Ten days after the House of Representatives passed the $1 trillion infrastructure bill, President Joe Biden signed the bill into law. The law provides funds to address widespread issues impacting U.S. roads, bridges and highways.
The bill signing Monday featured congressional members from both parties, governors and mayors. Outdoors industry representatives also attended the signing.
Coordination of implementing the infrastructure spending has been handed to Mitch Landrieu, who formerly served as New Orleans’ mayor during the recovery from Hurricane Katrina. He also served as Louisiana’s lieutenant governor.
“I am thankful to the president and honored to be tasked with coordinating the largest infrastructure investment in generations,” Landrieu said. “Our work will require strong partnerships across the government and with state and local leaders, business and labor to create good-paying jobs and rebuild America for the middle class. We will also ensure these major investments achieve the president’s goals of combating climate change and advancing equity.”
Biden signed an executive order Nov. 15 establishing priorities for infrastructure implementation and establishing a task force. The group is co-chaired by National Economic Council Director Brian Deese and Landrieu.
RVIA expressed excitement for the infrastructure bill’s possibilities.
“Our team is looking forward to working with the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, Landrieu, and key federal agencies to continue to address supply chain issues,” an RVIA spokesperson said, “and to implement these critical infrastructure programs that the RV and outdoor recreation industries are reliant on for safe and adequate access to our nation’s most iconic outdoor destinations.”
Outdoor Recreation Roundtable President Jessica Wahl Turner attended the signing and called the event a major step toward the organization’s presence and the outdoor recreation industry’s impact.
“This infrastructure package provides an opportunity to not only rebuild our crumbling roads, bridges and airports, but also to improve the infrastructure behind our beloved public lands and waters,” Turner said. “Meaningful investments in transportation, public lands, rural development and natural infrastructure connect more people to the outdoors and strengthen the outdoor recreation economy. This creates new jobs, helps the U.S. remain globally competitive, and ensures we recover from the impacts the pandemic had on businesses, local communities, our health, and our quality of life.”
ORR highlighted the $100 million set aside for recreation sites on federal lands as well as investments in green infrastructure, coastal restoration and regenerative agriculture and $25 million for the U.S. Forest Service roads and trails near threatened water bodies.
Outdoor Industry Association Executive Director Lise Aangeenbrug was also at the bill signing. She said the association is pleased with the infrastructure bill priority outcomes.
“The outdoor industry is grateful to have had a seat at the table during this process and is thankful our voices were heard,” Aangeenbrug said. “This package provides improvements to the nation’s roads, bridges, and airports that ensure outdoor businesses can compete in the national and global economy, support for nature-based infrastructure and projects to mitigate the devastating impacts of climate change and the steps needed to build a climate-forward economy.”
Overall, $312 billion has been promised for transportation infrastructure repairs. The White House stated in a fact sheet there are 173,000 miles of highway and roads and 45,000 bridges classified as in poor condition.
Of the $312 billion, roads, bridges and “major projects” have been allotted $109 billion. An additional $55 billion will address water and wastewater infrastructure, including $10 billion to address contamination from chemicals such as polyfluoroalkyl substances and $15 billion for removing lead service lines.