Explained: US’s $1 Trillion Plan To Renovate Country’s Crumbling Infrastructure

In a boost to US President Joe Biden’s ambitious plan to upgrade the country’s crumbling infrastructure, the Senate on Tuesday (August 10) has passed a $1 trillion infrastructure Bill that is set to pour huge federal investments into roads, bridges and rail.

In a rare stroke of bipartisanship, the Senate voted 69–30 to pass the ‘Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’ with 19 Republicans voting in favour. It will now be taken up by the House of Representatives.

“This Bill’s going to help make a historic recovery a long-term boom,” Biden said in his speech at the White House. “Folks, above all, this historic investment in infrastructure is what I believe you, the American people, want — what you’ve been asking for a long, long time. This Bill shows that we can work together.” he added.

Spending Areas Identified

The $1 trillion infrastructure package includes $550 billion in new spending over the next five years on railways and public transit, rebuilding the electric power grid, and expanding broadband Internet access.

Over $100 billion will be spent on building new roads and bridges. Over $65 billion will be spent on upgrading passenger and freight rail, including Amtrak, the national rail network. $16 billion has been set aside for Amtrak’s National Network, $6 billion for Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, and $36 billion for Federal-State Partnership Grants including a $24 billion set-aside for the Northeast Corridor.

The Bill provides for $39 billion spending in public transportation and $20 billion spending in improving the country’s decrepit airport system. Around $17.3 billion has been allocated for ports and waterways.

The Bill allocates about $75 billion of the roughly $1 trillion total to broadband, cybersecurity and electric vehicle charging station funding.

$55 billion has been earmarked for improving access to clean drinking water across US.

The Funding Of $1 Trillion Infrastructure Package

The $1 trillion infrastructure Bill will be funded through multiple sources including tapping over $20 billion in unspent Covid-19 relief aid. Congress has provided about $4.7 trillion in emergency assistance in response to the pandemic, by drawing on about $53 billion in unemployment insurance aid that the federal government was providing to supplement state unemployment insurance, raising an estimated $87 billion in spectrum auctions for 5G services and levying taxes on chemicals manufacturing.

Scaled Down Plan

President Biden had initially proposed a $2.3 trillion plan to reboot US infrastructure that was to be funded by increasing corporate tax to 28 per cent.

The White House had claimed that tax changes will “raise over $2 trillion over the next 15 years and more than pay for the mostly one-time investments in the American Jobs Plan and then reduce deficits on a permanent basis.”