Senate Moves $1.2T Infrastructure Package Forwardeditor@aashto.org July 30, 2021 0 COMMENTS
After lengthy negotiations over the past month, a group of 21 Senators – comprised of 10 Republicans and 11 Democrats – and the White House reached a deal on July 28 regarding the bipartisan $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or IIJA. The IIJA then successfully passed a cloture motion 67 to 32 later that day, with 17 Republicans voting yes along with all 50 Democrats to formally open debate on that bill.
[Above photo via the White House]
“This deal makes key investments to put people to work all across the country – in cities, small towns, rural communities, and across our coastlines and plains,” noted President Joe Biden in a statement.
“As the deal goes to the entire Senate, there is still plenty of work ahead to bring this home,” he said. “There will be disagreements to resolve and more compromise to forge along the way.”
According to analysis by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the IIJA bill contains more funding and policy detail compared to the initial two-page infrastructure investment “framework” released in late June.
The IIJA adds $550 billion in new spending over five years on top of current FAST Act funding levels by incorporating the $303.5 billion highway bill (Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021) passed unanimously by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works in May along with the safety and rail bill (Surface Transportation Investment Act of 2021) passed 25 to 3 by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation in June.
“I am glad to see the bipartisan group’s infrastructure legislation focuses on the core elements of infrastructure. Just as important, the bipartisan group’s package is built around our two bipartisan and unanimously committee-passed [highway and water] bills,” noted Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. – the ranking member on the EPW committee – in a statement.
“These bills were also developed with input from our fellow senators and incorporated policy and funding priorities from both sides of the aisle,” she said.
“AASHTO applauds the bipartisan group of Senators and President Biden for reaching agreement on this historic bipartisan infrastructure bill,” noted Jim Tymon, AASHTO executive director, in a statement.
“We recognize this long-sought agreement is a crucial demonstration of the solid bipartisan support for infrastructure investment including roads, bridges, public transit, passenger rail, ports, airports, safety, and resilience—as well as broadband, water, and energy systems,” he said. “We are particularly grateful for the addition of $550 billion in new funding on top of the much-needed five-year surface transportation reauthorization bills passed with strong bipartisan support by the Senate Environment and Public Works and Commerce Committees.”
Tymon added that AASHTO and its state department of transportation members “stand ready to work with Congress and the Administration toward enactment of this major infrastructure package as soon as possible.”
While the full legislative text of the ILJA is not yet available, a fact sheet released by the White House provides an overview of the new funding it contains:
- $110 billion for roads, bridges, and major transportation projects
- $66 billion for 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 including a $24 billion set-aside for the Northeast Corridor.
- $11 billion for safety for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration, and a “Safe Streets for All” program.
- $39 billion for transit, including for Capital Investment Grants and the “low-no” emission vehicle procurement program.
- $25 billion for airports.
- $17.3 billion for ports and waterways.
- $46 billion for infrastructure resiliency investments.
- $7.5 billion for low-carbon and zero-emission school buses and ferries along with another $7.5 billion for electric vehicles and low-carbon school buses and ferries.
- $65 billion for broadband, $55 billion for water infrastructure, along with $73 billion for power and electric grid infrastructure investment.