It is finally infrastructure week in America…and we can now retire the infrastructure week jokes that necessitated the rebranding of United for Infrastructure’s annual event.
Today, President Joe Biden signed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a five-year, $1.2 trillion investment in the country’s transportation, electrical, telecommunications, water and wastewater facilities. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), it represents the largest such investment in almost a century.
Not your average “highway bill”, the Act contains:
- $110 billion for highways, including $40 billion for bridge repair and replacement, $11 billion for transportation safety and funding for congestion relief projects.
- $66 billion for maintaining and improving the passenger rail network, including modernizing the Northeast Corridor, and funding for grade crossing elimination and other freight rail safety improvement projects.
- $65 billion for power transmission, clean energy and security for the power grid.
- $65 billion for expanding broadband in rural and low-income communities, including subsidies for internet service for low-income households.
- $55 billion for water infrastructures, including $15 billion to replace lead service lines.
- $39 billion to modernize and improve access to public transit. This is the largest ever federal investment in transit.
- $25 billion to expand airports and improve air traffic control.
As large and as historic as the bill is, it is only a first step toward catching up on decades of deferred maintenance and investment. According to the ASCE, $2.59 trillion over 10 years is needed to meet future needs and restore global competitiveness. In fact, the bill as enacted provides about half of the funding of the original White House proposal. But it is an important first step and demonstrates Congress’s commitment to supporting the recent increases in infrastructure investment by several of the larger states and expands that effort to all states and territories.
As the pace of infrastructure projects accelerates, Richard J. Driscoll, Consulting Engineer stands ready to assist design professionals, contractors and specialty foundation contractors navigating the technical challenges of temporary works, below-ground infrastructure construction, and protection of adjacent facilities and structures, particularly in the urban environment.