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The Infrastructure Bill:

Five key takeaways

After months of haggling, the House of Representatives on Friday evening passed a major federal infrastructure bill that promises to inject $1.2 trillion over the next five years into supporting trains, planes, automobiles, utility networks, and energy systems. The legislation has been pared down from its original and more ambitious form, when it was worth $2.3 trillion. But it’s still very big, says Adie Tomer, a senior fellow in the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution. “This bill is enormous in terms of top line numbers, it’s enormous in breadth, and it has a clearer sense of purpose than we’re used to seeing in infrastructure bills,” he says. The bill is stuffed with schemes and plans that, because it runs to 2,700 pages, have still managed to fly under the radar. For those who don’t have a few spare hours to flip through it, here’s a cheat sheet—a few very important provisions that could change how Americans live.

More Money for Walkers, Cyclists, and Scooter-ers

For the past half-century, the federal government has shoveled money toward roads and bridges that support cars and trucks. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (that’s its formal name) ups investment in “active transportation” by sending $1.44 billion each year to community projects aimed at pedestrians, cyclists, and others using non-motorized transport. That’s 70 percent more money than the same program got in the last big bill. The money can go toward maintaining or building bike lanes, sidewalks, and trails. Another $200 million program could help connect different communities’ trails to eventually create a nationwide network that allows anyone to get around without a car. The funding could, for example, go toward a long-simmering vision called the Circuit, which is today a 100-mile trail network between Philadelphia and southern New Jersey but could eventually span 800 miles. But Congress will have to appropriate that money annually in budget bills. “It’s a fantastic milestone, as far as we’re concerned,” says Kevin Mills, the vice president of public policy at the Rails to Trails Conservancy, an advocacy group.

“Record-breaking” Funding for Transit

The bill includes $89.9 billion in funding for public transit, including $39 billion to modernize systems, rather than building new ones. The White House is hyping this as “the largest federal investment in public transit in history.” Transit agencies could use the help, as both their workers and ridership continue to suffer from pandemic-related downturns, and maintenance backlogs are growing.

Please select this link to read the complete article from WIRED.

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