The $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill passed in the Senate last week includes an investment in construction technology of $100 million spread over five years. The government intends to focus the funds on digital construction technologies such as BIM, 3D modeling software, and digital project management.
"With increased funding, it's more important than ever to modernize how we design, build and manage infrastructure so that each dollar we invest goes further," said Si Katara, co-founder of the Coalition for Smarter Infrastructure Investments and president of visual-based inspection technology firm HeadLight.
The coalition, which includes digital infrastructure companies such as Bentley Systems and Mott McDonald, led the lobbying charge to fund the bill.
Katara said that the bill was "a once in a generation opportunity to do something transformative."
In addition to the money for construction technology, the bill targets bridges, roads, and other aging infrastructure. Other technologies that will benefit from the bill include electric cars and broadband internet. However, the investment in those technologies is an order of magnitude greater than the investment in construction tech. (Broadband alone is receiving more than $70 billion.)
Still, the coalition says that the $100 million represents a significant investment. "It would be crazy to pump hundreds of billions into new infrastructure projects while still relying on design and management systems that look like they are out of the 1930s," said David McKenney, vice president of Bentley Systems. "America ranks only 13th in the world for infrastructure — we need to invest more to compete, but we also need to invest in a smarter way. Technology and data can help us do that."
Of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, administrators hope that significant investment in BIM, 3D modeling software, and digital project management will encourage more efficiency in future construction projects.