Jobs, Resources, and Plans — Where to Look for Your Funding Future

September 30, 2021

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From the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs ACT to the American Jobs Plan to the American Rescue Plan, there is no shortage of opportunity in the clean transportation space. These federal incentives and regulatory stimuli seek to re-envision and reinvigorate the country’s economic priorities with an emphasis on clean transportation, domestic manufacturing, job growth, and infrastructure, but what is not so clear is how the money will ultimately hit the streets.

Critical for the Future of On-Road Transportation

The largest source of these funds is the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (the Act), a whopping piece of legislation with four other bipartisan bills incorporated under its umbrella. These authorizing bills include the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021, the Surface Transportation Investment Act, the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act, and the Energy Infrastructure Act.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a whopping piece of legislation with four other bipartisan bills under its umbrella.

The Act will have a large and somewhat immediate impact on the transportation industry, with large dollar amounts dedicated to improving infrastructure, building the domestic EV manufacturing and selling market, and incentivizing other alternative fuel research. The deal is slated to be the largest federal investment in public transit ever, in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrack, in bridges since building the interstate highway system, and in clean energy transmission and EV infrastructure.

High-level numbers include $89.9 billion for public transit, of which $5.25 billion will be set aside for state and local governments to purchase or lease low- or zero-emission transit buses and supporting facilities. Airports, ports, and waterways can expect $80 billion allocated for infrastructure, new projects, and equipment upgrades to reduce congestion and emission. Even investments in power infrastructure will ripple into the transportation sector. Under this umbrella, $73 billion for clean energy transition projects will support R&D, demonstration, and pilot programs to further understand and deploy alternative energy sources, which include a series of hydrogen programs.

Electric vehicles will see $7.5 billion to build a nationwide network of EV chargers, with a focus on rural, disadvantaged, and hard-to-reach communities. Another $7.5 billion will support the electrification or low-emission conversion of buses and ferries. School bus electrification is a major focus, with Clean School Bus Programs across the country seeing access to more funds. Other non-specified programs will receive increased funding. For example, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles will see more dollars come from congestion mitigation and air quality improvement programs.

The ACT will have a large and somewhat immediate impact on the transportation industry.

Leveraging Other Opportunities

In the meantime, there are countless other funding opportunities pushing the transportation industry. The most recent entrant into the incentives market is the American Rescue Plan. The first hints of this funding plan have already made its way into the public space, with the $7 million 2021 Electric School Bus Rebates Program. Additional funding will soon open from other U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy funding offices.

Public-private partnerships, municipalities, utilities, businesses, and community groups have all continued to pursue transportation infrastructure improvements and innovation. Utilities and states are currently offering incentive programs to fund clean transportation projects — some options include grants, rebates, and special utility rates, and Volkswagen settlement funding continues to be offered across the country. These are all opportunities that can be taken advantage of now and built upon when funding from the Act becomes available through grant programs in the future.

Plotting Out the Next Steps

Public-private partnerships are highlighted in the Act as an essential piece of furthering clean transportation and improving American infrastructure. There will be increased funding for public-private partnership projects as well as benefits provided to the private entities involved. For example, the Jobs Plan sets a goal to fund the installation of 500,000 EV chargers across the country. This is likely to be accomplished by an amalgamation of installations from different sectors and funding sources.

There are funding opportunities pushing the transportation industry, the most recent is the American Rescue Plan.

The key thus becomes knowing where to look for help, identifying how to piece these programs together, and generate the economic and environmental benefits that such projects can provide. As many other fleets around the U.S. have demonstrated, an initial shot of stimulus funding can provide long-lasting and sustainable results to the bottom line and the environment. To make informed and savvy business decisions, companies need to understand current and future trends taking place at a local, state, and federal government level.

GNA’s expertise and resources provide clients unique insight into the development, passage, and implementation of laws and regulations that impact the commercial transportation sector. Since its founding in 1993, GNA has been instrumental in the development of environmental programs and policies that have improved air quality, increased the use of clean fuels and advanced technologies in transportation, and have spurred the creation of innovative public-private partnerships in a variety of sectors. GNA tracks more than 500 local, state, and federal incentive programs, in addition to utility incentive programs throughout the U.S. GNA has secured more than $900 million in incentive funding for its customers and projects via the submission of more than 500 funding applications.