5 Significant Aspects of the Infrastructure Bill That Could Lead To Lasting Impact

Aerial drone view on highway bridge in construction.
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The Senate’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure package has a little something for everyone, from outlays for broadband and electric vehicles to investments in equal opportunity, racial equity and environmental justice.

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The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed in the Senate on Tuesday by a 69-30 vote, marking a major win for President Joe Biden. The bill will now go to the House of Representatives for final approval. Nineteen Republicans voted in favor of the bill, along with 50 Democrats.

The bill includes $110 billion for roads, bridges and major projects; $66 billion for passenger and freight rail; $65 billion to rebuild the electric grid; $65 billion to expand broadband internet access; and $39 billion to modernize and expand transit systems.

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Here are five things in the bill that could have a lasting impact on American lives:

1. Funding for roads and bridges

This might seem like an obvious choice, but in a nation that loves cars as much as the United States, improving roads is clearly important to tens of millions of Americans. The $110 billion set aside for roads, bridges and major infrastructure projects is less than the $159 billion Biden initially requested in the American Jobs Plan, CNN reported. However, the money should still go a long way toward improving driving conditions in the U.S. According to the White House, the $40 billion for bridge repair, replacement and rehabilitation is the single largest dedicated bridge investment since construction of the interstate highway system began in the 1950s.

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2. Electric school buses

The bill puts $7.5 billion toward a national network of plug-in electric vehicle chargers along highways, as well as within communities where people live, work and shop. It’s a tiny part of the overall package, but it helps advance the Biden Administration’s goal to promote clean transportation and lower the nation’s carbon emissions.

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3. Broadband upgrade

The bill puts $65 billion toward improving the nation’s broadband infrastructure, with the goal of making internet service more accessible and affordable for American households. Among other things, it would require recipients of federal funds to offer low-cost affordable plans, create more transparent pricing and boost competition in areas where existing providers don’t providing adequate service.

4. Improving power and water systems

The package includes $65 billion to rebuild the electric grid, CNN noted, including thousands of miles of new power lines, along with expanded renewable energy systems. It also includes $55 billion to upgrade water infrastructure, with much of the money going toward replacing lead service lines and pipes to ensure communities have access to clean drinking water.

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5. Environmental improvements

The bill includes $21 billion to clean up Superfund and brownfield sites, reclaim abandoned mine land and cap orphaned gas wells.

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Last updated: August 11, 2021

About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.

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