A year ago, Alaska celebrated the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), what became upon signing by the President the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. No matter the name, Alaska’s state and local officials knew just how important this long-awaited announcement was for agencies and communities with incredible infrastructure needs. The Alaska Municipal League had estimated in the last few years an infrastructure deficit of about $30 billion. It felt like a locked door had been opened.
Much of what was in IIJA is an increase of funding to previously established programs, but there’s also a lot of new programs. Federal agencies rushed to figure out implementation, including adding in the priorities of the current administration and the criteria for applications. A lot of the effort of the last year, for the state, AML and other organizations, has been to understand these priorities and programs, initiate a series of planning efforts and identify competitive projects and applications. It remains a work in progress.