We Can Cross That Bridge, Now That We’ve Come to It

After years of Washington gridlock and inaction on the urgent need to upgrade America’s infrastructure, yesterday, the 2021 bipartisan Infrastructure Bill was signed into law.

There is not a single industry that will not benefit, including the tens of thousands of manufacturing companies from coast to coast, including those in the heartland of our country.

Here are a few examples of how the funding can benefit not only industries but industrial innovation: let’s invest in the future and liberate ourselves from the past. Let’s make the planet cleaner, cities more livable, factories safer, and let’s create millions of not just good jobs – but great jobs.

The bill calls for investing $110 billion for roads, bridges, and major infrastructure projects: consider the supply chain for this massive undertaking. We need steel, concrete, engineering, construction, and innovations, including those made possible by full access to high-speed broadband that can provide real-time data on how our modern physical infrastructure is performing, based on breakthrough monitoring and management applications.

Fact: 20%, or 173,000 miles, of the nation’s highways and major roads, are in poor condition, as are 45,000 bridges, according to the White House.

Included in the $110 billion is $11 billion for transportation safety, including a program to help states and localities reduce crashes and fatalities, protecting cyclists and pedestrians, also according to the White House.

And while the number comprises less than 1% of the total $110 billion, this number contains $1 billion to reconnect communities — mainly disproportionately Black neighborhoods — that were divided by highways and other infrastructure, which we have witnessed for decades, especially in highly populated and urban cities like NYC.

$39 billion will be allocated to modernize public transit, according to the text of the bill. Those funds are earmarked to repair and upgrade existing infrastructure, make stations accessible to everybody, including the disabled, bring transit service to new communities, and modernize rail and bus fleets, including replacing thousands of vehicles with zero-emission models. Imagine the positive impact on the automotive industry, among others.

$66 billion will go do passenger and freight rail, eliminating Amtrak’s maintenance backlog, with $12 billion in partnership grants for intercity rail service, including high-speed rail. This is the largest federal investment in public transit in history and in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak half a decade ago.

$65 billion will be invested in the nation’s broadband infrastructure. Not only will this help families with equitable access to quality connectivity at an affordable price, it has the potential to dramatically improve the operations of industrial companies, not just in the typical places but in small towns and medium-sized communities across our nation. Consider the possibilities for manufacturing, but also for farming where industrial innovation is making food fresher, making farmworkers safer, and enabling owners to become more resilient – and profitable.

$17 billion in port infrastructure and $25 billion in airports could have an immediate impact with mission-critical repairs while also reducing congestion and emissions near ports and airports and advancing the “electrification” of America, reducing carbon emissions and improving operational efficiencies.

$7.5 billion for zero- and low-emission buses and ferries will allow schools to transport students in a more modern and responsible way.

$7.5 billion will also go to building a nationwide network of plug-in electric vehicle chargers.

In a second post, I’ll write more about the balance, including $65 billion to rebuild the electricity grid, $55 billion to upgrade water systems (including protection from floods, drought, and digital attacks), and the $21 billion directed to the Superfund and brownfield sites, to reclaim abandoned mine land and more.

I encourage each reader to think about how this bill can accelerate growth in each of the industries you are involved in and interested in. In fact, I welcome your ideas on how Frontier Hub can share your ideas on how to capitalize on this moment – a historical moment – as we now turn to rolling up our sleeves and building the future together.


Hank Torbert

Innovative leader with over 20 years of experience developing and executing cross functional strategies to maximize revenue growth, expand EBITDA and increase shareholder value. Skilled at pulling the levers of finance, strategy, innovation and operations. Resourceful problem solver with a proven track record building and expanding early-stage to billion-dollar companies in the utilities, energy, manufacturing, technology, transportation and financial services sectors. Specialties: corporate strategy, business development, operations management, corporate divestitures and restructuring, investment selection and analysis, due diligence and financial engineering

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