On Thursday, June 24, President Biden and a group of Senators announced that that they had reached an agreement on a bipartisan infrastructure plan framework. The plan proposes $579 billion in additional infrastructure funding coupled with baseline spending to provide potentially more than $1.2 trillion in new infrastructure investment over the next 10 years.
While significantly scaled back from earlier Administration proposals, the agreement would be an historic investment in the nation’s infrastructure. Appropriations would be limited to more traditional infrastructure investment in areas such as surface transportation, broadband and water. The proposal also does not include a number of the bold climate provisions that have been the emphasis for the Administration and many congressional Democrats. The potential, however, for an additional reconciliation package to target unaddressed items later would remain.
Proposals for financing sources include reducing the IRS tax gap, repurposing certain unused emergency relief funds from 2020, expanding eligible use of state and local aid to more broadly cover infrastructure projects, and encouraging public private partnerships. While details would need to be worked out with congressional committees, the framework does specifically mention “private activity bonds” and “direct pay bonds,” two policy areas that NAST tracks.
The House of Representatives appears to still be on track for passing a surface transportation bill along party lines in the coming weeks. It is unclear whether any proposal advances this summer, but yesterday’s announced bipartisan announcement is a major step forward.