U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), today applauded House passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, bipartisan legislation that he led the Senate to pass earlier this year. The bill builds upon Carper’s Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021 passed by the EPW Committee and his Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021 passed by the full Senate earlier this year.
“Shortly after his inauguration, President Biden invited me to the White House to discuss the dire need to bring Democrats and Republicans together to address our nation’s infrastructure needs. We knew that in order to make this expansive vision a reality, we would need to lead the way in the EPW Committee with bipartisan efforts on drinking water and wastewater infrastructure and a surface transportation reauthorization to upgrade our highways, roads, and bridges. Now all these months later, that work by our EPW Committee—made possible by my partnership with our Ranking Member, Senator Capito—is the backbone of the unprecedented, historic infrastructure legislation on its way to the president’s desk to be signed into law. We’ve cut across partisan divides and delivered extraordinary investments in everything from roads and transit to drinking water and wastewater to broadband and flood control. Our nation will be the better for it—and none of it would have happened if not for the leadership and determination of President Biden,” said Carper.
“And while this is a cause for celebration, our work is far from over: to truly meet the needs of the American people, we need to act quickly to pass the Build Back Better Act, which will help lower costs for families, create clean energy jobs to tackle the climate crisis, advance environmental justice, and build a brighter future for all Americans.”
For transportation programs, this legislation invests record amounts of funding in our nation’s highway, rail, and transit programs to improve and repair our highways and bridges, tackle climate change and resilience, and enhance safety and mobility for the American people. The bill provides $567 billion in total resources for transportation programs, including $351 billion for federal highway programs, including $40 billion to repair and replace bridges, and $7.5 billion to install electric charging infrastructure. Read more about the highway programs here. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act also provides $91.1 billion in funding for public transit programs, including $5.25 billion for clean transit buses to replace aging diesel buses, and supports our nation’s passenger rail network with $66 billion to maintain and expand rail service.
The historic bipartisan infrastructure legislation also includes Carper’s legislation—that the Senate passed by a vote of 89-2—authorizing critical resources for states to upgrade their aging drinking water and wastewater infrastructure to provide clean, safe water to more Americans. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides $55 billion in appropriations for water including critical investments for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) and the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF). The bill tackles lead contamination in drinking water by designating $15 billion of the funding to improve public health by investing in programs to replace these dangerous lead service lines, prioritizing investments for line replacement in low-income communities and communities of color. It also designates $10 billion in appropriations for the cleanup of emerging contaminants, including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), so-called “forever chemicals” that pose dangerous health risks for people exposed by contaminated water, with a particular emphasis on small, rural, and disadvantaged communities.
EPW Committee provisions are at the core of the bipartisan infrastructure legislation passed today by the House. Read more about these investments, including in climate resiliency, clean school buses, and drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, here.