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What’s At Stake In The 2021 Infrastructure Bill

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The Potential Impact of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act on Parking Management

As of the writing of this blog, US politicians have yet to move forward with the $1,200,000,000,000 (zeroes written out for effect) Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This is potentially bad news for the nation, as roads, bridges, and other vital infrastructure are in dire need of attention. As you might imagine, that $1.2T price tag covers a lot of work. For parking managers, the bill should hold special interest as it could affect both public transit and road conditions in a way that would fundamentally change the amount of drivers out there in need of parking every day. Here’s exactly what’s at stake in this new bill, and how it may impact parking management in the near future.

Physical infrastructure upgrades

Roads, bridges, railways, public transit… This bill contains funding for comprehensive upgrades to all physical infrastructure in the United States. Many of these repairs and replacements are long overdue. The spending bill would also contain an investment in clean drinking water and wastewater infrastructure – in fact, it would be the largest federal investment in these important ventures in history, and would bring clean drinking water to some 10-million US families.

Obviously, it’s an important bill to pass. But for parking managers, the important part is in the upgrades to public transit and roadways. As public transit improves, parking patterns will shift. It’s important that parking managers investigate what such changes might mean for their parking lots and garages. If a new light rail station is going in near you, what will it mean for commuter parking? Will you lose customers because they’re now taking the train, or will you need more spaces to accommodate commuters who are driving to the station to depart for their jobs? Start predicting now so that you’re in the best position to reap the rewards if and when these changes happen.

New permit processes and faster approvals

The proposed bill would include measures to modernize the project permit process and encourage private funding for construction costs. It would also remove significant amounts of red tape from the permit-approval process in order to speed times to construction. Together, this means it would stimulate future construction projects – which could have a big impact on parking patterns.

What happens to street parking in an area where a new, 100-unit apartment gets built, or when a new shopping center is added to the business district? These are great opportunities for new business ventures as a parking manager, and if this bill gets passed with these provisions in place it could mean that such opportunities start arriving quickly and plentifully.

Planning for the future, including the environment

The bill isn’t just about repairing and replacing old infrastructure – it includes provisions for building for the future. That includes new airports and other major projects that would impact parking patterns and create new opportunities for parking managers. It also includes $100B (at the time of this writing) for investment in climate and sustainability improvements. Since ride shares and public transit are good for the environment, it’s possible that some of that $100B investment could be used to build new public parking options in order to encourage fewer vehicles on the streets.

Of course, all of this is contingent on what makes it through to the final bill. While infrastructure spending is something that should concern all Americans to some degree, it’s especially important for parking managers to pay attention and see what’s coming their way. And it’s always worth contacting your elected officials to let your voice be heard when a bill like this has so much potential to create new business opportunities for you!

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