OPINION: INVEST

Finkenauer: The INVEST in America Act is an Investment in Iowa’s Future

By Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer

After listening to Iowans and hearing their priorities for infrastructure and building projects across the First District, I’m excited to see major legislation advancing in Congress this month to rebuild roads, bridges and other critical infrastructure across the country. 

Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer

The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, on which I serve, unveiled the INVEST in America Act earlier this month, and it’s now moving through Congress. And thanks to input from Iowans, it contains several measures we’ve introduced and priorities we’ve been fighting for.

The INVEST Act includes my Stop Swaps, Protect Local Jobs Act to ensure Buy-America and wage protections for Iowans on infrastructure projects. It includes provisions from my Fixing America’s Bridges Act — specifically language increasing funding for bridges in rural places and smaller communities and incentivizing state and local investments in structurally deficient off-system bridges.

Also included are provisions from my Helping Communities Invest In Infrastructure Act and the Rural Road Safety Act, which will make it easier for rural communities to access federal financial assistance to fund infrastructure projects as well as increase funding dedicated to improving safety on rural roads. 

In addition to specific legislation I’ve previously introduced, the INVEST Act also contains many of my top funding priorities, including: 

  • An estimated $3.5 billion in federal-aid highway funding over 5 years to rebuild Iowa’s roads and bridges
  • An estimated $337 million in federal formula funding to support Iowa transit systems infrastructure and operations over 5 years
  • Approximately $28 billion in funding for bridge repair and restoration
  • $83.1 billion to ensure states and local governments can administer programs, advance projects, and preserve jobs in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis
  • A new $6.25 billion program to fund resilience and flood response needs.

Fixing our crumbling roads and bridges is a top priority for my neighbors in the First District, and it’s a top priority for me in Congress. Investments in infrastructure make our communities safer, more efficient and more economically competitive— all while creating jobs and putting good wages in workers’ pockets.

I’ve been fighting since I came to Congress to get Iowa’s infrastructure priorities on the agenda, and this bill is a major step in that direction.

I want to thank Transportation Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-ORG) for working to understand the needs of our communities, and then following through by addressing so many of those needs in this bill. Chairman DeFazio visited northeast Iowa last year to tour projects in person, and then took part in a roundtable discussion with community leaders from Dubuque, Waterloo and Cedar Rapids just this month.

By fixing bridges, funding transit, protecting local wages, strengthening Buy-American provisions, and helping recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, this package will provide immediate economic benefits to our communities and infrastructure improvements to last for generations.

Abby Finkenauer is the congresswoman for Iowa’s First District.

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