Passing an infrastructure package is highly anticipated—and may happen soon

This column published as "For Now, We Wait" in September 2021 issue

Tim Bruns / September 08, 2021 / 3 minute read
Tim Bruns

As we near the end of the summer construction season, the road and bridge industry may have some hopeful news to look forward to before the year is over.

Despite a surge in COVID cases across the country and developing news overseas dominating the headlines, this past month also saw the Senate vote to pass a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package to address the nation’s roads, bridges, transit systems, and more.

As of this writing, various news outlets are reporting that Democratic leadership in the House is hoping to pass the bipartisan bill along with the larger $3.5 trillion spending package by Sept. 27.

All of this comes several months after President Biden initially rolled out his original American Jobs Plan, unveiled in late March 2021, as part of a broader economic agenda to create jobs and invest in infrastructure.

While there may be varying opinions on the specifics of the bipartisan infrastructure package—dubbed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act—overall the industry appears to be receptive to the legislation, which would include $110 billion dedicated to roads, bridges, and major projects; $66 billion for passenger and freight rail; $39 billion for transit systems; and $7.5 billion for electric vehicle infrastructure.

After the Senate passed the bipartisan bill, AASHTO released a statement applauding “the creation of a formula-based bridge and electric vehicle infrastructure funding program, substantial action to address climate change and improve system resiliency, and improvements to the project delivery and environmental review process—all important priorities for state DOTs.”

By the time this column is published, the news on the infrastructure package may have already changed. But for now, we will have to wait and see how things play out on Capitol Hill, as the fate of the bipartisan package that includes road and bridge funding could largely depend on if the Democrats’ larger spending package has enough votes to pass as well. Here’s hoping our lawmakers follow through with an investment in the road and bridge industry.

With that said, Roads & Bridges Media is going through some changes. Our former managing editor, Brian Budzynski, has moved on to new opportunities, and we wish him the best! With that in mind, our readers can soon expect to see some new additions to our editorial team.

One thing that won’t change, however, is our brand’s commitment to covering the road and bridge construction industry. And this includes recognizing the best projects of the year in our upcoming November/December issue.

The editorial team will be accepting submissions for the Top 10 Roads and Top 10 Bridges Awards program through Oct. 1. We’ve been seeing a lot of great work coming out of this industry in the past year, and we hope our readers will not hesitate to share their incredible work with us. To nominate a project today, please visit roadsbridges.com/awards.

As always, we hope you enjoy our coverage from this month. Thanks for reading!

About the Author

Bruns is associate editor of Roads & Bridges.

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