Kovar Capital: What does the infrastructure bill include?

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Hey Taylor: What’s in the big infrastructure bill that I should care about? People keep talking about price tags and I’m struggling to find info about how it might or might not help a middle-class Texas mom like myself. - Amelia

Hey Amelia: That’s the big question, right? Lawmakers have been yelling about spending, overspending, and underspending, and most of us don’t know what they’re actually spending money on.

Ignoring deficits and inflation—to the extent those things can be ignored—there are some important things in the bill that all Americans will see, and a decent amount of money heading to us Texans. It’s all supposed to roll out over five years, but here are the projects we can expect to see ramping up.

Traditional infrastructure. Wherever you live, you can probably picture a road or a bridge that’s seen better days. Over 25 billion dollars is set to get invested in our highways, with another half-billion going to bridge repair and maintenance. Aside from fixing potholes and making sure our cars don’t fall into the rivers we’re driving over, this kind of infrastructure helps with shipping routes and making roadways safer for motorists and pedestrians. On top of all that, there’s a few billion coming to upgrade and improve public transportation as well.

Broadband. A major sticking point of the bill negotiations was expanding internet access throughout the county, and Texas will get $100 million or more to boost our broadband. Now that we’ve all experienced a year or more of working from home, the prospect of better internet connectivity has a lot of appeal. This will also make a big difference for students and teachers as education becomes more and more reliant on the web. We’ll have to wait and see how many people are directly affected by this and how much it does to change internet speeds and prices.

Climate. This is another wait-and-see part of the bill. We’re supposed to get about $50 million for wildfire prevention and then $3.5 billion for “weatherization measures,” which will largely consist of improving existing buildings and structures and making things more energy efficient. That said, time will tell how the rollout of the spending goes and when these projects actually break ground.

I’m guessing these three areas will be the most visible in terms of infrastructure that affects people like you and me. The bill claims a lot of the spending will be covered by leftover coronavirus relief funds and the end of extended unemployment benefits, so we’ll see if that holds true and we don’t take on too much debt. Thanks for the question!

Disclosure: Information presented is for educational purposes only and is not an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. Investments involve risk and, unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein. To submit a question to be answered in this column, please send it via email to Question@GoFarWithKovar.com, or via USPS to Taylor Kovar, 415 S 1st St, Suite 300, Lufkin, TX 75901.

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