The Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives approved a $715 billion surface transportation and water infrastructure bill on Thursday in what Democrats see as an early step toward sweeping infrastructure legislation that Congress hopes to complete in September.
The bill, which includes provisions from President Joe Biden’s initial $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal, authorizes additional spending for roads, bridges, highway safety, electric vehicle charging stations, rail, transit, drinking, and wastewater infrastructure.
It also funds programs that would provide money for major projects, including an $11.6 billion plan to connect New Jersey and New York’s Penn Station in midtown Manhattan via four modern transportation tubes beneath the Hudson River.
The 221-201 vote sends the legislation to the Democratic-led Senate. The legislation’s spending level was increased by amendments and earmarks, but House aides could not immediately say by how much.
The action marks the first time that the House has voted to pass legislation containing earmarks since Democrats and Republicans reinstituted the practice of allowing lawmakers to add pet projects to spending bills earlier this year.