Bipartisan infrastructure bill paves way for better roads, bridges, internet access and economic opportunity for Hawkeye State
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today voted for the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure package that will make significant investment in Iowa’s roads, bridges, waterways, energy and internet infrastructure. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act combines a routine highway bill with various other bipartisan infrastructure proposals and new programs to empower innovation in rural America and move people and products safely and smoothly throughout the country.
“Iowans have raised infrastructure concerns at nearly all of the 85 county meetings I’ve held so far this year, whether it be about roads and bridges, access to broadband or the locks and dams on the Mississippi River. Iowans rely on sound infrastructure to move our ag products and manufactured goods, as well as to connect with family, business partners and critical service providers. But like much of the country, Iowa’s aging infrastructure risks slowing economic growth and eroding daily comfort and convenience. This bipartisan bill fixes potholes, rebuilds bridges, upgrades water systems and brings broadband to rural corners of our state. Investing in Iowa’s infrastructure will pay dividends for decades to come.
“Like any compromise, this bill isn’t perfect and nobody got everything they wanted or likes everything in the bill, but this bipartisan package is a vast improvement over the House-passed infrastructure bill and a far cry from President Biden’s and Congressional Democrats’ partisan schemes to hike taxes and spend trillions on liberal pipedreams masqueraded as ‘human infrastructure.’ Our bipartisan package bundles several bills that have already won bipartisan action in the Senate, all without raising taxes on Iowa families. It’s proof that the Senate is fully capable of delivering on bipartisan policy when given the chance. It’s a shame my Democrat colleagues are still intent on following this bipartisan exercise with a partisan multi-trillion dollar reckless tax and spending spree, which I will oppose,” Grassley said.
DELIVERING FOR IOWA
Investment in traditional infrastructure not only improves our quality of life, but it also boosts economic growth over the long term. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act repairs and upgrades Iowa’s critical infrastructure, paving the way for greater economic activity for years to come. Here are a few example of the bill’s impacts on Iowa.
Roughly 29 percent of Iowa’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition, resulting in an estimated cost of $336 per year for each motorist, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. This bill invests $4.2 billion in repairing Iowa’s roads, with the opportunity to compete for additional resources. The bill also includes a new grant program for rural transportation projects.
Iowa leads the nation in the number of structurally deficient bridges. Fixing these bridges means safer roadways for Iowans. This bill guarantees Iowa $431 million for bridge repair, with more competitive grant funding available.
Iowa farmers, manufacturers, shippers and businesses rely heavily on our waterways to do business and move their goods. This legislation contains key Grassley provisions and priorities such as addressing the backlog for Operations and Maintenance and Investigation Accounts through the Army Corps of Engineers, allowing states to use federal highway funding for lock and dam modernization, helping complete studies from flooding, funding soil moisture and snowpack monitoring activities in the Upper Missouri River Basin to inform the lower basin of drought and flood conditions and funding Mississippi River and tributaries projects.
Iowa’s commercial and general aviation airports increase the productivity for private sector businesses and the agriculture industry. They also provide Iowans much needed connections across the nation and world. Under this bill, Iowa’s airports will benefit from increased funding for the Airport Improvement Program for runways, gates, and taxiways. The bill also creates a new Airport Terminal Improvement Program and improves the air traffic control infrastructure.
Thousands of Iowa households don’t have access to high-speed internet, which has proved indispensable for continuing education, conducting business and delivering health services during the pandemic. This bill provides $65 billion to increase access to broadband services, with a particular focus on unserved and underserved communities, including rural Iowa.
The bill authorizes $227 million over the next five years for Iowa through the existing Clean Water State Revolving Fund program and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, which have been around for decades. These funds will help Iowa’s years-long efforts to further improve water quality.
Natural Disaster Mitigation
Iowans know firsthand how devastating natural disasters, such as flooding and tornadoes, are to our communities. This bill provides funds to state and local communities to carry out mitigation projects that reduce the risk of natural disasters.
A BIPARTISAN COMPROMISE
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act represents a highlight reel of the Senate’s bipartisan work. It includes several bills that have already won bipartisan action in the Senate, including a must-pass highway bill to extend programs set to expire this fall. Here are some examples:
- Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act – Passed Senate 89-2
- Cyber Response and Recovery Fund – Passed Senate as part of bipartisan Endless Frontiers Act
- Energy Infrastructure Act – Passed Energy & Natural Resources Committee with bipartisan support
- Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act – Passed Environment & Public Works Committee with bipartisan support
- Commerce Surface Transportation Investment Act – Passed Commerce Committee with bipartisan support
- RECYCLE Act – Bipartisan cosponsors
- Broadband Financing Flexibility Act – Bipartisan cosponsors
- Carbon Capture Improvement Act – Bipartisan cosponsors
- BUILD Act – Bipartisan cosponsors