On Nov. 15, President Joe Biden signed a much-anticipated $1.2 trillion infrastructure package to make new federal investments in a wide range of public systems over five years.

The Senate passed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in August, and, after weeks of negotiations, the House endorsed the package on Nov. 5.

The law includes $550 billion in new spending for public transit, passenger rail, bridges, water and sewer systems, high-speed internet, electric vehicle infrastructure, and investments in the electric grid to support the expansion of renewable energy.

The law provides infrastructure support to municipalities in the form of direct grants as well as funds that would pass through existing state programs. New programs that will provide direct funding to municipalities include $5 billion for a Safe Streets for All program and $5 billion for a competitive National Infrastructure Project Assistance program to allow communities to complete critical large projects that would otherwise be too expensive.

Two existing formula programs, the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, will each receive $11.7 billion over five years (49% for principal forgiveness and grants, 51% for loans).

A White House fact sheet explains what the law will mean for Massachusetts.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is one of two major infrastructure bills before Congress this fall. The second, a $1.85 trillion spending package known as the Build Back Better plan, includes investments in areas including workforce development, climate change mitigation and resilience, and affordable housing. The plan includes funding for technical assistance to local governments through a new Rural Partnership Program that’s intended to help small and rural communities that are often excluded from federal grant opportunities.

House leaders initially linked the two bills, but ultimately decided to vote only on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act on Nov. 5. At the urging of some House members, House leaders announced that they would hold the Build Back Better proposal until the Congressional Budget Office has had the opportunity to finish an economic analysis of the plan.

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