Tuesday, August 10, 2021

The National Black Caucus of State Legislators Issues Statement on the Bipartisan Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act

The National Black Caucus of State Legislators Issues Statement on the Bipartisan Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act

 

Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Lamar Davis, NBCSL Communications Director
Phone: 501.993.1283

Washington, D.C. – August 10, 2021 – The National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL)

The National Black Caucus of State Legislators applauds President Biden and Congress’s bipartisan effort to reconnect America by investing in our nation’s infrastructure. This 2,700-page Bill addresses many of the issues our Members have championed over the years.

First, the enormity of the moment is not lost with our Members; many of whom have personally experienced segregation, Jim Crow laws, and subsequent efforts to divide and disconnect communities of color from the rest of America. In stark contrast, this law marks the rare occasion where a president with the bi-partisan support of congress, recognizes and redresses a vestige of discrimination created and maintained by the federal government. Through passage of this law, the president and Congress have created the first-ever program to reconnect communities divided by transportation infrastructure. The program will fund planning, design, demolition, and reconstruction of street grids, parks, or other infrastructure through $1 billion of dedicated funding in addition to historic levels of major projects funding, for which these investments could also qualify.

Second, over a decade ago NBCSL sounded the alarm concerning the worsening isolation of American communities and citizens and the resulting economic and human consequences. At that time our Energy, Transportation and Environment Policy Committee called for “the public sector to explore the opportunities for affordable public transportation to include buses, vans, shuttle buses, and other means of transportation and for the public sector to consider the financial, social, and environmental affordability issues related to access to public transportation.” We are pleased that the president and Congress heeded this alarm and that help is on the way.

Finally, NBCSL Members are unfortunately too familiar with the challenges associated with having poor or in some cases no access to broadband. Our Telecommunications, Science and Technology Policy Committee noted that, “some rural communities lack any access to high-speed broadband due to the high cost of broadband deployment in certain areas, among many other factors.” We are pleased to know that with this law’s passage and additional investment of $65 Billion dollars that every American is more likely to have access to reliable high-speed internet.

“Just when the political divisions seem to be at an all-time high in this country, President Biden, working in a bi-partisan way with Congress has found a way to bring America together through focusing on our, common needs, said NBCSL President Billy Mitchell.  “A failing bridge in a “blue state” is just as dangerous as a flood prone highway in a “red state. Children in rural red America who can’t access the internet for homework suffer just as much children in urban blue America with spotty internet access, Mitchell continued.

The Members of NBCSL look forward to working with our federal partners to help get America reconnected.

 For more information on NBCSL’s policy resolution related to infrastructure click here:

   

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