New Urban Institute research reveals opportunities for more equitable infrastructure investment at the federal level
A new Urban Institute report – funded by the Melville Charitable Trust as part of the Partnership for Equitable and Resilient Communities justice venture – finds formula-based programs undermine the Biden administration’s racial equity goals, while competitive grants are providing more help to communities of color.
Enacted in 2021, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has substantially increased federal investment in infrastructure. But a new report by the Urban Institute think tank finds that not all programs funded through the law are distributing resources equitably.
About 80% of IIJA funds are allocated through formulas set by Congress, based on factors like land area and population size. In many cases these calculations have not been adjusted in decades. In fiscal year 2022, the IIJA injected more than $80 billion into formula-based programs such as the National Highway Performance Program, the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program and the Highway Safety Improvement Program. The law did not update many of the formulas that determine how much funding states receive from each of those buckets.