America Has an Infrastructure Bill. What Happens Next?

welder, cranes and construction site
Photo credit: Digital Vision/Getty Images

Friday afternoons are typically the place to hide bad news, but that wasn’t this.

Late Friday, November 5th, the House of Representatives passed the Senate version of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The bill now goes directly to President Biden’s desk, where it will certainly become law. America finally has a generation-defining infrastructure bill—and if the reconciliation budget comes through, too, America will begin a building spree larger than what happened during the New Deal.

When landmark legislation like IIJA gets passed, it’s easy to overemphasize victories on Capitol Hill. But that’s not the case for infrastructure. Passing IIJA is only the end of the beginning.

Now the action shifts. Federal agencies like the Departments of Transportation and Energy have the enormous responsibility to implement the law, standing-up new programs and finding safe ways to quickly get money out the door. State and local officials carry an even greater burden. As the owners and operators of most infrastructure, they must design and build new assets, hire more workers, and even mobilize their own financial resources.

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