Biden- Harris Administration Announces Action Plan to Accelerate Infrastructure

The White House

For decades, American presidents have promised to invest in infrastructure but did not deliver. President Biden brought together Democrats, Independents and Republicans to pass the most significant investment in infrastructure since the Eisenhower Administration. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is making a once-in-a-generation investment in America’s infrastructure and competitiveness that will create good-paying union jobs, grow our economy, invest in communities, combat climate change, promote domestic innovation and manufacturing, and help lower costs for American families. In addition to better roads, bridges, ports and airports, cleaner water, and faster internet, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law also provided a historic down payment toward achieving the Administration’s climate agenda with funding for clean energy, a stronger electric grid, resilience in physical and natural systems, cleaner transportation, and cleaning up legacy pollution. Coupled with the Inflation Reduction Act and CHIPS and Science Act, these federal resources present an unprecedented opportunity to build a better America.

While the Biden-Harris Administration has hit the ground running to implement the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and delivered impressive early results, accelerating the pace by which the federal, state and local governments and the private sector can deliver infrastructure projects is critical to fully maximizing the benefits of the Law. The Administration is engaged in a whole-of-government effort – in partnership with business, labor, states, local, Tribal, territorial, and civic leaders – to implement these laws effectively and deliver for the American people.

While building infrastructure can be complex and challenging, American ingenuity and government creativity can be used to build our infrastructure to a higher standard of “On Time, On Task, and On Budget.” As we approach the one-year milestone of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Biden-Harris Administration is determined to accelerate our progress. Federal agencies will do their part, focused as never before on accelerating the pace of design, construction and permitting. But with over 90% of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding being delivered by non-federal agencies, our state, Tribal, regional, territorial, local and industry partners must also find ways to accelerate the delivery of infrastructure.

In May, the Biden-Harris Administration released a new Permitting Action Plan to strengthen and accelerate federal permitting and environmental reviews by fully leveraging existing authorities, as well as new provisions in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The Permitting Action Plan outlines the Administration’s strategy for ensuring that federal environmental reviews and permitting processes are effective, efficient, and transparent, guided by the best available science to promote positive environmental and community outcomes, and shaped by early and meaningful public engagement.

The recently-signed Inflation Reduction Act provides $1 billion over the next ten years for federal agencies to support the timely review of major federal infrastructure projects, along with training for more effective community engagement, a critical aspect of project development.

To build on that effort, today, at the White House Accelerating Infrastructure Summit, the Administration and outside organizations are announcing new efforts and an Action Plan to accelerate the rebuilding of our infrastructure and maximize this once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a better America.

Delivering Projects On Time

  • The Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration will expand its highly successful Every Day Counts program to include all types of surface transportation-including highways, rail, and transit. The program is a partnership between the Federal Highway Administration and state departments of transportation that identifies and rapidly deploys proven, yet underutilized, innovations in transportation construction.
  • The Department of Commerce and the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs are teaming up to accelerate environmental permitting for more rapid delivery of high-speed internet projects on Tribal lands.
  • The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) is supporting the effort to deliver construction projects at a faster pace. In 2022, ASCE published guidance and training in accelerated project delivery and streamlined procurement methods for engineers and project managers. ASCE’s March 2023 Construction Institute Summit will have a special focus and dedicated sessions on reducing project delivery timelines and promoting alternative project delivery methods and construction innovations that focus on reducing the time for construction projects.
  • The American Road and Transportation Builders Association’s Construction Forum has issued guidance for parties on design-build projects to better assess and allocate risk. Building on diverse experience with innovative contracting methods, ARTBA’s work will help maximize cost and time savings on transportation infrastructure projects when public agencies choose to utilize design-build.
  • The Department of the Interior’s National Park Service’s (NPS) Construction Center of Excellence is developing and distributing electronic Project Management Manuals to ensure that its infrastructure projects are managed to consistent, best-in-practice principles. The manuals include best practices and templates for contract language.
  • The American Council of Engineering Companies Research Institute is releasing a landmark study this month with the University of Colorado on modernizing the design-build process for federal, state and local government agencies. The study provides recommendations for agencies on successful design-build project delivery, using case studies to provide new information to enhance the benefits of cost and schedule savings associated with this project delivery method.
  • New York University’s Operation Fast-Track: The National Stakeholder Initiative for American Infrastructure is engaging key stakeholders to develop a national resource hub that will outline actionable priorities and strategies for streamlining project delivery while obtaining critical input.
  • The states of Arizona and Michigan are launching public-facing dashboards on infrastructure projects to foster collaboration, interagency coordination, and transparency with a goal of reducing the time of project delivery.
  • The State of California will use a variety of innovative procurement methods, including Construction Management/General Contractor and design-build, to speed transportation project delivery.

Staying On Task

Equitable Access & Technical Assistance

  • The Department of Transportation will launch a Project Delivery Center of Excellence at the Volpe Center to support and educate transportation infrastructure project managers in states, Tribes, local, regional and territorial governments on project design, planning, and construction. It will serve as a central resource for the most innovative and effective practices and bring project managers together to learn from one another.
  • The Local Infrastructure Hub, supported by philanthropy and in partnership with the U.S. Conference of Mayors and National League of Cities, will help local leaders navigate funding opportunities available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, along with additional supports along the project lifespan.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency has launched the Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Centers with a goal of establishing at least ten such centers across the United States to provide under-served communities assistance with critical tasks such as grant writing, federal assistance navigation, meaningful engagement, and project implementation support.
  • States including Kansas and Nevada have convened federal, state and local agencies, Tribal leaders, community partners and additional stakeholders to better coordinate their implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and to strategize as to how to maximize investment opportunities.
  • In support of infrastructure implementation, the National Governors Association (NGA) convenes officials from states and territories, federal representatives and partners to share best practices, learn from subject matter experts and to discuss details with federal officials. To advance the implementation of infrastructure projects, NGA has hosted a summit on broadband, workforce innovation and digital equity, a Learning Lab on energy and critical infrastructure resilience, an electric vehicle summit, and workshops for state infrastructure coordinators to ensure that best practices are shared and implemented widely. Its Resources Page, offers the latest federal, NGA, association and partner resources.

Workforce Readiness & Permitting

  • The Biden-Harris Administration has pushed to expand the American workforce, including creating a strong local workforce, training more workers, and helping more Americans access good-paying infrastructure jobs. Federal agencies have hired more than 2,500 engineers, environmental analysts, technology specialists and a wide range of professionals to support infrastructure implementation, with many more to be hired over the coming months.
  • The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), through the White House Talent Pipeline Challenge, has certified nearly 13,000 IBEW electricians through the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program to install electric vehicle chargers.
  • The Federal Highway Administration is increasing its technical assistance program funding by 40% for workforce training, adopting innovative technologies, and managing federal funding.
  • The Department of Transportation’s Center for Transportation Workforce Development will provide program support, technical assistance, and workforce development activities in partnership with federal, state, Tribal and local governments, industry organizations, schools, and universities. The Center provides national leadership and supports initiatives to develop and expand the nation’s transportation workforce.
  • The Eno Center for Transportation is conducting a study for the Federal Transit Administration, focused on upgrading the skills of public sector project managers, a critical link in the effort to improve project delivery.

Delivering Projects On Budget

  • As part of the federal government’s commitments, the White House and the Office of Management and Budget will convene world-leading practitioners and experts on infrastructure project delivery to present findings, analysis, and recommendations – including on how to lower the cost of infrastructure delivery in the U.S.
  • The Department of Transportation Project Delivery Center of Excellence will convene the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), American Society of Civil Engineers, American Road and Transportation Builders Association, American Public Transportation Association and other groups to identify root causes of change orders and construction cost overruns and report on best practices to minimize their use.
  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works program is using alternative delivery approaches including “split delivery” and innovative contract mechanisms to accelerate the delivery of water infrastructure projects. These efforts will result in significant cost savings for water infrastructure projects through the acceleration of project implementation timelines.
  • The Department of Commerce will initiate a “Dig Once” effort in cooperation with the Departments of Transportation and Energy. Dig Once entails interagency coordination on planning, design and construction to prevent multiple excavations for broadband, transportation, and electrification projects.
  • The National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) and AASHTO are collaborating with the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation to advance transportation electrification deployment at the state and local level, including multi-state regional workshops, technical assistance and training, model documents, and a national conference in summer 2023.
  • The Transportation Research Board is hosting a best practices presentation to highlight on time, on task and on budget success stories of large projects, entitled Megaproject Success Stories: What Went Right.
  • The American Society of Civil Engineers and American Council of Engineering Companies will develop and distribute templates and model language for construction contracts to provide new grant recipients with limited experience in project management an off-the-shelf, high-quality model that they can adopt. These templates will promote accountability and transparency, and support high quality design and construction contracts, making the contractors more accountable for on-time and on-budget delivery.

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