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Biden's $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill: What is coming to Delaware


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President Joe Biden on Monday signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, sending more than $1 billion in transportation upgrades to his home state of Delaware on top of hundreds of millions more for clean water projects, broadband and climate change responses.

"The world has changed, and we have to be ready," Biden said Monday.

Congress passed the $1.2 trillion bipartisan bill earlier this month after months of heated debates and negotiations.

While the bill's passage is cause for celebration, the work isn't over, according to U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, who chairs the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and will attend the bill signing.

"We need to act quickly to pass the Build Back Better Act, which will help lower costs for families, create clean energy jobs to tackle the climate crisis, advance environmental justice, and build a brighter future for all Americans," Carper said in a statement.

The Delaware delegation said they expect to get additional data on the infrastructure bill's impact in the near future.

Here's what Delaware can expect to gain from the package:

Upgrades to roads and bridges

The bill invests about $1.2 billion on Delaware highways and $225 million in bridge replacement and repairs.

The projects are promised to address climate change, enhance equity and make roads safer for cyclists and pedestrians, according to Carper’s office.

Delaware’s 19 bridges and 250-plus miles of highway are in poor condition, leading to the average driver paying $456 per year for driving on roads in disrepair, according to Carper’s office.

More electric vehicle chargers

You can expect to see more electric vehicle charging stations through the First State, thanks to Congress and Biden.

State lawmakers and local county officials have recently voted to add more electric vehicle charging stations to Delaware as more people make the switch from their gas-guzzling motors.

That effort will be fortified by Congress’ decision to spend $17.7 million on Delaware’s electric vehicle charging network via the infrastructure package.

The shift is “critical” to addressing the climate crisis and supporting manufacturing jobs, according to Carper’s office.

Better public transit

The infrastructure package gives about $220 million to public transportation in order to “improve” residents’ options and directly benefit communities of color who are more likely to use public transit, according to Carper’s office.

The plan includes replacing transit vehicles such as buses with zero-emission vehicles, as well as better accessibility for the elderly and people with disabilities.

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More spending on broadband

After allowing Delaware to spend $110 million on broadband via the American Rescue Plan that Biden signed into law in March, the infrastructure bill gives at least $100 million more to internet access for Delawareans. 

More than a tenth of Delaware households don’t have an internet subscription, according to Carper’s office. A fifth of residents can expect to be eligible for internet financial assistance.

When soliciting American Rescue Plan aid, Delaware officials wrote in an August document to the federal government that they want the state to become the first to "close every last mile of connectivity statewide.”

More: Delaware to spend $50 million of federal stimulus on job training for unemployed, students

Clean water, toxic chemical cleanup

The infrastructure bill gives more than $335 million to water system upgrades in the state, including lead pipe removal and toxic chemical cleanup.

This includes cleanup of the manmade chemical PFAS, which is an abbreviation for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances and is associated with cancer, among other health problems.

Delaware officials plan to also use American Rescue Plan money on clean water and sewer projects.

Protection against wildfires, cybersecurityattacks

Delaware can expect to see $2 million over the next five years for wildfire protection, as well as $11 million for cyberattack protection. 

Delaware residents will also see lowered energy costs thanks to the bill's $3.5 billion national investment in weatherization, according to Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester's office.

Airports

Delaware airports can expect about $246 million for infrastructure development over five years.

What else?

The bill also gives $1 billion for a new program to reconnect communities divided by highways and other roads.

Local officials are expected to compete for the funding in a grants process to build a park on top of I-95 in Wilmington's West Side, according to Blunt Rochester's office. The funding is specifically for "capping" projects such as this one.

The bill also carves out $250 million for a new low-emission ferry pilot program, which could help improve the Delaware River and Bay Authority's ferry system that connects Lewis to Cape May, New Jersey.

About $5 billion will go to electric and low-carbon school buses nationwide, and Delaware can expect to see the effects of that switch that are supposed to reduce students' exposure to pollution exposure.

The bill also gives $24 billion in state-federal partnership grants to modernize Northeast Corridor rail transportation, among billions in other rail improvements.

The funding will let rail service providers, including Amtrak, make "necessary capital investments" during a $40 billion repair backlog in the Northeast Corridor, according to Blunt Rochester's office.

The bill also gives $26 million for the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program, $238 million for the Environmental Protection Agency's Chesapeake Bay Program, and $200 million for the NOAA Marine Debris Program, according to Blunt Rochester's office.

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Sarah Gamard covers government and politics for Delaware Online/The News Journal. Reach her at (302) 324-2281 or sgamard@delawareonline.com. Follow her on Twitter @SarahGamard.