What the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill means for the weather community
Around $2 billion of the infrastructure bill will go to address weather forecasting, climate studies and enhancing coastal resiliency
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The signing of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill means millions of dollars will be heading to projects the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration deems essential for weather forecasting and limiting the impact of future disasters.
President Joe Biden signed the "Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act" into law on Monday, which authorized funding for everything from road and bridge construction to the expansion of broadband infrastructure.
Lawmakers say the bill will not only help repair infrastructure damaged by previous disasters, it'll enhance NOAA's preparedness for future events.
The agency estimates it'll be the beneficiary of nearly $3 billion from the bill known as H.R. 3684.
"This significant increase in resources for NOAA will benefit the business community across a range of sectors from agriculture to energy to transportation, especially when it comes to products and services that help prepare for extreme weather and climate-driven event," NOAA Administrator Dr. Rick Spinrad said in a statement.
A FOX Weather analysis of the bill showed the agency will receive more than $2 billion for weather and climate-related matters over the next five years.
Notable weather forecasting expenditures:
- $492 million to improve flood mapping, forecasting, and water modeling
- $150 million to enhance marine observations
- $80 million to improve weather and climate models
- $50 million to improve wildfire prediction, modeling, and forecasting
- $25 million to improve soil moisture and snowpack observations
WHAT'S IN THE $1.2T BIPARTISAN INFRASTRUCTURE BILL?
While NOAA will receive less than one percent of the total allotted money in the $1.2 trillion infrastructure spending bill, at least two additional measures under debate in Congress could increase funding for the agency.
Both the Build Back Better Act and the Fiscal Year 2022 budget could enhance the agency’s funding by billions if the measures are passed by Congress and signed by the President.
The White House previously requested $1.5 billion funding increase for NOAA as part of the Fiscal Year 2022 budget.
The agency planned to use the budget request increase on research, forecasting upgrades and resilience projects.
The timeline for approval on the additional spending measures is up in the air as both House and Senate leadership wrangle over funding and revenue sources.