Updated: Aug 13, 2021
Crumbling highways, airports, and waterways have been turned into a political football in Washington. Does this bill change that?
The long awaited Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act bill has passed the Senate, and is on it's way to the House. All tolled, and backing out supposed "paid for" items, the tab for the bill is between $1.2T and $2T (there is debate over accounting for "paid for" items in the bill - a more strict accounting places the legislation around $2T). Speaker Pelosi has promised not to hear any legislation, however, until the $3.5 trillion budget is passed. That process is going to be contentious - it's a big number, and it features some elements that won't make life easy on Senators Manchin, Sinema, and Hassan.
Here's what's in the infrastructure bill:
$110B for Roads and Bridges
$66B for Amtrak's Northeast Corridor between Washington and Boston
$11.6B for Flood Control and River Dredging
$73B to modernize the Electric Grid
$7.5B for Clean Buses and Ferries
$7.5B for EV Charging Stations
$15B to remove Lead Water Service Lines around the country
$65B for Rural High Speed Internet (and help for some urban low income customers)
By our figuring, that's about $355B. We're wondering where the other big chunks of money are headed - classic Beltway spending craziness. We don't see anything for upgrading airports, or for addressing security concerns for our electric grid and water supplies. In the area where we can each attest to the aching need for repairs, our highway system, the investment is woefully inadequate. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that repairs to bridges and highways alone would cost $786B.
It is thought that the bipartisan cooperation shown in the Infrastructure bill somehow will make a party line vote for the budget, including massive tax increases and a still substantial addition to the budget deficit, palatable to voters in West Virginia, Arizona, and New Hampshire, where democrats are trying to hold on to senate seats amidst mid-term challenges. You can read our thoughts on why we think that the discussed changes to the capital gains tax rates is such a bad idea, here: