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Source : © O'Dea at Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0
May 24, 2022
Author : Patty Allen
Under the $1.2 trillion federal funding that has been sanctioned under the Infrastructure and Investment Act (IIJA), sixty percent of the funding is directly allocated to state and local governments. Forty percent is allocated as competitive grants.
Wyoming is among the states to get the highest amount of per capita federal infrastructure funding. It is receiving $4,400 per capita, which amounts to over $2.2 billion.
Various Wyoming state agencies are hiring teams and grant managers to create proposals that will compete with other states for the $480 billion in federal grants that have yet to be allotted.
Thus far, the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) is collecting $2 billion in formula funding. Wyoming roadways will receive most of the funds, with $1.76 billion allocated to surface transportation over the next five years. On top of that, compared with previous federal law, the IIJA grants the WYDOT an extra $100 million annually.
WYDOT Director Luke Reiner stated, “The extra money we’re getting in surface transportation will maintain our current assets.” The funds will be used to reconstruct the Interstate 25-Interstate 80 intersection, develop a winter reroute on I-80, and support truck parking and freight traffic.
Already the state legislature has granted more than $200 million in matching funds for grant applicants during the 2022 budget session. Energy received $100 million, infrastructure received $75 million, broadband received $25 million, and wildlife crossings received $10 million. Broadband coverage and better internet access for the state’s residents will also benefit from an additional $100 million set aside by the federal government.
The WYDOT has received an additional $225 million for addressing bridges outside of the normal budget. Reiner explained, “The federal government recognized that there’s a huge issue with our nation’s bridges.”
Another key area under the Bipartisan bill is public transportation. A bus service that will connect Cheyenne with Fort Collins in Colorado is expected to reduce traffic on I-25 while also lowering carbon emissions.
Wyoming is also eligible to participate in the Carbon Reduction Program, which was established under the infrastructure law and assists states in developing climate-change programs. The state will get $8.1 million in 2022, with $42.2 million available over the next five years. WYDOT also received $25 million for electric vehicle charging in additional formula funding.
Wyoming will also get an additional $335 million to address the pressing needs in the state’s water infrastructure.
Trails for pedestrians, bicyclists, and other non-motorized modes of transportation and projects that assist the deployment of alternative-fuel cars are also eligible projects.
The federal government has confirmed that the Department of the Interior will provide $6 million for repairing Fort Laramie. It is included in the infrastructure act’s $8.3 billion for water infrastructure projects and $1.4 billion for ecosystem restoration and resilience funds.
“The opportunities in this bill are going to spur economic development in Wyoming and the west for decades to come,” said Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon’s Senior Policy Advisor Rob Creager.
The significant investment in state transportation infrastructure is going to create many thousands of jobs in Wyoming. Numerous prime contractors, subcontractors, procurement supply firms, and construction crews will be finding a lot of work in the state.