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Biden is Building Back America: Infrastructure Bill Explained

by Hülya AFAT

“This Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will 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.”

-The White House Press Release


The current US President Joe Biden has signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act on November 15, 2021. The $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill was passed by the votes of 13 Republicans and all but 6 Democrats in the House of Representatives on November 5, 2021. The Bill focuses on rebuilding the infrastructure better and improving the living conditions of residents. As summarized in the White House Website, the bill can be analyzed in 10 points: Clean Waters, High-Speed Internet, Roads and Bridges, Public Transit, Airports and Ports, Passenger Rail, Electric Vehicle (EV) Charger Network, Power Infrastructure, Resilient Infrastructure, and Environmental Remediation. First, we will look upon those points to grasp the significance of this bill for people living in the US. Then, we will regard the recent developments as the aftermath of the signing of the bill.


$55 billion investment in providing clean drinking water for every resident of the US is the first of ten main points of the bill. Since high-speed internet became a necessity in recent years, secondary investment of the bill will focus on making high-speed internet affordable and accessible with a $65 billion budget. The bill also includes rebuilding the most financially significant bridges and establishing a “Safe Streets and Roads for All” program to decrease fatal accidents. One of the significant points that make this bipartisan bill is that it will provide the largest Federal investment in public transportation in US history with $89.9 billion funds. Replacing deficient vehicles across states with zero-emission vehicles and making public transportation more accessible for the elderly and people with disabilities are the main goals of the public transit improvements.


$17 billion of the total budget is for upgrading the ports and waterways infrastructure, and $25 billion is for maintenance of the airports with the main goal of reducing blockage and carbon emissions. Maintaining the Amtrak, expanding the passenger rail network outside of northeast and mid-Atlantic, and modernizing the Northeast Corridor (a railway with 108 stations running between Boston and Washington D.C.) will be the primary use of additional rail funding worth $66 billion. Due to one of the emphasized aims being reducing carbon emission and investing in clean energy, the bipartisan bill will focus on expanding the network of electric vehicle (EV) chargers with a goal of 500,000 chargers nationwide. This $7.5 billion investment will also create well-paid jobs and improve air quality. 


In order to eliminate the power outages that cost $70 billion annually, the Infrastructure Bill will include over $65 billion investment in clean energy transmission and overall power infrastructure. Achieving resilience in infrastructure is very essential for the durability and the benefit of the investments for the communities. In order to keep the communities safe from the impacts of climate change and cyber-attacks, $50 billion will be invested in making the infrastructure stronger against natural disasters. The last focus point of the bill is Environmental Remediation, which the bill aims to achieve by investing $21 billion in cleaning and improving the areas that have been contaminated or polluted heavily. 


In the recent aftermath of the Infrastructure Bill, $7.4 billion is set to be received by all States, Native American Tribes, and US territories in 2022 in order to spend on improving water quality and access. Since more than $50 billion is set to be invested in increasing clean water accessibility, $15 billion of the investment is going to be used for removing lead pipes and $10 billion for decontaminating the water from toxic chemicals that come from household products.

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