The Infrastructure and Jobs Act, H.R. 3684, was signed into law by President Joe Biden in November of 2021. The Act was the culmination of nearly a decade of negotiations over investments in America’s infrastructure. Debates over what would be included or excluded from the bill and whether it could receive bipartisan support dominated much of President Biden’s first year in the White House. The debates, negotiations and ultimate passage of the Act were just the beginning, though — once the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act did become law, individuals, businesses, states and municipalities were all eager to learn how they could benefit from the $1.2 trillion in spending authorized by the bill. 

In the years since the bill’s first introduction, we have been able to begin to see the impact of its provisions and learn more about the continued funding opportunities created by the legislation. Read on to learn more about how this law came to be as well as its ongoing impacts.

The Starting Point: The Build Back Better Plan

The Biden-Harris Administration came into office after campaigning on the “Build Back Better Plan”, which proposed massive investments in three categories.

The American Rescue Plan – Largely focused on COVID-19 pandemic relief, and including extended unemployment benefits, direct stimulus payments, and extensive relief funding for schools, hospitals and businesses, this $1.9 trillion package became law in March of 2021 at H.R. 1319.

The American Jobs Plan – Commonly understood as a combination of “physical infrastructure,” like roads and bridges, and “human infrastructure,” like access to child and home care. The American Jobs Plan proposed more than $2 trillion in investments and policy changes including those aimed at rebuilding aging infrastructure, climate change mitigation and resilience, and workforce development.

The American Families Plan – More focused on social policy, the American Families Plan proposed spending nearly $2 trillion on childcare, universal pre-kindergarten, subsidized paid family and medical leave, as well as additional progressive priorities.

Of these three original proposals, only the American Rescue Plan passed into law in a form that resembled the ambitious proposal the Biden administration originally outlined. Moderate Democrats and Republicans, whose support was especially crucial in the Senate, were staunchly opposed to spending over $3.5 trillion to enact the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan, forcing the Administration and Congressional leadership to the bargaining table.

Bipartisan Efforts to Reach an Infrastructure Deal

Once it became clear that the Administration’s original proposals would not pass through Congress, White House officials worked with centrist Senators to craft a less expensive bill primarily focused on “physical infrastructure” that could win enough support to pass through Congress. The result was the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a $1.2 trillion bill ($550 trillion being newly authorized spending) that passed with 67 votes in the Senate and 228 in the House of Representatives. 

Once it became clear that the Biden-Harris Administration’s original proposals would not pass through Congress, White House officials worked with centrist Senators to craft a less expensive bill primarily focused on “physical infrastructure” that could win enough support to pass through Congress.

A concurrent push to adopt proposals from the American Families Plan and some “human infrastructure” proposals in the American Jobs Plan under the name the Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376) was doomed in 2021 by a lack of support from moderate Democrat Senator Joe Manchin. This bill came back to life as the Inflation Reduction Act in the Summer of 2022 and was passed into law with party-line support by Democrats. 

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act were less ambitious than the proposals in the original Build Back Better framework, but their passage represented the culmination of the Administration’s work to get as many of their priorities through a closely divided Congress as possible. Understanding the Infrastructure Bill’s path through Congress and into law can be helpful in understanding the key components and impacts of this historic federal investment.

Key Provisions of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

While the price tag of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is often listed as $1.2 trillion, it is important to note that about $650 billion of that is directed towards the reauthorization of existing transportation infrastructure programs. The remaining $550 billion is what is commonly referred to as “new spending”. Among the initiatives covered in this new spending are the following:

  • $125+ billion to repair, expand and improve the efficiency of travel including through investments in rail, airports, public transit and electric vehicles. 
  • $110 billion to repair and rebuild roads and bridges.
  • $65 billion to upgrade, and modernize America’s electric grid with the goals of reducing power outages and expanding access to renewable and clean energy.
  • $65 billion to broadband infrastructure development including funds for broadband in rural areas and payment assistance programs for low-income families without internet access. 
  • $55 billion to invest in water infrastructure and eliminate lead service pipes.

Funding the Infrastructure Plan

According to the bill’s advocates, the chief selling points for moderate and conservative legislators, and for voters, was that new spending would not come with additional taxes on individual income. While this claim is debatable, it comes from scoring done by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and the bipartisan Joint Committee on Taxation. Among the new revenues and savings that cover this $550 billion in new spending are the following:

  • $300+ billion of unused COVID relief dollars, recouped fraudulently paid COVID unemployment benefits, and states returning unused COVID funds was repurposed to support the bill’s initiatives. 
  • $87 billion in proceeds from past and future spectrum and c-band auctions.
  • $56 billion in estimated economic growth based on a projected 33% return on investment in the long-term infrastructure projects included in the bill. 
  • $49 billion from delaying a Medicare Part D rebate rule that would cost the Government money. 
  • $34 billion from an increase in mortgage fees ($21 billion) and superfund sites ($13 billion).
  • $28 billion from further regulating cryptocurrency.

What’s Next?

According to the White House, over $220 billion in funding from the law has been awarded to over 32,000 specific projects across 4,500 communities throughout the country. The largest investments have broadly gone to the largest economies, with communities in California, Texas, New York and Florida receiving the most funding overall. Fact sheets breaking down investments from the bill in each state are available here

Additionally, new stories of how this money is or could be spent locally are constantly popping up. Check out these recent stories found by the Plural team, as of June 2023:

Remarkably, while $220 billion in new funding has already been allocated, more than 50% of the new funding authorized by the law is still to be allocated. The funding of projects, and their impacts, will be far-reaching for years to come — a deep understanding of the law that authorized that funding is incredibly valuable in anticipating and analyzing that impact.

Explore the Bill on Plural

You can read the full text of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and explore details including sponsors, past versions and votes all formatted in Plural’s easy-to-use bill details page here.