Rep. Sewell Votes for Largest Investment in U.S. Infrastructure in Nearly a Century
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) voted to pass President Biden’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the largest investment in U.S. infrastructure in nearly a century. This legislation will create millions of good-paying jobs, repair Alabama’s crumbling roads and bridges, expand access to high-speed affordable internet, and make transformational investments in Alabama’s drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. The bill's many provisions will supercharge America’s global competitiveness and put our nation back on track to have world class infrastructure. The bill passed the House of Representatives today by a vote of 228-206 and will now make its way to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law.
“Today we’ve made history!” said Rep. Sewell. “Thanks to President Biden and Congressional Democrats, the United States Congress has passed the largest investment in our nation’s infrastructure in nearly a century. With today’s vote, President Biden has accomplished what previous administrations have been trying to do for decades.”
“Alabama’s infrastructure has been falling behind for far too long,” continued Sewell. “The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act contains transformational provisions that will revitalize the 7th District by creating good paying jobs, fixing our crumbling roads and bridges, expanding access to broadband, and finally addressing our broken water infrastructure. I fought to ensure that equity is a central focus of this bill, and I’m proud that it will uplift hard-working Alabamians from our biggest cities to our most rural communities.”
“I want to thank Representative Sewell for her hard work passing the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “For too long we’ve neglected investments in critical areas that directly impact American workers, American businesses and American families. One of the many historic investments in this bill is the effort to bridge the digital divide and ensure all Americans have access to reliable, affordable broadband. Broadband is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. Thanks to President Biden’s vision and the Congresswoman’s tireless effort to get this passed, we can now bring affordable broadband to every community in Alabama.”
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will:
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 Alabamians 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.
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.
Address Railroad Crossing Blockages - The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act contains several provisions that would address the continued impact of blocked railroad crossings in Alabama and across the nation.
- 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.
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 millionover 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 billionnational investment in weatherization which will reduce energy costs for families.