Decades of neglect and underinvestment in our infrastructure have left the links in our goods movement supply chains struggling to keep up with the rapid and persistent increase in goods movement that the pandemic has generated. Further, extreme heat waves, catastrophic wildfires, and severe drought are taking American lives and livelihoods. In the last year alone, extreme weather has cost America more than $100 billion—often hitting historically underserved groups the hardest, particularly low-income communities, communities of color, and people with disabilities.
Despite global disruptions due to the pandemic, America is moving record numbers of goods from our ports to shelves and homes. The Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, for example, which import 40% of all containerized imports into the country—are handling the most in their history, 17% more than their previous record year.
The Administration has already taken unprecedented steps to get goods flowing from ships to shelves faster right now. That includes partnerships with the ports of LA and Long Beach to move to 24/7 operations—in addition to partnerships with labor as well as private sector leaders like Wal-Mart, UPS, Target and FedEx who are taking similar action—and the port action plan to accelerate investment in our ports, waterways, and freight networks.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will make the fundamental changes that are long overdue for our ports, airports, rail and roads to ensure that our supply chains are more resilient and efficient from future shocks. Modern, resilient, and sustainable port, airport, and freight infrastructure will help improve efficiency, reduce costs, and support U.S. competitiveness by removing bottlenecks and expediting commerce, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the environmental impact on neighboring communities. The plan will strengthen supply chains by investing almost $50 billion in our ports and airports on top of expanding existing programs that support freight investment across modes.
This historic legislation will:
Upgrade our nation’s airports and ports to strengthen our supply chains and reduce costs, improve U.S. competitiveness, reduce emissions. Our ports and waterways need repair and reimagination to address long-term disinvestment that has weakened the resilience of our supply chains. The United States built modern aviation, but our airports lag far behind our competitors. According to some rankings, no U.S. airports rank in the top 25 of airports worldwide and no U.S. port ranks in the top 50 ports for efficiency. The legislation invests $17 billion in port infrastructure and waterways and $25 billion in airports to address repair and maintenance backlogs, reduce congestion and emissions near ports and airports, and drive electrification and other low-carbon technologies. Port infrastructure and waterway investments will double as an investment in environmental justice in and around port facilities by deploying zero-emission technologies and reducing idling and emissions, which impair air quality in adjacent neighborhoods and communities, often which are historically disadvantaged.
Repair and rebuild roads and bridges critical to trucking goods movement and lower costs for American families. Almost 70% of the goods movement volume in the United States is transported by trucks, while 1 in 5 miles of highways and major roads, and 45,000 bridges, are in poor condition. The legislation will reauthorize surface transportation programs for five years and invest $110 billion in additional funding to repair our roads and bridges and support major, transformational projects along the goods movement supply chain. The legislation makes the single largest investment in repairing and reconstructing our nation’s bridges since the construction of the interstate highway system. The legislation provides States greater flexibility to address surface transportation workforce development, training, and education needs, including activities that address current workforce gaps, including training opportunities for truck drivers to support a renewed national goods movement system. Additional trained truck drivers and expanded trucking routes, will help reduce costs of everyday goods and services, saving money for American families.
Increase investments in freight rail and intermodal infrastructure to improve safety, efficiency, and job growth for long-distance inland goods movement. Freight and intermodal rail are core to the inland movement of goods through our supply chain, delivering goods over long-distances in an efficient and environmentally friendly manner. The legislation invests $5 billion in the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America grant program, which supports highway and rail projects critical to efficient goods movement and provides $5 billion to the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements grant program, which funds projects that improve the safety, efficiency, and reliability of intercity passenger and freight rail. The DOT’s Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) program will add landside port infrastructure as an eligible project category and make permanent the transit-oriented development project eligibility, supporting States in utilizing freight rail and intermodal investments at catalysts for economic development and job growth from their shores to their stores. This additional infrastructure will allow more goods to be transported by rail, increasing competition and reducing costs for consumers. A new $500 million railroad crossing elimination grant program will invest in safety across the goods movement chain and protect the health and well-being of the traveling public.
Make our supply chain infrastructure resilient against the impacts of climate change, cyber-attacks, and extreme weather events. Millions of Americans feel the effects of climate change each year when their roads wash out, power goes down, or schools get flooded. These effects are exacerbated when our supply chains for making and moving goods are disrupted, and those same Americans can’t access the goods and services they need on a regular basis. Last year alone, the United States faced 22 extreme weather and climate-related disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each—a cumulative price tag of nearly $100 billion. Now that disruptions have shown how vulnerable these lines of global commerce can be due to COVID-19, the Biden Administration will not go back to business as usual. Passing this legislation increases our resilience in the face of climate change, cyber-attacks, and natural disasters. The legislation makes our communities safer and our infrastructure more resilient to the impacts of climate change and cyber-attacks, with an investment of over $50 billion to protect against droughts, floods and wildfires, in addition to a major investment in weatherization. The legislation is the largest investment in the resilience of physical and natural systems in American history.