WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) released the following statement after the House passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, bipartisan infrastructure legislation authored and negotiated by Senator Romney and his colleagues. The legislation passed the Senate on August 10 by a vote of 69-30.
“After months of unnecessary delay by House Democratic leadership, today’s passage is a win for Utah, as we will now be better positioned to meet transportation challenges, mitigate drought conditions, prepare for and respond to wildfires, extend broadband to rural communities, and fulfill critical water needs. In stark contrast to Democrats’ efforts to pass a separate bill to drastically expand social programs, the bipartisan group I worked with proved that it’s possible to achieve solutions without raising taxes or adding trillions to the national debt. I urge President Biden to keep his promise to sign this legislation without delay, so we can modernize our nation’s physical infrastructure, address supply chain issues, and demonstrate that, even in polarized times, Congress can still come together on behalf of the American people.”
Authorizes $3 Billion for Utah’s Roads and Highways
- Utah has 2,064 miles of roads in poor condition. Commute times are up 7.2% in the state since 2011 and bad roads cost drivers an average of $709 per year in repair. This bipartisan legislation authorizes roughly $3 billion in highway funding for Utah over five years to construct, rebuild, and maintain its roads and highways.
Includes key legislative priorities championed by Senator Romney:
- Smart Intersections Act: Provides resources to state, local, and tribal governments to improve the functioning of their traffic signals;
- Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission Act: Establishes a commission to study and recommend fire prevention, mitigation, management, and rehabilitation policies for forests and grasslands;
- Secures additional funding for wildfire mitigation and recovery, including hazardous fuel removal, burned area recovery, prescribed fires, shared stewardship contracts and agreements, and more;
- $50 million for Central Utah Project Completion Act: Provides water for municipal use, mitigation, hydroelectric power, fish and wildlife, and conservation;
- $500 million for the Western Area Power Administration for drought-related shortfalls;
- $300 million to fund outstanding Emergency Watershed Program needs for post-fire recovery and wildfire mitigation;
- $100 million for drought contingency plan funding;
- $1 billion for the FEMA Building Resilient Infrastructure Communities (BRIC) program for pre-disaster mitigation, including wildfire and drought projects;
- $214 million to fully fund the Navajo Utah Water Rights Settlement: Legislation to bring running water to the 40% of Navajo Nation in Utah who lack it; and
- $1.7 billion for the construction and improvement of Indian Health Services sanitation facilities.
Delivers $219 million to Utah for water revolving funds
- The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act would authorize roughly $219 million over five years for the Beehive State through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund program & Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.
Invests in Utah’s Airports
- In July, the FAA announced Utah airports received over $1.8 million in federal grants through the Airport Improvement Program (AIP). The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes $25 billion for airport improvement projects such as expansions, installations, assisting with planning, rebuilding runways, improving lighting and runways, and air navigation facilities.
Provides $65 billion to expand broadband access across the country
- Builds on Senator Romney’s efforts to expand broadband access to unserved and underserved communities in Utah.
Eliminates federal red tape by reforming the permitting process to speed construction projects
- Builds on the Federal Permitting Council’s efforts to shortening the government approval process for large infrastructure projects by bringing relevant agencies together to reduce inefficiencies.
Provides $40 billion in funding for bridge construction, maintenance, and repair
- Of that, $30 billion will be apportioned by formula to ensure bridges in every state are provided with needed resources. Utah currently has 62 bridges classified as structurally deficient.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was the work of bipartisan collaboration which will address decades of neglect of our nation’s hard, physical infrastructure. The bipartisan bill represents nearly $550 billion in new spending and it includes fiscally responsible pay-fors, such as unused COVID-19 relief funds. Details on how the bill would benefit Utah can be found here.