Infrastructure Bill Delivers Promise and Opportunity to Manufacturers
The infrastructure bill President Biden signed into law contains a wide range of provisions that will offer a variety of support to American manufacturers. Some of the programs – especially in energy – apply directly to manufacturers, while other provisions – like supply chain and energy boosters – will indirectly benefit manufacturers.
Items in the bill include:
- $130 billion in new funding for transit systems and ports of entry, supply chain, and parcel industries
- $7.5 billion investment to develop electric vehicle charging stations across the country would provide a modest boom to the quickly-growing electric vehicle industry.
- $550 billion aimed at commodity-intensive infrastructure projects is a big win for the steel industry.
- $300 billion will go to help manufacturers focus on clean and renewable energy.
- $30 billion will go toward medical manufacturing.
- $50 billion is targeted to semiconductor manufacturing.
The volume of the spend in the bill alone will have a positive effect on manufacturers. “Having a trillion in additional spending in the economy is likely to be a positive for anyone in the supply chain, from suppliers and manufacturers to those in shipping. The bill encourages domestic manufacturing and procurement,” Ben Johnston, COO at Kapitus – a company that helps small manufacturers find funding – told Design News. “The bill specifically encourages US iron, steel, and manufactured products. It provides money for energy efficiency operations, building materials, and manufactured products that can be used for sustainability.”
The bill is likely to produce the additional benefit of encouraging reshoring. “Supply chains have been stretched for two years now, and manufacturers and suppliers and wholesalers are going to look to shorten those supply chains,” said Johnston. “That means repatriating jobs and production. The bill will help in these efforts.”
Support for supply chain improvements will also encourage reshoring. “With shipping and time delays, the money spent procuring goods from abroad may be better spent building manufacturing here,” said Johnston. “The cost differential is beginning to merge. That affects people in manufacturing and transportation.”
Department of Energy Comments
DoE identified several provisions in the bill that will have a positive impact on manufacturers. The bill will:
- Invest more than $7 billion in the supply chain for batteries, which are essential to powering our economy with 24/7 clean, affordable, and resilient energy and transportation options. This will include producing critical minerals, sourcing materials for manufacturing, and even recycling critical materials without new extraction/mining.
- Provide an additional $1.5 billion for clean hydrogen manufacturing and advancing recycling RD&D.
- Create a new $750 million grant program to support advanced energy technology manufacturing projects in coal communities.
- Expand the authority of DOE’s Loan Program Office (LPO) to invest in projects that increase the domestic supply of critical minerals and expand LPO programs that invest in manufacturing zero-carbon technologies for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, trains, aircraft, and marine transportation.
- Invest hundreds of millions in workforce development, giving workers in the electric grid, clean buildings, and industrial sectors access to training in cutting-edge technologies that will spur their careers in the years to come.
Comments from Manufacturing Associations
The Association of Equipment Manufacturers SVP of government and industry relations Kip Eideberg issued these comments on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act: “Equipment manufacturers have long criticized the partisan rancor and division that has undermined much-needed investments in our future. The lawmakers who put country first and voted in favor of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act have demonstrated real leadership and a commitment to our nation’s renewal.”
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) board chair Mike Lamach said in a statement, “Now that this historic bill has become law, we can build a future worthy of the next generation. For manufacturers, this is a victory years in the making.”
He noted that in 2016, the NAM released a Building to Win plan, that called for exactly this type of bold infrastructure investment. “This plan has guided our advocacy with administrations and legislators of both parties, and now the leadership of President Biden and senators from both parties have produced a bill that achieved many of our Building to Win goals without raising tax rates on manufacturers.”