Visit San Antonio: Government Relations, November 2021
With a flurry of activity in Washington, D.C., just before the holidays, both the U.S. Congress and White House adopted two significant pieces of legislation into federal law. A summary of each is provided below.
Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework (BIF)
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework (BIF) was signed into law by President Joe Biden on Nov. 15. The BIF is designed to target significant investments into a wide range of infrastructure shortfalls across the nation. It provides approximately $1.2 trillion in funds. An estimated $550 billion of the $1.2 trillion in funding is new spending, which will be spread out over five years. The remaining $650 billion in the bill would have been allocated for existing transportation and highway programs under previously planned funding. New funding in the bill will go toward a wide range of projects including, but not limited to:
- $110 billion for roads and bridges
- $66 billion for passenger and freight rail
- $65 billion for expanding broadband access
- $65 billion to update the electric grid
- $55 billion for water and wastewater
- $39 billion for public transit, including electric buses
- $25 billion for airports
- $17 billion for ports and waterways
- $7.5 billion for electric vehicle chargers
- $1 billion for reconnecting communities
Build Back Better Act (BBB)
The $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act (BBB) package invests heavily in health care, the social safety net and climate. A summary of the BBB can be found on the White House webpage.
Visit San Antonio continues to work with U.S. Travel Association to advocate for additional legislation and regulations to assist the travel, tourism and hospitality industry. As new information and activity becomes available, the Government Relations Team will provide updated reports.
At the conclusion of the 3rd Called Special Session of the 87th Legislature, $16 billion in federal funding the State of Texas received from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was allocated to various state agencies. The travel industry was able to secure $180 million in funding for the Trusted Programs within the Office of the Governor: Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Grants. The much-needed funding will help lift a burdened industry to regain a foothold for more future growth in jobs and revenue. Visit San Antonio engaged the Legislature to advocate for these funds along with other DMOs, CVBs and the Travel Texas Alliance (TTA).
Governor Greg Abbott’s Office of Economic Development and Tourism has begun the process of establishing grant program rules and guidelines. The GR Team will work with the Office of Economic Development and Tourism and TTA in the development of this grant program. As grant information becomes available, we will provide additional information regarding availability and eligibility for this grant program.
Visit San Antonio continues to monitor the City of San Antonio’s noise ordinance and the actions of the 15-member task force created in March 2021 to study this ordinance adopted 20 years ago. The City of San Antonio’s adopted FY 2022 Budget created a “pilot program” for code enforcement officers to accompany San Antonio Police officers to noise complaints and determined how to make the noise ordinance more effective. The pilot program began activity in October and is slated to operate for three months. At the end of city staffs work, the task force will make recommendations addressing the noise ordinance to the city based on the findings.
The Government Relations Team will provide additional information as it becomes available.