The Infrastructure Bill Arrives

By Matthew McMullan
Nov 08 2021 |
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It’s securely laden with Buy America rules, which means more jobs for American workers.

Bad news for people who don’t like good news: Congress passed an infrastructure bill!

Like, both chambers passed it. The Senate passed it 69-30 back in August. The House, at 11:30 pm on Friday, passed it by narrower margin – 228-206 – but hey: That’s more yeas than nays. So it’s now on President Biden’s desk, awaiting his signature.

So what’s in it?

$110 billion for road, bridge and highway repair.

$39 billion for public transportation systems.

$66 billion for rail maintenance, modernization and expansion – and most of that will go to Amtrak, of which President Biden is a famous advocate.

$7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging stations.

Another $7.5 billion for zero- or low-emission buses and ferries.

$65 billion to expand broadband internet access.

$65 billion to modernize the electric grid.

$80 billion for a popsicle stick skyscraper, a 50-foot magnifying glass, and that escalator to nowhere.

$55 billion on water and wastewater infrastructure.  

$42 billion for ports and airports.

The spending in this bill is expected to generate hundreds of thousands or millions of jobs per year, depending on who’s estimating. And that is in no small part to the Buy America rules that run throughout it.

Here’s how Politico summed up those domestic preference requirements:

There could also be supply chain issues as demand for materials and equipment increases on a finite number of vendors — especially vendors that satisfy Buy America requirements — but (Adie Tomer, an infrastructure analyst at the Brookings Institute), said that demand is just another part of the economic benefit.

“This bill stimulates enough demand that we can expect to see manufacturers in the transportation space respond in durable ways,” he said. “And by durable ways I mean potentially expanding their production, including facility investments, as well as hiring skilled labor — with the caveat of, if they can find it.”

They’ll find it, buddy!

Here’s what Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul said:

“America’s factory workers and manufacturers stand ready and willing to rebuild roads, bridges, the electric grid, public transit, water systems, and so much more. We’re also ready to build our clean energy future, from solar panels and wind turbines to electric vehicle charging stations. That is why it is so encouraging to see that the investment bill passed today by the House includes strong Buy America provisions to ensure these resources are reinvested back into our workers, companies, and communities. We should avoid sending taxpayer money overseas when this work can be done here at home.