Fact Sheet: Climate and Resilience in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
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President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is the first infrastructure law in U.S. history that acknowledges and addresses the climate crisis. It advances a wide variety of infrastructure investments that will reduce greenhouse emissions from America’s transportation network while, at the same time, bolstering the resilience of America’s transportation infrastructure in the face of ever-increasing extreme weather and other climate impacts. In addition to the policies and investments in the law that protect the climate, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is notably the first infrastructure law in U.S. history with a dedicated climate title. The investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help foster American manufacturing of green technologies, create good-paying green jobs, and build better infrastructure that provides Americans with affordable, sustainable transportation options.
Transit and Rail. The law provides $91.2 billion in mandatory transit funding and supplemental transit appropriations over five years – the largest investment in transit in American history. This includes $1.1 billion for the Federal Transit Administration’s Low or No Emission Vehicle Program and $50 million for the Electric or Low-emitting Ferry Program in FY 2022, which will help ensure our transit system is helping to tackle the climate crisis and working better for all of us. The law also authorizes $66 billion in supplemental appropriations over five years in passenger and freight rail – the largest investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak. By providing more energy-efficient modes of travel, improving our transit and rail systems will help provide accessible and enjoyable climate-friendly alternatives to driving and flying.
Active Transportation. The law provides $1.4 billion for the Transportation Alternatives Program in FY 2022, which support pedestrian and bike infrastructure, recreational trails, safe routes to school and more. The law also includes $1 billion in FY 2022 for the first-of-its-kind Safe Streets and Roads for All program, which will provide funding directly to local and tribal governments to make our streets safer, especially for those walking, biking, and rolling.
Electric Vehicles. The law includes the first-ever Federal investment in EV charging infrastructure, investing $7.5 billion over five years. This includes nearly $1 billion in formula funding in FY 2022 for EV charging infrastructure along highways, in addition to up to $300 million in FY 2022 in competitive funding for community charging grants to provide convenient charging where people live, work, and shop. This funding will support the President’s goal of deploying 500,000 EV chargers by 2030 and ensure that electric vehicle owners are able to get where they need to go.
Ports and Airports. The law directs $80 million in FY 2022 exclusively for a new program to reduce emissions from idling trucks at port facilities, which will protect the climate and improve air quality around ports. Additionally, $450 million is available in FY 2022 for the Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP), which will provide grants to improve port facilities, including projects that will reduce or eliminate toxic air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions. The law also supports climate-friendly projects at airports, putting $1 billion in FY 2022 toward a new Airport Terminal Program to support terminal development and other landside projects. This discretionary grant program will support projects that increase energy efficiency through upgrading environmental systems, upgrading plant facilities, and achieving LEED standards.
Congestion and Air Quality. The law includes more than $1.2 billion in FY 2022 for a new formula Carbon Reduction Program specifically to reduce transportation-related emissions. Under this program, states will develop carbon reduction strategies to support efforts to reduce transportation emissions and the funding will support their efforts. Additionally, the law provides $50 million in FY 2022 for a new Congestion Relief Program to provide competitive grants for projects in large cities that advance innovative and multimodal (like transit, biking, walking, or buses) solutions to relieve traffic congestion. These projects can help reduce highway congestion, lower economic and environmental costs related to congestion, and optimize the capacity of existing highway and transit systems. The law also funds and expands the existing Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality improvement program, providing $2.5 billion in FY 2022 to support surface transportation projects and other related efforts (like bike share, scooter systems, and medium- and heavy-duty zero emission vehicles) that improve air quality and relieve congestion.
Competitive Grants. The law provides $1.5 billion in FY 2022 for Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grants, which support surface transportation projects of local and/or regional significance, including projects with climate benefits. $1 billion in law goes toward a new National Infrastructure Project Assistance grant program in FY 2022, which will support large projects with national or regional significance across multiple modes of transportation. Additionally, $100 million is included in FY 2022 in the law for the Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) program, a competitive grant program open to states, local governments, and tribes for projects that improve transportation safety and efficiency.
Environmental Justice. President Biden’s Executive Order 14008 created a government-wide “Justice40” Initiative with the goal of delivering 40% of the overall benefits of federal investments in climate and clean energy, including relevant investment in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to underserved and disadvantaged communities. Several programs will support these communities in particular. For example, investments in bike and pedestrian infrastructure through the Transportation Alternatives Program can support disadvantaged communities, where people are less likely to own cars. Investments in transit will support communities of color – Asian American and African American workers commute by public transit at nearly 4 times the rate of white workers. Investments in the Port Infrastructure Development Program and in the new program to reduce emissions from idling trucks at port facilities will improve air quality in communities around ports, which are often communities of color and low-income communities. The legislation also increases the federal cost share for Historically Disadvantaged Communities so that they can better take advantage of programs like RAISE. Lastly, the law requires an update to the National Freight Strategic Plan to include best practices for reducing environmental impacts, consideration of potential impacts of the freight system on rural and historically-disadvantaged communities, and strategies for decarbonization.
Resilience. In addition to providing the first ever legislative definition of resilience, the law establishes the Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-saving Transportation (PROTECT) program, providing $8.7 billion over five years. PROTECT provides $1.4 billion in formula funding to states and $250 million in competitive grants in FY 2022 to eligible entities to increase the resilience of our transportation system. This includes funding for evacuation routes, coastal resilience, making existing infrastructure more resilient, or efforts to move infrastructure to nearby locations not continuously impacted by extreme weather and natural disasters. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law incorporates resilience considerations into existing transportation programs. This includes improvements to the National Highway Performance Program, Surface Transportation Block Grant Program, and FHWA’s Emergency Relief Program. The law also directs the Secretary to designate 10 regional Centers of Excellence for Resilience and Adaptation and a national center to coordinate the regional centers. These centers will receive grants to advance research and development that improves the resilience of regions of the United States to natural disasters, extreme weather, and the effects of climate change on surface transportation infrastructure and infrastructure dependent on surface transportation.
Natural Infrastructure. The law provides the first ever definition of natural infrastructure – providing needed clarity to the transportation community and a statement of its importance as a transportation resilience strategy. It also expands opportunities to utilize funding for natural infrastructure within the new PROTECT program, leveraging the existing natural environment to help us achieve greater resilience. This includes projects like tidal wetlands that not only protect our infrastructure from flooding, but often also help reduce carbon emissions in the first place.