Attention all shoppers, now is our time! President Joe Biden signed the bipartisan infrastructure bill into law Monday, meaning a windfall of money is set to hit states, cities and towns across the country soon.
At this moment, I’m encouraging you to disregard decades of conservative propaganda and lean in to the same healthy sense of entitlement we all feel when we’re loading up the cart at Target. Rest assured, I am. I have my list of desirables ready. But baby, it’s time to spend, and spend big.
Sure, your city may need an Amtrak stop or a new air traffic control tower. But why stop there? This is a historic occasion made possible by Americans like me — and perhaps you, as well — whose taxes are collected specifically for moments like this, when massive investments are needed for the public good.
Polling shows a majority of Americans share my excitement over what these investments could do. Just last week, a Monmouth University poll found that 65 percent of Americans support the bipartisan infrastructure plan, and 62 percent support his Build Back Better social spending proposal. Even in a hyperpolarized climate, those numbers signal a society that desires more community investment — not less.
Congratulations on your participation in this American experience. As a treat, we’re going shopping! Take a look at some of the provisions in the bipartisan infrastructure legislation, and let us know what's at the top of your wish list in the poll below.
Roads and bridges
The deal allocates $110 billion in new funds for bridges, highways and roads. The White House has said at least 170,000 miles of road and 45,000 bridges are in poor condition. The bill also sets aside $1 billion for the “reconnecting communities” initiative designed to rebuild neighborhoods — largely, Black and brown neighborhoods — impacted by racist city planning.
Nearly $40 billion will go toward public transit, including expanding access into communities in need, improving accessibility for people with disabilities and funding investments for states and localities to purchase low-emission vehicles.
Passenger and freight trains
The legislation sets aside $66 billion to maintain and improve Amtrak’s existing routes, as well as expand into more cities across the country. The money will also help fund improvements for Amtrak’s busy Northeast Corridor, including additional stops, reduced travel times and more frequent service.
The infrastructure bill puts $7.5 billion toward electric vehicle charging stations, part of the Biden administration’s plan to curb fuel emissions and spur the electric car economy by creating 500,000 new charging stations by 2030. The bill also provides $5 billion for the purchase of electric and hybrid buses to reduce reliance on diesel fuel.
The bill sets aside $65 billion to expand broadband access by improving internet services for rural areas, tribal communities and low-income families.
Modernizing the electrical grid
The infrastructure bill invests $73 billion in improvements meant to make the U.S. power grid more reliable, including developing new batteries and expanding capabilities with nuclear and hydrogen power. The administration justified the investment by pointing to a Department of Energy paper that noted outages cost up to $70 billion annually.
The infrastructure bill invests $25 billion in improving the nation’s airports. That means upgrades to outdated air traffic control towers, along with changes to gates and terminals — like size increases — that could make air travel more efficient. Some of the investment will also go toward renovations that could make the waiting experience more enjoyable to travelers.
The bill sets aside $55 billion to help upgrade the nation’s water and wastewater infrastructure, including funds to replace lead pipes and remove other contaminants from water sources throughout the country.
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