American City & County: Infrastructure funding offers unprecedented opportunity to build community-level climate resilience (Op-ed)

March 25, 2022

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed by President Biden in November presents a historic investment in everyday life in the US, including our economy, transportation systems, utilities, and more. Also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), the bill offers state, local, and tribal governments vital resources to plan and implement equitable climate adaptation and resilience strategies. In a new op-ed published in American City and County, GCC Adaptation Program Director Mark Rupp writes that even as lawmakers emphasize that $47 billion of the funding is slated for resilience-focused programs, the entire $1.2 trillion law can and should be viewed and applied through a resilience lens. 

"At the Georgetown Climate Center, we see resilience woven throughout the entirety of BIL. Every dollar in BIL must be invested with an eye toward building resilience and reducing the impacts of a warming planet on our communities," writes Rupp. "The fact is, climate change is already affecting every aspect of our lives — how and where food can be grown; the safety of our communities from extreme heat and weather events; where we live, play and work; our health; and more. That’s why it is crucial that all our nation’s infrastructure investments are implemented to withstand climate change conditions for decades to come."

Rupp also discusses the role of state, local, and tribal governments in distributing and implementing this historic investment, and shares examples of policymakers taking a "whole of government" approach to ensure maximum benefits from investments across the board. Shortly following the signing of BIL, GCC released an analysis of transportation funding in the law, noting that these funds could help or hinder efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, depending on how the programs are implemented. GCC is working on a range of other initiatives and analyses to inform decisionmakers who are seeking to invest BIL funds in climate-conscious ways.

Read Mark Rupp's full op-ed in American City and County.