November 15, 2021
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) today released the following statement after President Joe Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), a historic investment in America’s infrastructure. Senator King, who attended today’s signing ceremony at the White House, was a member of the bipartisan group heavily involved in the negotiation of the bill from an initial Oval Office conversation onwards, securing major priorities in the final package, including a $65 billion investment in broadband.
“The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a once-in-a-generation investment in the infrastructure that powers our economy and ties Maine communities together,” said Senator King. “From roads and bridges to water infrastructure and the electrical grid, these investments will create good-paying jobs and have an immense impact on the day-to-day lives of Maine people across our state. Above all, I’m thrilled by the package’s $65 billion in broadband funding. We’ve seen during the pandemic that an affordable, high speed broadband connection is a fundamental part of modern life, and these funds will go a long way to ensuring that every Maine person – no matter where they live – will be able to fully access the economic, education, and healthcare opportunities of the 21st century. It’s nearly impossible to capture just how much good this will do for the State of Maine – but in the months and years ahead, we will see the legislation’s impacts unfold before our eyes and throughout our communities. I’m deeply grateful for the partnership of all who helped enact this historic package into law; it is absolutely essential, and today we got it done.”
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. King-backed Maine 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. Maine could receive up to an estimated $300 million, and at least $100 million. 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.” Overall, the bill is expected to bring hundreds of millions dollars for Maine broadband funding.
· $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. Maine would expect to receive $1.3 billion for federal-aid highway apportioned programs. The legislation also includes $40 billion for bridges – including an estimated $225 million for Maine – 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.
· $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 – and airports in Maine would receive approximately $74 million for infrastructure development for airports over five years. It also provides $16.6 billion for waterway and coastal infrastructure, inland water improvements, and port infrastructure
· $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. Maine will expect to receive $390 million over five years to improve water infrastructure across the state and ensure that clean, safe drinking water is available in all communities.
· $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.