Major Environmental Investments in Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

On Friday November 5, 2021, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, passed the House of Representatives and headed to the desk of President Biden to be signed into law after months of negotiations. The bill passed through the Senate this past August. 

The deal secures an investment of $1.2 trillion, some of which will be used to fund new climate resilience projects, such as electric school buses, EV infrastructure, zero-low emission public transit, the removal of lead pipes & PFAS to improve drinking water, and pollution remediation. These investments are part of a comprehensive effort to both build resilience against the climate crisis and completely stop it in its tracks, and it marks the largest federal investment into infrastructure in U.S. history. 

This deal addresses major concerns within the environmental movement, delivering on environmental justice priorities, and creating good-paying union jobs. Highlights include:

  • $7.5 billion to build out the first ever national network of EV chargers in the U.S. 
  • $5 billion in zero and low-emissions school buses, in addition to more than $5 billion in funding for public transit agencies to transition to low-zero emissions buses, with a priority for American-made batteries and vehicles, with a focus on removing diesel vehicles from some of the most vulnerable communities 
  • $17 billion in port infrastructure and $25 billion in airports for maintenance & repair, reducing emissions and driving electrification and other low carbon technologies
  • ~$50 billion for climate change resiliency efforts that includes funding to protect against droughts and floods 
  • $55 billion to fund the replacement of all lead pipes and PFAS that impacts drinking water 
  • $21 billion to address legacy pollution that harms public health in environmental justice communities 
  • $60 billion in upgrades to power infrastructure and the transition to renewable, clean energy
  • $105 billion in funding to modernize and expand transit and rail networks, including the replacement of transit vehicles with zero-emissions vehicles

This, along with the Build Back Better Framework which has yet to pass, would put the U.S. on track to meet President Biden’s commitment to reduce emissions by 50-52% from 2005 levels by 2030, create a 100% carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035, and achieve a net-zero economy by 2050.

As for its impact on New York, Governor Hochul commented, “Congress has made good on its promise to deliver infrastructure funding through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, meaning New York will be able to make critical investments in our roads, bridges, and transit. This funding also helps make our infrastructure more resilient to climate change and will expand access to clean water, supporting New York’s economic growth and improving public health.”

Many environmental groups, including NYLCV, now look forward to the hopeful passage of the Build Back Better Framework. Congress is expected to vote on Build Back Better, which would create several more opportunities to mitigate climate change and build community resilience, the week of November 15.

By Abby Terrigino