Fact Sheet: Equity in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
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President Biden’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is an opportunity to advance equity in our country. The investments will connect historically disadvantaged and underserved communities to jobs and economic opportunities, support climate justice by improving air quality and tackling climate change and ensure everyone benefits from the good-paying jobs created by the historic investment. Investments in the law will also deliver for communities in Tribal Nations, rural areas, and U.S. territories, many of which have faced disinvestment in infrastructure.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law makes the largest investment in transit ever and the largest investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak, connecting people to economic opportunities and revitalizing communities.
- The law provides $91.2 billion in mandatory transit funding and supplemental transit appropriations over five years. Investments in transit will especially benefit communities of color since these households are twice as likely to take public transportation and many of these communities lack sufficient public transit options. These investments will help people get to work, school, and wherever else they need to go quicker and more affordably.
- The law provides $13 million in FY22 in funding for transit-oriented-development planning projects linking land use and transportation access for urban and small urban communities. This funding will support business growth and create jobs around transportation investments.
- Investments in the law will also make transit more accessible for people with disabilities – $350 million is available in FY22 in competitive grants to upgrade the accessibility of legacy rail fixed guideway systems for people with disabilities, including those who use wheelchairs, and $421 million is available in FY22 to help meet the transportation needs of older adults and people with disabilities. Upgrades can include raised platforms, new elevators, and more.
- The law establishes a Transportation Access Pilot Program that will measure the level of access, by mode of transportation, to important destinations like jobs, childcare and health care facilities, and workforce training facilities.
The law will invest in roadway safety, benefiting communities of color, who are disproportionately impacted by roadway fatalities.
- The law increases funding for the Transportation Alternatives Program, providing $1.4 million in FY22. This funding will support pedestrian and bike infrastructure, recreational trails, safe routes to school and more.
- It also includes $1 billion in FY22 for a 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 and biking. Improving bicycle and pedestrian safety will benefit all users, but will bring significant benefits to seniors, those with disabilities, and lower income people.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law supports climate justice – improving air quality, making our infrastructure more resilient to climate change, and tackling the climate crisis.
- President Biden’s Executive Order 14008 created a government-wide “Justice40” Initiative with the goal of delivering at least 40% of the overall benefits of federal investments in climate and clean energy, including relevant investment in the BIL, to underserved and disadvantaged communities. Several law programs will support these communities in particular.
- The law includes the first ever investment in electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, providing up to $7.5 billion over five years to build out a national network of EV charging infrastructure. This includes $1 billion in FY22 in formula funding for EV charging infrastructure along highway corridors, in addition to up to $300 million available in FY22 for discretionary funding for community charging grants to provide convenient charging where people live, work, and shop. This program also includes a 50% set-aside for Community grants specifically directed to rural communities, low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. When people are considering buying an EV, they shouldn’t have to worry about whether there’s charging infrastructure that can help them get around. This investment will provide people assurances that wherever they live, they can fill up. In addition, $1.1 billion is available in FY22 to provide funding to state and local governments for the purchase or lease of zero-emission and low-emission transit buses.
- The law includes $2.6 billion in FY22 for Congestion Relief Programs, which now include eligibility for shared micromobility, including bike share and shared scooter systems as well as other vehicles and related charging equipment. The program also permits the Secretary to assist metropolitan planning organizations with advancing micromobility in minority or low-income populations. These investments will improve air quality in congested areas, which often disproportionately impact disadvantaged communities.
- The law provides $450 million in FY22 for the Port Infrastructure Development Program, which will award grants to improve port infrastructure, including intermodal connections, or reduce or eliminate pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions in communities where ports are located. The law also includes $80 million in FY22 for the Reduction of Truck Emissions at Port Facilities Program, which will reduce idling and emissions at ports. These investments will benefit communities where ports are located, which are primarily in low-income and minority communities.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law creates a first-ever program to reconnect communities divided by transportation infrastructure.
- Past transportation investments divided communities or left out the people most in need of affordable transportation options. Portions of the interstate highway system were built through Black neighborhoods, displacing some residents and cutting others off from essentials such as groceries, economic opportunities, transportation and health care.
- The new Reconnecting Communities competitive grant program provides $195 million in dedicated funding in FY22 to fund planning, design, and reconstruction of street grids, parks, or other infrastructure in neighborhoods that have been cut off from economic opportunities.
- The law also includes historic levels of funding for major projects, for which these investments could also qualify: $1.5 billion is available in for Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) Grants, and $1 billion is available for a new MEGA Project grant program in FY22, which will fund nationally or regionally significant projects that result in economic, mobility or safety benefits or have the potential to benefit a historically disadvantaged community or population.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will create good-paying jobs across the country.
- The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will create good jobs for workers across the country, including workers in rural areas, hard-hit energy workers, historically disadvantaged workers, and workers in distressed areas. The majority of these jobs will not require a college degree.
- The law includes Disadvantaged Business Enterprise and Workforce Development Programs which provides $32 million in FY22 to support individuals and businesses that are socially and economically disadvantaged. The law also provides $55 million in grant funding in FY22 to train transit workers on the zero-emission vehicles, including through registered apprenticeships and other joint labor-management training programs to ensure that diesel mechanics and other transit workers are not left behind in the transition to new technology.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will deliver for Tribal Nations, rural communities, and U.S. territories.
- The law establishes the Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success (ROUTES) initiative as a grant program in order improve analysis of projects from rural areas, Tribes, and historically disadvantaged communities in rural areas applying for Department discretionary grants, including ensuring that project costs, local resources, and the larger benefits to the people and the economy of the United States are appropriately considered. ROUTES will provide technical assistance to rural communities, Tribes, and historically disadvantaged communities in order to meet the transportation infrastructure investment needs in a financially sustainable manner. The BIL also establishes an office within the Department of Transportation to address the needs of entities seeking Federal grants and assistance for rural projects. ROUTES was first established in 2019 and currently provides technical assistance for rural and tribal stakeholders as a single point of contact at DOT.
- The law increases the Tribal Transportation Program, providing $578 million. The program provides safe and adequate transportation and public roads that are within, or provide access to, Tribal land, or are associated with a Tribal government, while contributing to economic development, self-determination, and employment in Tribal communities. The BIL will also improve the environmental review process for the Tribal Transportation Program. BIL includes a provision directing Interior and Transportation Secretaries to enter into programmatic agreements with Indian Tribes to establish efficient administrative procedures for carrying out environmental reviews in the Tribal Transportation Program. Additionally, within this program, the set aside for the Tribal Transportation Program Safety Fund increases from 2% to 4% since roadway fatalities disproportionately impact Native Americans.
- The law increases the Tribal Transit Program, providing $44 million in FY 2022. 80 percent of this will be apportioned as formula grants, and the remaining 20 percent will be distributed on a competitive basis. These funds will support public transit projects that will meet the growing needs of rural and tribal communities. Additionally, the TTP is now tied to the Rural Transit Program and will grow as the RTP grows.
- The law includes $300 million for a new Rural Surface Transportation grant program that will provide competitive grants to eligible entities to improve and expand the surface transportation infrastructure in rural areas, including on Tribal land. The goals of the program include increasing connectivity, improving safety and reliability of the movement of people and freight, and generating regional economic growth and improving quality of life.
- The law establishes rural priorities for rail investment, including a new competitive railroad crossing elimination grant to make improvements to highway and pathway rail crossings, such as eliminating highway-rail at-grade crossings that are frequently blocked by trains, adding gates or signals, relocating track, or installing a bridge. $600 million is available in FY 2022 for the railroad crossing elimination program, and at least 20 percent of funds are reserved for projects in rural areas or on Tribal lands. This program will improve the safety of communities and the mobility of people and goods. The BIL also prohibits Amtrak from discontinuing, reducing the frequency of, suspending, or substantially altering the route of rail service on any segment of any long-distance route if Amtrak receives adequate funding for that route.
- The law increases funding for the Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects (also known as INFRA) in rural communities. The BIL amends INFRA to include a minimum 30 percent set-aside for small projects, largely intended for rural areas, an increase from the 25 percent set-aside under the FAST Act. INFRA is also expanded under BIL, with $1.64 billion available in FY 2022. These funds will support rural and Tribal communities by funding highway and rail projects of regional and national economic significance – catalyzing economic growth and creating jobs in these communities.
- The law will also deliver for U.S. territories. Read more about how the law will deliver for territories in our territory fact sheets.
Additional Fact Sheets:
Investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will benefit local, rural, and tribal communities. Read more about how the law will support these communities: local fact sheet, rural fact sheet, tribal fact sheet, state-by-state and territory fact sheets.