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Burden falls to state officials as $1T infrastructure bill becomes law

The news: President Joe Biden signed the $1 trillion infrastructure bill into law Monday, putting $550 billion in new money into transportation, broadband, utilities, and EV infrastructure for the next five years, per CNBC.

How we got here: The US Senate passed the infrastructure bill in August, and the US House passed the bill last week despite it initially being contingent on a separate $1.8 trillion economic package.

“I truly believe that 50 years from now, historians are going to look back at this moment and say, that’s the moment America began to win the competition of the 21st century,” Biden said as he signed the bill into law.

  • The bill includes provisions for $65 billion to improve the country’s broadband system, specifically extending high-speed internet to hard-to-reach rural communities.
  • The bill will also direct $7.5 billion to install EV charging stations across the country—an essential component in the move to electrify the auto industry by 2030. EVs currently make up just 2.9% of the total passenger car market.
  • $2 billion will go to fund the country’s cybersecurity efforts.
  • The bill also proposes stricter tax reporting on cryptocurrency transactions to generate funding for projects.

What’s next: The hard work of submitting budget proposals on how to best distribute the funding begins with state officials tasked with finding the biggest impact for investments. 

  • Each state has to submit its plan to be approved by the Commerce Department, a departure from federal-led programs in the past.
  • Ageing national highways, bridges, and public transportation utilities will likely get the investment quickly, as it impacts the larger population and makes for stronger optics.

What’s the catch: Investments in rural broadband, EV charging stations, and 5G infrastructure will likely be low on the list of priorities—all network infrastructure expansion is at a standstill due to year-long supply chain delays.

  • AT&T delayed half a million internet installations due to fiber shortages.
  • The National Rural Broadband Association said providers can’t get 30% to 40% of the needed equipment to install broadband. ISPs say they are waiting up to 71 weeks for fiber to be delivered.