The highway and port infrastructure sectors have each been given a US$1bn boost by a deal struck between US president Joe Biden and a bipartisan group of senators, Freight Waves reported from a White House fact sheet.
The ‘Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal’ announced on 28 July increased new funds for roads, bridges and major projects from US$109bn to US$110bn, with port infrastructure investment increasing from US $16bn to US$17bn, according to the report.
Surface infrastructure investments included in the US$110bn package for the next five years included US$40bn of new funding for bridge repair, replacement and rehabilitation, and US$17.5bn for major projects “too large or complex for traditional funding programmes,” according to the fact sheet.
The deal also invested US$66bn in rail improvements, the report said.
However, a prominent safety group said the bipartisan package had fallen short of the Democrats’ INVEST in America Act, which had been passed by the House earlier in August along party lines and had included US$343bn for roads, bridges and highway safety programs.
“In its current form, the bill not only falls short, it also disrupts the historical precedent of substantial safety strides being incorporated in major infrastructure bills,” said Cathy Chase, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.
Biden proposed to pay for the deal through a combination of corporate user fees, tax enforcement on crypto currencies and redirection of unspent emergency relief funds, but those funding measures had yet to be agreed on, Freight Waves wrote.
Shortly after the deal was announced, Senate lawmakers voted to begin considering the bill, according to the report.
The US$550bn in total new funding in the latest package had dropped by US$29bn from the initial US$579bn framework announced in June, Freight Waves wrote, with US$10bn of the decrease taken off public transport spending.