President Joe Biden on Monday afternoon signed into law a bipartisan infrastructure bill, delivering long-awaited spending on roads, bridges, broadband, electric-vehicle chargers, ports and other areas.
Hopes for more infrastructure spending often have been dashed in recent years, turning “Infrastructure Week” into a joke in Washington, but the country’s politicians delivered at last this fall.
“Here in Washington, we’ve heard countless speeches and promises and white papers from experts. But today, we’re finally getting this done,” Biden said in a speech, shortly before putting his signature on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
“So my message to the American people is this: America’s moving again, and your life is going to change for the better.”
The measure has an overall price tag of about $1 trillion, with around $550 billion in new public-works spending above what already was expected in future federal investments. Its outlays include $110 billion for roads, bridges and major projects; $66 billion for passenger and freight rail; $65 billion for broadband; and $7.5 billion for charging stations for electric vehicles.
The infrastructure bill passed the Democratic-controlled Senate in a 69-30 vote on Aug. 10, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell among the 19 Republicans who supported the measure. It cleared the Democratic-run House of Representatives on Nov. 5 in a 228-206 vote, with 13 House Republicans backing it.
In the spring, U.S. infrastructure received an average grade of C minus in a 2021 report card released by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Following the push on traditional infrastructure, Biden and his fellow Democrats now are renewing their focus on advancing their party’s $1.75 trillion social-spending and climate package, known as the Build Back Better plan.
This report was first published on Nov. 15, 2021.