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The Real Impact of the $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Bill Will Be Felt Locally

2 9 13

The $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that passed earlier this month fell short of many progressive aspirations, shrinking to fit Republican demands. However, if implemented wisely (in conjunction with the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill), it could still open the door to important new possibilities for U.S. governance, in which the feds, cities and states learn to better cooperate with each other to use their economic leverage to ramp up large-scale (and long-overdue) social investments.

After all, $1 trillion-plus is a lot of money. If and when the 2,700-page bill becomes law, vast sums will start flowing to build or upgrade bridges, roads and sewer systems — traditional brick-and-mortar infrastructure investments. Even a small state like Mississippi stands to gain upwards of $3 billion for its highways and hundreds of millions of additional dollars to repair bridges.

But it isn’t just about bricks and mortar. The bill will also expand broadband access, improve cybersecurity, set up huge networks of electric vehicle charging stations around the country and clean up polluted superfund sites. There are provisions for improving wildlife crossing points on roads, for creating better pedestrian and bicycle routes in cities and for tackling invasive species.

As is the way with big spending bills like this, much of the actual implementation will occur over the coming years at a city and state level. That’s critical to remember, because, for decades now, many localities have failed to invest adequately in infrastructure, preferring instead to cut taxes and to defer needed improvements. The result has been dilapidation, with the U.S. ranking........

© Truthout

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