IIJA funding will bring an infrastructure boom to S.C.

ACEC National has everything you need to know about the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.  From fact sheets to podcasts, click here to access the ACEC The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act resource page.

Click here to see the actual bill text.

Click here to see the Senate’s summary of the bill.

Click here to see the White House Guidebook for the IIJA.

South Carolina will be impacted by the passage of the IIJA.  Click here to see the administration’s fact sheet about the amount of money coming to South Carolina.  

In order for South Carolina to take advantage of the money coming to transportation from the IIJA, the South Carolina General Assembly has to allocate a minimum of $100 million annually in the state budget to SCDOT. Click here to see the letter written to the House Ways & Means Committee and here for the letter to the SC Senate Finance Committee asking for this allocation.  

Unlike many other States, South Carolina was able to keep working on our infrastructure during the pandemic. Thanks to the forward thinking of both SCDOT and the General Assembly, we did not lose nearly as much revenue for our roads as other states.  When the “roads bill” passed in 2017, SCDOT diversified its income by increasing the sales tax on vehicles. This money kept us working during the height of the pandemic, and while other states played catch-up, SCDOT started thinking about how to use the money coming from the IIJA. SCDOT has already planned on how to use the additional money to implement its 10 year plan. Click here to see SCDOT’s plans for using these dollars.

The Biden Administration did issue this memorandum in December of 2021, stating how they would prefer IIJA funds to be spent.  SCDOT and ACEC-SC think it should be left up to the State to use these dollars where they think the are most needed. Click here to see the December 16, 2021, USDOT Memo, and click here to see SCDOT’s response.

Implementation: where do we go from here? We can not fully implement these dollars until we know we will have matching funds. Currently, South Carolina is waiting on the General Assembly to finalize the state budget, but below is where we are currently with the House’s and Senate’s allocations for SCDOT in the state budget.  

  • Senate Finance Only allocated $100 million in recurring funds to match IIJA to SCDOT.
  • House Ways & Means gave $120 million in recurring funds to match IIJA to SCDOT.
  • Ways & Means also allocated:
    • $176.5 million to Rural Interstate Funding 
    • $5 million for Surface Transportation
    • $250 million for CTC Acceleration

These figures could change some in Conference Committee, but we expect SCDOT to get its needed funding out of this year’s budget. The Budget Committee Conference Committee Members are: 

  • Senators Alexander (Oconee), Peeler (Cherokee) & Setzler (Lexington)
  • Representatives M. Smith (Sumter), Simrill (York), and Rutherford (Richland)
    • Click here to encourage conferees to give as much as possible to SCDOT. 

The IIJA is not just surface transportation infrastructure.  

Most of the funding for Water in the IIJA is part of the State Revolving Fund and will be used to ensure there are not more debacles like in Flint, Michigan.

There are also dollars going to make sure broadband is available for everyone, updating S.C.’s electric grid, and giving access to Electric Vehicle charging stations. If all of these programs roll out correctly, we will all see how much “Infrastructure Works.”

The clock is ticking on ARPA funding.

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) passed on March 11, 2021. The Bill provides additional relief from the impact COVID-19 had on the country and states’ public health, state and local governments, individuals and businesses.

The passage of the ARPA is big for South Carolina, its infrastructure, and its economy. ACEC-SC started lobbying for this money to head to water infrastructure once we knew how much money South Carolina was receiving. 

At the time, we knew water infrastructure was a safe place to allocate the money.  As discussion went on at the General Assembly, we advocated for money to go to surface transportation infrastructure as well.  We were successful on both fronts.  

The SC House and Senate did approve the following allocations from the ARPA funding South Carolina has received. The following are the allocations coming from H.4408:

  • Office of Resilience for flood mitigation: $100 million
  •  DHEC (Public Health Labs): $104.4 million
  • Department of Administration (Administration of Grants): $8 million
  • SCDOT: $453 million 
    • (I-26 Widening between Columbia & Charleston)
  • Rural Infrastructure Authority for Water/Sewer: $900 million
    • 60% of projects will go to large water systems and 40% to small water systems.
  • ORS for Broadband: $400 million

These funds will keep engineers busy for some time as the Bill addresses water infrastructure, surface infrastructure, flood mitigation, broadband, and more.

The clock is ticking with these dollars.  Most of these projects have to be shovel-ready by 2024.  There is hope that Congress will extend this date as awarding contracts and design could take longer than that window, and we are currently halfway through 2022.  

It should be noted that the SC Legislature only allocated about half the funds it received.  The Committee will assess South Carolina’s needs and where we are with the virus before allocating the remainder of the funds we received. With successful projects from the ARPA funds, we will show the public that infrastructure works.

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