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Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

Infrastructure investors are enthusiastic that Congress finally passed a giant infrastructure bill, but they tell Axios that it won't be a "game changer" for their strategies.

Between the lines: The bill is more of a stamp of approval for what these firms have already been doing.

Stay of play: Global infrastructure fundraising has been robust, with 107 funds raising a cumulative $93.6 billion in 2020 and 53 funds raising $73.3 billion in the first three quarters of 2021, per PitchBook.

  • PitchBook analyst Rebecca Springer says LPs are increasing their allocations to infrastructure because of strong returns and as an inflation hedge.

Big picture: The infrastructure bill authorizes about $1.2 trillion to be spent over the next 10 years in areas such as broadband, electric grids, public transit and EV charging.

What they’re saying: “It’s a really exciting bill because it’s so massive and brings a lot of attention on infrastructure, which is sorely needed,” says Alex Symes, director of global real assets research at BlackRock.

  • “It may help give us conviction around some of those assets or areas,” says Alex Darden, EQT president and head of U.S. infrastructure.
  • For example, school bus electrification “right now is not economic,” he explains. “So the grants that are in the infrastructure bill will hopefully allow us and others to accelerate our electrification strategies,” he adds, pointing to portfolio company First Student as one that could benefit.

Notably: Investors who spoke with Axios highlighted the bill’s provisions for broadband and other digital infrastructure as particularly exciting, both as a direct boon for their portfolio companies that provide internet connectivity and for the trickle-down effects of more Americans having access to high-speed internet.

Yes, but: The lack of overt mandates or support for public-private partnerships is where investors say the bill falls short (though none are surprised).

  • “As an American, it’s pretty disheartening because I think we are not taking advantage of all the resources that exist to improve our infrastructure,” says Darden. It's a pretty accepted strategy in other countries but has a negative connotation in the U.S., he adds.

Go deeper

Broadband subscriber growth stalls after pandemic gains

Expand chart
Data: S&P Global; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

A new report from Kagan, the media research unit of S&P Global, shows that broadband subscriber growth has "cooled significantly in the third quarter," stalling in growth for the first time in three years.

Why it matters: The decline can be attributed to "a difficult comparison with the booming gains of 2020," the report says.

Americans are super-sizing their holiday travel

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Americans are rushing back into holiday travel, and many are taking even longer trips now than they did before the pandemic began.

The big picture: After skipping Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings last year, many people are eager to maximize this year's celebrations with friends and family. And flexible remote working arrangements make that easier than ever.

Updated 16 hours ago - Sports

The potential GOAT of chess faces intriguing challenger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The World Chess Championship between Norway's Magnus Carlsen and Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi began on Friday, 1,094 days after Carlsen won his fourth consecutive title.

Why it matters: During the long, COVID-fueled layoff, chess entered a new era, and with the championship finally here, the age-old game is ready for its close-up.