Orange traffic cones and barriers line the streets of Black Lives Matter Plaza near the White House in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. A group of bipartisan Senators on Sunday finalized a $1 trillion infrastructure bill to, among other things, rebuild the country's roads. Photo by Sarah Silbiger/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 2 (UPI) -- A group of bipartisan senators introduced a $1 trillion infrastructure bill on Sunday night that aims over the next eight years to revitalize the country's roads, public transit, ports, electric grid and clean drinking water and wastewater systems as well as improve Internet access.
The massive 2,702-page bill titled the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was unveiled in a rare Sunday session of the Senate following lengthy negotiations between 22 senators from both sides of the aisle and the White House.
Infrastructure investment has been a priority of President Joe Biden, and the package unveiled Sunday is one of two, including a $3.5 trillion bill introduced last month, that Democrats seek to pass to meet his goal.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which was fashioned by lead negotiators Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., is estimated at $1.2 trillion and includes some $550 billion in new spending.
"We know that this has been a long and sometimes difficult process, but we are proud this evening to announce this legislation and we look forward very much to working with our colleagues in a collaborative and open way over the coming days to work through this historic investment in infrastructure in our country and to come to agreement in the United States Senate to move forward with this historic piece of legislation," Sinema told lawmakers from the Senate floor on Sunday.
Portman said he agrees with his Arizona Democratic colleague, stating that modernizing the United States' infrastructure is "good for everybody."
He said they were led by the two principles of sticking to core infrastructure projects only and not raising taxes to pay for it.
"We kept to those two principles and I'm so proud of that," he said. "And it's great for the American people."
Sunday's announcement came days after the senators said late last month that they had come to an agreement on the outline of the infrastructure bill before returning to negotiations on its finer details.
The White House has said the $550 billion in new federal spending will create on average around 2 million jobs a year over the next decade and represents the largest federal investment in public transport in U.S. history.
It also consists of the largest federal investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak, the largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the interstate highway system and the largest investment in clean drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in the country's history, the Biden administration said.
"The bipartisan infrastructure deal will grow the economy, enhance our competitiveness, create jobs and make our economy more sustainable, resilient and just," the White House said last week in a statement.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer told lawmakers from the floor on Sunday that he thinks the bill could be passed "in a matter of days."
After it is passed, he said, he will take up the Democrats' $3.5 trillion budget agreement, saying that while a bipartisan infrastructure bill is necessary, it is still not sufficient enough.
"Look, I've set out two very ambitious goals for the Senate this summer and we are now on our way to achieving both. As I said, both tracks -- this one and the other -- are very much needed by the American people and we must accomplish both," he said.