On November 15, President Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law. The $1.2 trillion bill covers many aspects of infrastructure from transportation to water to broadband to electricity, with over $567 billion going to discretionary and formula programs under USDOT’s jurisdiction between FY 2022 and FY 2026. The IIJA contains language from S.1913 or the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act (SRTA), consisting of the EPW Committee’s highway title and the Commerce Committee’s rail title, to reauthorize the federal surface transportation program.
The majority of funding in the bill will flow directly to state transportation departments with a significant portion reserved for new, USDOT-administered discretionary grant programs.
Major Policy Changes
Read more in our IIJA Overview for Cities (pdf).
- Local Control: In a step forward for cities seeking to streamline design and complete streets processes, the IIJA contains a new provision granting cities authority to apply an approved design guide of their choice to federally-funded projects on locally-owned streets. This language establishes that when states administer Federal funds to cities, they are neither required nor permitted to require cities to comply with state design standards or safety policy. Learn more about how to adopt NACTO design guides in your city.
- MUTCD: Under this bill, USDOT must consider recommendations from the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (NCUTCD), a non-governmental body, when updating the Manual. The language also directs USDOT to consider the protection of vulnerable road users and autonomous vehicles in its update.
- Complete Streets: MPOs must use 2.5 percent of their overall funding to develop and adopt complete streets policies, active transportation plans, transit access plans, transit-oriented development plans, or regional intercity rail plans. Similarly, states must reserve 2.5 percent of State Planning and Research funds for the same purposes. However, these policies do not have to be included in state or MPO spending plans.
- NEPA Reform: The IIJA streamlines 4(f) reviews by limiting the allowable number of pages for a decision and requiring a single federal agency to be responsible for issuing a decision resulting from a NEPA review.
- Crash Data: The IIJA requires new crash data systems to distinguish between bicycles, electric scooters, and wheelchairs.
- Vehicle Safety: This bill requires the Secretary to update NCAP, hood, and bumper safety standards to consider the safety of people outside a vehicle, with an emphasis on crash avoidance technologies. NACTO called for this change and further action.
- Local Hiring: The IIJA ends prohibitions on local hiring and allows recipients of federal transportation grants to implement a local hiring preference for construction work.
Competitive Grant and FHWA/FTA Formula Programs
The IIJA creates over $150 billion worth of discretionary grant programs, giving USDOT an extraordinary opportunity to direct these new funds to projects that will advance safety, equity, and climate goals.
Read more in our overview (pdf).