As the U.S. House of Representatives prepares to vote this week on the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, much is at stake for the U.S. economy and the American people. The U.S. Chamber has spent months advocating with White House officials, congressional leaders from both parties, business and labor leaders spanning industries, and local communities across the country to ensure that the final legislation achieves its historic potential.
Our efforts have been instrumental in bringing about consensus on what must be accomplished and why it must be accomplished now. The result is a bill that will rebuild America and turbocharge economic growth. Here are five key provisions that the Chamber supports in the final legislation, and that are now at stake as the House prepares to vote.
1. Upgrades All Physical Infrastructure
From day one, the Chamber held the position that infrastructure modernization should be comprehensive and complete—that a focus on surface transportation alone was not enough. In addition to serving as the largest investment in roads, bridges, and passenger rail in more than a half century, the package now represents the largest federal investment in public transit, clean drinking water, and wastewater infrastructure in American history. It also will connect 14 million Americans to broadband and provide clean drinking water for 10 million families and 400,000 schools and childcare facilities.
2. Provides Fast Approvals for New Projects
The Chamber has sounded the alarm for years on the need to cut government red tape and ensure faster approval for infrastructure projects, including through our leadership of the Unlock America’s Future Coalition. We successfully pushed for provisions in the final bill that streamline the permitting process to prevent federal bureaucracy from blocking the growth, development, and job creation this bill will make possible.
3. Makes Historic Investment to Address Climate Change
Thanks in part to the Chamber’s leadership, the bill includes a climate title within its surface transportation provisions—a first for major federal legislation—which will help ensure our infrastructure is built to withstand the winds, rising waters, and natural disasters likely to be wrought by climate change in the coming decades. Overall, the bill includes roughly $100 billion in total climate, energy, and sustainability investment, making it the largest federal climate legislation in U.S. history.
4. Equips All Communities for the Future
The package provides funding for communities across the U.S. to not only fix old infrastructure, but also to think anew about how to prepare for their future. This could include broadband buildouts, new airports, energy infrastructure, and much more. By enabling community development, the Chamber helped advance our longstanding priority of ensuring that every community across the country is equipped to participate in today’s modern economy and opportunities of tomorrow.
5. Improves Project Delivery to Encourage More Private Investment
The Chamber called for increases in the use of public-private partnerships to cut down on the cost of project delivery to the American taxpayer. By modernizing the permitting process, increased private funding for both construction and project life-cycle costs will enable the business community to do what it does best: fuel growth, job creation, and economic progress for all Americans.