Construction: What's In the New Infrastructure Bill
After months of debates, amendments and proposals, the Senate's infrastructure bill was passed on Tuesday, August 10th, 2021 with Bipartisan support. This bill, totalling more than $1 trillion, includes more than $550 billion in new spending and aims to target primarily physical improvements to how America, and Americans, are connected.
So, what’s in it and why should you care? Well, if you’re in construction, this could be huge.
What's In the New Infrastructure Bill
The bill is split roughly into the following spending categories:
Roads, bridges, air and rail: $219 billion
Over the next five years, the bill will look to upgrade and restore some of America’s aging infrastructure. This includes money for:
Roads and bridges: $110 billion
Airports and ports: $42 billion
Rail: $66 billion
Road safety: $11 billion
Reconnecting communities: $1 billion
With an estimated 20% of America’s roads in need of repair, this investment will be a welcome bump to current improvement work. Not only will this improve your daily commute, but it will bring much needed jobs and investment to many parts of the country helping to reinvigorate the economy as we move through the second year of the pandemic.
In 2021, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) scored the US infrastructure a C-. While that’s an improvement on 2017’s D+, I’m not sure we’d still all be happy driving over a C- bridge, or even flying out of a B- airport! Here in Colorado, 5.4% of our 8,786 bridges were rated structurally deficient, we have 453 high hazard dams and 22% of our roads are in poor condition.
Lastly, throughout the last few decades, our cities and communities have been divided up by large highway and transportation projects, disproportionately affecting minority communities. $1billion has been assigned to create new street grids, parks and other infrastructure.
Internet, power and electric vehicles: $145bn
As well as improving how we travel, the bill looks to sustainably connect more Americans.
The bill includes money for:
High speed internet: $65 billion
Power grid infrastructure: $73 billion
Electric vehicles: $7.5 billion
Electrifying buses and ferries: $7.5 billion
Like many developed countries, internet connection in rural areas, or higher prices for some, can prevent businesses from growing as quickly as their more well connected competitors. For many of us in construction, sites in remote locations also suffer from poor connectivity, a challenge which can slow our pace at adopting new, productivity improving, technologies.
Investment in the power grid will add both expansion and resiliency. It also aims to expand renewable energy production and access. Grid infrastructure and the building of new power generation facilities offers long-cycle construction opportunities.
Lastly, $15 billion will be invested into providing greater infrastructure for electric vehicles throughout the US. It will also push towards zero carbon bus and ferry output with the electrification of these services.
Environmental improvements: $122 billion
The plan is to deliver clean water to more than 10 million Americans by removing lead pipes which contaminate our drinking water. These aging pipes also mean that there is a water main break every 2 minutes wasting enough clean water to fill 9,000 swimming pools every day!
As well as improving our pipes, the plan adds money for extreme weather impacts on our infrastructure as well as measures to address legacy pollution from things like abandoned mines and wells.
Clean drinking water: $55 billion
Resilience and Western water storage: $46 billion
Environmental clean-up: $21 billion
Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available and read more on infrastructure solutions.