Get all your news in one place
100’s of premium titles. One news app. Zero ads. Just $10 per month.

New Bridges, Roads, Internet And More: Here’s What Made It Into The $1 Trillion Infrastructure Bill Backed By The Senate

Topline

Following weeks of bipartisan negotiations, the Senate late Sunday released a 2,702-page infrastructure bill that, if approved, would authorize nearly $1 trillion for the nation's roads, highways, bridges, transit and more, and though it faces uncertain prospects in Congress, here’s what to expect from what would be one of the biggest infrastructure spending bills in U.S. history. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) speaks to members of the media at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. © 2021 Bloomberg Finance LP

Key Facts

Released after a rare weekend session, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act would be the third-largest piece of legislation so far during President Joe Biden’s tenure (after his two stimulus packages), appropriating $550 billion in new spending over the next five years, with some $110 billion for roads, bridges and other transportation projects.

The bill includes the largest federal investment ever in public transit, allotting $39 billion to modernize systems, improve access for the elderly and people with disabilities, and repair more than 24,000 buses, 5,000 rail cars and thousands of miles of train tracks.

Spearheaded by a bipartisan group of 67 senators, the deal forgoes many of the clean-energy and “human infrastructure” provisions touted by the Biden Administration (including childcare and Medicare expansion), but it does authorize about $15 billion to buy thousands of electric school buses and to build a national network of electric-vehicle chargers along the nation’s highways. 

Rounding out the bill's big spending provisions are $65 billion to ensure every American has access to broadband internet, $55 billion to fund clean drinking water initiatives, $11 billion in transportation safety programs, and $66 billion, $25 billion and $17 billion for Amtrak, airports and ports, respectively.

Unlike measures relying on new debt or higher taxes, the bill's new spending will be financed with cost cuts, measures to help reduce tax avoidance and more than $250 billion in unused Covid-19 relief funds.

Crucial Quote 

“We haven’t done a large, bipartisan bill of this nature in a long time,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said from the chamber floor Sunday night, adding that a vote to approve the bill could be held “in a matter of days.”

 

Key Background

The bipartisan piece of legislation marks a major win for Senate negotiators trying to ease GOP concerns over heightened spending while appeasing Democratic demands for new clean-energy funding, but its prospects in the House remain very uncertain. All Democratic senators and 17 Republicans voted to advance the bill on Wednesday, setting the stage for its likely approval in the chamber later this week. A few House progressives, however, have tied their support for the infrastructure bill to a much larger $3.5 trillion budget bill, which would help the party authorize spending for its non-infrastructure priorities, and signaled they may not vote on the package unless senators move forward on the highly divisive budget bill. Moderate Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who’s echoed GOP concerns about the nation’s growing debt load, came out against the big budget bill last week, making its prospects fairly grim given the chamber’s 50-50 split.

Chief Critic

Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.) said he is a “no” on the infrastructure deal unless the Senate sends the House a budget reconciliation package that “meets the moment,” joining Rep. Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.), who suggested she wouldn’t vote for the bill without a budget package. To pass, the infrastructure bill would need either bipartisan support or support from all but four House Democrats.

Tangent

Despite its lofty price tag (nearly three times the last big infrastructure bill, signed by President Barack Obama in 2015), the bipartisan piece of legislation is far less than the $2 trillion package proposed by President Joe Biden in April.

Further Reading

17 Senate Republicans Vote To Advance Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill (Forbes)

Progressives Threaten To Torpedo Infrastructure Deal After Sinema Comes Out Against $3.5 Trillion Spending Bill (Forbes)

Trump Threatens 'Lots Of Primaries' For GOP Senators Over Infrastructure Deal (Forbes)

Crypto Exchanges Face New Reporting Requirements And Stiff Penalties Under Senate Infrastructure Bill (Forbes)

Related Stories
Senate poised to deliver infrastructure win for Biden agenda
The U.S. Senate is heading toward passage this week of a $550 billion infrastructure bill that would provide the biggest…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
It's in - and big: Senators produce $1T infrastructure bill
After much delay, senators have unveiled their $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill
Schumer: Senators will 'get the job done' on infrastructure
The Senate wrapped up a rare Saturday session without producing the text of a $1 trillion infrastructure bill
$1T infrastructure bill gets first action as senators dig in
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is looking to speed up consideration of a nearly $1 trillion bipartisan national infrastructure package
House poses obstacle to passage of infrastructure bill
Pelosi said she will not bring the bipartisan measure up for a vote unless it also comes with a reconciliation…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Senate finalises trillion-dollar bipartisan infrastructure deal. Here’s what happens next
Text of bill will be made public within days