The Star Democrat

Roads, transit, internet: What’s in the infrastruc­ture plan

- BY MARY CLARE JALONICK

WASHINGTON (AP) — The $1 trillion infrastruc­ture plan that President Joe Biden signed into law Monday has money for roads, bridges, ports, rail transit, safe water, the power grid, broadband internet and more.

The plan promises to reach almost every corner of the country. It’s a historic investment that the president has compared to the building of the transconti­nental railroad and Interstate Highway System.TheWhite House is projecting that the investment­s will add, on average, about 2 million jobs per year over the coming decade.

The bill cleared the House on a 228-206 vote Nov. 5, ending weeks of intraparty negotiatio­ns in which liberal Democrats insisted the legislatio­n be tied to a larger social spending bill — an effort to press more moderate Democrats to support both.

The Senate passed the legislatio­n on a 69-30 vote in August after rare bipartisan negotiatio­ns, and the House kept that compromise intact.Thirteen House Republican­s voted for the bill, giving Democrats more than enough votes to overcome a handful of defections from progressiv­es.

A breakdown of the bill that became law Monday:

ROADS AND BRIDGES The bill would provide $110 billion to repair the nation’s aging highways, bridges and roads. According to the White House, 173,000 total miles or nearly 280,000 kilometers of America’s highways and major roads and 45,000 bridges are in poor condition. The almost $40 billion for bridges is the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the constructi­on of the national highway system, according to the Biden administra­tion.

PUBLIC TRANSIT

The $39 billion for public transit in the legislatio­n would expand transporta­tion systems, improve accessibil­ity for people with disabiliti­es and provide dollars to state and local government­s to buy zero-emission and low-emission buses. The Transporta­tion Department estimates that the current repair backlog is more than 24,000 buses, 5,000 rail cars, 200 stations and thousands of miles of track and power systems.

PASSENGER AND FREIGHT RAIL

To reduce Amtrak’s maintenanc­e backlog, which has worsened since Superstorm Sandy nine years ago, the bill would provide $66 billion to improve the rail service’s Northeast Corridor (457 miles, 735 km), as well as other routes. It’s less than the $80 billion originally sought by Biden — who famously rode Amtrak from Delaware to Washington during his time in the Senate — but it would be the largest federal investment in passenger rail service since Amtrak was founded 50 years ago. ELECTRIC VEHICLES

The bill would spend $7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging stations, which the administra­tion says are critical to accelerati­ng the use of electric vehicles to curb climate change. It would also provide $5 billion for the purchase of electric school buses and hybrids, reducing reliance on school buses that run on diesel fuel.

INTERNET ACCESS

The legislatio­n’s $65 billion for broadband access would aim to improve internet services for rural areas, low-income families and tribal communitie­s. Most of the money would be made available through grants to states.

MODERNIZIN­G THE ELECTRIC GRID

To protect against the power outages that have become more frequent in recent years, the bill would spend $65 billion to improve the reliabilit­y and resiliency of the power grid. It would also boost carbon capture technologi­es and more environmen­tally friendly electricit­y sources like clean hydrogen. AIRPORTS

The bill would spend $25 billion to improve runways, gates and taxiways at airports and to improve terminals. It would also improve aging air traffic control towers.

WATER AND WASTEWATER The legislatio­n would spend $55 billion on water and wastewater infrastruc­ture. It has $15 billion to replace lead pipes and $10 billion to address water contaminat­ion from polyfluoro­alkyl substances — chemicals that were used in the production of Teflon and have also been used in firefighti­ng foam, water-repellent clothing and many other items. PAYING FOR IT

The five-year spending package would be paid for by tapping $210 billion in unspent COVID-19 relief aid and $53 billion in unemployme­nt insurance aid some states have halted, along with an array of smaller pots of money, like petroleum reserve sales and spectrum auctions for 5G services.

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