Senate votes to advance a $ 550 billion bill for aging US infrastructure

The US is one step closer to a massive, much-needed infrastructure spending package.

The Senate voted Wednesday for a bipartisan bill that provides $ 550 billion in new federal funding for infrastructure. The bill will now enter a process of debate and change. The bill would put funds into transportation, utilities and broadband spending. The Senators voted 67-32 to move the package forward, with 17 Republicans joining all 48 Democrats in the Senate – and two Independents joining the Democrats for moving it forward.

The $ 550 billion figure is far lower than that Multi-trillion dollar American establishment plan championed by President Joe Biden. Republicans turned up their noses at the massive price tag for Biden’s plan. While the bipartisan bill is cheaper, it still represents the largest federal investment in public transportation and the largest dedicated bridge investment since the highway system was built. according to the White House.

“This deal signals to the world that our democracy can work,” said the president before the vote. AP reported. “We will transform America one more time and drive ourselves into the future.”

The current measures of the bill – which are still subject to change – include, according to the White House:

  • $ 110 billion for roads, bridges, and other large infrastructure projects.
  • $ 66 billion to clear the maintenance backlog at Amtrak and modernize rail traffic in the Northeast Corridor.
  • $ 40 billion to repair, replace, and rehabilitate bridges.
  • $ 25 billion for airport project needs, including repair and maintenance backlog, and modernization and emissions reduction.
  • $ 17.5 billion for projects too complex for traditional funding programs.
  • $ 17 billion for port infrastructure projects.
  • $ 11 billion for road safety.
  • $ 1 billion to reconnect communities, often in disproportionately black neighborhoods, shared by highways and other infrastructure.

The bill also includes measures to support electric vehicles, safe drinking water, and provide high-speed internet to millions of Americans.

Following the announcement on Wednesday, Tom Smith, executive director of the American Society of Civil Engineers, praised the much-needed bipartisan agreement. The ASCE gave the US infrastructure a C- in theirs Certificate 2021indicating that the aging framework of the nation is out of date. Additionally, 171.5 million vehicles cross 45,000 structurally defective US bridges in poor condition every day, according to the American Association of Road and Transportation Builders.

This poor infrastructure affects both businesses and citizens. US households continue to lose $ 3,300 annually due to aging infrastructure, Smith said, and businesses know that solid infrastructure is the foundation of competitiveness in a global economy.

“We commend these senators for prioritizing infrastructure through a bipartisan agreement,” Smith said in a statement shared with Construction Dive. “Now we are calling on the entire Senate to pass the Cloture motion so that this crucial piece of legislation can continue.”

Clarification: This story has been updated to reflect the amount of new funding that is included in the current infrastructure package.

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