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Investing in Infastructure

This past Friday, the US House of Representatives voted in favor of President Biden’s Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America Act, popularly known as the INVEST in America Act. Passage through the US House of Representatives was the final hurdle in the legislative process before the bill is sent to President Biden’s desk. The INVEST in America Act passed the Senate back in August of this year. The bill contains a total of 1.2 trillion dollars to strengthen the infrastructure of the United States.


Here are the 5 things you need to know......


1. What is infrastructure?

Think about infrastructure as the structures and systems are foundational to our daily lives. Clean drinking water, roads, bridges, airports, and rail systems all come to my mind. You all remember the disruption that the I-40 bridge made! That is a prime example of how we must continue to invest in infrastructure. However, as technology has involved there are some new things that we should add to that list. Over the last two years, we’ve seen how integral the internet is to our daily lives.


2. What does the INVEST in America Act spend money on?


The bill will spend money to improve transportation, utilities, and the environment. To do this, bill invests in:

  • Roads and bridges, passenger and freight tail, public transit, airports, sea ports, and road safety

  • High-speed internet, the power systems, clean drinking water

  • Protection against climate change

  • Systems to combat pollution


3. Why are we talking about climate change in an infrastructure bill?


Remember that technology is changing and evolving. There are safer and cleaner ways to produce energy and build infrastructure. For example, we have seen a rise in the number of electric cars and buses being produced and purchased by US citizens and local governments. Electric cars are better for the environment because they produce less pollution. However, it is very costly to own an electric car because charging stations for these vehicles are not widely available. Part of the money provided in this bill will go toward building charging stations across the country so that the cost to own and operate an electric car decreases. If we want to slow climate change, we must start incorporating clean energy solutions into our infrastructure.


4. What does TN get out this bill?


The state of Tennessee will receive approximately $7.96 billion dollars from the INVEST in America Act. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Highways: $5.8 billion

  • Bridges: $302 million

  • Public transit: $630 million

  • Clean water: $697 million

  • Other (Internet, clean energy, cyberattacks): $526 million


5. I have ideas about how this money should be spent. Who should I talk to?

  • Get involved your local governments’ budgeting cycle! During the budgeting cycle, city councils and county commissions decide where money will go and how it will be spent. Go to their meetings and offer public comments.

  • Ask your local government officials to hold a townhall so that your community can provide feedback on how the funds from the INVEST in America Act.

  • Also, get involved with advocacy groups in your community. Also, get involved with advocacy groups in your community. Are there groups that advocate for clean drinking water? Are there groups that advocate for clean energy? If there are, research and join them! If there are not, start one! We have more influence when we stand together as community!

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