On November 15, President Joe Biden (D) signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill in early November by a vote of 228-206, with most Democratic members supporting the bill and most Republican members opposed. The Senate had passed the bill in August on a 69-30 vote, with Democratic senators and 19 Republicans supporting the bill.
Disagreements between the progressive and moderate factions within the Democratic Party had threatened to derail the bill’s passage in the House of Representatives. Now, President Biden and his party are working on the terms of a separate spending bill including items related to healthcare, climate change, and social policy. That package is expected to cost more than $1 trillion, but the exact price tag remains a point of negotiation.
According to a press release from the White House promoting and summarizing the $1 trillion package, the infrastructure legislation includes:
- $55 billion to “invest in water infrastructure and eliminate lead service pipes”
- $65 billion for “broadband infrastructure deployment” and to “lower prices for internet service”
- $110 billion “in additional funding to repair our roads and bridges and support major, transformational projects,” in addition to a five-year reauthorization of federal surface transportation programs
- $39 billion “to modernize transit, in addition to continuing the existing transit programs for five years as part of surface transportation reauthorization”
- $17 billion for “port infrastructure and waterways”
- $25 billion to “address repair and maintenance backlogs [at airports], reduce congestion and emissions near ports and airports, and drive electrification and other low-carbon technologies”
- $66 billion “in additional rail funding to eliminate the Amtrak maintenance backlog, modernize the Northeast Corridor, and bring world-class rail service to areas outside the northeast and mid-Atlantic”
- $7.5 billion to “build out a national network of EV chargers”
- $65 billion to build “thousands of miles of new, resilient transmission lines to facilitate the expansion of renewables and clean energy” and to “fund new programs to support the development, demonstration, and deployment of cutting-edge clean energy technologies”
- $50 billion to “protect against droughts, heat, floods and wildfires, in addition to a major investment in weatherization”
- $21 billion to “clean up Superfund and brownfield sites, reclaim abandoned mine land and cap orphaned oil and gas wells”
Up North News reported that Wisconsin will receive an estimated $5.5 billion over five years for transportation projects plus additional funds for “mass transit, stormwater control, lead pipe and PFAS abatement, and broadband expansion.” The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel estimates that Wisconsin will receive at least $100 million for broadband expansion under the bill.
A week before the president signed the infrastructure bill, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers (D) announced that a $100 million round of broadband expansion grants would be available under the State Broadband Expansion Grant Program using funds appropriated in the 2021-2023 state budget.
For additional coverage of recent federal legislation, see the articles below: