Looking around our communities, it’s not uncommon to see roads, bridges and other infrastructure in need of serious repair. And as one of the country’s fastest growing states, Utah is in need of more infrastructure investment. This is why it was important that I was able to give Utahns a seat at the table in helping to negotiate the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
Our bipartisan infrastructure bill, signed into law on November 15, 2021, provided an historic $550 billion investment in our country’s physical infrastructure without raising taxes, without adding trillions to the deficit, and spending less than one-third of the President’s original plan. This bill will help Utah make smart investments in our transportation and infrastructure systems that better position us for future growth. My Smart Intersections Act—legislation to reduce traffic congestion by modernizing traffic signals—was also included.
In Utah, we are also witnessing the effects that the historic drought, combined with poor federal forest management, is having on our land. I worked to make sure the bipartisan infrastructure bill provided our state with sufficient funding for programs that aim to improve our ability to manage and mitigate wildfires and other extreme weather events. I was also able to secure in the bill my Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission Act—legislation that establishes a commission of federal and non-federal stakeholders to study and recommend fire protection, mitigation, management, and rehabilitation policies for forests and grasslands.
Another major victory for our state was that the infrastructure bill finally secured full funding for the Utah Navajo Water Rights Settlement—legislation to bring running water to the nearly 40% of Utah’s Navajo Nation who lack it.
Lastly, the bill included $65 billion to improve access to broadband. These funds will supplement the good work already being done at the state level to extend Utah’s broadband infrastructure and provide more families—especially those in rural areas—with affordable, fast, and reliable internet.