Poor road and surface conditions are one major cause of broken auto glass, and a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill under debate on the United States Senate floor this week could improve conditions. The bill may delay the legislation’s August recess.
The document, which is more than 2,000 pages, includes $550 billion in new transportation, broadband and utility systems spending. Set aside for funding roads, bridges and major projects is $110 billion of that total, $11 billion of which is allocated for highway and pedestrian safety programs including the Safe Streets program.
The infrastructure funding also includes surface transportation reauthorization and surface transportation investment bills, a dedicated grant program of $36.7 billion to replace and repair bridges, and increased funding for the major project competitive grant programs which would preserve traditional federal highway aid to states. Below are some of the highlights.
• Formerly known as BUILD grants, Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) Grants would receive $7.58 billion to support local and regional surface transportation projects.
• National Infrastructure Project Assistance is a new program, which would support national and regional multi-modal and multi-jurisdictional projects with $5 billion.
• Culvert Removal, Replacement and Restoration, another new program, would provide $1 billion in funding grants to address flow of water through roads, bridges, railroad tracks and trails.
• An increase in baseline funding for highway and rail projects of economic significance would be called the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America Grant Program with $3.28 billion in funding.
• The Appalachian Development Highway System Formula with $1.25 billion would fund highways that help spur economic development in the historically isolated 13-state region.
• Surface Transportation Private Activity Bonds would be funded with $500 million, and increase current cap from $15 billion to $30 billion to allow state and local governments to enter into additional public-private partnerships to supplement future surface transportation projects.
• University Transportation Centers would support academic programs to advance transportation research and technology with $95 million in funding.
• Broadband funding would be $65 billion of the bill, $45 billion of which is intended for grant funding to states to deploy broadband access.
The safety portion of the bill provides $10.5 billion for new safety programs, including grant funding for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; $5 billion for Safe Streets for All to provide local and state funding for improvements to reduce crashes and fatalities; $1.1 million for a program to improve driver behavior and safety; and a $200 million competitive grant program to support commercial vehicle safety plan activities.
After the Senate, the bill must go through the House, which is scheduled to reconvene Sept. 20.