U.S. SENATE News:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) are welcoming the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the first piece of the Build Back Better plan that will make historic investments in creating good-paying jobs and solving climate change, and increase access to affordable high-speed internet, reliable public transit, and clean drinking water.
The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 69 to 30.
“With the remainder of the Build Back Better agenda, this bipartisan infrastructure bill will mean hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs for Americans and ensure that our nation’s infrastructure meets 21st century needs. I’m proud to have secured substantial investments in hydrogen, transmission, clean energy and water infrastructure, wildfire mitigation, and the first-ever abandoned hardrock mine reclamation program. But the buck doesn’t stop there,” Heinrich said. “Now is the time to go the extra mile and pass smart, long-term investments that can change the very course of our nation’s future. I’m going to keep fighting to take meaningful action on the climate crisis, including making the economic, environmental, and health benefits of home electrification affordable and accessible to all Americans.”
“Building off the COVID-19 relief for New Mexico families in the American Rescue Plan, this bipartisan infrastructure legislation will bring billions of dollars to New Mexico to modernize our infrastructure and create new jobs and opportunities. From repairing our roads and highways to taking aim at the digital divide, this legislation will make a difference in the lives of all New Mexicans,” Luján said. “I was proud to secure provisions to prevent drunk and impaired driving, clean up orphaned oil and gas wells, fund water and wastewater projects for Native communities, and other measures to support New Mexicans. Now that this legislation has cleared the Senate, I will continue working to invest in New Mexico families.”
Senators Heinrich and Luján also are supporting the two-track approach to build back better and modernize America’s infrastructure. Last month, Senate Democrats announced a framework agreement of $3.5 trillion in FY2022 Budget Reconciliation instructions to enact the Build Back Better plan. This proposal is the parallel track to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and includes major investments in climate action and provides educational support and long-term economic opportunities for America’s families. The Senate is expected to now consider the budget resolution.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act:
Delivers a Historic Investment in High Speed Internet
The bill’s $65 billion investment increases access to reliable high-speed internet with an historic investment in broadband infrastructure deployment, just as the federal government made a historic effort to provide electricity to every American nearly one hundred years ago. This includes a $2 billion investment in broadband in Tribal communities which were hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bill creates the Affordability Connectivity Benefit, to help over 785,000 New Mexicans and low-income families afford internet access. The bill will also help lower prices for internet service by requiring funding recipients to offer a low-cost affordable plan, requiring providers to display a “Broadband Nutrition Label” that will help families comparison shop for a better deal, and by boosting competition in areas where existing providers aren’t providing adequate service.
Addresses Lead Pipes And Invest in Clean Drinking Water
This bill invests in clean drinking water and aims to address the nation’s lead pipes and service lines. From rural towns to struggling cities, the bill invests in water infrastructure across America, including in Tribal Nations and disadvantaged communities that need it most. The bill also includes dedicated funding to deal with harmful PFAS chemicals (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances).
Invests In More Public Transit Options And Addressing Backlog Of Repairs
This bill is the largest Federal investment in public transit in history, and devotes a larger share of funds from surface transportation reauthorization to transit in the history of the programs. It will repair and upgrade aging infrastructure, modernize bus and rail fleets, make stations accessible to all users, and bring transit service to new communities. It will replace thousands of transit vehicles, including buses, with clean, zero emission vehicles.
Creates Program To Reconnect Communities Divided By Inequitable Transportation Infrastructure
This bill creates a first-ever program to reconnect communities divided by transportation infrastructure. The program will fund planning, design, demolition, and reconstruction of street grids, parks, or other infrastructure. This is in addition to other major grant programs that could fund elements of these projects.
Electrify School Buses, Improving Air Quality For Children
This bill will make a critical down payment on helping the more than 25 million children and thousands of bus drivers who breathe polluted air on their rides to and from school. Diesel air pollution is linked to asthma and other health problems that hurt our communities and cause students to miss school, particularly in communities of color and Tribal communities. These investments will deliver thousands of electric school buses nationwide, helping school districts across the country buy clean, American-made, zero emission buses, upgrading the yellow school bus fleet for America’s children.
Remediates Brownfield And Superfund Sites
This bill provides the full American Jobs Plan funding level—$21 billion—to create good-paying union jobs plugging orphan oil and gas wells, cleaning up abandoned mines, and remediating Brownfield and Superfund sites. As we transition to a clean energy future, these investments will begin to remedy economic injustice for communities across the country that have relied on the fossil fuel industry and have been affected most by the impacts of climate change and pollution, including rural communities and communities of color.
Safeguards Communities Of Color From Climate Crises And Extreme Weather Risks
This bill invests in helping communities build resilience to wildfires and floods through investments in forest management and upgrades to critical infrastructure—like elevating buildings, roads, and bridges, hardening physical infrastructure, and winterizing the power grid. And, it will fund state and local infrastructure improvements and emergency response strategies, such as planning grants to support development of evacuation routes or upgrading community shelters. The bill will also make it easier for low-income families to buy flood insurance.
Invests In Clean Energy Grid To Mitigate Disparate Impacts Of Pollution On Communities Of Color
The bill’s roughly $65 billion investment is the single largest investment in clean energy transmission in American history. It upgrades our power infrastructure, including by building thousands of miles of new, resilient transmission lines to facilitate the expansion of renewable energy. It creates a new Grid Deployment Authority, invests in research and development for advanced transmission and electricity distribution technologies, and promotes smart grid technologies that deliver flexibility and resilience. It invests in demonstration projects and research hubs for next generation technologies like advanced nuclear reactors, carbon capture, and clean hydrogen.