What's in the bipartisan infrastructure bill pending in the Senate? The Wall Street Journal reports:
"According to the White House, the bill will include $110 billion in funding for roads, bridges and major projects, as well as $39 billion to modernize and make public transit more accessible to the disabled and elderly. The deal also includes a $66 billion investment in rail maintenance, modernization and expansion. The legislation will provide $11 billion in funding for highway and pedestrian safety programs. A total of $7.5 billion will go to implementing a network of electric vehicle chargers, and another $7.5 billion will be used for zero-emission or low-emission buses and ferries. Ports and airports will be boosted with $42 billion in new spending."
The next paragraph of the WSJ story has more rural resonance: "$50 billion to bolster the country’s infrastructure generally against climate change and cyberattacks," which threaten rural water systems. "$55 billion will go toward clean drinking water and $65 billion will go toward broadband infrastructure and development. The deal invests $21 billion in removing pollution from soil and groundwater, job creation in energy communities and a focus on economic and environmental justice. The legislation will include $73 billion to update and expand the power grid," which will have much rural construction.
And how will it be paid for? "a variety of revenue streams, including more than $200 billion in repurposed funds originally intended for coronavirus relief but left unused; about $50 billion will come from delaying a Trump-era rule on Medicare rebates; and $50 billion from certain states returning unused unemployment insurance supplemental funds. The negotiators also expect about $30 billion will be generated from applying information-reporting requirements for cryptocurrency; nearly $60 billion will come from economic growth spurred by the spending; and $87 billion from past and future sales of wireless spectrum space. A series of smaller pay-fors are expected to make up the difference."
And what's next? "House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland said Tuesday that House Democrats may want to tweak the bill to include more climate provisions. But he has also acknowledged such a move could put the bill’s chances in jeopardy in the Senate. If the House changes the bill and passes its own version, the Senate will need to vote on the House version. If they cannot pass the House version, the chambers could also go to a conference committee where they would try to bridge the gap."