Infrastructure Act for Local Communities

December 2021

BY

Laurance AlvaradoManaging Director, Industry Specialty Services

Corey EideDirector, Community Resilience Practice

Nic Nunn-FaronManager, Community Resilience Practice

On November 15, 2021, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) was signed into law, providing $1.2 trillion to revitalize the nation's roads, bridges, waterways, and public transit. Of the $973 billion in new funds available to be utilized through December 31, 2026, $550 billion is earmarked for new investments for all modes of transportation, water, power and energy, environmental conservation, public lands, broadband and resilience.

With the passing of the IIJA, state, territorial, tribal, county, metropolitan city and other local governments across the country are empowered to invest in sustainable and resilient infrastructure. These initiatives will strengthen local communities and prepare them to better withstand disruptions, induced by increasing population density, climate, and market impacts. The consequences of these disruptions are exacerbated by the failing infrastructure found across America.

At BDO we understand that resilient infrastructure has the ability to help communities thrive. Today, 9 out of every 10 cities and towns across America lack the ability to maintain their infrastructure in the coming years. Inducing concentric effects on the economic, environmental, and social domains, the well-being of these communities is being threatened. We approach each engagement with the understanding that it is these three areas which serve as the linchpin for communities as they work towards the goal of thriving in a sustainable and equitable manner.

BDO’s Community Resilience practice views the development of resilient infrastructure through a holistic financial lens that focuses on investment and generational equity to ensure communities become safer and more sustainable amid increasing disruptions. We are serving as an industry leader assisting jurisdictions nationwide as they work to manage the various grant programs implemented by the Coronavirus Relief Fund and American Rescue Plan Act. Our philosophical approach is to view and manage these funding sources through a macro lens, ensuring the capital from each is integrated, maximized, and supplemented by private financing whenever possible. This strategy is continued with the management of Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act grant initiatives, ensuring these funds serve to continue, augment, and sustain those developments inaugurated by the preceding streams.

Driven by the knowledge that less than 1% of communities leverage the full extent of available infrastructure development resources, our multi-disciplinary approach addresses the key drivers for resilience, helping community leaders with everything from developing strategy to accessing public and private financing, investment unification, risk mitigation and beyond. As applied to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, BDO focuses its guidance on four main drivers of community resilience and sustainability:
 
" "   Transportation Infrastructure: Core to the focus of sustainable infrastructure development, the IIJA provides communities the opportunity to reinforce and replace current infrastructure across all modes of transportation, while concurrently allowing communities to initiate developments and position themselves to integrate technological advancements in the coming years.
     
" "   Environmental and Climate Change Resilience: Throughout the development of IIJA, state and local governments across the nation advocated for the integration of climate change and extreme weather resilience within each facet of the initiative. This is particularly illustrated in the financial provisions for drinking water, wastewater, stormwater, and floodplain management. By mitigating the impacts that disruptions will have on these mechanisms, communities will be positioned to recover in a more effective and efficient manner than previously exhibited.
     
" "   Broadband and the Digital Divide: As of today, over 40% of low-income Americans do not have access to broadband internet. As the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted, community members of all ages will need expanded access to broadband s to thrive at an ever-increasing pace. In response, the IIJA includes the largest-ever investment in broadband, to facilitate infrastructure development and facilitate advances in affordability and digital equity.
     
" "   Resilient Financing and Maintenance: While the span of American society has continued to expand, local communities, especially those in rural and low-income areas, have struggled to afford the necessary maintenance and repair of their physical infrastructure. The IIJA incorporates several provisions that enable local governments to access tax-exempt bond funding and engage in public-private partnerships to secure financial sustainability. 

BDO recognizes the significant opportunity that the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has afforded states and local jurisdictions throughout the United States and is committed to helping these communities work towards resilience as they engage in infrastructure development initiatives. Through the utilization of our industry and financial management expertise, our professionals can assist government agencies in the administration of these funds to ensure the intended impact is fully realized. BDO can help address the key issues facing your jurisdiction in a variety of ways:
 
" "   Strategic Analysis and Planning of Infrastructure Act program applications.
     
" "   Complementary financing sources (bond provisions, public-private partnerships, etc.) leveraging, unification, and utilization strategy development.
     
" "   Fiscal controls environment development/improvement and monitoring.
     
" "   Fund disbursement monitoring and evaluation services.
     
" "   Prepare and deliver program specific financial and progress reports.
     
" "   Design, administer, and close out projects and programs funded through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.