President Joe Biden signed a $1 trillion infrastructure bill into law with massive implications for the transportation industry and trucking world. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed both chambers of Congress with bipartisan support. From the biggest financing of American roads and bridges in over a decade to the complicated debate about its impact on inflation, truckers will certainly feel the effects of this new law for years to come.
President Biden says these effects will be positive, “My message to the American people is this: America is moving again, and your life is going to change for the better.” Investment is desperately needed to ensure safe travel, according to experts. United States infrastructure received a grade of C- from the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2021, marking the first time in 20 years America has scored higher than the D range.
Bill Paves the Way for Transportation Updates
New spending in the infrastructure deal totals $550 billion. The money recently approved by Congress will be used, in part, in the following ways:
- repair bridges and roads ($110 billion),
- bolster freight and passenger railways ($66 billion),
- increase access to broadband internet ($65 billion),
- fund public transit ($49 billion),
- improve airports ($25 billion),
- strengthen ports and waterways ($16 billion),
- expand electric vehicle charging and other alternative fueling stations ($8 billion), and more.
With over four million miles of public roadways across the United States, the men and women of the trucking industry are forced to endure unsatisfactory driving conditions daily. Costs of traveling on substandard roadways can be high and have a tremendous affect on the bottom line of many trucking companies.
The Biden infrastructure bill, part of the Build Back Better plan, received bipartisan support. In addition to most Democrats, 19 Senate Republicans, including Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell, and 13 House Republicans voted in favor of the bill.
“Folks, too often in Washington, the reason we didn’t get things done is because we insisted on getting everything we want. Everything,” said Biden. “With this law, we focused on getting things done. I ran for president because the only way to move our country forward in my view was through compromise and consensus.”
Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio echoed sentiments of bipartisanship. “This is what can happen when Republicans and Democrats say we're going to work together to get something done,” he stated after a signing ceremony at the White House.
Portman also applauded former President Donald Trump for his efforts to pass infrastructure legislation during his administration. President Trump declared it was “Infrastructure Week” seven times during his presidency, but new policy was never enacted.
Despite bipartisan support, fierce opposition has also come from both sides of the aisle. Progressive Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was unwilling to vote for the bill without the inclusion of a $1.75 trillion social spending package. This package, aimed to expand social programs and combat climate change, was cut from the original $3.5 trillion scope of the infrastructure bill.
Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has already introduced legislation to repeal provisions of the new law. “(Cryptocurrency) is now in danger of being stifled and driven overseas by an overreaching provision in this newly-signed, reckless spending package,” says Cruz. He calls the legislation a “devastating attack” that will stifle the exciting emerging industry that is cryptocurrency.
Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal drives America forward
No matter the politics, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is one of the largest infrastructure packages in the history of the United States and will benefit truck drivers across the country. “Roads and bridges are not political—we all drive on them,” said president and CEO of American Trucking Associations, Chris Spear. “From farmers to truckers, the millions of hard- working people who make this country great won today. Those lawmakers who put their constituents before themselves to help seal this achievement have cemented a lasting legacy that the American people will now see, feel, and use for many decades to come.”