The Senate passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act on Tuesday morning after a heated debate on the bill in the House and Senate. The $1.2 trillion bill is a far cry from the Democrats’ own $3.5 trillion plan. Still, some have criticized the bill for its content that goes beyond infrastructure improvements.
Some common legislative items include about $250 billion allocated over 5 years to improve highways, as well as an additional $3 billion for the Tribal Transportation Program on Indian Reservations. Another provision included investing about $30 billion in US bridges, about $2.5 billion to improve metropolitan infrastructure, building safer routes to school for public school students, improving transportation access in rural areas, recreational There have been calls for development and renewal and improvement of trails. of evacuation routes in case of natural calamities or other emergencies.
State-owned passenger train service Amtrak will receive a grant of $19.22 billion for various rail lines across the country. An additional $1.32 billion was provided to the Federal Railroad Administration. Ultimately, the bill called for a $225 million investment by the Federal Railroad Administration in railroad research and development. The law allocated $1.5 billion per year for five years, totaling $7.5 billion for the development of intercity railroads. In short, the infrastructure bill allocates $28.05 billion for rail maintenance and development over five years.
Under the idea that the Internet is or should be a public utility, several sections of the bill focus on providing Internet at a heavy cost to poor and rural areas. One of the largest allocations in the bill went toward this purpose, a $14.2 billion grant to the FCC toward the Affordable Connectivity Program, a program designed specifically to provide Internet access to American students. On top of this, Congress set aside $2 billion for rural utility services such as distance education, telemedicine and broadband Internet. Even more was directed to expanding Internet access – as much as $42.5 billion is to be directed toward the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment Program; Plus an additional $2 billion specifically for the Broadband Connectivity Fund, and finally $2.8 billion for “digital equity”.
Many of the programs and allocations in the bill go toward efforts to tackle climate change, rather than specifically improving infrastructure. For example, it allocates $50 million to reduce truck emissions at port facilities. The bill includes a $100 million grant to reduce the surface temperature of inner city streets, $13 billion to improve air quality, improved access to alternative fuels across the United States, and a carbon emissions reduction program.
Other provisions in the bill less explicitly relate to infrastructure. For example, the bill calls for a “quantitative analysis of road passenger deaths and serious injuries”. [which] Considers the demographics of locations of fatal and serious injuries, including race, ethnicity, age, income, and age. The Denali Commission, a federal agency that focuses on the development of the state of Alaska, is awarded $20 million per year for five years. The Central Utah Project, a water resources development program in Utah, receives $50 million for the project’s completion. An additional $500 million has been earmarked for research and development of low- or zero-emissions school buses.
Another $125 million will not go towards infrastructure at all, but will be directed over 5 years towards training and education.
The bill also creates new rules for the automotive industry. One such provision calls for a mandate on auto manufacturers to include wildlife-collision prevention measures on all vehicles manufactured three years after the bill’s passage. It also requires that all vehicles manufactured after the same date be equipped with “advanced drunk and impaired driving prevention technology”. Whether this means that cars will have to be equipped with respirators or some other form of technology is unclear. One particularly strange section of the bill calls for federal research to be conducted on limousines.
Part of the bill calls for a “per-mile user fee”—a federal tax based on mileage driven by consumers. To collect this information, the bill calls for the use of various other tools, including third-party on-board diagnostic devices, smartphone apps, telemetric data collected by automakers and data obtained by car insurance companies.
Another section focused on “disadvantaged business enterprises”, stating that “discrimination and related barriers create significant barriers for minority- and women-owned businesses to do business in federally aided surface transportation markets across the United States.” demands.” It went on to make the bold claim that “race- and gender-neutral efforts alone are insufficient to address the problem.” Thus, the bill requires that at least 10 percent of the allocation for small businesses should be given on the basis of caste or gender.
A provision of the bill targets the cryptocurrency market, a move that attracted bipartisan criticism in the House and led to the introduction of an amendment to change the rule that was shot down on Monday afternoon.
This final version of the bill, which had been in talks for months, left many in Congress unhappy as progressives insisted on a larger bill and liberals insisted on a smaller bill. It is unclear whether the bill will pass the House in this setting.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times