Press Release

Rep. Castor Votes To Pass Transformational Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill

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Washington, November 6, 2021 | comments

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14), Chair of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, released the following statement as the House of Representatives voted to pass the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act:

“With today’s vote, the House of Representatives has delivered a historic investment in America’s infrastructure,” said Rep. Castor. “Our Tampa Bay neighbors deserve modern and safe infrastructure, especially major investments in transit.  Rebuilding our infrastructure is especially important to Florida, where 408 bridges and over 3,564 miles of highway are in poor condition. Since 2011, commute times have increased by 11.6 percent in Florida and on average, each driver pays $425 per year in costs due to driving on roads in need of repair. We are also long overdue for major, climate-forward investments in our public transit systems to ensure that all of our neighbors are able to travel safely and efficiently. To protect what makes the Sunshine State special and grow good-paying jobs in Tampa, we are strengthening the investments that support our economy and build more resilient infrastructure.

“With $25 billion allocated for American airports and air traffic controllers, this legislation could help replace the Tampa International Airport air traffic control tower, which is welcome news. The air traffic controllers at TPA are critical to the safety and efficiency of those who travel through our amazing airport and replacing this tower – one of the oldest in the country – will protect travelers and TPA employees. 

“We are also making the largest investment in clean drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in American history. We must protect Tampa Bay and Gulf communities from sewage spills and contaminated runoff pollution. This bipartisan package will help modernize our local wastewater systems to keep our water clean and safe. Plus Democrats championed replacement of all of the nation’s lead pipes and service lines – an important way to improve public health and create jobs.

“This bipartisan bill makes progress on recommendations in our Climate Crisis Action Plan and takes steps to strengthen the grid, support electric vehicles, advance environmental justice, and prepare communities for costly weather disasters.

“As this year’s relentless climate disasters have proven, we are in a ‘code red’ moment that requires us to act urgently and ambitiously to solve the climate crisis. That’s why this bipartisan bill is matched with the critical investments in the Build Back Better Act, which will unleash America’s clean energy economy and protect vulnerable Americans who are suffering the consequences of inaction. 

“This is it – this is our moment. We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to deliver on President Biden’s agenda to create millions of good-paying union jobs, to build resilience across America, and to protect future generations from the growing costs and risks of the climate crisis. Inaction is not an option. I’m ready to keep up the fight to help President Biden deliver this vision – for my daughters, for our economy, and for generations to come.”

This bipartisan package will help the state of Florida Build Back Better by:

  • Deliver clean drinking water to up to ten million American families and more than 400,000 schools and child care facilities that currently don’t have it: Over the next 20 years, Florida’s drinking water infrastructure will require $21.9 billion in additional funding. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework includes a $55 billion investment to ensure clean, safe drinking water is a right in all communities. The Framework would completely eliminate the nation’s lead service lines and pipes and represents the largest investment in clean drinking water and waste water infrastructure in American history.
  • Repair and rebuild our roads and bridges with a focus on climate change mitigation, resilience, equity, and safety for all users, including cyclists and pedestrians. Since 2011, commute times have increased by 11.6% in Florida and on average, each driver pays $425 per year in costs due to driving on roads in need of repair. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework will devote more than $312 billion to transform our nation’s transportation infrastructure and make it more resilient, including $110 billion for roads, bridges, and major projects.
  • Improve healthy, sustainable transportation options for millions of Americans: Floridians who take public transportation spend an extra 77.9% of their time commuting and non-White households are 3.5 times more likely to commute via public transportation. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework will modernize public transit with a $48.5 billion investment and invest $66 billion in passenger and freight rail.
  • Prepare more of our infrastructure for the impacts of climate change, cyber attacks, and extreme weather events: From 2010 to 2020, Florida has experienced 22 extreme weather events, costing the state up to $100 billion in damages. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework includes $47 billion to improve the resiliency of our infrastructure and support communities’ recovery from disaster. The Framework is the largest investment in the resilience of physical and natural systems in American history. Note: estimates for deficient infrastructure in this state are accurate as of April 2021.
  • Connect every American to reliable high-speed internet: 6% of Floridians live in areas where there is no broadband infrastructure that provides minimally acceptable speeds. And 51.1% of Floridians live in areas where there is only one such internet provider. Even where infrastructure is available, broadband may be too expensive to be within reach. 13% of Florida households do not have an internet subscription. Just as the federal government made a historic effort to provide electricity to every American nearly one hundred years ago, the Framework will invest $65 billion to bring universal, reliable, highspeed, and affordable coverage to every family in America.
  •  Upgrade our power infrastructure: In Florida, an average low-income family spends 8-10% of their income on home energy costs forcing tough choices between paying energy bills and buying food, medicine or other essentials. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework will represent the single largest investment in clean energy transmission in American history, building thousands of miles of new, resilient transmission lines to facilitate the expansion of renewable energy, including through a new Grid Authority.
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