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On Friday, November 5, the U.S. House passed the $1.2 trillion bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act legislation by a 228-206 vote, sending it to President Joe Biden for his signature. The President has stated that he will hold a signing ceremony when legislators return the week of November 15.
Congressman Dan Meuser voted against the bill. In August, Senator Pat Toomey also voted against the bill while Senator Bob Casey supported it.
The bill would put $550 billion in new money into transportation projects, the utility grid and broadband. The package also includes $110 billion for roads, bridges and other major projects, along with $66 billion for passenger and freight rail and $39 billion for public transit.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 173,000 total miles of America’s highways and major roads and 45,000 bridges are in poor condition. It also estimates that the current repair backlog is more than 24,000 buses, 5,000 rail cars, 200 stations and thousands of miles of track and power systems.
As part of the bill, $65 billion is directed to broadband, a priority for many lawmakers after the coronavirus pandemic highlighted inequities in internet access for households and students across the country.
The legislation would also invest $55 billion into water systems, including $15 billion to replace lead pipes and $10 billion to address water contamination.
Both the PA Chamber of Business and Industry and U.S. Chamber of Commerce applauded the bipartisan passage as the investments are paid for in part by repurposing unused federal funds from other programs.
An article from the Associated Press (VIEW ARTICLE HERE) provides more details about the package.