Image: Screen capture/PBS News Hour
Yesterday, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators met with President Biden to reach a deal on a $1.2 trillion infrastructure framework. The bulk of the funds will be put toward transportation and “traditional” infrastructure such as bridges, roads, transit systems, and passenger rail. The remainder of the funds will be spent on other infrastructure such as the removal of the nation’s lead pipes, upgrading energy transition infrastructure to accommodate renewable energy, as well as the expansion of broadband internet.
Why This Matters: While this framework is smaller than the $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan proposed by the President in March, but he made it clear that he will ask Congressional Democrats to push through “human infrastructure,” such as investments in pre-K, paid family leave, community college as well as investment in cleantech research and development through a budget reconciliation process as a companion to the bipartisan bill.
Still, this is the biggest bipartisan achievement and infrastructure investment in recent history, and if signed into law will give Democrats a sizeable achievement to campaign on in the 2022 midterm elections.
Also worth mentioning: #InfrastructureWeek went from a tragic running joke during the Trump administration, to true bipartisan legislation in the first 5 months of the Biden administration.
What’s next? As White House press secretary Jen Psaki explained, the framework will now head back to Capitol Hill for further negotiation and further negotiation.
In a factsheet put out by the White House, the infrastructure framework will include the following:
- Improve healthy, sustainable transportation options for millions of Americans by modernizing and expanding transit and rail networks across the country, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Plan is the largest federal investment in public transit in history and is the largest federal investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak.
- Repair and rebuild our roads and bridges with a focus on climate change mitigation, resilience, equity, and safety for all users, including cyclists and pedestrians. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework is the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the interstate highway system.
- Build a national network of electric vehicle (EV) chargers along highways and in rural and disadvantaged communities. The largest investment in EV infrastructure in history, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework will accomplish the President’s goal of building 500,000 EV chargers.
- Electrify thousands of school and transit buses across the country to reduce harmful emissions and drive domestic manufacturing of zero emission vehicles and components.
- Eliminate the nation’s lead service lines and pipes, delivering clean drinking water to up to ten million American families and more than 400,000 schools and child care facilities that currently don’t have it, including in Tribal nations and disadvantaged communities. The Plan is the largest investment in clean drinking water and waste water infrastructure in American history.
- Connect every American to reliable high-speed internet, just as the federal government made a historic effort to provide electricity to every American nearly one hundred years ago. The Framework will also drive down prices for internet service and close the digital divide.
- Upgrade our power infrastructure, including by building thousands of miles of new, resilient transmission lines to facilitate the expansion of renewable energy, including through a new Grid Authority. The Plan is the single largest investment in clean energy transmission in American history.
- Create a first of its kind Infrastructure Financing Authority that will leverage billions of dollars into clean transportation and clean energy.
- Make the largest investment in addressing legacy pollution in American history, a cleanup effort that will create good-paying union jobs and advance environmental justice.
- Prepare more of our infrastructure for the impacts of climate change, cyber attacks, and extreme weather events. The Framework is the largest investment in the resilience of physical and natural systems in American history.