The U.S. Senate passed a roughly $1 trillion infrastructure package with bipartisan support today that, if enacted, represents one of the most substantial federal investments ever in the nation’s roads, bridges, trains, seaports, airports, pipes, power grids and Internet connections.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 (IIJA), a major component of President Joe Biden’s economic agenda, passed the Senate by 69-30 vote. The path forward in the House may not be as smooth, however, because Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants the Senate to pass a separate $3.5 trillion antipoverty and climate plan before the House acts on the infrastructure package, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The infrastructure bill adds $550 billion in new spending on top of already approved spending. It includes $110 billion to replace and repair roads, bridges and highways, $66 billion to boost passenger and freight rail, including $30 billion in dedicated funding for Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor to address the region’s backlog of repairs and improve service. There is also $55 billion to fix water supply issues, including the replacement of lead pipes. It also allocates $65 billion to modernize the country’s power grid and spends billions in additional sums to rehabilitate waterways, upgrade airports, and expand broadband Internet service.
New Jersey is expected to receive $6.8 billion for federal highway programs, and $1.1 billion for bridge repair and replacement. The state would also receive $4.1 billion for public transit, as well as additional money to build out a network of electric vehicle charging stations, broadband internet and more. The legislation also provides potential funding sources for the Gateway Tunnel project under the Hudson River for NJ TRANSIT trains headed to New York City’s Penn Station.
U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) applauded the Senate action saying it represented the most extensive investment in the nation’s infrastructure in decades.
“This landmark legislation will help create millions of good-paying jobs throughout our country, strengthen our national security, and bolster our economy — making us more economically competitive with other nations,” Booker said in a statement. “New Jersey and our country badly need federal investment to modernize our nation’s rail and transit systems, repair our crumbling roads and tunnels and deteriorating water systems, strengthen cyberinfrastructure, expand broadband access, and combat climate change.”
NJBIA joined more than 120 national, state and local business and manufacturing organizations last month in calling for Congress to advance the bipartisan infrastructure framework.
“Manufacturers have spent years calling for bold, bipartisan infrastructure investments that bolster America’s competitiveness, and now is the time to act on this historic opportunity,” the groups wrote in a July 22 letter to members of Congress.