Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Delivers for Ohio, Now Ready for President’s Signature

November 8, 2021 | Portman Difference

Last Friday evening, the House of Representatives passed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, after passing the Senate in August. The legislation will soon be signed into law by President Biden, providing an historic investment in in our nation’s infrastructure – repairing and upgrading our crumbling roads, bridges, and more, while improving productivity, growing our economy, and creating good-paying jobs.

Here are a few of the highlights of this landmark bill, many of which will benefit Ohio directly: 

Provides for historic investment in Ohio’s nearly 123,000 miles of roadway. Even though Ohio’s roadway network is extensive, congestion costs Ohio motorists an estimated $4.7 billion each year in lost time and wasted fuel, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), who scored Ohio’s roads at a “D” in their 2021 infrastructure report card.

  • This package provides $110 billion in new spending over five years to construct, rebuild and maintain roads and highways.
  • Specifically, this package provides $10 billion in highway funding for Ohio, plus more than $33 billion in competitive grant funding for highway and multi-modal projects.

Provides funding to help address the Brent Spence Bridge and other major Ohio infrastructure projects. Ohio is 2nd in the nation for the number of bridges, with 44,736 bridges, nearly half of which are not in good condition.

  • The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides $60 billion, including $45 billion through brand new grant programs, for state and local governments to fund major projects across Ohio.
  • The package provides $12.5 billion to fund Portman’s Bridge Investment Act, which establishes a bridge investment program to award competitive grants to states and localities for projects that repair and replace deficient and outdated bridges. This program, alongside other funding opportunities, can move forward the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project once and for all.

The commercial aviation industry in Ohio supports 158,094 jobs and contributes 13.2 billion to the state’s GDP. Ohio’s airport system consists of 7 commercial airports and a total 176 public use airports and heliports.

  • This package provides $25 billion in new funding for airports. Ohio’s airports have received more than $163 million for airport improvement projects within the COVID airport improvement program, and this program builds on that momentum to further improve Ohio’s terminals, runways, and air traffic control system.

Provides historic new funding to close the digital divide

  • The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides $65 billion to increase access to broadband services to connect more Americans to the internet. Specifically, the bill provides $42.5 billion in funding to states to deploy high speed networks to unserved and underserved communities.
    • Currently, more than 300,000 Ohio households, or approximately 1 million Ohioans, lack access to high-speed internet.
  • Further, the package continues the Emergency Broadband Benefit to continue this popular affordability program beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 3 million Ohioans stand to benefit from this program.
  • The package also establishes grant programs totaling $550 million per year to promote digital inclusion efforts in communities that lack the skills, technologies and support needed to take advantage of broadband connections. This funding can help support ongoing efforts in Ohio to provide every Ohioan with the digital skills necessary for a 21st century economy.

Addresses per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances and lead remediation to improve drinking water quality

  • Provides $25 billion in funding to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and for lead service line replacement to help ensure communities in Ohio and across the country have access to clean, safe drinking water.

Provides $1 billion for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI)long one of Senator Portman’s key Ohio priorities

  • The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes $5.5 billion in funding to support ecosystems, like our Great Lakes, across the country.

Provides for safe drinking water

  • Provides $1.4 billion for Ohio through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund programs, which will help finance critical water infrastructure projects throughout the state, including for storm water management and upgrades to water and wastewater treatment systems.

Increases energy efficiency

  • Includes provisions from Senator Portman’s bipartisan energy efficiency legislation that will improve energy efficiency in buildings and the industrial sector, which will help reduce emissions, protect the environment, and create jobs.

Provides for recycling education

  • Authorizes and fully funds at $15 million per year for five years the bipartisan RECYCLE Act Senator Portman introduced to help educate households and consumers about their residential and community recycling programs, which will help strengthen recycling systems in Ohio and across the country and increase our nation’s recycling rate.

Funds reforestation projects on national forestland

  • The bill will remove the current $30M per year cap on the Reforestation Trust Fund, which will help the U.S. Forest Service plant 1.2 billion trees on national forestland and create nearly 49,000 jobs over the next decade. This provision is based upon Senator Portman’s bipartisan REPLANT Act to address the reforestation backlog among our national forests.

Helps finish the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS)

  • The bill will provide $1.25 billion to help finish the ADHS, a series of highway corridors connecting 13 Appalachian states, from New York to Alabama. Ohio stands to receive $95 million in funding through this legislation. This provision is based on Senator Portman’s bipartisan Finish the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS) Act to provide the first dedicated funding for the network of transportation corridors across Appalachia since 2012.

Supports domestic energy production and reduces carbon pollution

  • Will make it easier for power plants and industrial facilities to finance the purchase and installation of carbon capture, utilization, and storage equipment, as well as direct air capture (DAC) projects through the use of private activity bonds (PABs). This provision is based upon the bipartisan Carbon Capture Improvement Act Senator Portman introduced to facilitate the adoption of carbon capture and direct air capture technologies. 

Improves the Federal Permitting Process

  • Will improve the federal permitting process and give project sponsors more certainty by making FAST-41 permanent, which will allow them to create more jobs and develop our nation’s infrastructure more efficiently. FAST-41 was introduced by Senator Portman enacted in 2015 as Title 41 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act to require federal agencies to increase transparency and accountability in the federal permitting process and to better coordinate the permitting process for some of the largest infrastructure projects.

Improves the efficiency of P3s loans

  • This package includes a new requirement for applicants of the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) credit program and Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) loans with project costs of more than $750 million.
  • While Ohio is one of the 36 states with P3-enabling legislation, the public-private partnership financing model is severely underutilized. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes this provision, to require a Value for Money (VfM) analysis for TIFIA and RRIF applicants, to ensure states are giving P3 financing full and fair consideration.
  • In addition, this provision requires DOT to report this data to Congress, to further understanding of state utilization of public-private partnerships.

Increases cyber security 

  • Provides $21 million in funding for the Office of the National Cyber Director (NCD) which will provide the NCD with the resources needed to coordinate the implementation of national cybersecurity policy and strategy.