What the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Means for Security and Life Safety Companies

infrastructure concept

Dear Security Industry Association (SIA) members,

On Nov. 15, President Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law. This infrastructure bill is the most significant U.S. investment in infrastructure in decades and includes $550 billion in funding far above baseline for many existing highway, transit, rail and other programs.

SIA commends the president and Congress on the passage and signing of this important bipartisan legislation, which will help meet the urgent need for modernizing our nation’s infrastructure and provide a much-needed boost to our nation’s economy. Solutions across a wide range of sectors within the security industry will play an essential role in infrastructure expansion and modernization, providing increased safety and security throughout the nation.

Our government relations team has closely followed the development of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and has provided a summary of how the measure will impact the security industry. As this measure is implemented by federal agencies, our action plan to educate SIA members on the provisions that will most impact the industry includes the following objectives:

  • Guidance on grant programs: The infrastructure bill includes grant funding for public transit, airport and smart cities grants and school facility improvements. Because these grants can also be used for security improvements, SIA will keep a close eye on how the grants included in this bill are implemented and provide guidance on these programs to our members. We have also created a new Grants Training Course to help SIA members navigate and leverage federal grants for security projects – including commercial and non-federal projects – which you can access as a web-based training here.
  • Resources related to cyber-physical security programs and funding: The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act include several measures related to securing the electric grid, including a new U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) public-private partnerships program to mitigate electric utilities’ security risks, $250 million for a new DOE program on grid security research and demonstration, a $50 million energy sector cyber-resilience program and a $1 billion state and local cybersecurity grant program. SIA will work closely with our Cybersecurity Advisory Board and Utilities Advisory Board to understand these policies and provide further information to our members.
  • Guidance on Buy America and Buy American rules: The new infrastructure measure significantly expands domestic preference rules for federally funded infrastructure projects and includes additional policies impacting direct procurement by federal agencies. SIA will monitor the implementation of these new requirements, provide feedback to agencies as needed and provide related resources for security industry manufacturers and integrators.

For more information on how the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will impact the security industry, see SIA’s summary below. Stay tuned for more on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

SIA Points of Contact:

SIA’s Summary on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law on Nov. 15, 2021, will increase spending on infrastructure by $550 billion over five years. This includes funding far above baseline for many existing highway, transit, rail and other programs included in surface transportation reauthorizations that are operating under a short-term extension through Dec. 3, as well as a number of entirely new programs.

More than half of the funding in the bill is directed to transportation infrastructure modernization, including highways, roads, bridges, rail, public transit, airports and other modalities, while the remainder is focused on energy, water, communications and other infrastructure outside of transportation. The bill also includes new domestic sourcing requirements for these projects (see below).

Here are highlights of key program increases and new initiatives funded in the bill that SIA expects will support projects requiring solutions provided across a wide range of sectors within the security industry. Note that many of the implementation details or policy specifics will be addressed in subsequent agency announcements and rulemaking.

Public Transit – $39 Billion

The measure increases baseline funding for grants supporting transit projects administered by the Federal Transit Administration by more than 60%, which is the largest federal investment in public transit in history. Security and life safety systems play a key role in projects funded by these grants, involving the construction, renovation or retrofit of transit facilities like stations and rail yards, for example, as well as integration within transit vehicles like buses and subway and light rail cars. 

Passenger and Freight Rail – $66 Billion

In the largest investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak 50 years ago, the new funding will modernize locomotives, rail cars, track infrastructure and stations both throughout the northeast corridor, as well as expansion of intercity rail service outside this area, both providing a opportunity for safety and security technology modernization.  

Airports – $25 Billion

The measure provides an additional $15 billion in formula funding for Airport Improvement Program projects – nearly doubling funding for the primary Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grant program, $5 billion for airport terminal development projects and $5 billion for FAA facilities and equipment over the next five years. Security and life safety systems will be incorporated into many projects funded with these increases, such as security checkpoint expansion, terminal enhancements and new health and safety measures. For example, in the 2021 Airport Infrastructure Needs Study released by the Airports Council International, airports have identified $1.28 billion in unmet security infrastructure needs alone. 

Port Infrastructure – $17 Billion

Significant investment in port infrastructure has the potential to reduce future supply chain disruptions. Inland and land-side port infrastructure construction and renovation in particular will involve facility security and life safety systems.

Electric and Low Emission Bus Program – $5 Billion

The measure’s initiative will replace thousands of school and transit buses with ICE propulsion with electric and low-emissions buses. Newer vehicles are often equipped or retrofitted with safety technologies incorporating cameras, network video recorders and other equipment. For example, 84% of transit buses have security cameras, according to a recent survey by the American Public Transportation Association, up from around half in 2010. 

Smart Cities Grants – $500 Million

The Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) Grant Program is a competitive grant program to be administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation, providing $100 million annually to “smart cities” initiatives around the country. Project focus areas include improving safety of the traveling public, as well as utilizing “intelligent, sensor-based infrastructure” to report-real-time data to inform transportation operations and performance.

Energy Security Partnerships

The bill directs the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to implement a public-private partnerships program to “address and mitigate the physical security and cybersecurity risks of electric utilities.”

Grid Security Research and Demonstration – $250 Million

The DOE will stand up a new program to develop advanced cybersecurity applications and technologies to identity and mitigate vulnerabilities from both physical and cyber threats.

Energy Sector Cyber-Resilience Program – $50 Million  

Under this new program to enhance and periodically test the emergency response capabilities of DOE and the industry. Among other things, the eligible activities include “developing capabilities to identify vulnerabilities and critical components that pose major risk to grid security if destroyed or impaired,” adding “physical security to the cybersecurity maturity model” and research on “hardening solutions for critical components of the electrical grid.”

State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program – $1 Billion

Under a new program at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, state and local governments will receive assistance when needed for recovery from cyberattacks, but also for proactive cybersecurity measures to protect government networks, including modernization that ensures alignment between information technology and operational technology cybersecurity objectives. These initiatives could include cyber-physical security solutions. For example, many states have expressed an interest in bolstering security access to government networks with multifactor authentication, similar to federal government initiatives in recent years.

School Facility Improvements – $500 Million

The infrastructure measure provides new assistance specifically for schools to make improvements that “reduce energy costs, improve health and indoor air quality or involve renewable energy technologies,” providing an opportunity for recipients to make building systems improvements, assisted by integrators of building systems that often link HVAC, lighting and other systems with alarms and other enabling sensor technologies.  

New Domestic Preference Requirements

In a significant change from existing law, the infrastructure measure extends “Buy America”-type domestic preferences to all future federally funded infrastructure projects, regardless of whether funded specifically by the bill. This is different that American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in 2009, where expanded domestic preferences applied only to infrastructure projects funded through ARRA.

The measure also provides a new definition of “infrastructure” to which these requirements apply: 1) roads, highways and bridges; 2) public transportation; 3) dams, ports, harbors and other maritime facilities; 4) intercity passenger and freight railroads; 5) freight and intermodal facilities; 6) airports; 7) waters systems including drinking water and wastewater systems; 8) electric transmission facilities and utilities; 9) broadband infrastructure; and 10) buildings and real property.

Previously, Buy America rules were limited primarily for federal grant-funded projects (distinct from the Buy American Act, which applies to direct government procurement), administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation, along with agency specific policies on domestic content calculations and waivers. Under the infrastructure measure, many of the same requirements will newly apply to other agencies and programs that will need to implement them.

While SIA expects additional clarity on how these requirements will be implemented as agencies begin rolling out the programs funded in the bill, we recommend that security industry manufacturers and integrators play close attention to these policies. Look for further updates from SIA’s government relations team on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and related implementation measures.