Infrastructure bill heads to President Biden’s desk

Nov. 14, 2021

On Friday, Nov. 5, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, three months after it passed the U.S. Senate last August. President Biden has said that he will sign it into law on Monday, Nov. 15.

The bill contains $550 billion in new federal spending which will be largely invested over the next five years. It was passed separately from a larger social spending bill to which it was originally tied.

The infrastructure bill sets aside tens of billions for water infrastructure, transportation needs, broadband buildouts, cybersecurity and resiliency, among other things. It marks $284 billion for transportation, $55 billion for water, $65 billion for broadband, $73 billion for energy and power, $21 billion for environmental remediation, $8.3 billion for western water infrastructure (to address drought conditions) and $46 billion for resiliency purposes.

Other priorities in the sweeping spending package include updating infrastructure to stand up against extreme weather events, flood prevention, watershed protection, ecosystem restoration and grid resilience. It replenishes and expands grants like the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant, which is intended to help local governments promote energy efficiency and advance renewable energy projects.

The money for the infrastructure projects will be run through a series of long established and complex funding formulas that determine how much each state’s Department of Transportation (DOT) will receive. A smaller portion of that money will go into discretionary grants that DOTs will award as part of competitions. The formulas are baked into statute and based on things like a state’s population, how many miles of roads it has or what its road fatality numbers are. The competitive grant program is at the sole discretion of the DOT and any state or city that’s eligible for those funds can apply. Infrastructure projects at this level tend to move slowly, because these typically are larger, multi-year projects.

Look for more information in Rental Pulse, in the near future, for details on this legislation and how it could benefit the equipment and event rental industry.

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