House passes $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill; it now heads to President Biden’s desk

Nov. 8, 2021
President Biden called passage of the bill, which is a key piece of his domestic agenda, ‘a monumental step forward as a nation.’

The U.S. House of Representatives passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, sending it to the desk of President Joe Biden for his signature before it becomes law. The bill contains no amendments to the version that was passed by the Senate in August.

The $1.2 trillion five-year bill includes $107 billion for transit and $102 billion for passenger rail. In a speech, President Biden called the legislation’s passage “a monumental step forward as a nation.”

“Generations from now, people will look back and know this is when America won the economic competition for the 21st century,” said President Biden.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg issued a statement that read in part, “The infrastructure bill will rebuild and replace infrastructure that is decades, or even a century, old. It will promote safety, help us combat the climate crisis and advance equitable access to transportation.

“No matter where they live or who they voted for, all Americans deserve to have a transportation system that works for them.

“Now, we begin the work of building infrastructure that will support the traveling public and ensure an economically competitive America for generations to come. The U.S. Department of Transportation stands ready to implement this historic and transformational legislation and help create a transportation system that works for every American.”

American Public Transportation Association (APTA) President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas called the package “vital to building the American infrastructure of the future.”

“The $107 billion for public transit and $102 billion for commuter rail, Amtrak and other high-performance rail in this bill will build infrastructure that will make public transportation faster, more modern and more reliable, while tackling climate change, advancing equity issues and providing growing communities sustainable mobility options. These are issues we can no longer ignore and with enactment of this legislation, the public transit industry will be uniquely positioned to address these issues head on,” said Skoutelas.

He continued, “Even with this critical legislative victory, there is still work to be done. APTA will continue working with Congress and the administration to advance the Build Back Better Act and ensure that we make the necessary investments to ensure public transit access to affordable housing and build high-speed passenger rail. These investments are critical to meet the growing and evolving mobility demands of our cities and communities.”

Amtrak Board Chair Tony Coscia said, “The passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides historic levels of investment for intercity passenger rail in this country and the start of a whole new era for improved and expanded Amtrak service. We are grateful to the administration and Congress for their belief in Amtrak and the power of passenger rail to help tackle the climate crisis, create economic opportunity and expand mobility for our nation. We look forward to working with Secretary Buttigieg, our state, commuter and host railroad partners, and communities across America to rebuild and improve the Northeast Corridor and launch the next generation of Amtrak service in cities and towns across America.”

Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn added, “Passenger rail offers the transportation solutions this country needs, and Amtrak is ready to make it happen. This bill will allow Amtrak to advance significant infrastructure and major station projects on the NEC, purchase new passenger rail equipment and develop new rail corridors, bringing passenger rail to more people across the nation. As demonstrated by their commitment to rail in this bill, the administration and Congress believe in the future of rail and Amtrak and we will move quickly to advance these projects.”

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.