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Opportunity: Creating Opportunity with Infrastructure Investment

In 2021, the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act(IIJA) was signed into law. The implementation of this law, however, rests on the shoulders of local leaders. To help IIJA achieve its potential, local governments must navigate and prioritize across what the federal government has provided them.

RESOURCE: Accelerator for America has developed a guide to support local leaders navigating the influx of federal dollars. IIJA provides an opportunity for state and local government to prioritize firms that are underrepresented, inclusive of small or medium-sized firms. Research on large corporations indicates that prioritizing equity when selecting suppliers has a benefit to both the larger entity and the emerging firms. However, there are a number of factors that need to occur to support minority- and women-owned firms, such as intermediary capacity to connect underrepresented firms to both public and private supplier opportunities

To support this coordination and increase participation of underrepresented firms, a local leader could:

  • Engage private financing using infrastructure as a platform. Despite the assistance of federal money, most infrastructure projects will only be successful if they draw on private funding as well. Local leaders should prioritize securing private funding, identifying a capable project sponsor, and creatively deploying tax incentives to maximize the impact of projects.Incentivize coordination across agencies to simplify all federal, state, and local procedures, forms, licenses, and permits required to start a business.
  • Build economic opportunity through deployment. Infrastructure projects can be even more transformational if agreements include training and hiring a diverse workforce and intentionally include Black-, Brown- and women-led firms to design, build, and maintain projects.