After months of back and forth on Capitol Hill, lawmakers finally approved the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which earmarks $1.2 trillion for infrastructure improvements over the next decade. Roughly half the investment amount will go directly towards infrastructure improvements over the next five years.
The retail industry is significantly impacted by quality infrastructure. Port congestion in U.S. ports has strangled the flow of goods, while delays and staffing shortages linked to the COVID-19 pandemic have put pressures on retailers this year. At the same time the bill was approved in Congress, imports were reaching near-record levels. One recent study found 6.2 million retail jobs are connected to imports.
The National Retail Federation (NRF), which has been vocal in its support for infrastructure investment, applauded the bill becoming law. The association lobbied policymakers earlier this year to not impose higher taxes in order to fund the investments, instead looking to user fees as a means for funding.
“Retailers depend on a sustainable and vibrant American infrastructure system to fulfill their business promises and deliver goods safely and efficiently to consumers across the country and around the world,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement. “Our nation’s roads, ports, bridges, broadband and other key infrastructure utilized every day by millions of businesses are essential to the success and revitalization of our economy.”