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USA readies for trillion-dollar infrastructure boom (The Construction Index)

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The USA’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal is heading to the desk of president Joe Biden for signature after securing the backing of both bodies of Congress.

Joe Biden will now sign the bill
Joe Biden will now sign the bill

The Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act was approved by the House of Representatives after clearing the Senate earlier this year. The legislation makes provision for over US$500bn of new spending, giving a total package of more than US$1 trillion, including additional funding that would normally be allocated each year.

This Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal is designed to “rebuild America’s roads, bridges and rails, expand access to clean drinking water, ensure every American has access to high-speed internet, tackle the climate crisis, advance environmental justice, and invest in communities that have too often been left behind”. Combined with the president’s ‘Build Back Framework’, it is expected to add on average 1.5 million jobs per year for the next 10 years.

The chief executive officer of Associated General Contractors of America, Stephen Sandherr, said that the bill will provide a needed boost to construction industry while making the economy more efficient. “Because of today’s vote, state and local officials will be able to invest in a more efficient supply chain network,” he said. “They will also be able to improve roads and bridges to make them safer and more reliable. Metro areas will be able to better maintain and expand transit systems. And water authorities will be able to further safeguard the quality of local drinking water, among other improvements funded by this bill. The measure also provides needed investments to make infrastructure more resilient to extreme weather events.”

He added: “Once the president signs this bill into law, our members are ready to begin the hard, but necessary, work of rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure. They will also begin the work of building rewarding careers for a generation of new construction professionals because of this measure. Ultimately, these new infrastructure investments will provide a needed boost for the construction industry while making our economy more efficient.”

“At the same time, we urge members of the Senate and the Biden administration to reject the more partisan, and potentially damaging so-called social infrastructure bill. This measure will significantly expand the role of the federal government in many aspects of the economy. The last thing the economy needs now are the kind of self-inflicted wounds that are the hallmark of this social infrastructure measure.”

Secretary of the treasury Janet Yellen said: “The strength of a country’s economy depends on the strength of its infrastructure, and with today’s vote, we have ensured that the American economy will remain strong for decades to come. A once-in-a-generation infrastructure bill has been an ambition of policymakers for a long time. Its passage is an enormous achievement for our country.  By modernising public transit, rebuilding our bridges and roads, and connecting every home in the country with broadband, this bill will grow our economy and make it more resilient and sustainable in the process.”

Transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg said: “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, along with the Build Back Better Framework, will deliver generational investments in the economy for working people.

“The infrastructure bill will rebuild and replace infrastructure that is decades, or even a century, old. It will promote safety, help us combat the climate crisis, and advance equitable access to transportation. No matter where they live or who they voted for, all Americans deserve to have a transportation system that works for them.

“Now, we begin the work of building infrastructure that will support the travelling public and ensure an economically competitive America for generations to come. The US Department of Transportation stands ready to implement this historic and transformational legislation, and help create a transportation system that works for every American.”

Planned investments include:

  • US$55bn to expand access to clean drinking water for households, businesses, schools, and child care centres all across the country;
  • US$65bn to help ensure that every American has access to reliable high-speed internet through investment in broadband infrastructure deployment.
  • reauthorisation of surface transportation programmes for five years and US$110bn in additional funding to repair roads and bridges and support major projects;
  • US$39bn of new investment to modernise transit, in addition to continuing the existing transit programmes for five years as part of surface transportation reauthorisation.  In total, the new investments and reauthorisation in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal provide US$89.9bn in guaranteed funding for public transit over the next five years;
  • US$17bn for port infrastructure and waterways and US$25bn for airports to address repair and maintenance backlogs, reduce congestion and emissions near ports and airports, and drive electrification and other low-carbon technologies;
  • US$66bn for additional rail funding to eliminate the Amtrak maintenance backlog, modernise the Northeast Corridor, and improve services in areas outside the northeast and mid-Atlantic;
  • US$7.5bn to build a national network of electric vehicle chargers;
  • an investment of more than US$65bn in clean energy transmission and the grid;
  • over US$50bn to protect against droughts, heat, floods and wildfires;
  • US$21bn clean up Superfund and brownfield sites, reclaim abandoned mine land and cap orphaned oil and gas wells.

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