$3B Dam Funding Outlined in Infrastructure Bill

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2021


Of the $1.2 trillion included in the recently signed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, roughly $3 billion will go towards repairing, removing and retrofitting dams in the United States.

The U.S. reportedly has more than 90,000 dams—ranging from federally-owned, state-owned and privately-owned—averaging over half a century old.

The money could give “a good kick-start to some of these upgrades that need to be done to make the dams as safe as possible,” said David Griffin, Manager of Georgia’s Safe Dams Program and President-Elect of the Association of State Dam Safety Officials, told the Associated Press.

Funding for dams outlined in the infrastructure bill include:

  • $733 million to FEMA over five years to enhance dam safety and rehabilitate or remove aging dams;
  • $500 million to the Bureau of Reclamation over five years for its dam safety program and $100 million for repairs at certain older dams;
  • $118 million to the National Resources Conservation Service for dam repairs;
  • $75 million to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a loan program for dam repairs;
  • $800 million to several federal agencies to remove dams; and
  • $750 million for improvements to hydroelectric dams or retrofit dams.

“This funding will allow for significant increases in the number and amount of actual dam rehabilitation and removal projects which the current funding levels have not allowed,” said David Maurstad, FEMA’s deputy associate administrator for insurance and mitigation.

“Dams play a vital role in the nation’s overall infrastructure. They contribute to the economic development of the United States and to the social welfare of the American public,” stated FEMA in a press release.

Infrastructure Bill Details

With the goal of rebuilding the nation’s deteriorating roads and bridges, as well as funding new climate resilience and broadband initiatives, the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act reportedly serves to deliver a key component in President Joe Biden’s agenda.

Projects approved in the legislation, according to the White House’s Fact Sheet, will include:

  • Delivering clean water to all American families and eliminate the nation’s lead service lines ($55 billion);
  • Ensuring access to reliable high-speed internet ($65 billion);
  • Repairing and rebuilding roads and bridges with a focus on climate change mitigation, resilience, equity and safety ($110 billion);
  • Improving transportation options for millions of Americans and reduce greenhouse emissions through the largest investment in public transit in U.S. history ($89.9 billion);
  • Upgrading airports and ports to strengthen supply chains and prevent disruptions that cause inflation, also creating jobs and reducing emissions ($17 billion);
  • Making the largest investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak ($66 billion);
  • Building a national network of electric vehicle chargers ($7.5 billion);
  • Upgrading power infrastructure to deliver clean, reliable energy and deploy energy technology to achieve a zero-emissions future ($65 billion);
  • Making infrastructure resilient against the impacts of climate change, cyber-attacks and extreme weather events ($50 billion); and
  • Delivering the largest investment in tackling legacy pollution in American history by cleaning up Superfund and brownfield sites, reclaiming abandoned mines and capping orphaned oil and gas wells ($21 billion).

The White House also reports that the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, alongside the Build Back Framework, will add on average 1.5 million jobs per year for the next ten years.

“Tonight, we took a monumental step forward as a nation,” President Biden said in a statement following the 228-206 vote. “The United States House of Representatives passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a once-in-generation bipartisan infrastructure bill that will create millions of jobs, turn the climate crisis into an opportunity and put us on a path to win the economic competition for the 21st Century.

“I’m also proud that a rule was voted on that will allow for passage of my Build Back Better Act in the House of Representatives the week of Nov. 15. The Build Back Better Act will be a once-in-a-generation investment in our people.”

As potential effects of climate change woe the world, the legislation has recognized that nearly 75% of the nation’s electricity can be accounted for in both its residential and commercial structures, such as housing, stores and offices.

To mitigate the high usage, the Build Better Plan has dedicated roughly $5 billion to various programs aimed at reducing electricity use in buildings, improving building materials and training on design, construction and maintenance for energy-efficient structures.

The bill will also fund a series of problem-solving programs, for issues varying from drafty windows in affordable housing complexes to aged air ducts and outdated building codes.

According to reports, the largest chunk of the $5 billion will be utilized for the Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program, which aids structures owned or occupied by people with low incomes. The legislation is expected to provide a $3.5 billion infusion for the program, which will be used to fund upgrades such as insulation, windows, roofing, and heating and cooling devices.

Though seemingly minor, the upgrades are expected to result in sizable energy savings.

Infrastructure Bill Advisor

The White House recently announced that President Joe Biden has named former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu as senior advisor responsible for the implementation of the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Earlier this week, Biden signed into law the largest federal investment in infrastructure in more than a decade.

“I am thankful to the President and honored to be tasked with coordinating the largest infrastructure investment in generations,” said Landrieu.

“Our work will require strong partnerships across the government and with state and local leaders, business and labor to create good-paying jobs and rebuild America for the middle class. We will also ensure these major investments achieve the President’s goals of combating climate change and advancing equity.”

Landrieu served as the mayor of New Orleans from 2010-2018, during Hurricane Katrina recovery and the BP Oil Spill. According to the White House statement, in that time he fast-tracked over 100 projects and secured billions in federal funding for roads, schools, hospitals, parks and critical infrastructure.

“He also knows what it’s like to lead at the state level and will be able to work with and relate to governors and other state officials,” stated the White House press release. “And he has strong relationships in the business and labor communities, which will be essential in carrying out this job.”

   

Tagged categories: Funding; Grants; Infrastructure; Infrastructure; Locks and dams; NA; North America; Power; Power; President Biden; Program/Project Management; Renovation; Restoration; Retrofits; Safety

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