Indiana would land nearly $7.9 billion in federal dollars for highways, public transit, broadband and more under the U.S. Senate’s current version of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which could come to a vote as early as this weekend.
The $550 billion proposal has survived weeks of partisan back-and-forth and technical glitches. Senators have tempered news of negotiating breakthroughs with reports of more setbacks. But, if successful, the measure would combine with $450 million in already approved spending to create a $1 trillion infrastructure package.
Based on a funding formula for the $550 billion proposal, Indiana would receive $6.6 billion for highways, $401 million for bridges, $682 million for public transportation, $100 million toward an electric vehicle charging network and $100 million for internet access, according to an Indiana-specific fact sheet released by the White House.
The package had appeared on track for eventual Senate passage, a rare accord between Republicans and Democrats joining on a shared priority that also is essential to President Joe Biden’s agenda. But senators hit new problems late Thursday as they worked late into the night on amendments. A procedural vote was set for Saturday.
Still, supporters appeared optimistic.
“We’ve worked long, hard and collaboratively, to finish this important bipartisan bill,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., just before midnight. In announcing Saturday’s schedule, he said “We very much want to finish.”
But the bill has its naysayers. Many of them point to an analysis released Thursday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office which shows the legislation would add about $256 billion to the national deficit over the next decade.
“It is clear the pay-fors in this package are either phony or insufficient, and this bill is full of K street carve-outs, kickbacks, and pork,” said U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, a Republican representing Indiana, in a written statement.
In contrast, U.S. Sen. Todd Young, also an Indiana Republican, was among those voting last week to open the bill to amendment and debate so it could continue moving through the legislative process.
“As the Crossroads of America, Indiana understands the need for federal investment in our crumbling infrastructure, especially with nearly 5,500 miles of Hoosier highways in poor condition,” Young said in announcing his decision. “That’s why I voted today to formally begin debate on a bipartisan infrastructure bill. We’ve made a lot of progress so far on an historic investment in our nation’s core infrastructure that will be fully paid for without raising taxes. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle as we sand and polish the final product.”
If the bill passes the Senate, it would move on to the House for consideration.
If successful, the measure could bring pivotal infrastructure improvements to communities across the nation.
“If Congress does pass a bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure package, which will in some measure find its way here to Indianapolis, all of those things combined put us in a very exciting position,” Mayor Joe Hogsett said at a media briefing late last month.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen in Washington,” Hogsett added. “This $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure continues to be talked about. But if it passes, with the American Rescue Plan monies and our regular revenue, pursuant to budgeting, I think 2022 could be a very exciting year for the city.”
Kevin Brinegar, president and CEO of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, said the infrastructure bill is a package “worth funding” because it focuses on traditional infrastructure—roads, bridges, broadband and wastewater—all areas needing improvement in Indiana.
“We are way overdue as a country to reinvest and rebuild the infrastructure,” Brinegar said. “Indiana stands to gain a lot with the passage of this legislation.”
IBJ’s Emily Ketterer and the Associated Press contributed to this report.