House Passes Historic Infrastructure Bill

The House of Representatives, late on Friday, Nov. 5, passed the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), ending months of in-fighting and political intrigue over the issue. The tally on the infrastructure bill was 228-206, with only 13 Republicans supporting the measure. Six Democrats voted no as well.

“Tonight, we took a monumental step forward as a nation,” said President Joe Biden, who had made the infrastructure bill one of the top priorities for his administration.  He touted what he called the “once-in-generation bipartisan infrastructure bill” and praised his larger economic package, known as the Build Back Better Act, which has not yet been voted on by the House. “I look forward to signing both of these bills into law,” he said.

The bill will deliver $550 billion of new federal investments in America’s infrastructure over five years, touching everything from bridges and roads to the nation’s broadband, water and energy systems. The bill calls for investing $110 billion for roads, bridges and major infrastructure projects. 

“This is a monumental moment for our industry, and it has been greatly needed for quite some time,” said National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) President and CEO Michael Johnson. “NSSGA appreciates the House of Representatives for passing this bill ahead of the next short term extension deadline. NSSGA has tirelessly worked with all stakeholders this year to achieve this historic moment. Today’s passage represents the plethora of emails, calls and meetings from the aggregates industry with Members of Congress and their staffs.

“The passage of this landmark legislation is something our nation has needed to move our infrastructure network into the 21st century, and the aggregates industry is ready to meet the demands,” Johnson said. “We look forward to working with Congress and the Administration on implementing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Our members are prepared to advance the countless number of projects in local communities around the United States.”

U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Suzanne Clark said, “Today’s passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill is a major win for America. We thank every member of the House and Senate who cast a vote for America’s future. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will help connect 14 million Americans to broadband, provide clean drinking water for 10 million families, upgrade our energy grid, and create millions of jobs. It is the single largest investment in bridges since construction of the Interstate Highway System and the single largest investment made to address climate change in U.S. history.

The 30,000-member American Public Works Association (APWA) applauded the action and commended lawmakers for taking a major, historic step towards improving American citizens’ quality of life.

“Congress’ long-awaited approval of IIJA tonight is welcomed and applauded across the country by public works professionals,” said APWA President Stan Brown. “From 2003 to 2017, federal infrastructure spending dropped more than 20% and negatively affected those who rely on our highways, roads, bridges, transit, and water and wastewater systems.”

“IIJA promises to upgrade all areas of this country’s infrastructure,” said APWA CEO Scott Grayson. “From roads and bridges to better protecting communities against natural disasters to modernizing our water infrastructure network, this long-awaited legislation will make significant upgrades in people’s lives. APWA believes the country needs consistent, substantial, and long-term investment in our public works infrastructure, and the commitment of $550 billion in new federal spending over 5 years represents a generational improvement that still recognizes the need for local decision making,” Grayson said.

American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) President and CEO Dave Bauer said, “The IIJA is the most significant measure in more than 50 years to meaningfully address the condition and performance of the U.S. transportation network. Members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have demonstrated not only the importance of federal transportation infrastructure leadership, but that policymakers can find common ground and govern on matters of national concern.

“We salute President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) for their leadership in getting the job done, along with other members of Congress who voted for final passage.

“In today’s political environment where distortions and broadsides masquerade as solutions, members of Congress have taken tangible action that will benefit every state and community across the nation. The transportation construction community now welcomes the opportunity to use these historic investments to deliver infrastructure outcomes that will improve the quality of life for all Americans.”

Portland Cement Association (PCA) President and CEO Michael Ireland said, “The Portland Cement Association applauds the U.S. House of Representatives for finally passing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This bipartisan infrastructure bill not only addresses years of underinvestment in the nation’s infrastructure but will spur economic growth and job creation in communities across the country, improving the quality of life and our nation’s global competitiveness. As many are still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, this legislation will further our nation’s recovery, creating thousands of well-paying jobs.

“PCA Members across the country appreciate the legislation passing a long-term reauthorization of the surface transportation program, including significant investments in our water infrastructure, providing funding for DOE to focus on the research, development, and deployment of technologies for manufacturers to capture carbon emissions, and the exemption of cement from Buy America requirements. We are eager for President Biden to sign this legislation into law and start building a better future for America,” Ireland concluded.

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