Rep. Sewell to Attend Signing of Infrastructure Bill at the White House
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) will join President Biden for the signing of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act at the White House. The bill—which passed the House of Representatives on Friday, November 5th—is the largest investment in U.S. infrastructure in nearly a century. As the only member of the Alabama Congressional delegation to vote in favor of the bill, Rep. Sewell played a lead role in securing the inclusion of critical provisions that will benefit Alabama’s 7th District.
“Thanks to our hard work, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act contains transformational provisions that will directly benefit the people of Alabama’s 7th District,” said Rep. Sewell. “In addition to creating jobs and rebuilding our roads and bridges, the bill will help alleviate blocked railroad crossings and invest hundreds of millions of dollars in improving Alabama’s water infrastructure. Today, I will proudly stand with President Biden as he signs this bill and delivers these historic wins for the people!”
President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act contains several provisions that will address blocked railroad crossings:
- The Railroad Crossing Elimination Program - This section would authorize $500 million a year for the new Railroad Crossing Elimination grant program. This includes a small set-aside to carry out a highway-rail grade crossing safety information and education program.
- Blocked Crossing Portal - This section would require the Federal Railroad Administration to establish a blocked crossing portal to collect information about blocked highway-rail grade crossings from the public. The Federal Railroad Administration is to use the information to assess the impact of blocked crossings, inform outreach to communities and railroads about blocked crossings, and produce an annual report on the program. This pilot program will expire three years after enactment.
- National Academies Study On Trains Longer Than 7,500 Feet -This section requires the Secretary to spend between $1 million and $2 million on a report by the National Academies on the operations, safety, and efficiency of trains longer than 7,500 feet, to be submitted to relevant Congressional committees within two years.
- Railroad point of contact for public safety issues - This section would require all railroads to provide contact information on a public website so that the public could report public safety issues to the railroad.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will make transformational investments in Alabama’s water infrastructure.
Currently, up to 10 million American households and 400,000 schools and child care centers lack safe drinking water. Under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, based on the traditional state revolving fund formula, Alabama will expect to receive $782 million over five years to improve water infrastructure across the state and ensure that clean, safe drinking water is a right in all communities. The bill also includes $23 billion nationally for the bipartisan Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will also:
Create Millions of Good-Paying Jobs - Together with the Build Back Better Act, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will create an average of 2 million jobs per year over the course of the next decade.
Repair and Rebuild Alabama’s Roads and Bridges - The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the interstate highway system. Based on formula funding alone, Alabama would expect to receive:
- $5.2 billion for federal-aid highway apportioned programs
- $225 million for bridge replacement and repairs under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act over five years.
Alabama can also compete for the $12.5 billion Bridge Investment Program for economically significant bridges and nearly $16 billion of national funding in the bill dedicated for major projects that will deliver substantial economic benefits to communities.
Connect Every Alabamian to High-speed Internet - Broadband internet is necessary for Albamians to do their jobs, participate equally in school learning, health care, and to stay connected. Yet 18% of Alabama households do not have an internet subscription, and 11.5% of Alabama residents live in areas where, under the FCC’s benchmark, there is no broadband infrastructure. Under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, Alabama will receive a minimum allocation of $100 million to help provide broadband coverage across the state, including providing access to the at least 565,000 Alabamians who currently lack it. It also makes 1,518,000 Alabamians (31%) eligible for the Affordability Connectivity Benefit, which will help low-income families afford internet access.
Improve Healthy, Sustainable Transportation Options - Alabamians who take public transportation spend an extra 66.2% of their time commuting and non-White households are 4.5 times more likely to commute via public transportation. 25% of transit vehicles in the state are past useful life. Based on formula funding alone, Alabama would expect to receive more than $400 million over five years under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to improve public transportation options across the state.
Invest in the Future of Electric Vehicle (EV) Travel in Alabama - The bill will build a network of EV chargers to facilitate long-distance travel and provide convenient charging options. The U.S. market share of plug-in electric vehicle (EV) sales is only one-third the size of the Chinese EV market. The bill invests $7.5 billion to build out the first-ever national network of EV chargers in the United States and is a critical element in the Biden-Harris Administration’s plan to accelerate the adoption of EVs to address the climate crisis and support domestic manufacturing jobs. Under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, Alabama would expect to receive $79 million over five years to support the expansion of an EV charging network in the state. Alabama will also have the opportunity to apply for the $2.5 billion in grant funding dedicated to EV charging in the bill.
Improve Alabama’s Airports - The United States built modern aviation, but our airports lag far behind our competitors. Under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, airports in Alabama would receive approximately $140 million for infrastructure development for airports over five years.
Protect Alabama’s Infrastructure from Climate Change and Cyber Attacks - The bill will prepare more of Alabama’s infrastructure for the impacts of climate change, cyber-attacks, and extreme weather events. From 2010 to 2020, Alabama has experienced 38 extreme weather events, costing the state up to $20 billion in damages. Under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, based on historical formula funding levels, Alabama will expect to receive:
- $23 million over five years to protect against wildfires; and
- $19 million to protect against cyberattacks.
Alabamans will also benefit from the bill’s historic $3.5 billion national investment in weatherization which will reduce energy costs for families.