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What’s in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal

  • July 29, 2021

Public buses, subways and trains would receive $39 billion in new funding, which would be used to repair aging infrastructure and modernize and expand transit service across the country.

While the amount of new funding for public transit was scaled back from a June proposal, which included $49 billion, the Biden administration said it would be the largest federal investment in public transit in history.

Yet the funds might not be enough to fully modernize the country’s public transit system. According to a report from the American Society of Civil Engineers, there is a $176 billion backlog for transit investments.

The deal would inject $66 billion in rail to address Amtrak’s maintenance backlog, along with upgrading the high-traffic Northeast corridor from Washington to Boston (a route frequented by East Coast lawmakers). It would also expand rail service outside the Northeast and mid-Atlantic.

Mr. Biden frequently points to his connection to Amtrak, which began in the 1970s, when he would travel home from Washington to Delaware every night to care for his two sons while serving in the Senate. The new funding would be the largest investment in passenger rail since Amtrak was created 50 years ago, according to the administration, and would come as the agency tries to significantly expand its service nationwide by 2035.

The package would invest $55 billion in clean drinking water, which would be enough to replace all of the nation’s lead pipes and service lines. While Congress banned lead water pipes three decades ago, more than 10 million older ones remain, resulting in unsafe lead levels in cities and towns across the country.

To address the effects of climate change, the deal would invest $7.5 billion in building out the nation’s network of electric vehicle charging stations, which could help entice more drivers to switch to such cars by getting rid of so-called charger deserts. The package would also expand America’s fleet of electric school buses by investing $2.5 billion in zero-emission buses.

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