ITS and Funding: How Does $1 Trillion Sound?
February 09, 2017

Pete Goldin

US Senate Democrats unveiled a $1 trillion infrastructure plan on January 24. If ITS in the US needs anything, it is a solid injection of funds.

Sorry, I know the headline of this blog was misleading, however. While $1 trillion sounds nice, ITS can only expect to see a fraction of those funds.

The proposed program, auspiciously titled the Blueprint to Rebuild America's Infrastructure and Create 15 Million Jobs, is reminiscent of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), enacted in 2009 to fund projects to stimulate the US economy, many of which were infrastructure projects.

The senate Democrats envision the money being spent in the following ways:

■ $100 billion to Revitalize America’s Main Streets

■ $70 billion to modernize America’s Ports, Airports, & Waterways

■ $180 billion to replace and expand Rail and Bus Systems, that are crumbling

■ $200 billion for Roads and Bridges

■ $200 billion for a new Vital Infrastructure Program (VIP)

■ $10 billion to expand TIGER grant program

There are other designations of the funds as well, but these 6 categories are probably the best bet for ITS funding.

The good news is that rebuilding transportation infrastructure is one point where the US Democrats and newly inaugurated President Trump agree.

US Senator Chuck Schumer (Democrat from NY) said: “Our nation’s infrastructure issues are vast, and they go well beyond just road and bridge repair. Senate Democrats have unveiled this blueprint because we need a wide-sweeping infrastructure plan – and we need it now. During his campaign, President Trump talked often about a big and bold infrastructure package. Well, this is one of the most comprehensive overhaul proposals in a generation, and we’re challenging President Trump to work with us on this broad plan that will sustain our positive economic growth, create millions of jobs, and build a modern economy.”

Schumer said this type of proposal is critical because it invests real federal dollars in projects that would help do everything from reducing traffic and congestion, to improving public health, increasing safety, and boosting economic growth.

This is not a done deal yet. It's just a proposal. But the question from our perspective, as usual, is: How much of these funds will go to much-needed ITS projects? I discuss more about this in my next blog: ITS and Funding: Competing for Dollars