What’s In The $550 billion bipartisan infrastructure deal?
Electric vehicles charging stations, high-speed internet, and a whole lot more
Earlier this week, a bipartisan infrastructure bill was agreed on, ending months of back and forth proposals. The 2,700-page bill covers everything from roads and bridges to female truckers and animal crossings.
What is infrastructure?
Most people think of infrastructure as roads, bridges, and highways. This understanding goes back to the first decades of the country. The 1817 Bonus Bill called for constructing roads and canals and improving the navigation of watercourses.
The 1817 Bonus bill was vetoed by President Madison, who accused legislators of playing too fast and loose with the Constitution. Madison felt that Congress did not have the power under the Constitution to effect internal improvements and that “special-interest issues like internal improvements inexorably corrupted the legislative process.” Since Madison’s veto, infrastructure spending has become commonplace, as is the corrupted legislative process surrounding it.
Today, high-speed internet, promoting electric vehicles, protecting voting rights, building hospitals and public housing, as well as fighting climate change are considered critical infrastructures by the left to be funded and maintained by the federal government.
The legislative process is as corrupt as ever, with Federal agencies wanting bigger budgets and more power. At the same time, politicians seek to secure funds for their states and congressional districts to ensure reelection. The result is always reckless spending.
In March, Senators Mitt Romney, R-Utah Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. and other moderate politicians began working on a backup plan to identify bipartisan support areas.
The bill includes $110 billion on roads, bridges, and transportation programs. However, that figure also includes projects that reduce collisions between cars and wildlife and a federal program to encourage children to walk or bike to school.
If less than a quarter of the spending goes towards fixing “crumbling roads and bridges,” what is in the rest of the bill?
Speaking of those moderate politicians:
- Joe Manchin got $1 billion for the Appalachian regional commission and another $150 million for the Delta regional authority.
- Mitt Romney secured $50 million for the Central Utah Project Completion Account.
- Lisa Murkowski brought home the bacon getting $75 million for the Denali Commission.
Senator Manchin’s wife, Gayle Conelly Manchin, is the Federal co-chair of the Appalachian regional commission.
Funding for Federal Agencies:
- $455 million for the Fish and Wildlife Service
- $14.2 billion to the Federal Communications Commission Affordable Coonectivy fund
- $2.6 billion for NOAA
- $510 million for the US geological survey
- $330 million for the Department of Homeland Security
- $2 billion for the EPA
- $3.5 billion for Indian Health Service
- $500 million for the Healthy Streets Program, which provides funding to deploy cool and porous pavements and expand tree cover to mitigate urban heat islands
Renewable energy and other Green New Deal initiatives:
- $250 million for electric ferries
- $5 billion for low/zero emissions school buses
- $16.3 billion for DOE renewable energy and efficiency programs
- $2.5 billion in green energy subsidies for schools and non-profits
- $50 million for ten “Transportation Resilience and Adaptation Centers of Excellence,” which will do climate change reports and engage “disadvantaged communities.”
- $21.5 billion for the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations
- $2.1 billion for carbon dioxide transportation
- The installation of electric vehicle charging infrastructure and vehicle-to-grid infrastructure.
Studies and research:
- $50 million for studies on road usage and per-mile fees.
- Wildlife-vehicle collision studies
- Studies on limousine safety
- Studies on the effects of marijuana on driving
- $75 million for studying alternative road taxes
- A study on using bauxite on roads.
- Studies on how to incorporate renewables into pavement designs
Other items now considered vital infrastructure:
- $350 million for the Wildlife Crossings Pilot Program
- $250 million for reducing truck emissions at ports.
- $65 billion for broadband internet to close the “digital divide” in rural areas low-income city residents
- Promoting women in the trucking workforce
- Promoting fishing and boating safety
- Combatting human trafficking
- $250 million for an invasive plant species removal program.
- $10 million for planting milkweed
In the fiscal year 2020, the federal government spent a record $6.5 trillion. The spending spree has not slowed in 2021, with projections showing the federal government on course to spend $6.8 trillion. Not surprisingly, government borrowing and spending have led to the annual inflation rate in the US accelerated to 5.4% in June of 2021.
For an exhaustive list of spending in the infrastructure bill, check out randoland.us.