Senate begins work on infrastructure bill

Jul 30, 2021  | 3 min  | Ep4650

The American Society of Civil Engineers gave U.S. infrastructure an average grade of a C minus in 2020. Closer examination reveals roads, levees and inland waterways received a “D.”

Congress has been battling for months over how to fund infrastructure improvement but forging a bipartisan agreement has not been an easy one.

Peter Tubbs has more.

The U.S Senate has voted to start working on their version of an infrastructure bill that was the centerpiece of President Biden’s 2020 campaign.
The Wednesday night vote on the procedural step was bipartisan, passing by a 67-32 margin. Work now begins on the $1.2 trillion dollar proposal that includes money for everything from airports, roads and bridges to grants and loans to states for the deployment of broadband to underserved households. 
Sen. Rob Portman, (R) Ohio: “Every American believes that roads and bridges, ports, waterways, even our digital infrastructure needs to be updated. They know it because they travel on those roads, go to those bridges, deal with the challenges of not having Wi-Fi to be able to do your schoolwork or your work or get your health care, so people know that."

Sen. Joe Manchin, (D) West Virginia: "But with that being said, we're touching every element of infrastructure, if you're on the rails, if you're in a car, if you're basically wanting to get on Internet, your bridges and your roads, everything at airports, we've touched everything here. This is what's bringing America together, knowing that we can do something that's been needed for so long."

The 700-page proposal faces an uncertain future. While 17 Republican Senators voted to move forward with the bill, their votes for final passage are unknown.
The bill contains funding spread over eight years, including $550 billion in the first year after passage. Roads and bridges are targeted with over $110 billion and over $70 billion aimed at modernizing the electrical grid.
Other projects include money for improving railroads, water treatment facilities, flood control systems and port infrastructure. 
The focus on broadband connectivity acknowledges that what was once a luxury good in urban areas is now an important part of business and farming in rural America. Over $2 billion is slated for expanding access to help farms and main street businesses utilize tools and systems that were previously out of reach.
The timeline for a vote on the bill is unclear, and the Senate version would have to be approved by the House before reaching the desk of President Biden.
Congress is scheduled to begin its August recess on Monday, August 9th. 
For Market to Market, I’m Peter Tubbs.

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