After months of wrangling, Congress late Friday passed at $1 trillion infrastructure bill to make good on promises to address the nation’s long-neglected transportation network, including roads and bridges that are vital link to the economy and the efficient movement of people, goods and services.
The passage of the five-year bill will ensure stability in federal funding and assist state and local agencies with developing improvement projects that will be the centerpiece of the legislation. It is estimated that California will receive approximately $5.8 billion over five years. Based on existing formulas, that could mean an additional $1 billion per year in funding for roads and bridges in the state. Added on top of SB1, plus local sources of funding, California is expected to see a surge of highway work in the months and years ahead.
At CalAPA’s Fall Asphalt Pavement Conference held Oct. 13 in Sacramento, Federal Highway Administration and Caltrans officials spoke positively of the impact the bill would have on federal and state programs. During a conference call with construction industry leaders last week, Caltrans Acting Chief Engineer Nabila Abi-Rached echoed a similar optimistic tone with regard to a surge of transportation improvement projects that could flow from the bill in addition to state and local sources of funding, including from SB1, that have already produced a flurry of construction activity across the state.
Thirteen Republicans joined majority Democrats to approve the historic measure on a 228-206 vote. Of California’s 53-member Congressional Delegation – the nation’s largest – the vote was strictly along party lines. All 41 Democratic members voted for the bill and all 11 Republican members voted against it. A breakdown of how every member of California’s congressional delegation voted is HERE
The Sacramento Bee newspaper on Saturday published the following statement from CalAPA about the bill: "This will greatly accelerate this much-needed road work in a way that will be noticed by every Californian in the form of smoother and safer roadways. Helping reduce bottlenecks in our goods-movement network will also increase efficiency and provide a big boost to the state’s economy." The article also cited the National Asphalt Pavement Association, a CalAPA partner.
The vote culminated months of furious grass-roots advocacy among construction industry interests nationwide, and the asphalt pavement industry played a prominent role. In recent weeks the fate of the infrastructure bill hung in the balance when progressive Democrats insisted that it be linked to another multi-trillion social spending bill that did not have the same level of bipartisan support. Ultimately, faced with pressure from the White House, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi brought the infrastructure bill to the floor separate from the other bill, which is undergoing additional fiscal analysis.On Saturday, President Joe Biden called the passage of the bill, perhaps the most significant accomplishment of his year-old administration, as "a monumental step forward as a nation."
The infrastructure bill passed Friday includes $110 billion in new funding for roads and bridges. According to U.S. Rep. John Garamendi, D-CA, a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, bill includes $23.3 billion for California in new funding for federal-aid highway programs, and $4.2 billion for bridge replacement and repairs. California will also receive $85 million to prevent wildfires, $9.45 billion to improve public transportation, and $384 million to build a network of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations throughout the state. Additionally, the legislation will provide $100 million to help improve rural broadband access and $3.5 billion to improve water infrastructure. Garamendi said the vote culminated “months of hard work and negotiations.”
“This is a historic piece of legislation, and a strong investment in our infrastructure and the middle class,” said Garamendi, whose 3rd District covers urban and rural areas in between San Francisco and Sacramento. “The legislation includes much-needed support for America’s roads and bridges, water infrastructure, rural broadband, and more. It will also create new middle-class jobs by rebuilding our nation’s crumbling infrastructure using American materials and workers.”
U.S. Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-CA, another member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee whose district includes and abuts the sprawling Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex that has gained unwanted attention for shipping bottlenecks, posted the following statement on social media on Saturday:
“Last night, I joined with my House colleagues in passing the historic and bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), the largest investment in roads, bridges, freight, ports, clean water and broadband infrastructure in a generation. We must not delay investment in roads, bridges, or the freight infrastructure which forms the backbone of our economy—especially in the 47th District. The bill will improve the movement of goods, and invest in our ports, helping to make our economy more efficient and productive. Under this legislation the Department of Transportation will rightly place more emphasis on environmental and equity impacts of freight movement, which will help the economy and health of our community. These investments will touch virtually every community in America and will lay the foundation for robust economic growth. It will promote good, middle-class jobs and guide our path forward.”
A White House Fact Sheet about the infrastructure bill is HERE
. Previous Asphalt Insider
newsletter coverage of this topic is HERE
.As additional details become available on how the funding will be used, CalAPA will provide updates via various member-communication channels.