The US Senate recently passed a US$1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that includes $100 million over five years to accelerate the implementation of digital construction technology such as 3D modelling software and digital project management systems.
The Coalition for Smarter Infrastructure Investments, a group of digital infrastructure firms including Bentley Systems and Mott McDonald, campaigned for the funds to be included in the bill to shift away from the pen-and-paper procedures that still dominate the construction sector.
“With increasing financing, it’s more critical than ever to modernise how we design, build and maintain infrastructure so that every dollar we invest goes further,” said Si Katara, co-founder of the alliance and president of visual-based inspection technology business HeadLight. According to Katara, the law presents enormous business potential in a “rising tide raises all boats” situation. The measure, according to Katara, is a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to accomplish something transformational.”
The bill includes billions of dollars in support for bridges, roads, and other ageing infrastructure, as well as a US$20 million investment fund for construction management innovation. It was approved by the Senate on a 69-30 vote, paving the way for it to be considered in the House.
Construction management technologies aren’t the only high-tech improvements being considered by Congress in the bill. According to CNBC, electric vehicles and broadband internet are also in line for major federal support, with the two receiving a total of US$72.5 billion.
Beginning immediately after the Biden administration released its major infrastructure programme in March, the alliance campaigned to change how the United States works on infrastructure this summer. Its success is now critical to a contemporary route ahead for infrastructure spending, according to the coalition.
“It would be insane to invest hundreds of billions of dollars in new infrastructure while still depending on design and management systems that look like they’re from the 1930s,” said David McKenney, vice president of Bentley Systems. “America ranks just 13th in the world in terms of infrastructure; we need to invest more to compete, but we also need to invest more wisely. We can achieve this with the aid of technology and data.”