Widespread Praise as Congress Passes Infrastructure Bill

We’ll break down what’s in the bill and what industry groups and other interested parties are saying.

Source : Pxfuel

November 6, 2021

Author : Alex Bustillos

Back in late March, Contractor News reported the Biden White House’s unveiling of its $2 trillion infrastructure plan. Flash forward seven months of intense negotiations and Congress has passed a bill that puts half of what was proposed into infrastructure.

About a month after the White House proposal, Republicans submitted a counter-offer, which, though only amounting to $568 billion, actually put more money towards some traditional infrastructure ticket items like roads and bridges, and airports. However, for sectors like Amtrak and rail, public transit, water infrastructure, broadband, and the electric grid, Democrats sought more than Republicans. In fact, Republicans offered no dollars towards the grid in their initial counter-proposal.

But given how divided Congress has been, $1 trillion is a lot better than $0. As such, many organizations are celebrating the passage of the bill.

We’ll talk about that, but first, let’s discuss what’s inside of it.

First: roads and bridges. Democrats sought $115 billion; Republicans fired back seeking $299 billion. The bill heading to President Biden’s desk has $110 billion. We’re not exactly sure how or why that happened, but public transit and road safety funding also saw lower funding amounts in the final bill than both the original offer and counter-offer.

Only one of the nine sectors analyzed by Contractor News, ports and waterways, got more money in the final deal than either side had asked for. In fact, it’s also the only sector where Republicans and Democrats had agreed to the same amount of funds: $17 billion. At the end of the day, they agreed on $17.4 billion.

The majority of the sectors analyzed by Contractor News ultimately saw funding totals in between the high White House proposal and the lower Republican counter-offer, showing that the final bill is a piece of compromise legislation, which some may argue is a feat in itself.

The passage of the bill through Congress received widespread support from interested parties.

Trade association AGC, or the Associated General Contractors of America, said via their Chief Executive Officer Stephen E. Sandherr that “this measure will provide significant, tangible improvements to the lives of the constituents and the success of their local employers. That is because the bill provides the kind of funding needed to modernize the country’s aging and overburdened infrastructure.”

The United States Steel Corporation’s president and CEO David B. Burritt wrote that the passage of the bill “is a major advance for the long term vitality of the US economy. With President Biden’s expected signing, the men and women of America will soon be deploying their grit and ingenuity to a no regrets rebuilding of America as a world leader.”

Social justice organizations, such as the NAACP and OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates, also praised Congress for taking action. 

The NAACP wrote that the bill “will significantly enhance the quality of life for Black communities across the nation” as “Black Americans have borne the brunt of outdated roads and bridges; they have been disproportionately affected by toxic Superfund sites and lead pipes in their communities. Black communities remain the least connected to the internet, exacerbating already-existing disparities in economic, health, and educational achievements.”

“This historic legislation not only boosts our economy at a moment when it is still vulnerable, but it directly aids Asian American and Pacific Islander families who are burdened by pollution, lack of reliable access to broadband service, and decaying public transportation,” wrote OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates National President Linda Ng.

Category : Contractor Trades Economic Stimulus Federal Government Investment in Infrastructure Airports Bridges Freeways and Highways Ports Public Works Railroads

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