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U.S. Senate passes historic infrastructure bill

Shuler, Murray, Cantwell hail ‘good-paying union jobs’ legislation will create


WASHINGTON, D.C. (Aug. 11, 2021) — The U.S. Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package that would make the most significant investment in decades for rebuilding the nation’s roads and bridges, plus funding public transit, clean drinking water, addressing the climate crisis, expanding internet access, creating a new electric grid, and more. The vote was 69-30 to deliver this important component of President Biden’s agenda and advance it to the U.S. House.

“The bipartisan infrastructure deal is a win for America’s workers who are hungry to rebuild our nation after decades of delay and decline,” said AFL-CIO Acting President Liz Shuler. “This is a testament to the leadership of President Biden and a hopeful sign that policies supported by large majorities of the American people can move through a closely-divided Senate. As this bill moves toward final passage, we need to make sure that strong labor standards are included so we can make good on the promise to create millions of good-paying union jobs. Finally, we urge senators to capitalize on this momentum by passing the rest of the widely popular Build Back Better agenda, including the American Families Plan and the PRO Act.”

“Like anyone in our state who drives on our roads and bridges or rides our ferries, I know we are long overdue for a major investment in all of our transportation infrastructure,” said U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) “This will be the single largest investment in bridge repair since we built the interstate highway system, and the largest investment in public transit we’ve ever made. This is a generational investment in our infrastructure that will put people from across Washington state to work in good-paying union jobs to repair our roads and bridges and help everyone get to where they need to go.”

The package includes two of Murray’s bills: The Clean School Bus Act which provides federal grants to help transition the nation’s diesel school buses to zero emission, electric buses – the bipartisan package will allocate $5 billion towards zero emission and clean buses, and funds will be prioritized for communities where air pollution is greatest; and the Digital Equity Act which will provide $2.75 billion in grants to states and local communities to help close the digital divide and make sure everyone has the tools they need to get online and get connected.

Murray was also a leading voice in securing funding for culverts to boost salmon recovery efforts in Washington state, funding for ferries, bridge repair, and the strongest possible climate provisions in the bipartisan package.

“We’ve been blessed by growth and trade, but if we don’t make the infrastructure investments our economy won’t be able to keep up,” said U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA). “For the first time ever, we’re authorizing three major investments that have to be made now if we are going to be able to keep pace. We’re authorizing federal funding for megaprojects so that we can complete those crucial multimodal projects that are too expensive for states to handle on their own. We’re authorizing at-grade rail crossing replacement because they are safety and congestion hazards in the northwest. And we’re authorizing funding for the removal and replacement of culverts so we can work to restore the salmon runs that are so important to the Pacific Northwest. This bill is going to create thousands of jobs all across the State of Washington, and it will allow us to better compete in the global economy while also improving people’s quality of life.”

Washington state would expect to receive $4.7 billion for federal-aid highway apportioned programs and $605 million for bridge replacement and repairs, $1.79 billion to improve public transportation options across the state, and be eligible for additional funds for each as well. For more details about what Washington state would receive under the bipartisan infrastructure package, click here.


► From the Seattle Times — Bridges, rail, airports: What’s Washington state’s cut of the Senate’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill? — Both of Washington’s Democratic senators — Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray — are committee chairs, and helped craft the package. The funding includes some high priority Northwest items, including salmon restoration, forest thinning, prescribed burns and monitoring and cleaning up the toxic legacy of firefighting chemicals that have contaminated drinking water. Washington and Oregon, through a new fund, also could seek money to help replace the Interstate 5 bridge spanning the Columbia River.

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