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It Is Hard To Ignore This Infrastructure Week

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The term “Infrastructure Week” has historically been a punchline because it continually gets announced and then later canceled for other priorities.

This year is different.

On Monday, the Biden-Harris Administration kicked off Infrastructure Week by highlighting the full range of investments and projects from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, CHIPS and Science Act, Inflation Reduction Act, and American Rescue Plan. To date, the Administration has announced nearly $454 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding, including over 56,000 specific projects and awards, across over 4,500 communities in all 50 states, Washington, DC, U.S. territories, and tribal governments. These efforts are making communities and Main Streets stronger and preparing them for the future.

There are improvements completed or underway on more than 165,000 miles of roads, nearly 9,400 bridges, over 450 ports and waterways, and more than 300 airport terminals. This can help connect communities across the country, strengthen supply chains, speed up moving goods, lower costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and boost homegrown manufacturing jobs.

In addition, the Administration has launched over 4,100 projects to help communities build resilience to threats such as the impacts of climate change and cyberattacks. This includes removing hazardous fuel material from nearly 15 million acres of land and funding 12,000 miles of middle-mile high-speed internet infrastructure across 370 counties.

One can look at the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse to see how critical one piece of infrastructure is to connecting regions and Main Streets. These infrastructure projects underway are critical and many are long overdue. For example, the Hudson Tunnel between New York and New Jersey serves 200,000 passengers a day, is over 100 years old, and was damaged by Superstorm Sandy. A total of $11 billion has been allocated to repair and modernize it, including $3.8 billion to rehabilitate and expand the tunnel.

A six-month closure of Michigan’s aging Soo Locks, which help ships and barges pass through the Great Lakes system, would temporarily cost the U.S. economy $1.1 trillion. The Army Corps of Engineers has broken ground on the project to modernize and expand to provide redundancy for the locks and keep critical goods, including iron and steel, flowing across the Great Lakes.

In Arizona, the Gila River Indian Community has broken ground on a project aimed at alleviating the ongoing drought in the Colorado River Basin. The effort will build a pipeline to bring reclaimed water to the community, which will then be used to water over 70,000 acres of crops through water-efficient canals.

Sound infrastructure is the backbone of a strong society and economy – every administration should take at least a week to focus on it. These efforts are worth paying attention to because they are poised to benefit communities for generations to come.

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