Full Title: Transforming America’s Energy Infrastructure: Lessons from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
Author(s): Sanya Carley
Publisher(s): Niskanen Center
Publication Date: April 13, 2021
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Supporting and expanding the nation’s infrastructure is of the utmost importance. Investments in roads and bridges, water systems, broadband, and transmission and distribution lines help improve well-being and personal lifestyles. Such investments also generate new jobs and economic growth, and can lead to long-term reductions in climate emissions if designed well. These objectives are the impetus for current infrastructure planning in Congress and the several trillion-dollar American Jobs Plan released by the Biden administration.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the “Recovery Act”), adopted a month into President Obama’s first term and during the worst economic recession in modern history, shares similarities with recent infrastructure planning. As Congress contemplates the contents of such a bill, and as agencies construct an implementation plan, there are valuable insights to glean from the rollout of the Recovery Act. There are also important market and political differences between 2009 and 2021 that beget new opportunities and challenges for current infrastructure spending.
This report provides an overview of Recovery Act implementation challenges, which should inform current infrastructure spending. It also discusses some differences between 2009 and 2021 in the markets and conditions surrounding infrastructure spending, and the implications for the current environment.