After much debate, President Joe Biden signed a $1.2 billion infrastructure bill (H.R. 3684) into law, finalizing a key part of his economic agenda. The vote in the senate was uncommonly bipartisan; the yes votes included Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate Republican Leader and 18 other Republicans.
Funding for Roads and Bridges
The legislation calls for investing $110 billion for roads, bridges and major infrastructure projects. That’s significantly less than the $159 billion hat Biden initially requested in the American Jobs Plan.
Included is $40 billion for bridge repair, replacement and rehabilitation, according to the text. The White House says it would be the single, largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the interstate highway system, which started in the 1950s.
The deal also contains $16 billion for major projects that would be too large or complex for traditional funding programs, according to the White House.
The investments will focus on climate change mitigation, resilience, equity and safety for all users, including cyclists and pedestrians.
Also, in the package is $11 billion for transportation safety, including a program to help states and localities reduce crashes and fatalities, especially of cyclists and pedestrians, according to the White House. It will direct funding for safety efforts involving highways, trucks, and pipeline and hazardous materials.
And it contains $1 billion to reconnect communities – mainly disproportionately Black neighborhoods – that were divided by highways and other infrastructure, according to the White House. It will fund planning, design, demolition and reconstruction of street grids, parks or other infrastructure.
Money for Transit and Rail
The package provides $39 billion to modernize public transit, according to the text. That’s less than the $85 billion that Biden initially wanted to invest in modernizing transit systems and help them expand to meet rider demand.
The funds will repair and upgrade existing infrastructure, make stations accessible to all users, bring transit service to new communities and modernize rail and bus fleets, including replacing thousands of vehicles with zero-emission models, according to the White House.
The deal will also invest $66 billion in passenger and freight rail, according to the text. The funds would eliminate Amtrak’s maintenance backlog, modernize the Northeast Corridor line and bring rail service to areas outside the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions, according to the White House. Included in the package is $12 billion in partnership grants for intercity rail service, including high-speed rail.
The legislation provides a $65 billion investment in improving the nation’s broadband infrastructure, according to the text.
It also aims to help lower the price households pay for internet service by requiring federal funding recipients to offer a low-cost affordable plan, by creating price transparency and by boosting competition in areas where existing providers aren’t providing adequate service. It will also create a permanent federal program to help more low-income households access the internet, according to the White House.
Upgrading Airports, Ports and Waterways
The deal will invest $17 billion in port infrastructure and $25 billion in airports to address repair and maintenance backlogs, reduce congestion.
The legislation will provide $7.5 billion for zero-and low-emission buses and ferries, aiming to deliver thousands of electric school buses to districts across the country.
Another $7.5 billion will go to building a nationwide network of plug-in electric vehicle chargers, according to the text.
Improving Power and Water Systems
The package invests $65 billion to rebuild the electric grid, according to the White House. It calls for building thousands of miles of new power lines and expanding renewable energy, the White House said.
It provides $55 billion to upgrade water infrastructure, according to the text. It will replace lead service lines and pipes so that communities have access to clean drinking water.
Another $50 billion will go toward making the system more resilient – protecting it from drought, floods and cyberattacks.
$11 billion in benefits has been allocated to the Indian Health Service, the federal agency tasked with providing healthcare for more than 2 million Native American and Alaska natives.