While the focus has been on flashier components of the infrastructure bill, some smaller initiatives could have outsized impacts by shifting priorities and funding resilience efforts.
In Governing, Ben Miller describes some of the more obscure items in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which, while not in the spotlight, could have significant impacts on the country's infrastructure.
- A national road-use charge pilot program, which would shift revenue for road maintenance and repairs from a gas tax, which is imperiled by the rise of electric vehicles, with a tax based on miles driven.
- A pilot program to study transportation access designed to identify how people in transit-poor areas get around and what infrastructure projects could provide more equitable access to safe transportation. According to Miller, "this kind of work could mean shifting the conversation from car-focused searches for bottlenecks to mobility-focused searches for public need."
- Grants to fund capacity-building for small water agencies, which would fund the purchase of asset management software, GIS, and other tools for gathering data as part of an effort to help water systems identify issues and needs as droughts intensify.
- The creation of several "stormwater centers of excellence" at universities or institutions aimed at studying stormwater management and implementing new strategies for flood prevention and mitigation.
- A new commission charged with finding wildfire management solutions that can be implemented to fight increasingly destructive fires.
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