Audio by: Megan Bergeron | Writing by: Callie Rhoades | Socials by: Wangyuxuan Xu
What do you need to know about the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill?
In November of 2021, President Biden signed into law a landmark $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, H.R. 3684 – Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, that will have significant impacts on how we address the United States’ current and future infrastructure. These infrastructure changes are combating some of the largest contributors to climate change and additionally will put in place new infrastructure that will address our changing climate future.
Here are some of the main takeaways from the bill:
- The bill allocated $66 billion to passenger rail infrastructure and $39 billion to modernize public transit
- Electric vehicle-related infrastructure was a significant section of the bill. This provision will allocate money for implementation of charging stations, electrifying buses and ferries, and reducing cost charging, among other items. $15 billion is allocated for this investment
- There are significant funds for climate remediation projects including methane emissions from abandoned oil wells and Superfund site clean-up projects
- The bill includes important climate adaptation provisions to address impacts of extreme weather, forest fires, floods, and heat island effects in cities
- There are additional provisions to address electric vehicle battery supply chain issues and impacts
- The bill calls for a $65 billion dollar investment in upgrading and expanding the U.S.’s broadband and internet capabilities
- Other notable provisions are focused on: carbon capture, clean hydrogen, and water infrastructure
What is Missing?
While this bill provides significant investment across multiple categories of infrastructure, not surprisingly, there remain critics on all sides — some wanting more investment and some viewing it as too expensive. Some were disappointed by the lack of provisions designed to phase out coal and gas. The final version of the bill also does not include Biden’s proposed $400 million allocated to expand caregiving for disabled and elderly citizens. Additionally, provisions for workforce development were removed in the negotiation process.
What does this bill mean for California?
This bill will allocate significant funds to improve the state’s infrastructure, including:
$80 million is allocated to address wildfires and other natural disasters. This is significant for California as the West’s wildfire season becomes longer and more severe.
Public Transportation and Electric Vehicles
California is designated to receive around $9.5 billion to improve public transportation across the state. Over the next 5 years, the state is additionally expected to receive $384 million for electric vehicle charging stations and other EV infrastructure.
California’s water infrastructure is in dire need of repair. The state is slated to receive over $3 billion for elimination of lead pipes and to conduct overall updates to improve California’s drinking water quality.
So, What’s Next?
Now that this bipartisan bill has been signed into law, the next challenge will be to quickly and effectively distribute the funds. An on-going challenge will be implementing the provisions and distributing the Americans watching the bill closing will also be keeping an eye out for equity in the implementation of these provisions. And U.S. citizens will have to wait and see how this historic bill will not only help them in their day-to-day lives, but maybe more importantly, in their—and the planet’s—future.