CONNECTICUT, USA — Both chambers of Congress have now approved a major package of road and other infrastructure projects after Democrats resolved a months-long standoff between progressives and moderates. With assistance from 13 Republicans in the House, the bipartisan measure now goes to the desk of a president whose approval ratings have dropped and whose party got a cold shoulder from voters in this week’s off-year elections.
$550 billion dollars in federal funding in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act can now be used to rebuild roads, support public transportation, and expand broadband internet access.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal told FOX61's Carmen Chau the funds will help Connecticut's crumbling roads.
"I travel these roads every day," Blumenthal said. "Anyone who travels these roads every day as I do knows that there are potholes. Anyone who goes over our bridges knows the potential danger of the degrading pillars and so forth. Our roads are probably a C minus or a D when they should be A or A+."
In a press release detailing some of the funds expected to be spent in Connecticut, Senator Chris Murphy said “For decades, Republicans and Democrats in Congress have talked about working together to pass a game-changing investment in roads, rail lines, and broadband. Today, we finally did it. Both houses of Congress passed the biggest bipartisan investment in infrastructure in our nation’s history, an investment that will create new jobs, finally fix our nation’s crumbling infrastructure, and deliver serious cost savings to Americans.”
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, Chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, said once the bill is signed into law, it will create thousands of "jobs that cannot be outsourced."
"I am particularly pleased that this legislation ensures that contracted workers will be protected and paid prevailing wages," read a release from DeLauro's office. "With the passage of this bill, including a $1.63 billion increase for Connecticut over the most recent transportation bill and $30 billion to modernize the Northeast Corridor, we are investing in a foundation for strong economic growth in Connecticut."
"This historic bill is about jobs, jobs, jobs,” DeLauro continued. “It will boost Connecticut’s economy and help families across the country build a better, stronger America.”
Murphy and DeLauro both praised the $30 billion investment in the Northeast Rail Corridor. Amtrak Board Chair Tony Coscia also praised the bill, saying "We are grateful to the Administration and Congress for their belief in Amtrak and the power of passenger rail to help tackle the climate crisis, create economic opportunity and expand mobility for our nation. We look forward to working with Secretary Buttigieg, our state, commuter and host railroad partners, and communities across America to rebuild and improve the Northeast Corridor.”
Governor Ned Lamont said the bill will bring shorter commutes, jobs, and economic growth to the state.
According to Murphy's office, the bill also includes:
- $1 billion for FEMA’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) grant, which will help communities become more resilient against natural disasters
- $106 million for EPA Long Island Sound Geographic Program to protect the Long Island Sound watershed
- $53 million dollars to upgrade facilities at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London
- $1.3 billion over five years to improve public transportation options; and
- $53 million over five years to support the expansion of an electric vehicle charging network.
Murphy said his BuyAmerican.gov Act was also included in the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Murphy says that will establish a centralized online hub to ensure federal agencies prioritize the purchase of American-made goods in compliance with existing law.
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