More than $1.2 trillion is queued up to be spent on American infrastructure in the next five years, a huge increase over normal funding cycles. This is an opportunity for local governments to make solid investments in infrastructure, but also a risk that the money could be spent badly, making communities poorer in the long run.
One of the most important elements of this funding bill for local governments to recognize is it is not ongoing support. It is one-time grant funding and should be used wisely, like water in a desert, instead of just another budget item.
But there are profound opportunities to shore up existing systems which can buy your community time to get stronger. Windfall payments can be used to prioritize maintenance over expansion or install underground infrastructure rather than fragile, high-maintenance, above-ground projects. Defaulting to maintaining underground infrastructure in pre-1940s neighborhoods is a strategy with many potential payoffs.