Capalino experts weigh in on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework that unlocks funds for transportation, broadband, climate, and clean energy that will have huge positive impact in New York
President Joe Biden signed the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework into law this week, finalizing a key part of his economic agenda. Now codified as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the framework will deliver $550 billion in funding for new investments in America’s infrastructure over five years, which will modernize transportation, broadband and energy systems across the country. Coming on the heels of last year’s American Rescue Plan that injected $1.9 trillion into families and communities as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic, this new law furthers President Biden’s broad economic agenda with a massive investment in America’s future. And, if only for a moment, it reminds us of the importance of reaching across party lines to find ways to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.
“Let’s remember what we’ve got done for the American people when we do come together,” Mr. Biden said, celebrating the bill on the South Lawn of the White House. “I truly believe that 50 years from now, historians are going to look back at this moment and say, that’s the moment America began to win the competition of the 21st century.”
It will deliver $550 billion of new federal investments in America’s infrastructure over five years, touching everything from bridges and roads to the nation’s broadband, water and energy systems. Experts note that the funds are needed to ensure safe travel, as well as the efficient transport of goods and produce across the country. The nation’s infrastructure system earned a C- score from the American Society of Civil Engineers earlier this year.
On the transportation side, the legislation will put $110 billion into roads, bridges and other major projects. Other investments include $66 billion in freight and passenger rail, including potential upgrades to Amtrak. In addition, $39 billion will be directed into public transport systems.
On the technology side, the plan will invest a historic $65 billion into expanding broadband access to every American, an increasing priority after Covid left millions at home without effective internet access.
Before signing the legislation, President Biden noted “we’re finally getting this done” after many failed attempts in Washington. “So my message to the American people is this,” he noted, “America is moving again, and your life is going to change for the better.”
Of course, this new law comprises only part of President Biden’s economic vision. Today the House of Representatives passed his Build Back Better bill, which will invest $1.75 trillion into the nation’s social safety net, including health care, childcare, and climate policy.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework….What’s in it for New York?
New York will receive major funding for roads, transit, airports, clean energy, water systems, broadband, and more
The new law has the potential to transform New York City and its surrounding region by investing in our region’s long to-do list of public works projects. And, although the focus of the law is on long-term capital investments, New Yorkers will see a benefit in their wallets and commutes right away, thanks to Governor Kathy Hochul’s commitment that the state would use its portion of the money to avoid previously anticipated price and service changes to New York’s subway, buses and commuter rails.
“The bipartisan infrastructure is a record deal and a once-in-a-generation investment in New York infrastructure. A building and jobs boon for construction projects from Westchester to Watertown, and everywhere in between is now brewing,” said Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, a key negotiator of the bill.
The bill should clear the way for several high-profile projects in the City and the State, including the extension of Second Avenue subway in Manhattan and a long-needed solution to the crumbling Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Its effects will also be felt in numerous other ways to rebuild a region with outdated infrastructure whose vulnerability has been especially tested by climate change. Details on the investments in the region can be found on Senator Schumer’s website.
According to the Regional Plan Association, New York is likely to receive major funding for roads, transit, airports, water systems, broadband, and more over the next five years, including:
- $11.6 billion for highways
- $1.9 billion for bridges
- $9.8 billion for transit
- $2.6 billion for water infrastructure
- $685 million for airports
- $100+ million for broadband infrastructure
Key leaders of Capalino weigh in on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework’s impact on New York:
“This is a historic moment in the United States,” said Travis Terry, President of Capalino. “All around the country – and especially in the tri-state region — people’s quality of life will be improved. Travel times will decrease, good jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities will be created, technological advancements will be realized and the air we breathe and water we drink will be improved. We greatly appreciate the efforts of President Biden, Majority Leader Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, the U.S. House of Representatives, and all the staff in the Federal government for getting this done. At Capalino, many of us have been working on various aspects of this legislation and monitoring it for our clients and truly believe it will be of tremendous help as we thrive as a City and nation post-pandemic.”
“While the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, officially the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) was long in the making, for New York, it was well worth the wait. The MTA is expected to receive $10 billion that will help fund important projects such as Phase 2 of the Second Avenue Subway and a major expansion and overhaul of Penn Station,” stated Christopher Boylan, Senior Advisor to the firm on Transportation.
New York State’s Department of Transportation is anticipating over $13 billion to rehabilitate and increase the resiliency for its aging highways and bridges, all with a focus on simultaneously mitigating greenhouse gasses.
Additional transportation benefits from the IIJA include a host of new or increased passenger rail grants that will allow Amtrak’s Gateway Hudson River Tunnel project to advance, while hopefully providing resources to rehabilitate Amtrak’s two existing, aging, and deteriorating tunnels that now serve as a chokepoint along the Northeast Corridor (NEC) for travelers to, and through, Penn Station. While it is impossible to determine exactly how much those projects will get as a result of the bill, billions are anticipated from the following national pots of money included in the bill:
- $66 billion for rail grants
- $36 billion for Federal-State Partnership Grants
- $12 billion for Intercity Rail Compact Grants and high-speed rail projects
- $5 billion for Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) grants
- $250 million for Restoration and Enhancement Grants
The funding would also transform local transit systems. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates New York’s subways, buses and two commuter-rail networks, expects to receive $10 billion, and it plans to use some of the money to make the system more accessible. Currently, only about a quarter of New York City’s 472 subway stations are wheelchair-accessible.
AIRPORTS AND CONSTRUCTION
“It is very exciting that the long-awaited $1.2 Trillion dollar infrastructure bill has cleared the political hurdles that have kept needed federal funds from projects such as Gateway, MTA upgrades and vastly needed upgrades to LaGuardia and JFK, two of the busiest airports in the US,” noted Susan Hinkson-Carling, Managing Director and co-lead of Capalino’s Real Estate practice and Capalino Ventures.. The Port Authority of NY& NJ stands to receive nearly $450 million to help make improvements to its two New York airports, JFK and LaGuardia, while an additional $487 million will be available for airports around the State.
“What this bill means for the construction industry in general and for NY in particular is immeasurable. Capalino has spent decades advocating for projects that generate construction and related industry jobs. We see vast opportunities for workforce development and increasing the building trades labor force in New York,” added Hinkson-Carling.
“There are several major infrastructure projects that are essential to the City’s long term economic health, one of the primary projects being the Gateway Tunnel project. Together with the City’s capital spending, a priority for allocation of the infrastructure bill funding should also be to invest in neighborhood growth to accommodate new housing and economic development through such items as sewers, parks, community facilities, and transportation, including transit accessibility improvements,” stated Richard Barth, Managing Director of Capalino.
“Infrastructure funding for plans in such disparate areas as Broadway Junction in Brooklyn and the Sheridan Expressway/Hunts Point area can help build neighborhoods and accommodate future growth. Strategic investments in the City’s industrial business zones can also serve to help grow industrial and commercial businesses,” added Barth.
CLIMATE AND CLEAN ENERGY
“By investing in renewable energy, modernizing and updating our energy transmission and water systems, helping states and cities prepare for the impacts of climate change, and by reconnecting communities that were divided by the transportation investment decisions of long ago, the new law is taking an unprecedented step forward towards a more sustainable and equitable future,” said Rich Kassel, Managing Director and head of Capalino’s Clean Energy, Mobility & Sustainability practice.
The clean energy components of the new law are designed to help meet the Biden Administration’s long-term strategy to meet the challenges of climate change, including reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. It does this by investing $73 billion in new research and development, creating a new Office of Clean Energy Deployment in the Department of Energy, expanding investments in renewable energy and charging for electric vehicles, helping communities purchase electric school buses, making our grid more resilient, and making our buildings more energy-efficient. “These investments will be a critical—and welcome—component of our strategies to meet New York City’s and the State’s climate goals and will create great opportunities for companies with innovative technologies and solutions that want to succeed in New York,” continued Kassel.
New York will also be able to expand broadband to underserved and rural areas with $100 million being provided to New York State.
Michael O’Boyle, Managing Director and lead of Capalino’s Technology practice, noted: “The Infrastructure Bill provides significant funding for the creation of Universal Broadband, which will help to close the digital divide by providing enhanced internet access to New Yorkers, and includes investments in digital inclusion programs and training for adults. The bill calls out for investments in building and maintaining a resilient and secure power grid and water supply, including funding for protection against cyber-attacks.”
Investments in new modes of power generation and transportation systems will leverage operational technology and Internet of Things solutions to monitor and manage systems performance and state-of-good repair operations. “These investments will create new business models, many based on emerging technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence and blockchain,” added O’Boyle.
The funding will also bring assistance to nonprofits through $50M provided by the Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act.
“Creating a funding stream that can be used for upgrades for HVAC systems will help nonprofits, museums and religious institutions, often in older buildings, improve the health of their employees and clients, reduce their organization’s environmental impact, decrease energy consumption and will enable them to redirect their resources to more mission critical work,” noted Jeanne Mullgrav, Managing Director and lead of Capalino’s Public + Social sector practice. The Department of Energy will administer these grants which can go up to $200,000 per organization.
For information on how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework can help your company or organization meet your goals, please contact Travis Terry at firstname.lastname@example.org.