This month, the United States Congress passed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that will provide federal funding for crucial infrastructure projects, including energy infrastructure, drinking and wastewater systems, and transit systems.
The Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives with a bipartisan vote of 228-206 earier this month; the Senate had approved the bill in August in a 69-30 vote. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley and Representative Cindy Axne voted in support of the legislation. President Biden signed the bill into law on November 15.
The legislation marks a historic investment in infrastructure, with $550 billion in spending on transportation, energy, and water. It will provide resources for programs that get funding into the hands of local communities. Key highlights include:
• $7.5 billion for building a nationwide network of EV chargers across the country in the next 10 years;
• $5 billion for lower-emission and electric school buses;
• $55 billion for clean water projects, such as removing lead from drinking water and dealing with contamination;
• $50 billion for improving water infrastructure resiliency;
• $65 billion for upgraded energy transmission systems;
• $7 billion to improve the supply chain for batteries (such as those for storage or EVs);
• policy changes to ease the process of constructing power lines to improve the nation's energy grid;
Understanding the potential this bill offered Iowans in every community, the Iowa Environmental Council (IEC) encouraged supporters to advocate for passage of infrastructure legislation to improve climate resiliency. Nearly 300 supporters sent almost 500 messages to the Iowa congressional delegation. IEC also hosted a virtual Iowa Climate Resiliency Forum with Representative Axne on September first to discuss how Congress would address some of the most pressing environmental and equity issues facing our state.
With it's passage, Iowans will see billions of dollars in funding to address critical road and bridge repairs, water infrastructure improvements, public transportation investments, and much more.
"IEC members can be proud of the influence they had in getting Iowa’s congressional delegation to support historic investments in infrastructure," said Brian Campbell, IEC Executive Director. "We also look forward to seeing movement on the Build Back Better legislation, which includes additional provisions for water, energy, and climate investments."
Without losing momentum, the House passed the Build Back Better Act on November 19. That legislation includes myriad social safety net policies, and provides aggressive funding for programs and policies to address climate change. It is expected the Senate will take up the legislation in December.