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SCAG provides update on infrastructure package

On Wednesday, July 28, the US Senate voted 67-32 to begin debating the bipartisan infrastructure stimulus proposal, with 17 Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, joining all 50 Senate Democrats in favor. After several months of negotiations on infrastructure, this takes the proposal to the next step in the legislative process.

The $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, includes $550 billion in new spending to rebuild roads and bridges, improve public transit systems, expand passenger rail, upgrade ports and airports, invest in broadband infrastructure, fix water systems, modernize the power sector, and improve climate resilience. The plan would be paid for in part by redirecting unspent emergency relief funds, unspent unemployment benefits, expected economic growth and other funding sources.

Highlights include:

  • $110 billion above baseline for Roads, Bridges & Major Projects
  • $66 billion for Passenger & Freight Rail
  • $46 billion for Resiliency
  • $11 billion for Highway & Pedestrian Safety Projects
  • $39.2 billion for Public Transit
  • $65 billion for Broadband Infrastructure
  • $7.5 billion for EV infrastructure
  • $7.5 billion for Electric buses/transit
  • $1 billion for the Reconnecting Communities program
  • And more!

Several hurdles remain before the bill reaches President Biden’s desk. Several Republicans have expressed that their continued support for the package is contingent upon reviewing the actual bill text and any potential amendments. The bill will face one more 60-vote threshold to close debate before it can be sent to the House. The bill text was unveiled on Sunday, Aug. 2, as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 (H.R. 3684) and is currently being debated and amended on the Senate floor. A vote on the final Senate version may come as soon as Thursday, Aug. 5.

On the House side, Speaker Pelosi reiterated that the House would not act on the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill until the Senate also passes a separate budget reconciliation bill, which could extend the timeline for the final passage for both efforts through August. All 50 Senate Democrats have agreed to support a reconciliation bill. Still, some Senators have expressed concern with the $3.5 trillion topline figure that Senate Democratic Leadership announced.

The bill text for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 (H.R. 3684) can be found on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee website.

This article was released by the Southern California Association of Governments.