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Phillip Owens on: IIJA – Common ground at last?

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On Monday November 15th, 2021, President Biden signed the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill into law. This was a historic moment in our country because the House and Senate are generally so divisive, i.e., Democrat vs. Republican, Conservative vs. Liberal, Red vs. Blue, and they are rarely prepared to compromise on anything. The $1.2 trillion bipartisan bill, is much more than just a stopgap, it represents a generational investment in our country’s infrastructure.

What is in this bill, and why is it deemed important or historic?

This measure will allow funds to be granted to bridges, highways, telecommunications, and water and electricity systems, among other infrastructures. This will offer more cash to support and repair infrastructure projects such as the Port of Baltimore’s upgrade and the Brent Spencer Bridge, which connects Ohio and Kentucky. This will help to ensure safe travel throughout our beautiful country, as well as efficient transportation of commodities and produce. Aviation, energy, transportation, and water will all be affected significantly. 

By delivering shovel-ready jobs, this will also aid in the fight against inflation and unemployment. Beyond the funding, the measure also offers promise for more cooperative and effective governance. The gridlock is finally coming to an end. We have found 1.2 trillion dollars’ worth of agreement. The IIJA envisions a future in which bipartisanship, which has grown increasingly rare in recent years, is attainable and beneficial to all.

It all started with a good first impression. The IIJA’s portion of the infrastructure package was built from the ground up to find the right combination of recovery priorities that both parties could publicly support. Drafted carefully over the course of months by a bipartisan group of 22 senators, the IIJA’s language was divided among numerous working groups for input. It was not without hurdles but on August 10th, the bill passed the senate with amendment in a vote 69-30. It then went to the house where it followed a similar bipartisan process.

Now that the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has been signed into law, it’s time to get back together and put it into action. The IIJA’s passage is merely the first step. Federal agencies now must take charge to roll-out the new infrastructure spending. To properly assess priorities and begin eliminating bottlenecks, they will need to work together. Municipal governments will be taking on once-in-a-generation responsibilities on the state and local levels, between requesting the federal funds, dispersing their own allocations and becoming owner/operators of the finished works. 

The IIJA's broad support demonstrates our country's resolve to rebuilding itself and regaining economic competitiveness.
So, as we approach the new year, let's get started!

About Contributor: Phillip Owens, PMP

“I have learned from some of the best in the business and have become widely known as an industry expert in project controls.  I particularly enjoy when I get to work on challenging in-flight projects or programs and helping to turn them around to achieve project success. It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to share my knowledge and develop new ways to make an impact on our business.”

Phillip is a Program Controls Manager with Anser Advisory and is recognized for his ability to develop and lead healthy teams, bring innovative solutions, and always deliver on time.