President Joe Biden signs the $1.2 trillion bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington D.C., on Monday. Photo by Sarah Silbiger/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 15 (UPI) -- Declaring "America is moving again," President Joe Biden on Monday signed a bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill into law during a formal ceremony on the White House South Lawn.
Accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and other key local and national leaders, the president put his signature on the expansive bill, which was passed despite high partisan tensions in Congress.
He praised the efforts of both Democratic and Republican leaders in negotiating the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which will deliver $550 billion in new federal spending on the nation's transportation and waterway infrastructure over a five-year period.
"For too long, we've talked about having the best economy in the world," he said. "We've talked about asserting American leadership in the world with the best and safest roads, railways, ports, and airports. Here in Washington, we've heard countless speeches, promises, and white papers from the experts.
"But today, we are finally getting it done. And my message to the American people is this -- America is moving again, and your life is going to change for the better," the president added.
At a time when Biden is seeking a bounce in his lagging approval ratings, the president emphasized the infrastructure bill's support from both parties.
"My fellow Americans, today I want you to know we hear you, and we see you," he said. "The bill I'm about to sign into law is proof that despite the cynics, Democrats and Republicans can come together and deliver results. We can do this. We can deliver real results for real people."
"We got it done, America," Harris declared.
"This is a great day for America," Schumer said at Monday's event, while Pelosi added, "This is a great achievement, thank you Mr. President."
The bill has been one of Biden's chief legislative priorities since he took office in January, as a spending package to repair the nation's roads, bridges and other interstate components has long eluded Congress.
Former President Donald Trump repeatedly made efforts to pass a large-scale infrastructure bill. Even with a Republican-held House and Senate over his first two years, however, he was unsuccessful.
Under the current bill, the government will invest $55 billion to expand access to clean drinking water, $65 billion to ensure every American has access to high-speed Internet, $110 billion in new funding to repair roads and bridges and support major transportation projects and $89.9 billion in funding for public transit, the largest federal investment in public transit history.
It also includes the largest federal investment in passenger rail and largest dedicated bridge investment, among other benchmarks, and is forecast to create 1.5 million jobs a year over the next decade.