WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, released the below statements following the House of Representatives’ passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and their passage of a rule to advance consideration of separate legislation to pursue their partisan reckless tax-and-spending spree in the coming weeks.
ON THE DEMOCRATS’ RECKLESS TAX AND SPENDING PACKAGE:
“This reckless tax-and-spending spree will completely transform our country, inserting government into every aspect of American life. Pressured by the looming reality of losing their majority, Democrats have crammed every liberal policy wish into one fast-tracked bill, leading to disarray among their own caucus. This bill is so radical, unaffordable, and overreaching that the House Democratic majority couldn’t even pass it today. If and when it comes to the Senate, I’ll be fighting tooth and nail to remove the most egregious provisions that would devastate West Virginia’s economy and doing all I can to defeat the bill.”
ON THE BIPARTISAN INFRASTRUCTURE PACKAGE:
“The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is historic, bipartisan legislation that will dramatically upgrade America’s core infrastructure. This bill will rebuild crumbling roads and bridges; address aging water and wastewater systems; support our airports and ports; and connect rural America with broadband infrastructure and finally close the digital divide. As Ranking Member of the EPW Committee, I’m especially proud my committee’s surface transportation reauthorization bill and water and wastewater infrastructure bill are the foundation of this package. This process began earlier this spring with my negotiations with President Biden. Seeing the final bipartisan product head to his desk today is exciting. This bill is further proof that this bipartisan process lead to better, lasting policy that will benefit the American people for generations to come.”
How West Virginia will benefit from the bipartisan infrastructure bill:
- Includes the EPW-passed surface transportation legislation that provides $303.5 billion over five years for federal highway programs, which is a 35% increase over current law. For West Virginia, the state will receive $3.013 billion in highway formula funding over five years.
- Ensures that 90% of the funding in the EPW bill is distributed by formula, giving states much need certainty to plan and prioritize road and bridge projects.
- Includes $40 billion in dedicated resources for bridges, which is the single largest investment in bridge infrastructure since the construction of the interstate system. Of the portion of this funding that is distributed by formula, West Virginia will receive $506 million over five years specifically for bridge infrastructure.
- Creates a new $2 billion Rural Surface Transportation Grant Program that will dedicate resources to the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS) and other critical projects across rural America. On top of this funding, West Virginia will receive $195 million, which will be used to help complete projects like Corridor H.
- Includes numerous project delivery provisions, including environmental review and permitting reforms for highway and bridge projects.
- Codifies One Federal Decision for highway projects, which sets a two-year goal for completing the environmental review and permitting process for major projects and requires agencies to coordinate on a predictable, joint schedule.
- Includes the text of the EPW- and Senate-passed water infrastructure legislation. Combined with the additional funding, the overall package includes a total of $48.4 billion for water and wastewater infrastructure. This package represents the largest investment in clean drinking water in our nation’s history.
- Invests in innovative technologies and provides assistance to marginalized communities.
- Provides flexibility so both rural and urban areas can best address their needs.
- Includes a large infusion into the Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs), which West Virginia will stand to benefit from. Specifically, the bill authorizes $143,104,000 over five years of Drinking Water SRF funds and $223,230,000 over five years of SRF funds for West Virginia.
- Includes funding dedicated to lead pipe remediation and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) cleanup.
- Provides initial funding of at least $100 million for broadband deployment in addition to formula-based funding for West Virginia. West Virginia’s unserved and underserved areas would be first and second in line, respectively, to then receive formula-based funding, through the U.S. Department of Commerce.
- Provides dedicated funding to rural areas through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) ReConnect program, which Senator Capito helped create and secure funds in the FY2018, FY2019, and FY2020 budgets as a leader on the Appropriations Committee.
- Spurs investment in rural broadband projects by allowing state and local governments to issue tax-exempt bonds to finance public-private rural broadband projects. The package also allows the federal government to assist state and local governments in bond payments, a provision based on legislation previously authored by Senator Capito.
- Ensures rate transparency for consumers by directing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take action to ensure providers label price and subscription rates in a clear and understandable way.
- Invests $2.48 billion in primary airports each year for five years, which includes Charleston, Huntington, Lewisburg, and Clarksburg.
- Invests $20 million to airports participating in the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Contract Tower Program, which includes Wheeling Ohio County, Morgantown, Parkersburg/Wood County, and Greenbrier Valley.
- Invests $500 million in general aviation and commercial services at not primary airports.
- Invests $500 million in non-hub and non-primary airports, through the Airport Terminal Program.
- Reauthorizes the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) program and provides billions of dollars to clean up abandoned mine sites.
- Authorizes funding for a new program to clean up orphaned oil and gas wells.
- Boosts carbon capture infrastructure by investing in the development of carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) infrastructure as a critical means of reducing carbon emissions while creating regional economic opportunities and jobs.
- Bolsters domestic critical mineral supply by furthering the research and development of critical minerals innovations in an effort to lessen our dependence upon countries like China for these resources.
- Brings much-needed critical mineral permitting reform on federal land and puts in place policies that not only improve efficiency, but also put America’s economic and national security interests first.
- Provides significant funding to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to address our nation’s water resources needs. Funding will support critical projects that improve the inland waterways system, reduce riverine flooding, and mitigate coastal storm damage, among other important activities.
- Provides $2.5 billion for USACE projects to reduce inland flooding in states like West Virginia.
- Provides $200 million for environmental infrastructure assistance authorities under the USACE, including the three authorities in West Virginia that support water and wastewater improvement projects.
- Includes language Senator Capito authored to reauthorize the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC).
- Provides $1 billion to the ARC for economic and community development activities in Appalachia, including broadband deployment.
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