Roads, transit, internet: What’s in the infrastructure bill

The $1 trillion infrastructure plan that President Joe Biden plans to sign into law has money for roads, bridges, ports, rail transit, safe water, the power grid, broadband internet and more.

The plan promises to reach almost every corner of the country. It’s a historic investment that the president has compared to the building of the transcontinental railroad and Interstate Highway System. The White House is projecting that the investments will add, on average, about 2 million jobs per year over the coming decade.

The bill cleared the House on a 228-206 vote Nov. 5, ending weeks of intraparty negotiations in which liberal Democrats insisted the legislation be tied to a larger social spending bill—an effort to press more moderate Democrats to support both.

The Senate passed the legislation on a 69-30 vote in August after rare bipartisan negotiations, and the House kept that compromise intact. Thirteen House Republicans voted for the bill, giving Democrats more than enough votes to overcome a handful of defections from progressives.

A breakdown of the bill expected to become law Monday:

ROADS AND BRIDGES

The bill would provide $110 billion to repair the nation’s aging highways, bridges and roads. According to the White House, 173,000 total miles or nearly 280,000 kilometers of America’s highways and major roads and 45,000 bridges are in poor condition. The almost $40 billion for bridges is the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the national highway system, according to the Biden administration.

PUBLIC TRANSIT

The $39 billion for public transit in the legislation would expand transportation systems, improve accessibility for people with disabilities and provide dollars to state and local governments to buy zero-emission and low-emission buses. The Transportation Department estimates that the current repair backlog is more than 24,000 buses, 5,000 rail cars, 200 stations and thousands of miles of track and power systems.

PASSENGER AND FREIGHT RAIL

To reduce Amtrak’s maintenance backlog, which has worsened since Superstorm Sandy nine years ago, the bill would provide $66 billion to improve the rail service’s Northeast Corridor (457 miles), as well as other routes. It’s less than the $80 billion originally sought by Biden—who famously rode Amtrak from Delaware to Washington during his time in the Senate—but it would be the largest federal investment in passenger rail service since Amtrak was founded 50 years ago.

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

The bill would spend $7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging stations, which the administration says are critical to accelerating the use of electric vehicles to curb climate change. It would also provide $5 billion for the purchase of electric school buses and hybrids, reducing reliance on school buses that run on diesel fuel.

INTERNET ACCESS

The legislation’s $65 billion for broadband access would aim to improve internet services for rural areas, low-income families and tribal communities. Most of the money would be made available through grants to states.

MODERNIZING THE ELECTRIC GRID

To protect against the power outages that have become more frequent in recent years, the bill would spend $65 billion to improve the reliability and resiliency of the power grid. It would also boost carbon capture technologies and more environmentally friendly electricity sources like clean hydrogen.

AIRPORTS

The bill would spend $25 billion to improve runways, gates and taxiways at airports and to improve terminals. It would also improve aging air traffic control towers.

WATER AND WASTEWATER

The legislation would spend $55 billion on water and wastewater infrastructure. It has $15 billion to replace lead pipes and $10 billion to address water contamination from polyfluoroalkyl substances—chemicals that were used in the production of Teflon and have also been used in firefighting foam, water-repellent clothing and many other items.

PAYING FOR IT

The five-year spending package would be paid for by tapping $210 billion in unspent COVID-19 relief aid and $53 billion in unemployment insurance aid some states have halted, along with an array of smaller pots of money, like petroleum reserve sales and spectrum auctions for 5G services.

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15 thoughts on “Roads, transit, internet: What’s in the infrastructure bill

  1. Minor correction, $30 billion is dedicated to the Northeast Corridor. The remainder of dollars for passenger rail are dedicated to the national network, improving existing Amtrak corridor services, and competitive grant dollars for standing up new corridor lines outside of the Northeast Corridor.

  2. It would be nice if ALL of the “infrastructure” bill was for actual infrastructure and not “pork barrel” spending for social programs that most people, not apostles of Karl Marx, will not like.
    Either way, it is money we don’t have to spend in an economy that is headed toward a big downturn if something isn’t done quickly.

    1. This entire bill is for “hard” infrastructure. The other bill is for “social spending” and it is too bad you think helping working families, providing education, food, healthcare, and housing, and protecting the environment are “communism,” but all those items should be taken care of and they ensure we have a healthy, strong, and viable society. So, instead of referencing a long-dead political philosopher, whom you probably have never read, try reading the actual bills next time.

      Oh, and isn’t it interesting how “we” always seem to have the money when big corporations and billionaires have their hands out? (Even locally, “we” seem to almost never have the money for parks, roads, schools, but always for billionaire-owned sports teams–very interesting!) And, most of the people objecting to the Democrats’ proposed “social spending” had NO problem just a couple of years ago with giving away trillions of dollars in tax breaks to huge corporations and wealthy people while saddling the rest of us with paying for more and getting less.

    2. Neil has been glued to Fox News Channel and Newsmax, so his knowledge of the subject matter is sorely deficient.

  3. I’m thankful that my tax dollars are being used to make roads and bridges safe for everyone, no matter who they are. This is good for the economy, good for business and if some money goes to special programs, that’s the way the sausage is made.

    1. Hi Christine, gee, if paying to fix long-neglected roads and other crumbling infrastructure is “pork,” then just call me Jimmy Dean and give me lots more of it! Thank you, next!

  4. Paul, hits it on target. This explanation is for less than half. I would be okay if some small amount is left for how the “sausage is made”, but not more than half of the total.

    1. The entire text of the bill is available on line. So, instead of showing off your ignorance by spouting off unsupported criticisms trying to score political brownie points (“the IBJ doesn’t explain all of the bill in detail in this short article, so the rest of it must be ‘sausage’!”), try reading the bill first, then get back to us with your commentary.

  5. The entire text of the bill is available on line. So, instead of showing off your ignorance by spouting off unsupported criticisms trying to score political brownie points (“the IBJ doesn’t explain all of the bill in detail in this short article, so the rest of it must be ‘sausage’!”), try reading the bill first, then get back to us with your commentary.

  6. House GOP members in Congress who voted against the legislation now want to punish the 13 Republicans who voted for it by stripping them of their committee assignments (can you say “cancel culture”?). Trump wants to find opponents to challenge them in the primaries.

    Next November remember the senators and representatives from Indiana who voted against repairing our roads and bridges, against expanding broadband internet service to our rural counties, and against replacing the lead pipes that deliver water to our children. They are:

    Sen. Todd Young (R)
    Sen. Mike Braun (R)
    Rep. Jackie Walorski (R)
    Rep. Jim Banks (R)
    Rep. Jim Baird (R)
    Rep. Victoria Spartz (R)
    Rep. Greg Pence (R)
    Rep. Larry Bucshon (R)
    Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R)

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