$1 Trillion Infrastructure Bill Considered by U.S. Senate

August 6, 2021

A $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill is being debated on the floor of the United States Senate this week and Senate leaders are hoping to pass the legislation before the chamber departs for the August recess. Senate leaders have floated the possibility of delaying the recess until the bill passes.

The massive bill, cobbled together after weeks of bipartisan negotiations, would still face a battle in the House, which is not scheduled to reconvene until September 20.

The 2,000+ page bill includes $550 billion in new spending on transportation, broadband and utility systems. $110 billion is set aside for roads, bridges, and major projects. Of that, $11 billion is allocated for highway and pedestrian safety programs including the Safe Streets program.

The infrastructure funding includes bipartisan committee passed surface transportation reauthorization and surface transportation investment bills. It also funds a dedicated grant program to replace and repair bridges and increases funding for the major project competitive grant programs while preserving traditional significant federal highway aid to the states.

Transportation infrastructure funding also includes supplemental appropriations for:

  • Bridge Grant Programs: $36.7 billion – supports a competitive grant program to assist the repair and replacement of deficient and outdated bridges and a formula program to address the backlog.
  • Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) Grants: $7.58 billion – formerly the BUILD grants, supporting local and regional surface transportation projects.
  • National Infrastructure Project Assistance: $5 billion – new program supports national and regional multi-modal and multi-jurisdictional projects.
  • Infrastructure for Rebuilding America Grant Program: $3.28 billion – increase in baseline funding for highway and rail projects of economic significance.
  • Appalachian Development Highway System Formula: $1.25 billion – highways that help spur economic development in the historically isolated 13 state region.
  • Surface Transportation Private Activity Bonds: $500 million – increases current cap from $15 billion to $30 billion to allow state and local governments to enter into additional public-private partnerships to supplement future surface transportation projects.
  • University Transportation Centers: $95 million – supporting academic programs that advance transportation research and technology.
  • Culvert Removal, Replacement and Restoration: $1 billion – new program providing grants to address flow of water through roads, bridges, railroad tracks, and trails.

The safety portion of the bill provides $10.5 billion for new safety programs and includes grant funding for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; $5 billion for the Safe Streets for All program funding state and local “vision zero plans” and improvements to reduce crashes and fatalities, especially for cyclists and pedestrians; $1.1 million for a program to improve driver behavior and safety; and, $200 million for a competitive grant program that supports commercial vehicle safety plan activities.

The measure also provides $65 billion for broadband to address the nation’s digital divide, which includes $40 billion in grants to states for deployment.

AGSC will provide Legislative Alert updates on this federal legislation as the bill moves through Congress.

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