The federal government is making a huge investment in infrastructure. Under the new plan announced in early 2018, over $1.5 trillion in infrastructure spending will be spurred by investments at the federal, state, and local levels.
What are some of the standout features of the plan itself, and how will they impact the future of bridge utility work?
Billions in Federal Funding
An investment of over $200,000,000,000 in federal funds towards infrastructure development is the plan’s most tangible component. These funds are intended to generate additional spending downstream at the state, local, and municipal levels. For projects that have been on-hold, the influx of cash could be the catalyst that moves things along; in other scenarios, projects that require private funding in addition to public funding may see an increased willingness to contribute from investors.
Closing the Gap
Significant investment in rural and otherwise under-serviced areas is a hallmark of the plan. A full quarter of the plan’s monetary investment will be made in rural America, and states will be given a vast majority of control over how the money is allocated. In states where a handful of cities (North Carolina, Ohio, etc.) act as economic engines, this increased spending could help close the “last-mile” that keeps adjacent population centers from reaching their full potential. The last mile for utilities is particularly pronounced within the telecommunications sector.
State and Local Control
The plan seeks to turn over much control of resulting infrastructure projects to state and local governments. When managed at the state level, projects are far more likely to receive the attention they require to succeed, and they’re also more likely to be geared specifically to the needs of the population at-hand. Bridge projects overseen by state DOTs and/or local regulatory bodies tend to be less complex and more likely to run on schedule than those overseen by the federal government.
Loosening of Red Tape
One of the plan’s strongest features is its commitment to lessening project-halting regulatory burdens at the federal level. The plan intends to streamline the permitting process (at all levels), to establish a “one agency, one decision” structure for environmental reviews, and to eliminate redundancies. Various incentive structures within the plan are designed to minimize regulation while keeping all parties involved honest and motivated. Transportation projects, particularly high-profile bridgework, have historically faced a cumbersome gauntlet of regulatory red tape throughout the design, building, and review process.
Aptus is highly interested in what the new federal infrastructure plan means for the American economy. As the plan takes effect, we expect an increased investment from both governmental and private sectors in potentially life-changing utility work on the country’s 600,000+ bridges. In addition to new utilities installation, we’re likely to see a significant investment in the updating and retrofitting of America’s existing bridge-attached utilities. More than half of the country’s bridges are over fifty years old.
Aptus is the leader in bridge utility installation, maintenance, and repair.
Our talented team works coast-to-coast to improve the state of American infrastructure one bridge project at a time.
To learn more, contact Aptus today.