The Impact of November 2021's Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal
Updated: Aug 22, 2022
On November 6, Congress passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal. This plan will invest $1 trillion into repairing the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, as promised by Presient Joe Biden. It addresses a wide variety of issues and the following list of goals comes directly from the official White House website.
Deliver clean water to all American families and eliminate the nation’s lead service lines: $55 billion
Safe drinking water is a necessity for human life but unfortunately, lack of potable water is still a huge issue in America. If the legislation works as planned, struggling households, schools, and businesses will all benefit from it, hopefully lifting a burden off the shoulders of many.
2. Ensure every American has access to reliable high-speed internet: $65 billion
Although technology is becoming increasingly advanced across the nation, more than 30 million Americans still live in areas where there is no broadband infrastructure that provides functioning internet speeds. There is also a very high cost for such a luxury, so this legislation will also help lower prices for internet service as well as provide more Americans with internet access. In a world that is being shaped by digital innovation, it is only fair to make efforts to give everybody access to this essential item of today’s day and age.
3. Repair and rebuild roads and bridges with a focus on climate change mitigation, resilience, equity, and safety for all users: $110 billion
This will be the single largest investment in repairing the nation’s bridges since the construction of the interstate highway system. It also includes a program known as “Safe Streets and Roads for All”, which will support projects in order to reduce traffic fatalities.
4. Improve transportation options for millions of Americans and reduce greenhouse emissions: $89.9 billion
This part of the deal will benefit the public greatly, especially communities of color. Even though communities of color are twice as likely to take public transportation, many of them lack sufficient public transit options. The budget aims to fix this as well as replace deficient transit vehicles and improve accessibility for the elderly and people with disabilities. The final element of this legislation is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, since the transportation sector is the biggest culprit of this problem.
5. Upgrade our nation’s airports and ports to strengthen our supply chains and prevent disruptions that have caused inflation: $42 billion
This aims to improve U.S. competitiveness, create more and better jobs, and reduce emissions as well. The money invested goes into port infrastructure, waterways, and airports to “address repair and maintenance backlogs, reduce congestion and emissions near ports and airports, and drive electrification and other low-carbon technologies”. These improvements will strengthen the US’s supply chains, expedite commerce, and reduce the environmental impact on neighboring communities.
6. Make the largest investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak: $66 billion
U.S. passenger rail is lagging behind on a global scale, so this legislation was passed in an attempt to catch up. It will also be put towards eliminating the Amtrak maintenance backlog and expanding rail services into a more accessible alternative for people on the move.
7. Build a national network of electric vehicle (EV) chargers: $7.5 billion
Electric vehicles are gradually gaining popularity in the U.S, which means the nation needs to install more chargers for EV drivers. EV’s are an important step in sustainable transportation, and this legislation will help accelerate the adoption of EVs, reduce emissions, improve air quality, and create good-paying jobs across the country.
8. Upgrade power infrastructure to deliver clean, reliable energy across the country and deploy cutting-edge energy technology to achieve a zero-emissions future: $65 billion
This money will help build newer and more resilient transmission lines to facilitate the expansion of renewables and clean energy. Power outages can be very costly so with improved lines, the government aims to reduce these incidents. It will also fund new programs to support the implementation of clean energy technologies and accelerate the nation’s transition to a zero-emission economy.
9. Make our infrastructure resilient against the impacts of climate change, cyber-attacks, and extreme weather events: $50+ billion
Climate change is a global issue, and in the U.S last year, there were 22 climate-related disaster events with a cumulative cost of nearly $100 billion. In particular, people of color are more likely to live in areas most vulnerable to flooding and other climate change-related weather events, so this legislation will benefit them greatly.
10.Tackle legacy pollution in American history by cleaning up Superfund and brownfield sites, reclaiming abandoned mines, and capping orphaned oil and gas wells: $21 billion
Thousands of idle industrial and energy sites still release pollutants into the air. Superfund is “a location contaminated by hazardous waste that has been designated by the EPA for management”. Proximity to these Superfund sites can have dangerous effects on people, such as elevated levels of lead in children’s blood, lower life expectancy, and cause increased levels of childhood cancer and birth defects. 26% of Black Americans and 29% of Hispanic Americans live within 3 miles of a Superfund site so this legislation should improve their quality of life greatly.
Evidently, many pieces of this legislation address climate change and although its goals may be ambitious, it is certainly a great stride in the fight against global warming. To achieve environmental justice, the government should continue to implement more policies because activism is a continuous path, not a pit stop.
Written by Fiona Wu