is not only physical, such as breaking ground on new construction projects. Information technology and cybersecurity also play crucial roles in understanding and investing in American infrastructure. H.R. 3684 also helps allocate funds for future advancements in information technologies that can help make national infrastructure more efficient, responsive, and secure. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act both accounts for and incentivizes much-needed upgrades in I.T. efficiency and security.
Some areas to consider that are at play in each of the categories receiving funding are:
- Artificial intelligence (A.I.)
- Autonomous vehicles
- Internet of Things (IoT)
- Carbon capture
- Blockchain technology
Any of these areas can be deployed to improve safety, quality, efficiency, and more in the construction of public transit, roads, bridges, electric vehicles and grid, water safety, and the priorities funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Some of these are even named explicitly in the bill. For instance, in the category of $110 billion to be invested in roads and bridges, $100 million is allocated towards digital construction technologies. Examples of these include 3D modeling and project management platforms.
Broadband investments and H.R. 3684
If these previous investments seem indirect to information technologies, then there are even more prioritizations to consider. For instance, the bill contains a $65 billion allocation to funding broadband expansions. This includes $42.45 billion allocated to states to territories, which are meant to award sub-grants for increased broadband infrastructure. From the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, $2.75 billion is set aside for grant programs concerning digital equity. A further $2 billion is meant to increase broadband access in rural areas, $1 billion is meant to connect underserved and under-connected areas, and $2 billion is meant for the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program.
Cybersecurity and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
Cybersecurity has long been a focal point of the Biden Administration. After the SolarWinds hack, much of the world realized a renewed push for more secure infrastructure was vital. Investments in cybersecurity are explicitly funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This link makes perfect sense, as cyber-attacks can devastate the electrical grid, water supply, and other critical needs of a community. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act pours $1 billion into a Department of Homeland Security grant program to address cybersecurity risks and threats to state, local and tribal governments. Additionally, the Cyber Response and Recovery Fund is set to receive $100 million.
Protecting the electric grid is of paramount concern for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. For instance, through a $250 million program funded by the bill, the Department of Energy is directed to coordinate with private and public energy companies, states, and tribal governments to increase cybersecurity threat-sharing and assessment programs.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and you
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, as well as the Biden Administration’s Build Back Better framework, are aimed at providing renewed funding and purpose for American infrastructure and the economy. If you work in the information technology sector, increased jobs and funding are steadily being made available. By contracting with the federal, state, or local government, your company may be able to benefit from these funding sources. In addition, companies with desirable technologies for infrastructure modeling and development may be able to reap the rewards. Finally, cybersecurity professionals will surely see an uptick in demand for software, technologies, and know-how that address increased concerns in today’s digital and physical world.