Today, the Senate passed President Biden’s expansive bipartisan infrastructure bill. The package contains $550 billion in new federal funds to invest in American infrastructure over the next five years. The bill will now move to the House.
After months of difficult negotiations, the infrastructure measure passed in the Senate by a vote of 69-30. While the passed version of the bill is significantly less comprehensive than the $2.3 trillion agenda that President Biden initially created, it still includes key components of Biden’s original plan.
The bill would invest $110 billion in roads, bridges, and large infrastructure projects. According to the White House, 173,000 miles of the country’s highways and 45,000 bridges are in condition that needs improvement.
These funds would also work to address climate change and manage risks to infrastructure brought about by climate change. $21 billion would go to cleaning up superfund and brownfield sites, which are areas of severe pollution and contain hazardous contamination. Proximity to these sites can cause higher levels of lead in the blood. Communities of color are disproportionately affected by the pollution at superfund sites according to the White House, given that 26% of Black Americans and 29% of Hispanic Americans, a higher percentage than Americans overall, live within three miles of these areas.
The infrastructure package also aims to modernize public transit by allocating $39 billion to improve accessibility at stations, add public transit to communities that did not previously have service, and increase the number of zero-emission vehicles in operation. $66 billion will be invested in both passenger and freight rail, bringing rail transit to places outside the northeastern United States that have little to no train service.
Additionally, the bill would work to increase high-speed internet access across the country. $65 billion will go to improving broadband infrastructure, and a federal program will be created to assist low-income households in obtaining internet access.
$2.5 billion will be allocated toward zero emission school buses, and $2.5 billion would also be invested in low emission buses. This would provide school districts nationwide with electric school buses. An additional $7.5 billion would be invested for creating more electric vehicle chargers across the country as well.
Ports, waterways, and airports would also be repaired and improved by the bill, with $17 billion and $25 billion invested in maintaining ports and airports, respectively. The funds will also work to reduce carbon emissions around ports and airports.
The bill will build new power lines to upgrade the country’s electricity grid, investing $73 billion in promoting access to electricity.
Finally, clean water access will be improved with $55 billion invested in water infrastructure to replace lead pipes in rural towns, disadvantaged communities, and Tribal Nations.
This measure will be the largest federal infrastructure investment in over a decade.
Sources: New York Times 8/10/21; CNN 8/5/21; The White House 7/28/21