and Jobs Act (“IIJA”)
Frequently Asked Questions and References
On November 15, 2021 the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) was signed into law, providing for a spending package of $1.2 trillion.
Acuity Brands provides a portfolio of sustainable, inspiring, and intelligent lighting solutions that allow you to enhance spaces and improve energy efficiency, all while reducing the impact on the environment. We are pleased to provide a resource for your frequently asked questions regarding IIJA.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act?
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (“IIJA”), also known as the “bipartisan infrastructure bill” or “BIF” was signed into law by President Biden on November 15, 2021. The legislation includes a total of $1.2 Trillion in spending, including $550 Billion in new spending on transportation infrastructure, water infrastructure, resilience, broadband access, and electric vehicle charging stations. Specific sections also focus on reducing the carbon footprint of public infrastructure.
Does the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act include provisions for “Buy America(n)”?The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes the Build America, Buy America Act (BABA) which statutorily directs the application of “Buy America” domestic preference policies to federal financial assistance programs for infrastructure. It also includes the BuyAmerican.gov Act, which among other things, directs the establishment of the BuyAmerican.gov website, a publicly available and free to access website repository of information on all waivers and exceptions to the various Buy America laws. For more information on domestic preference requirements and Acuity Brands solutions, please reference https://www.acuitybrands.com/resources/trending-topics/buy-american.
Which projects or upgrades are targeted by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act?
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act focuses on public infrastructure and government facilities. Highlights include:
- Funds and policies targeting energy efficiency, carbon reduction, safety/security, and resilience of public infrastructure - roadway, transit, and ports;
- Funds for energy-efficient upgrades to airports;
- Funds through the Maritime Administration (MARAD) Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP) to improve port infrastructure and reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
- Grants for electric vehicle charging and fueling infrastructure which may include lighting and controls for sites or facilities supporting these infrastructure locations;
- Grants for energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy improvements at public school facilities;
- Smart grid investments to provide demand flexibility, such as controls and building management systems;
- Grants to assist states in adopting and enforcing effective building codes, driving demand for energy efficient systems throughout all areas of the U.S;
- Information on additional infrastructure funding available under IIJA is available at Build.gov
What is the opportunity for public schools?
Under section 40541, $500 million in grants have been authorized for school energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements. These funds will be available on a competitive basis from the Department of Energy, based on applications submitted by eligible entities, which are defined as a consortium of:
- One local educational agency; and
- One or more –
b. Nonprofit organizations that have the knowledge and capacity to partner and assist with energy improvements;
c. For-profit organizations that have the knowledge and capacity to partner and assist with energy improvements; or
d. Community partners that have the knowledge and capacity to partner and assist with energy improvements.
How will the Department of Energy prioritize applications for public schools’ energy efficiency and renewable energy improvement grants?
Applications will be prioritized and competitively evaluated based on a number of factors, including:
- Whether they are in need of renovation, repair, and improvement;
- Whether they serve a high percentage of students who qualify for free or reduced price lunch;
- Whether the partnering local educational agency is in a rural district; and
- Whether the entity leverages private sector investment through energy-related performance contracting.
The competitive criteria will include:
- The extent of the disparity between the fiscal capacity of the eligible entity to carry out energy improvements at school facilities and the needs of the partnering local educational agency for those energy improvements, including the consideration of—
a. the current and historic ability of the partnering local educational agency to raise funds for construction, renovation, modernization, and major repair projects for schools;
b. the ability of the partnering local educational agency to issue bonds or receive other funds to support the current infrastructure needs of the partnering local educational agency for schools; and
c. the bond rating of the partnering local educational agency.
- The likelihood that the partnering local educational agency or eligible entity will maintain, in good condition, any school and school facility that is the subject of improvements.
- The potential energy efficiency and safety benefits from the proposed energy improvements.
When will funding be available?For most programs, funding will be made available starting in 2022. However, funding for most of the bill’s programs will be spread out over 5 years.
How will the funds be allocated and distributed?Funds will be distributed through a variety of agencies along with states and localities. The provisions that present opportunities for new or upgraded lighting solutions will be distributed primarily by the Department of Energy and the Department of Transportation. For most of the funding, federal agencies will either provide direct funding, or issue grants to states and localities to identify the highest priority projects that qualify for the funding opportunities. Priorities may be based on improvements related to carbon reduction, resiliency, and supporting underserved communities.