- Former Mayor of New Orleans and current White House Senior Infrastructure Advisor Mitch Landrieu (pictured above, right) has sent letters to the nation's governors, urging them to appoint their own infrastructure coordinators, in an effort to smooth the rollout of $1.2 trillion in funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).
- "We know that needs, capacity, and challenges can vary widely by locality," Landrieu's Jan. 4 letter reads, according to CNN. "We need to make sure our programs reflect these realities across your state and our country, and having a senior, single point of contact in your office will help ensure that issues get elevated appropriately and rapidly."
- The letter urges governors to create their own infrastructure task forces, modeling them after a task force created by President Joe Biden in November. Landrieu co-chairs the federal task force along with National Economic Council Director Brian Deese.
Some governors have already started appointing their own infrastructure leaders.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, created his own Infrastructure Planning Advisory Committee and appointed Becky Keogh, secretary for the state's Department of Energy and Environment, as chairman. The committee will make recommendations to Hutchinson on how to best utilize IIJA funds in the state.
In New Mexico, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, appointed former Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez as infrastructure advisor with the same goal. Lujan Grisham is beginning to poll local politicians to get a sense of their infrastructure priorities, and determine how to spend New Mexico's share of the IIJA.
Within the $1.2 trillion IIJA, $650 billion will be authorized for government spending, while $550 billion is set for appropriations. That means more than half of the spending will head toward reauthorizing and bolstering spending for measures like the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act.
Within the appropriations, a considerable amount is earmarked for grants or other spending. That means, according to Paul Murphy, senior data analyst for Bloomberg, that there is roughly $125 billion up for procurement, which could lead to a scramble for contracts.
While state leaders may follow Landrieu's advice to pull together task forces to secure the funding from the government, companies will find themselves competing for those federal contracts, which makes up about 11% of the total IIJA spending, according to Bloomberg.
Much of the funding for appropriations could be used on existing contracts as well, Murphy told the Federal News Network.
"I think we're gonna see a lot of existing contracts be utilized to get this work out the door, because as you know, when these funding bills come so late in the year, there's a very narrow window to push this money out the door before the end of the fiscal year," Murphy said.