America is at the beginning of a government-supported building boom. Between 2021 and 2022, Congress invested more than $2.3 trillion across three pieces of legislation—the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Inflation Reduction Act, and the CHIPS and Science Act—to enable critical transportation, climate, energy, environmental, broadband, and semiconductor manufacturing infrastructure through a combination of direct spending, grants, formula funds, and tax incentives. Over time, the legislation will enable significant structural and clean energy improvements in communities across the country, boost American innovation and competitiveness, and create millions of new jobs annually wherever new infrastructure or manufacturing facilities are built. And an adequately sized, appropriately trained workforce is critical if taxpayer-supported projects are to be delivered effectively and on time.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), the focus of this report, is unique in that most of its funding is provided through grants. While meaningful labor and workforce standards are included in the legislation, much of the promise of good jobs, as well as equitable access to them, lies in policy choices around how funds are disbursed. Effectively meeting job quality and equity goals will require guidance and oversight from federal agencies. This is a new focus for awarding and consultative agencies that are still experimenting with how to signal which factors are important to successful implementation, as well as methods of evaluating bidders and monitoring awardees.
The above excerpt was originally published in the Center for American Progress.
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