ST. LOUIS — Lawmakers in Washington passed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package this past Friday.
It will deliver $550 billion in new federal investment in America's infrastructure over five years.
It should touch everything from bridges to roadways, airports, and water systems.
Billions of dollars are expected to come in impacting both sides of the river.
Missouri will receive around $8 billion and Illinois around $17 billion.
A big chunk of money will help repair roads and bridges.
In Missouri, there are nearly 2,190 bridges and over 7,576 miles of highway in poor condition.
About $6 billion will go toward highway repairs and another $480 million for bridges.
- According to a White House Fact Sheet, the average driver pays nearly $750 per year due to driving on roads that need repair
- Since 2011, commute times have increased by 5.9%
Patrick McKenna, the director of the Missouri Department of Transportation, said this is critical for future projects.
"There is a new program for bridge investment and there are some provisions in there dealing with the impacts in the environment. There’s a safety program, which is huge, because in the first six months of this year nationwide, there's an 18% increase in fatalities on the highways. With the level of funding we are seeing, we are able to meet unfunded needs that we haven't been able to do in decades. We are hugely impacted and it’s very important," he adds.
McKenna also points out it's good timing for Missouri.
"This adds a 25% lift over current levels. Governor Parson signed SB 262 raising state’s gas tax. This actually provides the resources in Missouri to match every penny with that federal bill, that’s amazing. So by July next year, we are putting out the largest capital construction program for roads and bridges in Missouri history," McKenna shares.
Meanwhile, $674 million will help to modernize public transit.
The Fact Sheet notes:
- Missourians who take public transportation, spend an extra 79.6% of their time commuting and non-White households are 10 times more likely to commute public transportation
- 32% of trains and other transit vehicles in the state are past useful life.
The other big investment, $100 million will go toward expanding broadband access in Missouri.
- 18% of Missourians live in areas where there is no broadband infrastructure that provides minimally acceptable speeds
- 50% of Missourians live in areas where there is only one internet provider
- 15% of Missouri households do not have an internet subscription.
Money is also going to improve infrastructure's resiliency, drinking water, manufacturing, and home energy.
Jason Hall, CEO of Greater St. Louis, said this bill help with St. Louis' 2030 Jobs Plan.
"Transportation and logistics is a massive employer. Infrastructure empowers the entire economy, roads and bridges, broadband internet, the airport. It's absolutely critical. This is historic." he said.
Hall said the bill including a $100 million broadband expansion is crucial.
"This investment in broadband, it's going to move that priority forward for the Jobs Plan to have us more inclusive and a faster-improving economy. This infrastructure bill comes at a time we can put these dollars to work and transform St. Louis in this decade," Hall said.
Back in August, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R) voted in favor of the bill and released this statement:
“As a national transportation hub, Missouri is among the states that will benefit the most from the targeted investments in this bipartisan infrastructure bill. The bill authorizes more than $8 billion to help our state improve the safety and reliability of our roads and highways. It includes much-needed funding for ports and waterways. And, it focuses resources toward ending the digital divide that has left nearly one-third of rural Missourians without access to broadband. Location is one of our greatest competitive advantages in Missouri. The investments in this bill will help us maintain that advantage and improve the quality of life for families, businesses, and farmers.”
St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones said she is ready to work with state and regional leaders to ensure the city gets the funds it needs:
“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will bring billions of dollars to Missouri to help improve our roads, support public transit, and expand broadband internet access for families. Our city is ready to work with Governor Parson, state legislators, and regional partners to make sure St. Louis receives the resources we need.
"Earlier this month, I met with Vice President Harris to discuss the importance of passing the Build Back Better Act, which includes critical investments for working families by expanding child care/universal pre-k, expanding community violence intervention programs, and expanding the Child Tax Credit. I urge Congress to pass the Build Back Better Act to lift up St. Louis families."
St. Louis County Executive Sam Page called the bill historic:
“This historic investment in infrastructure is a huge win for communities across the country including St. Louis County.
This will provide thousands of jobs and help our economy roar back from the toll of the pandemic. We have begun conversations with county state legislators and will be working with the governor to maximize funds we receive.”
And Congresswoman Cori Bush voted against the bill. Bush said in September, she would not back the infrastructure bill without the Build Back Better Act.
For the Land of Lincoln, it will get $17 billion in spending.
Chunks of money will also go to highway projects, bridge repairs, and public transportation.
More than half will pay for highway infrastructure projects and bridge repair.
In Illinois, there are 2,374 bridges and over 6,218 miles of highway in poor condition.
According to the White House Fact Sheet for Illinois:
- Since 2011, commute times have increased by 7.3%
- On average, each driver pays $609 per year in costs due to driving on roads in need of repair
There will also be billions spent on public transportation.
Through the Fact Sheet, we've learned:
- Illinoisans who take public transportation spend an extra 68.3% of their time commuting and non-White households are 1.9 times more likely to commute public transportation.
- 21% of trains and other transit vehicles in the state are past useful life.
U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D) shared her reaction on Twitter:
The same goes for Senator Dick Durbin (D):
If President Biden signs this into law, these funds would be distributed over the next five years.