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Federal Infrastructure Communications Initiative: Investments for an Equitable Future   

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), authorizes $1.2 trillion in federal funding, the largest-ever allocation for infrastructure. Alongside the other major legislation (the Inflation Reduction Act, for example), IIJA represents a once-in-a-generation, $4 trillion opportunity to support sustainable economic development, mitigate climate change, lay the foundation for high-quality jobs––and advance equity for communities of color and other underserved populations. 

Despite the enormous potential for impact, little information is available on new infrastructure and other projects, and very few Americans know about the benefits their communities will reap. Trust in government remains low, especially in communities where past infrastructure projects have caused harm, from freeways isolating communities of color and people working to make ends meet to lack of access to safe drinking water.  

In response, Hyphen in 2022 undertook a three-phase, non-partisan project, the Federal Infrastructure Communications Initiative, to research and test the most effective messages for increasing the public’s awareness of equitable federal infrastructure investments. Hyphen partnered with People’s Action Institute to:

  • Ensure the public, especially communities of color, knows and values the current and potential impact of the largest federal investment in history; become engaged and connected at the local level; and strengthen their participation in civic life.

  • Increase the visibility of IIJA and IRA programs and resources that combat climate change and create jobs in ways that advance racial equity.

  • Encourage state and local governments to draw down more federal dollars and put these dollars to work towards changing people’s lives and creating more equitable outcomes, particularly for low-income workers, families, and communities.


Together, Hyphen and People's Action Institute piloted the combination of targeted digital ads and face-to-face organizing in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, highlighting “the three E’s”––Equity, Environment, and Economy––messages that found deep resonance in the testing. In partnership with HIT Strategies, another survey, also in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, was conducted,  revealing that voters of color are more likely to vote in 2024 when they are effectively informed about the federal investments being made in their communities and how these investments connect to their votes. For more information on this survey, see the news release and report summary.

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