The Senate finally has a deal on an almost $1 trillion infrastructure package that would make big investments in roads, bridges, transit and broadband.
The bill includes about $550 billion in new federal infrastructure spending. Almost $9 billion of that could go directly to projects in North Carolina, and the state could apply for billions more, according to the White House.
A bipartisan group of Senators released the deal Sunday, and the Senate has been working through debate and amendments this week. Senate leader Chuck Schumer says he wants to pass the bill this week.
“For decades, infrastructure in North Carolina has suffered from a systemic lack of investment. The historic Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will make life better for millions of North Carolina residents, create a generation of good-paying union jobs and economic growth and position the United States to win the 21st century,” President Joe Biden’s administration said in a statement this week.
Here’s what the Senate bill could mean for North Carolina:
North Carolina has 1,460 bridges and more than 3,100 miles of highways considered to be in poor condition, according to the White House. The infrastructure bill includes $7.2 billion for highways and $457 million to repair and replace bridges. The state will also be able to apply for more funding from a $12.7 billion bridge program and a $16 billion program “dedicated for major projects that will deliver substantial economic benefits to communities,” the White House said.
A major goal of the infrastructure bill is to expand broadband internet access to everyone in the United States. About 14% of households in the state do not subscribe to high-speed internet services and 4% don’t have access to broadband at all, according to the White House.
“Broadband internet is necessary for Americans to do their jobs, to participate equally in school learning, health care and to stay connected,” the Biden administration said.
Under the current bill, North Carolina would get at least $100 million to expand broadband access, and give access to the 424,000 people in the state who don’t have it. More than 3.2 million people in the state would be eligible for a new “Affordability Connectivity Benefit,” which would help people who can’t afford high-speed internet access at home.
The infrastructure deal includes $911 million over five years for public transportation improvements. According to the White House, 15% of public transit vehicles like city buses are past useful life. “North Carolinians who take public transportation spend an extra 59.9% of their time commuting and non-white households are 3.4 times more likely to commute via public transportation,” the Biden administration said.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes a big push for electric cars, including building a network of electric vehicle charging stations so people can travel longer distances. Nationally, the bill includes $7.5 billion for electric vehicle infrastructure. North Carolina’s share is $109 million over five years. The state can also apply to a $2.5 billion pool of money dedicated to adding more electric vehicle charging stations around the country.