$550B infrastructure bill heads to Biden’s desk after months of delay

The US House has finally passed the bipartisan infrastructure package which in the ag industry call crucial to Rural America.

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says this is a historic investment for America that will make significant progress in closing the digital divide, it will repair crumbling roads and bridges, and make much-needed investments in ports, waterways, and rail transit.

Kip Eideberg with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers says he’s optimistic this money will be put to use quickly.  “It will also help unleash investments and streamline permitting to lower costs and accelerate project delivery,” he says.  “And that is key, because we have been here before.” He tells Brownfield the passage is crucial as the country continues to grapple with supply chain disruptions.  “There is $42-billion for ports and airports,” he says.  “That is a significant amount of money that will go to modernizing ports and modernizing the infrastructure around the ports so that our ports will be better equipped to handle the flow of goods.”

AUDIO: Kip Eideberg, Association of Equipment Manufacturers

US Senator Mike Braun of Indiana did not support the legislation that moved through the Senate earlier this year, because of the funding.  However, he says he was supportive of the policies within it. 
“That is hard, tangible infrastructure,” he says.  “Roads, bridges, air, rail, and waterways.  Rural broadband, which is an important part of it, and water and sewage treatment plants.”

AUDIO: US Senator Mike Braun

Kevin Scott, a soybean farmer from South Dakota and president of the American Soybean Association says this bill is a win for everyone in the country and this package will bolster the US economy, especially with investment priorities for the soy industry – from surface transportation and waterways funding to investments in rural broadband and new opportunities for soy-based products.

American Farm Bureau president Zippy Duvall says Farm Bureau appreciates Congress finally passing the critical legislation, but was disappointed in the unnecessary delays in the House of Representatives.  He says bipartisan efforts like this provide commonsense solutions to the nation’s infrastructure challenges.

In addition to the provisions outlined earlier, Allison Rivera, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s executive director of government affairs says she is pleased to see the additional 150 air-mile exemption for livestock haulers on the destination of hauls.  She says it provides much-needed flexibility under current hours-of-service regulations.

There were only 13 Republicans who voted for the bill while 6 Democrats voted against it. The bill passed the Senate in August with a 69-30 vote and now heads to the President’s desk for signature.

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