On November 15, 2021, President Biden signed into law the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (the “Act”). The Act allocates $1.2 trillion for the development of roads, railways, bridges, broadband, the power grid, and environmental initiatives. Environmental justice is a core objective of the Act, the largest investment in addressing legacy pollution in American history.
The Act directs $21 billion to address Superfund and Brownfield sites and abandoned mines and old oil and gas wells, which are disproportionately located in low-income and minority communities. To that end, the Act reinstates and modifies the expired Hazardous Substance Superfund Trust Fund excise taxes on the production or import of certain chemicals through December 31, 2031, effective after June 30, 2022. The tax will be imposed on businesses that manufacture or produce in the U.S. or import for consumption, use, or warehousing in the U.S. 42 listed chemicals at rates between $0.44 per ton to $9.74 per ton.
The Act allocates $55 billion for upgrading water infrastructure with the goal of delivering clean drinking water to over 10 million Americans and 400,000 schools by eliminating lead service lines and pipes over the next five years. The largest portion will go towards the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund ($11.7 billion) and the Clean Water State Revolving Fund ($11.7 billion), under which federal grants are deposited for states to provide loans to support water infrastructure projects. While eligibility for these grants varies by state, typically both publicly and privately-owned water facilities and systems are eligible. Eligible projects typically include but are not limited to the acquisition, construction, improvement, and repair of all or part of any facility or system for the collection, treatment or disposal of wastewater and for the supply, treatment, storage or distribution of drinking water.
The Act allocates another $15 billion for addressing lead in drinking water, primarily by lead service line replacement. An additional $10 billion is allocated to address emerging contaminants in drinking water with a focus on PFAS. Half of the $10 billion will support a fund which specifically supports underserved, small, and disadvantaged communities in need of funding to comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act and address emerging contaminants. The remainder of the $10 billion will be distributed to address emerging contaminants through the Clean Water ($1 billion) and Drinking Water ($4 billion) State Revolving Funds. The Act also designates funding for development of resilience technology to address extreme weather events and hazards resulting from climate change.
The Act allocates more than $28 million towards infrastructure that reduces greenhouse gases, focusing on mobile sources, methane reduction from orphaned well sites and abandoned mine reclamation, and the development of renewable technologies. More than $2 billion is allocated through grants to states, local governments, authorities, and metropolitan planning organizations to increase the accessibility of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and hydrogen, propane, and natural gas fueling infrastructure. In addition, the Act allocates more than $5 billion in grants and prize competitions that reduce carbon through capture, removal and storage, and more than $54 billion to develop a clean hydrogen program and nuclear energy infrastructure.
Pennsylvania and New Jersey are expected to receive approximately $17.8 and $13.51 billion respectfully from the Act. While it remains to be seen how states, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey, will use this money, grants should be available to assist in achieving the goals set forth in the Act.