Reading is Hustling

Jan. 1, 2023
Love them or hate them, but you have to understand the IIJA’s many rules

The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) is long and complicated.

The IIJA funding guidebook that the White House released is shorter than the law, but it’s still more than 400 pages, impenetrable in some parts, exhaustingly boring in others.

Later in this issue, David Cullen, who is one of our three IIJA columnists, argues that reading this guidebook should be homework for the industry. I agree with him.

However, I also understand not reading it because it might put you to sleep. Plus, who has the time with a job and family, right?

Roads & Bridges has your back. Throughout this year, we are going to continue to cover the IIJA rollout and analyze each aspect of the law as it relates to the roads and bridges construction industry.

Also in this issue, I break down the results from a multi-part state of the industry survey that Roads & Bridges conducted this past summer. In the survey, we asked this question to 141 respondents:

How would you rate your level of understanding of the rules and regulations under the IIJA as it pertains to your industry? Average received 47.5% of the answers, followed by weak (20.5%), good (17%), very weak (7.8%) and very good (7.09%).

The stakes are too high for average and weak to receive the most answers.

We here at Roads & Bridges need to do a better job informing you about the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. But anyone who can’t honestly answer that question with good or very good needs to step up, too.

America should have the best infrastructure in the world. For decades, we failed to invest in infrastructure. A bill like this should have been signed into law in 2007, following the I-35W Mississippi River bridge collapse in Minneapolis.

It took 14 years to finally do something. Now that it’s here, it’s our duty to understand the rules, regulations, and funding processes of the law.

And I know what many of you are thinking: There are too many regulations, too many rules, it’s overly complicated, and the rollout isn’t going fast enough.

Those are valid points—if they are made by people who supported the passage of the IIJA and have taken the time to read about what’s in the law.

And even then, will making those valid arguments change anything on the ground for you in 2023? Probably not, so let’s work together, understand this law, and fix our infrastructure.

As legendary Steelers head coach Chuck Noll said, “Good things happen to those who hustle.” It’s a new year. Time to hustle. R&B

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