The Senate is set to pass the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (“IIJA”), a five-year, $1 trillion comprehensive infrastructure package that includes funding for transportation – roads, bridges, ports, airports, rail, and transit – as well as water infrastructure, broadband, power infrastructure, and climate resiliency.
The bill, which the Biden Administration refers to as a “once-in-a-generation investment in our infrastructure,” contains $550 billion in new spending over baseline numbers, the majority of which is directed to the Department of Transportation, and includes many of the priorities that the Biden Administration first laid out in the American Jobs Plan. Once passed by the Senate, the IIJA will move to the House, where Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has stated she will not take up the bill without a corresponding reconciliation package.
The bipartisan legislation is the culmination of months of negotiations on infrastructure and includes surface transportation reauthorization. Surface transportation reauthorizations provide multi-year funding for federal highway and public transportation programs. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act – the current surface transportation authorization – is running on a one-year extension which expires on September 30, 2021. The IIJA includes the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act (which covers highways), the Surface Transportation Investment Act (which covers rail, motor carriers, and safety) – both of which passed out of committee with bipartisan support – and a new transit title. It also includes the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act and Energy Infrastructure Acts.
Unlike the House-passed surface transportation reauthorization, the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America Act (INVEST) in America Act, the IIJA does not include earmarks. However, it does include over $100 billion in competitive grant funding – significantly more than any other surface transportation or infrastructure investment in U.S. history.
Of the $550 billion in new spending:
- $110 billion is for roads, bridges, and major projects
o $55.5 billion in increased contract authority
o $36.7 billion for competitive and formula bridge funding
o $7.5 billion in RAISE grant funding
o $5 billion for a National Infrastructure Project Assistance grant program
o $3.2 billion in INFRA grant funding
o $500 million for surface transportation Private Activity Bonds (PABs)
o $1 billion in culvert development to help water flow
- $66 billion is for passenger and freight rail
o $6 billion for the Northeast Corridor
o $36 billion for intercity passage rail
o $16 billion for the Amtrak National Network
o $5 billion for the CRISIS program
o $3 billion for the Railroad Crossing Elimination Program
- $11 billion is for safety
o $2.24 billion in increased contract authority
o $5 billion for the Safe Streets for All program to help implement vision zero plans
o $500 million for a Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) Grant Program for state, local, and community projects that use innovative transportation technologies
o $1.1 billion for NHTSA highway safety programs
o $467.5 million for the FMCSA Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program
o $1 billion for PHMSA modernization
- $39.2 billion is for public transit
o $19.15 billion in increased contract authority
o $4.75 billion for State of Good Repair grants
o $8 billion for the Capital Investment Grant (CIG) program
o $2 billion to increase accessibility
o $5.25 billion for the Low or No Emission Vehicle program
- $65 billion is for broadband
o $42.45 billion grants to states for deployment
o $600 million in Private Activity Bonds (PABs)
o $2 billion for support to rural areas
o $1 billion for middle mile infrastructure
o $2 billion for Tribal grants
o $2.75 billion for inclusion
o $14.2 billion for an Affordable Connectivity Benefit
- $16.6 billion is for ports and waterways
- $25 billion is for airports
o $15 billion in formula funding for airports through the Airport Improvement Program (AIP)
o $5 billion in competitive grant funding for “terminal development and other landside projects”
o $5 billion for contract tower infrastructure
• $55 billion is for water infrastructure
o $23.43 billion for Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Funds
o $15 billion for lead service line replacement
o $10 billion to address PFAS
o $2.5 billion for Indian water rights
o $1 billion for Bureau of Reclamation Water programs
o $1.27 billion for a water and sewer tax
o $250 million for WIFIA
- $65 billion for power and grid
- $47.2 billion for resiliency, which includes “cybersecurity to address critical infrastructure needs, waste management, flood and wildfire mitigation, drought, and coastal resiliency, ecosystem restoration, heat stress, and weatherization”
- $7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging
- $21 billion for addressing “legacy pollution,” including brownfields, superfund sites, orphan oil and gas wells, and abandoned mine lands, among others
- $8.3 billion for western water infrastructure
- $5 billion for zero-emission and clean school buses
- $2.5 billion for low-carbon and essential rural ferries
- $1 billion for reconnecting communities impacted by transportation development
While the IIJA will likely pass the Senate with bipartisan support, several factors will likely complicate its path forward on the House side, where the Democrats have a razor-thin majority.
The current bill includes the Senate’s version of surface transportation reauthorization as part of its base text. However, House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR) has stated opposition to the Senate surface transportation reauthorization, saying that it does not do enough regarding climate and equity, and he is pressuring Democratic leadership to include more progressive provisions from the House-passed INVEST in America Act.
Additionally, Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) has stated repeatedly that the House will not consider a bipartisan infrastructure bill until it also receives a second, larger reconciliation package advancing President Biden’s social infrastructure plans. The House Progressive Caucus is also reportedly instructing its Members to withhold their votes on the bipartisan infrastructure bill if the reconciliation package does not include all of their priorities. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has drafted a $3.5 trillion budget resolution; however, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) has stated she would not support a package that large in scope, indicating the topline number will likely come down as negotiations continue.
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