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A Message From Lee Saunders

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AFSCME Family – 

This weekend, the House passed the historic, bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).  AFSCME has advocated for major infrastructure investments for over a decade, and now Congress has finally delivered a bill with robust, new investments in our roads, bridges, water systems, ports, public transportation, broadband and much more.  The bipartisan infrastructure legislation will also create good-paying, union jobs.  The White House estimates that combined with the President’s Build Back Better Act, 1.5 million jobs will be added each year over the next 10 years.

Many of these investments are truly historic.  IIJA makes the largest federal investment in public transit in history.  It makes the largest investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak.  It makes the largest dedicated bridge investment since the creation of the interstate highway system.  And it makes the largest investment in clean drinking water and waste water systems in history.

The $1.2 trillion legislation provides:

  • $110 billion in new funding for roads, bridges and major projects, and reauthorizes the surface transportation program for the next five years, including $40 billion for bridge repair, replacement and rehabilitation
  • $55 billion to expand access to clean drinking water for households, businesses, schools, and child care centers across the country, including funding to replace lead pipes;
  • $65 billion to help ensure that every American has access to reliable high-speed internet through a historic investment in broadband infrastructure deployment;
  • $39 billion in new money to modernize public transit (separate from rail). With this new investment and the reauthorization of existing transit funds, there is $89.9 billion in guaranteed funding for public transit over the next five years;
  • $66 billion in rail infrastructure in addition to transit modernization funding; 
  • $17 billion in port infrastructure and waterways;
  • $25 billion in airports;
  • $65 billion investment in clean energy transmission and grid; and
  • $50 billion to make America’s infrastructure safer and more resilient to problems of climate change and cyber-attacks and protect against droughts, heat, floods and wildfires.

 

AFSCME’s lobbying efforts also successfully limited privatization in the IIJA.  While the original proposal included an Infrastructure Financing Authority (IFA) and $100 billion for Public Private Partnerships (P3s) and Private Activity Bonds (PABs), the IFA was taken out of the bill and there was no new promotion of privatization of water or waste water services.  The PAB cap for highways was lifted from $15 billion to $30 billon.

Thank you for your advocacy efforts to get this bill across the finish line.  We will continue to advocate for the remainder of the President’s Build Back Better agenda, seeking passage of the equally historic Build Back Better Act as soon as possible.

 

Lee Saunders

President

AFSCME

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