The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act: An opportunity for Minnesota

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On November 15, 2021, President Biden signed into law the bipartisan Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The IIJA contains some important investments in climate and clean energy that will contribute to addressing the climate crisis and will funnel $1.2 trillion into states—about $7.3 billion of which has been tentatively allocated to Minnesota. These funds could go toward much-needed investments in electric transportation infrastructure, electric transit, weatherization assistance, energy efficiency, power and grid—all of which play a major role in our climate future and as we seek energy independence. However, in order to secure the Federal funding that Minnesotans are entitled to, the Minnesota Legislature must approve state matching funds.

Funding for IIJA comes in the form of either formula-funded grants, which require a specified matching component from the state or private sector, or competitive grants that will disproportionately go to projects that are able to leverage additional funding sources. However, despite a record budget surplus, the Minnesota Legislature ended the 2022 session without allocating any state resources toward securing IIJA dollars for our state.

The IIJA includes funding for an incredibly wide swath of public infrastructure needs and Minnesota’s state agencies are in the process of drafting plans to submit to the federal government for each category of funding. While this will be a multi-year process, Fresh Energy, in collaboration with partners, has already engaged in influencing and guiding state plans to access these funds in the areas of energy efficiency and weatherization as well as in the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program which will direct deployment of electric vehicle charging stations. Strategic, equitable, and effective state plans are a critical step in securing federal funding and Fresh Energy is committed to ensuring Minnesota maximizes the opportunities presented by federal investments.

In the 2023 Legislative Session, it is imperative that our elected leaders get back to work and finish the job of securing Minnesota’s rightful share of this federal investment in our communities. Fresh Energy will be laser-focused on this work because even relatively modest investments now will unlock access to billions of dollars in additional federal funding—building the infrastructure we need for the Minnesota of tomorrow. Stay tuned for updates!