What the American Jobs Plan Means for Water Infrastructure

On March 31, the White House unveiled a massive infrastructure stimulus package, called the American Jobs Plan. This nearly two-trillion-dollar plan includes funding for a wide range of infrastructure categories and represents the most significant investment in clean water, community development, transportation and more. This is a transformative opportunity for communities across the country, and while the bill is not yet law, there is work that can be done now to position your projects.

What’s in the bill

This legislation is set to be the largest investment in water infrastructure since the passage of the Clean Water Act. Specifically, the proposal includes the following related to water infrastructure:

  • $56B for drinking water, wastewater and stormwater systems
  • $45B for eliminate lead pipes
  • $10B to address PFAS
  • $50B for disaster resilience

It also includes money dedicated to underserved communities and community development, which could be used for community revitalization, economic development, and related projects. Other categories include over $100B for transportation and large investments in broadband, the electric grid, and housing.

Positioning your projects

There are several things to keep in mind in preparing projects to win a portion of this stimulus funding:

  • “Shovel-Ready” projects will be favored. Just like past infrastructure stimulus, funding agencies will want to put the money to work quickly.
  • Projects already on funder’s lists will have an advantage. Expect money to flow through existing programs and have your applications prepared and submitted in advance.
  • Multi-benefit projects will appeal to funders. Take a close look at your Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) and identify projects that can be combined, such as drainage system upgrades, water or sewer main replacements, and paving programs.
  • Emphasize the economic return on investment of your projects. If you can demonstrate a high potential return, your project will be considered favorably.

There is much more information in this on-demand webinar we produced in 2020. While it refers to previous stimulus proposals, the advice has not changed. 

Understanding the processes at the various funding agencies is critical to success. Correctly completing applications and including the additional details, like letters of support, that funders like to see will make a huge difference. There is a lot to keep track of, and it is important to get it right. Our funding team works with clients every day to identify projects, create compelling applications, and collaborate with funders. Over the past five years, we have secured more than $1.5 billion dollars in grants/loans for critical infrastructure work for our clients.

The American Jobs Plan has the potential to transform many communities’ infrastructure. Years of underinvestment could be reversed if we are creative and aggressive in how we use this funding. Spend the time to get ready now!


Jay Sheehan Business Development Leader Operations & Management

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