What The Infrastructure Bill Means For 2022

On November 15, 2021, the Democratic majority in Congress passed what is believed to be one of their most important pieces of legislation ever. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill) will invest $1.2 trillion into rebuilding America’s outdated infrastructure system over the next five years. Transport-related expenses account for the bulk of it, with $42 billion allocated to maintenance and restoration of bridges, $40 billion for mass transportation upgrades and expansion, and $67 billion for passenger and freight rail services.

This infrastructure bill offers multiple advantages for the country’s transportation and logistics sectors. However, these improvements won’t happen overnight, so let us first look at what could potentially change in terms of logistics and transportation by 2022.

Drunk Driving Sensors as Standard Equipment

Several security concerns have been highlighted in the infrastructure bill, which is a good thing, given the ever-increasing death toll on American roads.

According to Congress, around thirty percent of all traffic deaths in the United States are caused by alcohol intoxication. The IIHS determined that widespread deployment of specific countermeasures such as advanced drink sensors would prevent 10,000 lives each year.

Therefore, new automobiles will come equipped with sophisticated drunk driving sensors within three years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and an industry coalition (the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety) collaborated with a Swedish manufacturer to develop a breath alcohol sensor.

This drunk driving sensor was certified for fleet testing this year, with the goal of making it available to all vehicles under an open license in 2024.

Electric Automobiles Will Become More Prominent By 2022

There are several provisions in the Infrastructure Bill pertaining to electric cars. The goal is currently set at promoting more widespread adoption of EVs by allocating grants for charging station installation—both at residences and along major streets throughout cities nationwide—as well as research initiatives on developing improved EV batteries.

The infrastructure bill allocates $5 billion for grants and rebates for clean and zero-emission school buses over the next five years. Funding for zero-emission port vehicles is also included in this section.

The new legislation also includes $7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging stations, which is half of the amount proposed by the Biden administration in April. These funds must be allocated to non-proprietary connectors and fulfill industry requirements.

Currently, the United States is about halfway toward Biden’s objective of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations by 2030.

More Funding for Roads and Bridges

Improved roads lead to shorter travel times and less traffic congestion, allowing truck drivers to distribute goods swiftly. Due to better road conditions and less delay, trucks will sustain far less damage as a result of sub-par roads and conditions. The ability to move assets quickly is a significant development for an industry that has struggled with antiquated infrastructure for years.

The bill requires the government to invest $110 billion in roads, bridges, and large infrastructure projects. It also sets aside $40 billion for bridge repair, replacement, and restoration. The White House claims this will be the largest bridge investment since the interstate highway system was built during the 1950s.

According to the White House, the agreement also includes $16 billion for large projects that are too big or complicated to get financed through normal channels.

Improved Transit and Rails

The package invests $39 billion in modernizing public transportation. Funds from this program will restore and improve existing infrastructure, make transit facilities accessible to all users, extend transit services into new regions, and upgrade rail and bus fleets.

According to White House, the bill also emphasizes the replacement of thousands of vehicles with their zero-emission counterparts.

The agreement also includes a $66 billion investment in passenger and freight rail. These funds would help Amtrak with their maintenance and help them build up the Northeast Corridor line. It will also introduce rail service to other areas outside the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions. In addition, there is $12 billion in partnership grants for intercity rail service, including high-speed rails.

Smart Infrastructure

The smart infrastructure movement in the United States has slowed recently, but the infrastructure bill may turn things around. The bill calls for research on the impact of self-driving cars on both rural and urban roads and a pilot program to assess the effect of smart infrastructure and connected automobiles on roadways. This research will examine signage, lighting, highway design, their influence on commercial and personal traffic and is expected to be finished by the end of next year.

If you’re one of our numerous readers who strongly opposes connected cars and infrastructure because of security issues, take consolation in the fact that The Federal Highway Administration has two years to create “a tool to assist transportation authorities in identifying, detecting, defending, and recovering from cyber incidents.”

Autopilot On Notice

No matter your opinion of them, self-driving cars are coming. At least that’s the case if the infrastructure bill is anything to go by. The agreement calls on DOT and NHTSA to “update federal vehicle standards” so that new vehicles meet certain criteria for automation and connectivity. This will be a critical step in ensuring that vehicles can communicate with each other and surrounding vehicles.

The bill emphasizes that DOT must assess methods to minimize driver distraction within three years and then issue a formal regulation that would most likely be a requirement for all new vehicles to have distractions mitigation systems.

Furthermore, the NHTSA is given $109.7 million each year to study “Behavioral Research on Automated Systems and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems as well as enhancing consumer responses to safety recalls.”

The package does not specifically address whether states or the federal government has jurisdiction in regulating self-driving cars. Still, it likely means that the federal government will have far more influence on how they’re regulated than before.

What’s Next

The details of this infrastructure bill are extremely important, but it will be years before the full impacts of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act can be measured. We all know that certain provisions in this act are not likely to take effect right away; some things require research or proof that they work before implementation.

But with that said, there is no question how beneficial this is for our nation’s infrastructure and transportation. This investment promises to bring us all closer together, improve your commute time, and lower costs on goods by providing more efficient transportation systems.