November 05, 2021
BRUNSWICK, ME – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) tonight released the following statement after the House of Representatives voted to pass the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), a historic investment in America’s infrastructure. Senator King was a member of the bipartisan group heavily involved in the negotiation of the bill, which passed the Senate in August and now heads to President Biden’s desk for his signature.
“The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is monumental legislation that will bring incredible benefits to Maine communities,” said Senator King. “I’m most excited by the legislation’s unprecedented broadband investments, which will drastically increase access to high-speed, affordable broadband and help to ensure that every Maine person can engage in the 21st century economy, no matter where they live. This job-creating bill does so much more, though – including funds to repair our roads and bridges, protect our environment, confront climate change, strengthen America’s cybersecurity, and on and on. I truly believe that ten years from now, the passage of this legislation will be heralded as a transformative moment that laid a foundation for success for Americans of all backgrounds. I’m deeply grateful for the partnership of my colleagues in Congress; together, we’ve crafted a bipartisan bill that will significantly improve our nation. It wasn’t easy – but it was important, and we got it done. Now, the American people will reap the rewards”
Senator King was a member of the bipartisan G22, a group of 22 Senators from both parties heavily involved in the negotiation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act -- in addition to leading a bipartisan Oval Office meeting early in the process to outline priorities, challenges and opportunities presented by this massive endeavor. King-backed priorities included in the legislation include:
· $65 billion for broadband. The broadband provisions include over $40 billion in block grants to states and $2 billion for tribal governments, mirroring the bipartisan BRIDGE Act introduced by Senators King, Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) earlier this year. The bill also includes Senator King’s Digital Equity Act, investing $2.75 billion in an array of projects at the state and local level that promote “digital equity”— a concept defined by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance as the, “condition in which all individuals and communities have the information technology capacity needed for full participation in our society, democracy and economy.”
· $110 billion for roads and bridges. The IIJA includes the much-needed funding to repair America’s roads through the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act and Surface Transportation Investment Act. The legislation also includes $40 billion for bridges, the largest investment of its kind since the construction of the interstate highway system. These funds are much-needed in Maine, as 58% of the state’s bridges are over 50 years old.
· $55 billion for clean drinking water. The legislation includes important investments to ensure all Americans have access to clean drinking water, including $10 billion to address Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) contamination. Senator King has repeatedly pushed for federal action to confront the danger of PFAS in Maine, and earlier this year led a bipartisan letter urging the Administration to allow states to use American Rescue Plan funds to address PFAS contamination.
· $65 billion for power and the electric grid. The legislation includes funding to boost grid reliability and resiliency, strengthen supply chains for critical minerals and clean energy technology, and advance key, future-focused solutions to confront the threat of climate change. Senator King fought for the inclusion of many of these priorities during the Energy & Natural Resources Committee’s markup of this section of the IIJA.
· $47 billion for resiliency. The legislation includes funding to improve resiliency in the face of both climate and cyber-related threats. The IIJA invests in flood and wildfire mitigation, coastal resiliency, ecosystem restoration, and weatherization. The legislation includes a King-led cyber provision to provide $21 million for the newly-created Office of the National Cyber Director. The legislation also creates and funds the Cyber Response and Recovery Fund to provide greater support to help the private sector and state and local governments respond to and recover from significant cyber events, as well as establishing a grant program to address cybersecurity risks and threats to the systems of state, local, tribal, and territorial government. These two programs will greatly strengthen the federal government’s ability to support key partners in the face of cyber threats. As co-chair of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, King has been heavily involved in cyber-related issues, not only in the infrastructure bill but in other significant national security legislation over the past year.
· $41 billion for airports, ports, and waterways. The legislation includes $25 billion to update and improve airports, as well as bolster air traffic control infrastructure. Airports of all sizes are eligible for these programs, including local airports in areas such as Presque Isle. It also provides $16.6 billion for waterway and coastal infrastructure, inland water improvements, and port infrastructure.