The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law just won’t quit delivering for Delaware
A little more than two years ago, I sat across from President Biden in the Oval Office for a meeting where he made clear that investing in our infrastructure was a top priority. He tasked us, both Democrats and Republicans alike, with crafting bipartisan legislation that would bring America’s infrastructure out of the last century and into the future. Our deteriorating roads, highways, and bridges had struggled to keep communities connected and our economy moving forward for too long. So, we took President Biden’s task to heart, working for months to develop the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The law is now enabling us to rebuild our roads, bridges, highways, and so much more on a scale rarely seen before.
As you may know, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law was built upon bipartisan legislation that I led as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. I had several top priorities in mind while crafting this legislation. They included enhancing the sustainability and resilience of our transportation systems, improving safety—especially for pedestrians and bicyclists—and addressing the backlog of repairs for roads and bridges in poor condition throughout our nation.
In Delaware alone, nearly 19 bridges and over 253 miles of highway are in poor condition. Fortunately, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is changing that. To date, Delaware has received more than $540 million in funding from this law to invest in our roads, bridges, highways, and public transit. That includes projects to improve road conditions, build and repair our state’s bridges, reduce transportation carbon emissions, improve infrastructure climate resilience, and more.
However, to reap the full benefits of the historic investments included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we must also make thoughtful, commonsense reforms to the processes we use to approve infrastructure projects. That is why I released the Promoting Efficient and Engaged Reviews (PEER) Act this week with my friend, Senator Brian Schatz from Hawaii. The PEER Act would advance clean energy development, support community engagement, and protect our environment—a win-win for our infrastructure, for our economy, and for all Delawareans.
With everything I do in life and government, I let the Golden Rule guide me: treat others as one wants to be treated. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is no exception. For Delaware’s rural and historically underserved communities, the law is addressing public transit, legacy pollution, broadband access, improvements to the Route 9 Corridor, and more. The law provides roughly $186 million over five years to improve public transit, which is critical for equity in our state, where non-white households are almost 4 times more likely to commute via public transportation. Additionally, the law provides $100 million to expand affordable, high-speed internet access across the state. Every dollar invested is a dollar to improve the lives of Delawareans up and down the state.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is nothing short of extraordinary. It’s the largest investment in our nation’s infrastructure since the construction of the Interstate Highway System. And, many of the benefits are yet to come. While the investments we’re making in our roads, bridges, transit, and more may take a few years to complete, they will immeasurably improve Delawareans’ lives for decades to come.