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Bipartisan infrastructure act includes billions for regional innovation

November 11, 2021

Congress passed the bipartisan infrastructure framework, formally, the Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act, and President Joe Biden is expected to sign it the week of Nov. 15. While small as a percentage of the trillion-dollar total, there are a number of proposed items that can support regional innovation economies, with broadband being the highest funded. Other proposals of interest include funding that will stimulate demand for clean energy innovations, further cybersecurity development and reauthorizing the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA).

Technology and innovation highlights from the bill include the following:

  • $65 billion for a variety of broadband deployment initiatives, as well as funding and policies to improve affordability.
  • $150 million for a “Future of Industry” program that features higher education-based centers to support manufacturers’ plans for green improvements, plus $400 million to help implement these projects.
  • Reauthorization for MBDA, including support for MBDA Rural Business Centers, robust entrepreneurship education, and existing initiatives.
  • Investments that are intended to increase demand for electric vehicles, including funding for a network of electric vehicle charging stations, electric buses, and electric ferries.
  • Cybersecurity investments in energy and water sectors, and incentives for utilities to make their own cybersecurity investments.
  • A new interagency working group that will study the workforce needs of the telecommunications industry.
  • More than $30 billion in new R&D-related initiatives — see the American Institute of Physics for a detailed breakdown of this funding.
legislation, infrastructure, broadband, congress, cybersecurity, cleantech, research