On November 15, President Joe Biden signed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R.3684). The new law provides $1.2 trillion in total funding over 10 years, including $550 billion in new spending during the next five years. The new funding includes $284 billion for the nation’s surface-transportation network and $266 billion for other core infrastructure. The nation’s schools and students will benefit from many of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’s investments, including:
- $55 billion for upgrading the nation’s water systems, including $200 million dedicated to eliminating lead contamination in schools;
- $5 billion for school districts to acquire clean-energy school buses; and
- $500 million for schools and nonprofits to improve energy efficiency.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes significant funding for broadband infrastructure that will help close the “Homework Gap” including:
- $42.45 billion for a new Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment Program to help states close the digital divide in rural and other areas that lack sufficient broadband connectivity;
- $2.75 billion for the Digital Equity Act to support digital inclusion activities and promote increased broadband adoption; and
- $14.2 billion for the Broadband Benefit Program, renamed by the new law as the “Affordable Connectivity Program,” to provide $30 per month broadband service subsidies (higher in some limited circumstances) to qualified low-income households.
The new infrastructure law also reauthorizes and extends, until 2023, the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act, which provides supplemental assistance to schools in 700 counties that have federal forest land.