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Thursday, December 2, 2021

Infrastructure Act: 5 key points




After a few months Bargaining, the House of Representatives passed an important federal infrastructure bill on Friday night, which promised to inject $1.2 trillion in the next five years to support trains, airplanes, automobiles, utility networks, and energy systems. The legislation has been reduced from its original, more ambitious form, when it was valued at $2.3 trillion. But it’s still big, said Aditomer, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. “In terms of revenue, this bill is huge, its breadth is very large, and its sense of purpose is clearer than what we see in the infrastructure bill,” he said. The bill is full of plans and plans because it is 2,700 pages long and still manages to fly under the radar. For those who don’t have a few free time to read it, here is a cheat sheet-some very important items that can change the American way of life.

Provide more money for walkers, cyclists and scooters

For the past half century, the federal government has been investing money in roads and bridges that support cars and trucks. The Infrastructure Investment and Employment Act (its official name) increases investment in “active transportation” by allocating $1.44 billion annually to community projects that target pedestrians, cyclists, and other non-motorized vehicles. This is 70% more money than the same project in the last big bill. The money can be used to maintain or build bike lanes, sidewalks and trails. Another $200 million plan can help connect trails in different communities, and ultimately establish a nationwide network so that anyone can travel without a car. For example, this money could be used for a long-simmering vision called “race track”, which is a network of 100-mile-long trails between Philadelphia and southern New Jersey today, but may eventually span 800 miles. But Congress must allocate funds in the budget bill every year. “As far as we are concerned, this is a remarkable milestone,” said Kevin Mills, vice president of public policy at the advocacy organization Rails to Trails Conservancy.

“Record-breaking” Transit Funds

The bill includes US$89.9 billion in funding for public transportation, of which US$39 billion is used for system modernization rather than building new systems. The White House hyped that this is “the largest federal public transportation investment in history.” Transportation agencies can take advantage of this help because their workers and passengers continue to be affected by the pandemic-related recession, and the maintenance backlog is increasing.According to reports, the root cause of poor maintenance in the Washington DC subway is Derailment and subsequent system-wide upheaval This puts 40% of railcars out of service. Advocates are not sure if this is enough. After inflation, the “record level of investment” may just be the status quo, or even lower than it should be,” said Benito Perez, policy director of the Progressive Advocacy Organization U.S. Transportation. He pointed out that about 80% of the bill is The funds are used for funds focused on highways. He said that this “has an impact on the climate, on safety, and on providing meaningful access to all users.”

Broadband infrastructure

The legislation uses US$65 billion for Internet connections and access, a pain point that became particularly apparent when many American families switched to Internet work and school during the pandemic. A large part of this, US$42.45 billion, will be allocated to states as grants, which can use these funds to collect data on broadband demand, develop plans to solve these problems, and pay telecommunications companies to increase access. The other part of US$14.2 billion will provide low-income Americans with US$30 per month in Internet service vouchers, replacing the US$50 per month voucher program for fewer people. “This is the first full investment in U.S. broadband needs,” said Tomer, a fellow at the Brookings Institution. “I think this will become an indisputable part of his legacy.”

Strengthening the country’s response to climate change

Another piece of legislation, the controversial “Rebuild Better” plan that is still passing Congress, should be a major initiative by the Biden administration to tackle climate change. But the infrastructure bill contains sufficient funding for climate resilience, making it the country’s largest climate-focused legislation to date. According to statistics from the Brookings Institution, it has invested $154 billion in climate projects. There is a new program specially written to create resilient infrastructure—roads, subways, and bridges—that can withstand extreme heat, cold, and storms caused by climate change. US$5 billion is used for electric school buses and US$7.5 billion is used for electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The White House said that by 2030, this will help fund 500,000 public electric vehicle charging stations. $65 billion is spent on repairing and improving the power grid. Climate activists say that this effort is far from enough, especially after the “Rebuild Better” bill has also been cut. But this is the beginning.

Change in financing concept

This is strange, but very important. Generally, federal infrastructure funds are sent to state and local governments through “formulas” based on factors such as population and gasoline tax revenue. However, of the $550 billion in new federal expenditures in the bill, approximately $120 billion will be allocated through competitive plans. This gives Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and other officials more leeway in choosing which projects to get funding and Congress has greater oversight.Experts predict that this change will lead to Large-scale ambitious projects increase, Just like the Hoover Dam, it needs funding and interstate cooperation. Tomer said the benefit may be more experimentation and innovation. “This will really push states and localities to come up with their best ideas.”


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