Infrastructure Bill: How Will Modernizing Roads, Bridges, Transit and Water Help You?

Democratic Caucus meeting on Capitol Hill, Washington, Usa - 28 Sep 2021
MICHAEL REYNOLDS / EPA-EFE / Shutterstock.com

When and if President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill gets passed by Congress, it could make life a whole lot easier for millions of Americans who are tired of driving over potholes and crumbling bridges, seek plentiful public transit and live in fear of unsafe drinking water.

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The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act would earmark $550 billion in new spending over five years to modernize roads, bridges and transit systems, as well as expand high-speed internet systems and electric vehicle charging stations, USA Today reported. An additional $55 billion would be used to upgrade water systems.

Whether any of this comes to pass largely depends on Congress. U.S. House speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday night postponed a planned vote on the infrastructure bill following a rift between moderate and progressive Democrats on how much of Biden’s full plan should be implemented, The Guardian reported.

Pelosi put an upbeat spin on things, however, saying the House is “closer to an agreement than ever,” but that it “will need some additional time to finish the work.”

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That delay aside, just about everyone inside and outside the nation’s capital supports infrastructure upgrades, particularly for roads, bridges and transit. Here’s a quick look at how modernizing the nation’s infrastructure would help Americans:

Roads and Bridges

It’s no secret that the country’s roadways are in need of a serious overhaul. More than 45,000 bridges are rated in poor condition, and many of America’s main arteries are deteriorating. The infrastructure plan calls for $110 billion in new spending for roads and bridges over five years, with $40 billion earmarked for bridge repair, replacement and rehabilitation. This would represent the biggest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the interstate highway system in the 1950s.

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Public Transit

About $39 billion would go toward modernizing public transit. One priority is to repair and upgrade current infrastructure and make transit stations more accessible to elderly passengers, those with disabilities, and other riders. Another $66 billion would go to Amtrak, passenger and freight rail. One goal is to eliminate Amtrak’s maintenance backlog and modernize its Northeast Corridor line. The plan also calls for $12 in grants to expand transit services to new areas.

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Water Systems

The $55 billion earmarked to upgrade the nation’s water systems aims to replace all of the country’s existing lead service pipes and lines to make clean drinking water more accessible to everyone.

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Last updated: October 1, 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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