Senate Passes Infrastructure Bill that's Promising for Steel

Written by Tim Triplett

The Senate passed a sweeping infrastructure bill on Tuesday – the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act – that calls for a nearly $1 trillion federal investment in roads, bridges, rail, the electrical grid and broadband. Steel is chief among the industries that stand to benefit from this new spending over the next decade if the measure can muster similar support in the House.

Reacting to the vote, Steel Manufacturers Association (SMA) President Philip Bell called the bipartisan passage of the infrastructure bill “monumental.” It passed with a vote of 69-30, including 19 Republicans joining all 50 members of the Democratic caucus.

“SMA appreciates the hard work and compromise of our elected representatives in coming together to do what is best for our country,” Bell said. “With approximately $550 billion in new federal spending towards steel intensive, traditional infrastructure projects, our nation can rebuild roads and bridges, shore up coastlines against climate change, protect public utility systems from cyberattacks, make drinking water safer and modernize the electric grid. Public transit also gets a boost, as do airports and freight rail.”

There is something in this bill for everyone, Bell added. “We are particularly pleased that this bill includes strong Buy America provisions to ensure that the taxpayer dollars spent on infrastructure projects are built by Americans for Americans.”

Kevin Dempsey, president and CEO of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), echoed Bell’s support for the measure. “We applaud the Senate for advancing this bipartisan legislation that will spur economic growth and job creation throughout the country. Passage of this bill today gets us one step closer to making long overdue investments in our nation’s roads, bridges, transit systems and other essential infrastructure using American-made steel. We look forward to working with the House of Representatives to get this bill to the president’s desk as soon as possible.”

Stephen Sandherr, CEO of the Associated General Contractors of America, also lauded the measure, noting that these investments stand to help generate new demand for construction services, equipment and materials. More important, the new investments will create high-paying construction career opportunities and help make the economy more efficient and competitive. He urges the House to quickly pass the bill and send it to President Biden for his signature.

“Unfortunately, some members of the House want to delay action on the bipartisan measure until passing an unrelated, partisan spending bill,” he said. “The last thing Washington should do is hold a much-needed, bipartisan infrastructure bill hostage to partisan politics. Delaying action on the infrastructure measure will hurt the economy and deny workers opportunities to start high-paying construction careers.”

Of that $550 billion in spending, approximately $110 billion would go toward roads and bridges, $66 billion to rail, $65 billion to the electrical grid, $40 billion to transit, $7.5 billion to charging stations for electric vehicles, plus $65 billion to fund expanded access to broadband.

By Tim Triplett,



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