What You Need to Know About the Recently Enacted Infrastructure Bill

Image credit: Zachary-Staines on Wunderstock

This past week, President Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The bill, commonly referred to as the Infrastructure Bill, provides for $1.2 trillion in spending over the next five years on the nation’s infrastructure and is one of two major legislative initiatives of the Biden Administration, the other being Biden’s $1.75 billion Build Back Better Bill focused on “soft” assets such money to fight climate change, for universal free preschool, for paid family and medical leave, etc.

While the Infrastructure Bill contains its fair share of pet projects, economists and historians generally agree that the Infrastructure Bill is the largest investment in the nation’s infrastructure since President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal” in 1933.

So what’s in the whopping 2,702 page Infrastructure Bill? The bill includes:

  • $110 billion to repair the nation’s highways, bridges and roads;
  • $73 billion to upgrade the nation’s electrical power grid;
  • $66 billion to improve the nation’s rail service;
  • $65 billion for broadband infrastructure;
  • $55 billion on water and wastewater infrastructure;
  • $47 billion to combat wildfires and improve climate resiliency in coastal areas;
  • $39 billion for public transit including expanding transportation systems, improving accessibility for people with disabilities and money for state and local governments to purchase zero-emission and low-emission buses;
  • $25 billion to improve airport runways, gates, taxiways and terminals;
  • $21 billion to clean up abandoned mines, contaminated waterways, and the polluted sites;
  • $17 billion for ports and waterways;
  • $11 billion for transportation safety programs; and
  • $7.5 billion for electrical vehicle charging stations passenger rail, including $16 billion for Amtrak’s National Network, $6 billion for Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, and $36 billion for Federal-State Partnership Grants.

If you add up all of the above, and add some smaller spending initiatives, it totals approximately $550 billion. So where is the rest of the $650 billion making up the $1.2 trillion coming from? It comes from previously authorized funding for roads and other infrastructure. The $550 billion represents new spending.

Which, of course, raises the question, how will all of this be paid for? The spending package will be paid for by “repurposing” $210 billion in unspent COVID-19 relief aid and $53 billion from the unemployment insurance, $28 billion in estimated new taxes coming from enforcement of cryptocurrency transactions, and the balance coming from federal government borrowing which the Congressional Budget Office estimates will add $256 billion to federal deficit over the next 10 years.

And what is California expected to receive? According to the White House, California is expected to receive:

  • $25.3 billion for highways and bridges;
  • $9.45 billion for public transit;
  • $4.2 billion for bridge replacement and repairs;
  • $3.5 billion for water infrastructure;
  • $3.5 billion for weatherization;
  • $1.5 billion for airports;
  • $384 million for electrical vehicle charging stations;
  • $100 million for broadband infrastructure;
  • $84 million to protect against wildfires; and
  • $40 million to protect against cyberattacks.

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