After weeks of debate and discussion, the White House and a bipartisan group of senators said Wednesday they had agreed on an infrastructure bill.
The $ 1 trillion package is far smaller than the $ 2.3 trillion plan originally proposed by President Biden and would, according to a. Provide approximately $ 550 billion in new federal funding for public transportation, roads, bridges, water, and other physical projects over the next five years White House fact sheet. That money would be cobbled together through a number of measures, including “reallocating” congressional-approved stimulus funds, selling the public spectrum, and reclaiming federal unemployment benefits from states that have prematurely ended more generous pandemic benefits.
Although Mr Biden admitted that “neither side got everything they wanted,” he said the deal would create new union jobs and make significant investments in local public transport.
“This deal signals to the world that our democracy can work, deliver and do great things,” Biden said in a statement. “As with the transcontinental railroad and the interstate highway, we will change America again and drive ourselves into the future.”
The legislature has not yet published the text of the bill, and although the Senate voted for it in an initial vote on Wednesday evening, it still faces several hurdles. But if it does take effect, the package would be a significant step in repairing the country’s crumbling infrastructure and preparing for the 21st century.
Here’s a look at the bipartisan group’s agreement for the final package.
Funding for roads and bridges
The package provides $ 110 billion in new funding for roads, bridges and other major projects. The money would be used to repair and rebuild with a “focus on climate protection,” according to the White House.
That funding would only begin to meet some of the country’s most pressing infrastructure needs, transportation experts say. The latest estimate by the American Society of Civil Engineers found that the country’s roads and bridges are $ 786 billion behind in needed repairs.
Highway and pedestrian safety programs would receive $ 11 billion as part of the deal. The road deaths that have increased during the pandemic have taken a special toll on people of color, according to a recent analysis by the Governors Highway Safety Association. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of black traffic deaths in 2020 rose 23 percent year over year. In comparison, the number of road deaths among whites rose by 4 percent over the same period.
The deal also includes funding for “reconnecting communities” by removing highways or other past infrastructure projects that ran through black neighborhoods and other colored communities. Although Mr Biden initially proposed investing $ 20 billion in the new program, the latest deal is only $ 1 billion.
Investments in local public transport
Public buses, subways and trains would receive $ 39 billion in new funding that would be used to repair aging infrastructure and modernize and expand mass transit services across the country.
While the amount of new public transport funding was scaled back by a June proposal that included $ 49 billion, the Biden government said it would be the largest federal public transport investment in history.
However, funds may not be enough to fully modernize the country’s public transport system. There is a $ 176 billion backlog of transit investments, according to a report by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Large investments in rail and freight transport
The deal would raise $ 66 billion on the railroad to clear Amtrak’s maintenance backlog, along with upgrading the busy Northeast Corridor from Washington to Boston (a route frequented by lawmakers on the East Coast). It would also expand rail traffic outside of the Northeast and the Central Atlantic.
Mr. Biden makes frequent references to his connection with Amtrak, which began in the 1970s when he drove home from Washington to Delaware every night to look after his two sons during his tenure in the Senate. The new funding would be the largest investment in rail passenger transport since Amtrak was founded 50 years ago, according to the administration, and would come as the agency seeks to significantly expand its offering nationwide by 2035.
Clean Water Initiatives
The package would invest $ 55 billion in clean drinking water, which would be enough to replace all of the lead pipes and utilities in the country. While Congress banned lead water pipes three decades ago, there are still more than 10 million older ones, creating unsafe lead levels in cities and towns across the country.
Spice up electric cars
To counter the effects of climate change, the deal would invest $ 7.5 billion in building the nationwide network of charging stations for electric vehicles, which could help encourage more motorists to switch to such cars by eliminating so-called charging deserts become. The package would also expand America’s fleet of electric school buses by investing $ 2.5 billion in zero-emission buses.
Financing the investment
How to pay the expense has been one of the most controversial areas as Republicans opposed Mr Biden’s plan to raise taxes and authorize the IRS to help pay the package. Instead, the bipartisan group has agreed on a series of so-called pay-fors that largely repurpose already approved funds, rely on accounting changes to raise funds, and in some cases assume that the projects will ultimately pay for themselves.
The largest source of funding is $ 205 billion, which the group says will come from “repurposing certain auxiliary Covid dollars.” The government has approved trillions of pandemic stimulus funds, and much, but not all, has been allocated. The proposal doesn’t specify what money to recycle, but Republicans have urged the Treasury Department to withdraw funds from the $ 350 billion Democrats approved in March to help states, local governments and tribes tackle pandemic-related Cost to help.
An additional $ 53 billion is believed to have come from states that prematurely ended more generous federal unemployment benefits and returned that money to the Treasury Department. Another $ 28 billion is tied to more robust cryptocurrency reporting, and $ 56 billion is believed to come from economic growth “resulting from a 33 percent return on investment in these long-term infrastructure projects.”