What does the $1 Trillion Infrastructure Bill Mean for the Composites Industry?
The dollar value, if not the market share, of composite products used for transportation, energy, and water infrastructure will get a big boost under a bill that was negotiated over the summer by a bipartisan group of Senators and the White House, was passed by the Senate on August 10, and, after a long period of wrangling between progressive and moderate Democrats, finally was passed by the House on Friday, November 5. President Biden is expected to sign it into law next week.
Historic Infrastructure Spending
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides a historic level of spending on infrastructure. The $1T authorized total includes:
- $550B in new spending to be allocated over 5 years, including $110B above baseline for roads and bridges
- $17B for waterway and coastal infrastructure
- $55B for drinking water and wastewater systems
- $73B for electric power systems.
Much of the spending will be for projects for which composites should be a preferred material because of superior lifecycle performance. For example, the bill includes a total of $40B in new funding for bridge repair, replacement, and rehabilitation, which, according to a White House statement, is the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the interstate highway system.
The bill sets up a $5B Energy Department grant program for utility pole management and other projects to lessen energy supply disruptions resulting from extreme weather, wildfire, or natural disaster. The grant program will be included in the Stafford Act’s hazard mitigation program administered by FEMA. $9.5B is also provided to the Energy Department for a program to demonstrate and commercialize clean hydrogen production, processing, delivery, and end-use application technology.
New Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant programs will provide $55B to improve the infrastructure resilience and operational sustainability of public drinking water systems and wastewater treatment systems. The Army Corps of Engineers and the Transportation Department will get $10B for infrastructure projects at inland and coastal waterways.
Domestically produced composite products may benefit under the Build America, Buy America provisions of the bill. None of the funds made available for infrastructure may be allocated to a project unless all the iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials used in the project are produced in the United States. Manufactured products are also required to have at least 55% domestic content. Requests for waivers of these requirements are to be published in the Federal Register and approvals will be granted only following the consideration of public comments.
Watch your inbox for ACMA programming on the impact of federal policy and spending on the use of composites in construction and infrastructure.