WASHINGTON — On Monday, President Joe Biden is set to sign into law a sweeping bipartisan infrastructure package, an integral component of his domestic agenda and the largest investment in the country’s infrastructure in decades.
The bill, priced at $1.2 trillion, will tackle nearly every facet of American infrastructure, including public transportation, roads, bridges, ports, railways, power grids, broadband internet, as well as water and sewage systems.
The package, which includes $550 billion in new spending, is meant to repair and enhance the country’s beleaguered infrastructure, which has languished as investment has slowed. About $650 billion of the funding will be reallocated from already existing projects and funds.
“The American people sent us here to deliver. The American people said they sent us here to make their government work, and they sent us here to make a difference in their lives. And I believe we’re doing that. I believe that’s just what we’re doing,” Biden said before a Friday Cabinet meeting.
“It was a lot of hard work to get it done,” he said of the bipartisan bill. It “represents critical investments that are long overdue in our country.”
Bridges, broadband and more will get billions
While the White House and Democrats are quick to tout many of the bill’s aspects, the final package is about less than half of the proposed spending on infrastructure Biden originally requested from Congress.
The legislation directs $110 billion to fix America’s roads and bridges; $66 billion to mainly improve Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor line as well as other routes; $65 billion to expand broadband internet access; $65 billion to modernize the nation’s electrical grid; $55 billion for water and sewage systems; $39 billion to expand public transportation systems; $25 billion to renovate airports; and $7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging stations, among other investments.
Intent on proving that Washington can still deliver on the needs of everyday Americans, Biden sought a bipartisan package with Republicans. Although talks by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., collapsed over the summer, a bipartisan group of senators led by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., established a framework that later led to a breakthrough deal.
Manchin and other moderate Democrats had considerable objections to many components of the bill, resulting in a slimmed down package from Biden’s original vision.
The bill passed the House on a 228-206 vote, with 13 Republicans voting for the bill and six Democrats opposing. The bill passed the Senate with 19 Republicans supporting it, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Much of the remainder of Biden’s domestic agenda is part of a social spending package focused on family care policies, mitigating climate change and expanding health care.
Follow Matthew Brown online @mrbrownsir.