NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island’s congressional delegation joined labor leaders Monday to call for the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which would significantly benefit the state.
The bill, which would deliver billions of dollars’ worth of upgrades over the next five years, passed the U.S. Senate last month and now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives.
“An investment in our infrastructure is an investment in our economy and in our working families,” Gov. Dan McKee said. “This bill will create jobs, continue to address our roads and bridges, and improve our quality of life. Workers in Rhode Island need this bill to pass – all Rhode Islanders need this bill to pass.”
Sen. Jack Reed said the $1 trillion infrastructure plan would provide Rhode Island not only with about $1.7 billion in highway and bridge funding, but also $277 million for mass-transit, $45 million for airports and $23 million for new electric vehicle charging stations.
“Our infrastructure is key to economic growth and getting people where they need to go,” Reed said.
In addition, the state would receive $100 million to expand high-speed internet connections and help low-income residents get affordable Internet access, Reed said, and $55 billion for water infrastructure.
The R.I. Department of Transportation’s quarterly report on infrastructure shows that more than 80% of all bridge deck square footage is structurally sufficient, leaving a remaining 20% deficient.
“We used to have 192 structurally deficient bridges in Rhode Island, but with federal funding and good work by the state, we are now down to 148 structurally deficient bridges,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said.
R.I. Department of Transportation Director Peter Alviti said this funding will benefit the state in the long run.
“This bill would be a tremendous boon to Rhode Island and allow us to accelerate projects and immediately implement them,” Alviti said. “We have the pipeline to execute projects quickly and whenever new opportunities for additional funding like this bill comes along we are ready to take that money and put it into the ground.”