The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 (IIJA), also referred to as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, is a once-in-a-generation investment in our nation’s highways, bridges, drinking water and wastewater infrastructure.
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) played a critical role in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
In February of 2021, President Biden hosted EPW Chairman Carper and EPW Ranking Member Capito in the Oval Office for the President's first meeting with lawmakers to discuss the need for infrastructure legislation. The President, Chairman Carper, and Ranking Member Capito discussed the need for the EPW Committee to lead the way on landmark infrastructure legislation through bipartisan bills on drinking water and wastewater infrastructure and a surface transportation reauthorization bill to modernize our nation’s highways, roads, and bridges.
Chairman Carper and Ranking Member Capito led the committee to unanimously pass the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021 (DWWIA)—which passed the Senate with a 89-2 bipartisan majority—and the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021 (STRA), both of which served as the foundation for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
INVESTMENTS IN INFRASTRUCTURE UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS COMMITTEE MADE LAW IN THE BIPARTISAN INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT AND JOBS ACT
Highway Programs—$343 billion
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 is built on the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021, legislation reported by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works in May 2021. This legislation will invest record amounts of funding in our nation’s highway programs to improve and repair our highways and bridges, tackle climate change and resilience, and enhance safety and mobility for the American people. $303.5 billion is provided as contract authority and an additional $39.7 billion is provided in appropriations. Read more about the highway programs here.
Electric Vehicle Charging—$7.5 billion
This bipartisan infrastructure bill includes funds to help lower carbon emissions by investments in alternative fuel corridors and a national network of electric vehicle charging infrastructure to provide convenient charging where people live, work, and shop. Federal funding through this investment will focus on rural, disadvantaged, and hard-to-reach communities. $2.5 billion is provided in contract authority for both a highway corridor and community charging grant program, and $5 billion is provided for an appropriated formula program. Read more about the electric vehicle charging investments here.
Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure—$48.4 billion
The Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021, which passed the Senate by a vote of 89-2, is at the core of the water provisions found in IIJA. States need serious investment by the federal government to help modernize and maintain their water infrastructure. This legislation will provide critical resources to states to upgrade aging infrastructure and address water quality to provide clean, safe water to more Americans. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides more than $40 billion ($43.4 billion) in appropriations for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) and the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF).
Throughout the nation, aging water infrastructure has led to a public health crisis: lead contamination in drinking water. Nearly 10 million American homes have lead pipes, leaving millions of Americans, especially children and those living in low-income communities and communities of color, at a higher risk of lead exposure. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will tackle this crisis by appropriating $15 billion dollars, distributed through the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund, to improve public health by investing in programs to replace these dangerous lead service lines, prioritizing investments for line replacement in low-income communities and communities of color.
This bill also provides $10 billion in appropriations for the cleanup of emerging contaminants, including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). These forever chemicals persist in the environment and the human body, and exposure through contaminated water can have adverse human health effects. These funds are disbursed through three programs: the DWSRF, the CWSRF and the Safe Drinking Water Act’s Small and Disadvantaged Community Program.
Clean School Buses & Ferries— $7.5 billion
The bipartisan bill includes a historic amount of funding, $5 billion, for the replacement of existing school buses with clean school buses, with a priority on low income, rural, and Tribal schools. $2.5 billion of this funding will be for zero emission school buses and $2.5 billion will be for zero emission school buses and other buses that run on alternative fuels. The bill also includes $2.5 billion for the replacement of existing ferries with electric and other low carbon ferries and to assist states with operational costs for essential rural ferries. These investments will drive demand for American-made batteries and vehicles, creating jobs and supporting domestic manufacturing, while also removing old, dirty diesel buses and ferries from some of our most vulnerable communities. This funding is a good down payment for cleaner air, cleaner school buses, and in our efforts to tackle climate change.
Resiliency: Ecosystem Restoration—$.2.60 billion
As we experience more frequent extreme weather events, our nation’s water infrastructure must be built or improved to withstand the ever-worsening effects of our climate crisis. Natural infrastructure investments must be made to protect our vulnerable ecosystems. Failure to do so could lead to an estimated $3.6 trillion in cumulative damages over the next seventy years to coastal properties and infrastructure. This bill provides nearly $3 billion in ecosystem restoration funding to the EPA, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Army Corps of Engineers to restore and replenish our natural protections, to provide protections against pollution, and to restore wildlife habitats.
Brownfields, Superfunds, and Recycling—$5.60 billion
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides $5 billion for the critical Brownfields and Superfund programs to help address contamination cleanups at our nations most polluted sites. Revitalizing brownfield and superfunds sites creates many economic and environmental benefits throughout the country, particularly in environmental justice communities that struggle with legacy pollution in near residences.
The bill provides also provides much needed funding for recycling, which is critical to reducing emissions, conserving resources, and securing our clean energy future. Specifically the bill invests over $600 million in funding for recycling education, critical mineral and battery recycling programs at both the EPA and DOE, and the reduction of debris and post-consumer materials in our oceans.
Army Corps—$17 billion
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides more than $17 billion in essential funding to the Army Corps of Engineers, the federal agency responsible for flood mitigation and waterways management. This funding will be used to address critical projects across the country to protect homes from flooding, restore our nation’s diminishing shorelines, and to fight the impacts of climate change.
|8/2/21||Carper Leads Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill on Senate Floor|
|7/28/21||Carper Statement on Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation|
|7/22/21||Brown, Carper: Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation Must Include Strong Transit Investments|
|7/21/21||Carper Statement on Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation|
|6/11/21||Carper Statement on Infrastructure Negotiations|
|6/4/21||Carper Applauds House Introduction of Surface Transportation Bill, Encourages Action in the Senate|
|2/24/21||Chairman Carper’s Opening Statement: “Building Back Better: Investing in Transportation while Addressing Climate Change, Improving Equity, and Fostering Economic Growth and Innovation.”|