WHAT GEORGIANS ARE SEEING: Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Build Back Better Act to Bring More Jobs, Lower Costs for Georgia Families

November 22, 2021

Over the past week, Georgians in every corner of the state saw news of how President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will create thousands of good-paying union jobs, expand transit and transportation, and revitalize our state’s roads, bridges, and highways – leaving no Georgia community behind. Thanks to the leadership of Senators Ossoff and Reverend Warnock and Georgia’s six congressional Democrats — and no thanks to Georgia Republicans, who unanimously opposed the bill — the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will deliver a huge economic boost to the Peach State without raising taxes one penny for middle-class families.

Georgians also witnessed the House passage of President Biden’s Build Back Better Act as media across the state continue to spotlight how the popular legislation will lower costs, expand access to health and child care, and cut taxes for middle-class families.

Read more about what Georgians are seeing:

BUILD BACK BETTER ACT PASSES HOUSE THANKS TO GEORGIA DEMOCRATS

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: $1.9 trillion Build Back Better clears House with help of Georgia Democrats

  • House Democrats let out a cheer as Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that President Joe Biden’s signature legislation, a $1.9 trillion social spending and climate change bill, had passed the chamber.
  • All six Georgia Democrats supported the bill, including U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, who was once among a group of moderates who slowed down passage of the measure over concerns about its price tag and timeline for approval. She later made clear she would vote in favor of the bill after some members of her party accused her of trying to tank it.
  • “I am proud to deliver this historic investment for Georgia,” the Suwanee Democrat said in a statement after Friday morning’s vote. “This legislation will address the long-standing needs of our communities by prioritizing our children’s well-being, expanding access to affordable health care, lowering the cost of higher education, and providing a responsible down payment in the fight against climate change.”
  • The bill also includes an extension of the child tax credit, Medicaid expansion in conservative states such as Georgia, tax credits to incentivize businesses and families to embrace green energy policies, and a plan to lower the cost of prescription drug prices.
  • Even with challenges ahead, the mood from Georgia Democrats was jubilant as members began a weeklong recess for Thanksgiving.
  • “I am proud that so many of my policy priorities are included in the Build Back Better Act, including key investments in paid leave, childcare, early childhood education, affordable housing, (historically Black colleges and universities), health care, environmental justice, and so much more,” Atlanta Democratic U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams wrote in a statement.
  • “I’ve lived through many of the same struggles facing Georgia’s families,” she continued. “Struggles that will be alleviated with the Build Back Better Act.”

Georgia Reorder: House Democrats pass Biden’s $1.85 trillion ‘Build Back Better’ plan

  • U.S. House Democrats united around a landmark $1.85 trillion social spending and climate bill on Friday, sending the major plank of President Joe Biden’s economic agenda to the Senate.
  • No Georgia Republicans voted in favor.
  • In a statement, Biden touted the bill’s provisions on prescription drugs, universal child care, taxes and climate action. “Above all, it puts us on the path to build our economy back better than before by rebuilding the backbone of America: working people and the middle class,” he said.
  • “Our nation has weathered unbelievable challenges in the past two years, navigating a global pandemic which upended our economy,” said Rep. Lucy McBath, a Marietta Democrat. “The Build Back Better Act will set us on a course to create millions of jobs, get Americans back to work, lower health care costs, and provide tax cuts to hard-working families.”

BIPARTISAN INFRASTRUCTURE LAW TO BOOST GEORGIA’S ECONOMY

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: What’s in the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill for Georgia

  • President Joe Biden will sign an infrastructure bill into law Monday that represents over $1 trillion in spending over the next decade, billions of which is headed to Georgia.
  • It is the first time in decades that Congress has passed substantial legislation intended to improve the nation’s roads, bridges, utility grid and transportation networks.
  • The vote was bipartisan with 13 GOP members of the U.S. House and 19 Senate Republicans joining nearly every Democrat in supporting the measure. But Georgia’s delegation split strictly along party lines; it’s two Democratic senators and six Democrats in the House all supported the measure.
  • Over 2,260 miles of highway across Georgia are categorized as in poor condition. The state also has 374 bridges that have been deemed “structurally deficient,” including the I-75 span over Swamp Creek in Whitfield County that has over 66,000 daily crossings.
  • The bill includes $8.9 billion for repairs to Georgia roads and highways, plus an additional $225 million for bridge replacement and repairs. Georgia can also compete for grants that could bring in additional dollars.
  • “This monumental bill invests in one of the things families in the metro-Atlanta area need most: roads that make it quicker and safer to get to work,” U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, a Marietta Democrat, said in a statement. “We’ve made infrastructure one of our top priorities because it’s about safety, it’s about efficiency, and it’s about providing Americans with roadways and highways that connect them to their everyday lives.”
  • Every state is receiving $100 million to increase broadband access, and billions more will be divided up among the states according to a formula that is based upon the number of people who don’t have reliable internet.
  • The money is to be used to address both the lack of affordable internet options, which is usually a barrier in poorer neighborhoods, and the lack of connectivity, which affects rural areas.
  • Georgia has both problems to address. The White House says 15% of Georgia households do not have an internet subscription, and 6% of Georgians live in areas where the Federal Communications Commission has determined broadband is not available.
  • The bill includes nearly $1.4 billion over five years for public transportation in Georgia, including $923 million for metro Atlanta.
  • MARTA CEO Jeffrey Parker said the additional money would have a big impact on the regional transit agency. Two projects that could benefit: proposed transit lines in Clayton County and along Campbellton Road in Atlanta. Voters in those communities have approved local funding for those and other projects, but Parker said federal funding would be crucial.
  • The Port of Savannah is getting $8 million to help convert five existing facilities into container yards, officials said Tuesday.
  • The “pop-up yards” will be used to lessen congestion on the docks at the port, an on-shore bottleneck in the supply chain leading from Asian factories to the manufacturers and retailers in America. That congestion — recently more than 80,000 containers were stacked at the Port of Savannah — slows deliveries and raises costs.
  • Environmental advocates who spoke with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution say that over time the $7.5 billion in funding included to expand the nation’s network of electric vehicle charging stations could help cut greenhouse gas emissions across the country. Georgia would receive $135 million for this program.

WJBF (Augusta): Mayor Davis explains local impact of new infrastructure law

  • A 1.2 trillion-dollar infrastructure bill now signed into law.
  • Over the next five years billions of dollars will go into bridges, roads, the nation’s broadband and water and energy systems.
  • Mayor Hardie Davis says mayors in cities across the country helped play a role in getting the bill passed.
  • “We’ve worked hand in hand with Congress. We’ve worked hand in hand with the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the League of Cities who played an instrumental role,” Mayor Hardie Davis said.
  • Nearly 1.5 billion dollars of the funding will go to public transportation in Georgia.
  • With the passage and signage of this infrastructure deal Augusta will be eligible for those dollars. They will be eligible for our community.  They will flow through our community. We have already made a commitment to public transit,” Davis said.
  • Davis said part of that will go to public transit in Augusta, where city leaders hope to enhance their fleet with electric buses.
  • “We were able to pilot three electric buses here in the city of Augusta. We look forward to making investments to purchase those and transform our fleet here in the city. More energy efficient buses. They’re climate friendly buses,” Davis said.
  • What I would like to see happen and I think we have started this, is for us to become a resilient and sustainable city with investments around electric charging stations and going to green vehicles. It just puts us in a much better situation.”
  • 225 million will also go towards improving bridges in Georgia.
  • That’s enough funding to address 80 percent of Georgia’s bridges that are in poor condition.

The Atlanta Voice: What will Georgia receive from President Biden’s Infrastructure and Jobs plan?

  • President Joe Biden’s Infrastructure and Jobs plan passed in the House on a 228-206 vote on Nov. 5. The bills included in the final plan by Senator Jon Ossoff included the replacing of lead pipes in drinking water systems, to upgrade public schools facilities, to boost federal dollars for transit planning in underserved and rural areas, to invest in flood and storm resilience for coastal Georgia, and to secure more funding for public transportation in Metro Atlanta and statewide. Moreover, during a visit to Atlanta in May, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg spoke with MARTA CEO Jeffrey Parker, as Parker explained MARTA expansion won’t happen without federal dollars.
  • Additionally, the bill includes $12 billion for flood mitigation and infrastructure investments to enhance coastal resilience, a key priority to safeguard and help protect Georgia’s coast from stronger tropical storms and hurricanes. Sen. Ossoff urged his colleagues to include this vital funding in the bill.

WTVM (Columbus): Biden signs federal infrastructure bill: What’s the impact on Columbus?

  • President Biden signed into law the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill Monday. This is expected to bring millions of dollars to the Peach State.
  • This infrastructure bill will bring more than 11 billion dollars in vital investments to Georgia. You’ll see this money in upgrades in transportation and transit infrastructure, public schools, broadband internet and more.
  • Under the infrastructure package, in the first five years, Georgia is expected to receive about $9.1 billion for roads and bridges. Columbus will receive roughly $20.7 million. I talked with Mayor Skip Henderson who said the city’s roads and bridges are overdue for maintenance.
  • In Georgia, $8.9 billion is set aside for federal-aid highway apportioned programs, and $225 million for bridge replacement and repairs. Mayor Henderson said the city engineering department would be the deciding factor in which roads would be repaired first, all based on research and reports.
  • Also in the bill is money to enhance broadband internet, water pipes and the public works systems.
  • “We’ve also got some coastal water work money in play that we can apply for that would allow us to do some things along the Chattahoochee,” Mayor Henderson explained. “I know there’s some people who would like to see those locks repaired and may even down the road, start dredging the Chattahoochee and make it more navigable for large traffic.”
  • This is the largest federal investment in the nation’s roads, bridges and airports in more than a decade.

Georgia Recorder: Biden signs $1.2T infrastructure bill: ‘America is moving again’

  • President Joe Biden on Monday signed into law his $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill during a ceremony at the White House packed with some 800 supporters, heralding what he said was a “truly consequential” spending bill that will improve Americans’ day-to-day lives.
  • Biden said the infrastructure legislation — backed by nearly all congressional Democrats, as well as 19 Senate Republicans and 13 House Republicans — is a signal that polarized public officials in Washington can come together to create jobs and solve long-lingering problems.
  • “My message to the American people is: America is moving again. And your life is going to change for the better,” Biden said during the South Lawn ceremony attended by federal and state legislators, governors, mayors, labor leaders, business leaders, and other supporters.
  • The signing marked a significant victory for the president’s economic agenda.
  • The new law, Biden said, is “proof that despite the cynics, Democrats and Republicans can come together and deliver results.”
  • The crowd of guests attending the signing ceremony, including many Georgians. Those included Georgia’s Democratic Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, Democratic Reps. Carolyn Bourdeaux, Lucy McBath and Nikema Williams. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms also joined the celebration.
  • Provisions of the new law include $110 billion to repair and rebuild roads and bridges; $90 billion for public transit; and $66 billion for passenger rail improvements.
  • Airports and ports also will see an infusion of federal funding, as will the country’s electric grid. More than $619 million is set aside for repairs and upgrades at Georgia’s airports.
  • Billions more will pay for electric vehicle charging stations and the purchase of buses and ferries that run on electricity. About $135 million is allotted to build an electric vehicle charging network across Georgia, and there are other grant opportunities to help boost the state’s charging infrastructure as more auto manufacturers roll out electric models.
  • As the president was signing the bill into law, some Georgia lawmakers were getting briefed Monday afternoon on how the measure will affect the state’s roads, bridges, ports and other infrastructure.
  • “It has a big emphasis of (electric vehicles), and we’re going to capitalize on that in Georgia,” Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry said of the bill.
  • During Monday’s ceremony, Vice President Kamala Harris also framed the two infrastructure bills as a set that is to be completed.
  • “This legislation, as significant as it is, as historic as it is, is part one of two,” Harris said. “Congress must also pass the Build Back Better Act.”

WGXA News (Macon): Rep. Bishop: Infrastructure bill is ‘win-win’ for Georgians

  • The bill aims to achieve many items such as expanding Interstate 14 designation from Texas to Columbus and Augusta here in Georgia.
  • Bishop said to that end, the bill also supports new inner-city passenger railroads that are expected to connect communities along I-75 in the Peach State.
  • The bill also includes $2 billion for broadband improvements. Bishop explained that the pandemic highlighted how vital the internet is, with students learning from home, employees working from home, patients going to appointments through telehealth, and more.
  • He said the infrastructure bill would expand on what the American Rescue Plan provided to the state’s board of education to support those broadband efforts.
  • A youngster, regardless of where their zip code is in a rural community should not be disadvantaged in getting their school work, being able to do their homework, because they’re not connected to the internet.
  • The bill also includes $40 million for bridge investments, $15 billion for airports, including regional facilities, and $14 billion for sewer overflow and stormwater improvements.
  • But he added that most importantly, the legislation will “create new high-paying union manufacturing jobs, which is a big, big plus.”
  • Every community across this country, every municipality large and small, every citizen anywhere in this country will be able to benefit from the investments.
  • Concerning the bridges improvements, Georgia alone has 400 bridges that are rated to be either in fair or poor condition.
  • Aside from making these bridges safer, Bishop said the bill “will help reduce the backlog on that, it will put people to work in repairing it.”
  • “It will just be a win-win for everybody there,” he added.
  • The $14 billion for sewer overflow and stormwater improvements will especially help communities that have been cited by the Environmental Protection Agency for being out of compliance with clean water standards.
  • Bishop said that in Georgia, “we’ve got a number of cities, large and small, who need to take advantage of this because of our aging infrastructure for stormwater and wastewater treatment.”
  • Another public safety investment from the bill is a $30 million boost to help local governments that need to update their emergency communications equipment.
  • Bishop said that many communities hit by Hurricane Michael, for example, weren’t able to keep in touch with not only their neighboring counties but also first responders in their own communities due to inefficient equipment.
  • He said the bill “will allow to have improvements in those communication systems for our police, our fire, and our emergency responders which will make a big, big difference in the health, safety, and welfare of people all across Georgia.”
  • There’s also $5 billion set aside for electric grid improvements.
  • “Every time we have a storm, or hurricanes or tornadoes, we get some power outages. Sometimes during the summer, we have brownouts, where power is out and electricity is interrupted. That is a real disadvantage for businesses, for manufacturing, and just for citizens in their homes,” Bishop said.
  • He said the bill will enhance and support the grid for those in both rural and urban areas, whether you’re supported by an electric co-op or a company like Georgia Power.
  • Families in Georgia could also get help with utility bills because of a $500 million investment for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
  • There’s also $500 million allocated for cleaning up schools, such as getting rid of lead pipes in school buildings, Bishop said.
  • Another plus for schools — a $5 billion investment for electric buses. Bishop said that diesel buses create fumes that are harmful for riders, electric buses are cheaper to keep up, and the investments in them will also create manufacturing jobs.
  • Infrastructure is not Democrat or Republican. To have a bridge that’s safe is not Democrat or Republican. To have highways and to have internet connectivity is not partisan. This is something that is a common hope, a common goal, and a common aspiration for each and every citizen.

WSB- TV (Atlanta): What will Biden’s infrastructure law do for Georgia? Here’s what to expect

  • Last week, President Joe Biden signed a massive infrastructure bill into law that promises to improve American infrastructure.
  • But what does that actually mean for Georgians?
  • The historic legislation aims to repair the nation’s roads and bridges, improve transportation options, upgrade airports and ports and create a national network of electric vehicle charging stations.
  • On Thursday, the U.S. Dept. of Transportation released fact sheets that detail what each state stands to gain from the law.
  • Here’s what the law is expected to do in Georgia:

1. Repair and rebuild roads and bridges:

2. Improve safety on the roads

3. Improve and expand public transportation

4. Expand electric vehicle charging network

5. Improve the state’s airports

WGAU (Athens): Ossoff: Athens gets $24m from infrastructure bill

  • Georgia Senator Jon Ossoff says Athens-Clarke County receives $24 million from the infrastructure bill President Joe Biden signed into law Monday. Gainesville gets $13 million.

11Alive (Atlanta): 7 ways Georgia will benefit from the $1 trillion infrastructure bill

  • On Monday, President Joe Biden signed into law the bipartisan infrastructure bill that opens up more than $1 trillion in funding for critical projects across the country.
  • It is the largest federal investment in the nation’s roads, bridges and airports in over a decade.
  • Sen. Jon Ossoff’s office said the bill will bring more than $11 billion to the Peach State. Funds will go towards various expenses that will impact roads, schools, clean drinking water, and more.

WTOC (Savannah): Georgia Commissioners discuss Infrastructure Bill

  • County commissioners from across Georgia came together in Savannah Saturday to discuss the impacts the recently passed, bipartisan infrastructure bill will have on our local communities.
  • County commissioners from all 159 counties are meeting this weekend for the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia convention in Savannah.
  • Several of them, representing Chatham, DeKalb, Peach, Fulton, Rockdale, Cobb and Athens-Clarke counties gathered on Savannah’s River Street . Each taking a few seconds to share how the infrastructure bill will help the areas they call home.
  • The bill’s intent is to help rebuild roads and bridges, improve transportation and expand broadband and access to clean drinking water.
  • Each commissioner says these are things their counties would absolutely benefit from.
  • Savannah Mayor Van Johnson also expressed how it’ll help push the state, as a whole, forward.
  • “Things that are going to help Georgia be able to compete. Not only across the nation, but around the world. This infrastructure bill gives our community a fighting chance,” said Mayor Johnson.
  • “It’s bringing, as it relates to Chatham County, support for our ports. It’s helping us to build a stronger economy. We’re giving people jobs, creating jobs, so people have disposable income,” said Commissioner Aaron Whitley of District 6.
  • President Biden is expected to sign the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill into law on Monday.

FOX 5 (Atlanta): Money from federal infrastructure bill to pump money into GA roads and internet access

  • Infrastructure funding could begin going out within months, according to the White House. 
  • The $1.2 trillion bill was signed into law by President Joe Biden on Monday
  • Georgia is expected to get billions of dollars to go toward critical projects. 
  •  The state will get $8.9 billion dollars for federal highway programs, and an additional $225 million for bridge replacements and repairs. 
  • $1.4 billion will be pumped into improving public transportation. 
  • Money will also go toward internet infrastructure. 
  • White House data shows about 20 percent of Georgia households don’t have internet subscriptions or live in areas where there is no broadband infrastructure. 
  • The state will get about $100 million to help make it easier for people to have access to high-speed and reliable internet. 
  • “This is groundbreaking because typically the focus was strictly on access but not so much usage. So one of the things the bill supports is digital inclusion. So all things, including having high-speed broadband internet that’s robust and affordable,” said Oneisha Freeman.
  • She is the director of partnerships and programs at an Atlanta-based non-profit called Inspiredu. 
  • Freeman said it’s more than just making sure everyone can get online, it’s about the impact it can have on the quality of life. 
  • “People can run their businesses. Mom and pop shops in our rural communities can advertise in their communities. Non-profits across our state can get their amazing resources to the people they’re trying to help. seniors can connect via telehealth, she said

WGXA News (Macon): Infrastructure Bill provides $5 billion in funding for electric school buses

  • Fort Valley’s Blue Bird Corporation will start producing more electric busses thanks to the newly signed Infrastructure Bill and Senator Raphael Warnock’s push for clean energy.
  • Warnock earlier this year visited the Blue Bird Corporation that is headquartered in Fort Valley to tour their zero-emission school busses in an effort to promote his Clean Commute for Kids Act.
  • One provision in the Infrastructure Bill was actually based on the Senator’s Clean Commute for Kids Act. This act worked to transition buses that run on diesel fuel to zero to low emission buses.
  • The Infrastructure Bill set aside $5 billion that provides federal funds to help school districts purchase brand-new battery powered school buses.
  • “Thanks to the foresight and innovation of companies like the Blue Bird Corporation, Georgia is already leading the nation in producing the technology that is helping modernize our school buses, protect children’s health and keep our air clean while also creating the sustainable, good-paying jobs that will move our economy into the future,” Senator Reverend Warnock said. “I was proud to champion $5 billion in the infrastructure package for boosting electric bus production, which will help further these efforts, and I’m so glad we’ve finally gotten it over the finish line. I’m thrilled to work with leaders at Blue Bird to get these investments flowing to Georgia and other manufacturers across the nation, so we can start greening our yellow school buses in earnest for the next generation.”
  • Clean energy busses can help with reducing air pollution linked to asthma, and will also drive demand for Amerian-made vehicle technology including items such as batteries.
  • “The infrastructure legislation, besides cutting air pollution linked to asthma, also is expected to drive demand for American-made vehicle technology, including batteries, resulting in new jobs. Every time a district is able to choose a greener alternative, we take a big step in providing a better, cleaner future for our children and communities,” said Matthew Stevenson, President and CEO of Blue Bird Corporation.
  • Soon, school districts are expected to utilize this money, and spotting an electric school bus may become a common occurrence in the years to come.

CBS 46 (Atlanta): Biden signs infrastructure bill into law: What does it mean for Georgia?

  • President Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law Monday, sending $1.2 trillion in funding to economic and infrastructure support. But how does this impact Georgia? CBS46 is breaking down the numbers.
  • Repair and rebuild roads and bridges with a focus on climate change

Georgia has 374 bridges and over 2,260 miles of highway deemed to be in poor condition. On average, each driver in the peach state pays about $275 per year in costs from driving on these older roads.

Georgia can expect to receive an estimated $8.9 billion for highway  apportioned programs and $225 million for bridge replacement and repairs over the next five years. 

  • Improve public transportation

Georgians who take public transportation spend an extra 74.1% of their time commuting. Under the new law, Georgia could potentially receive $1.4 billion over the next five years to improve public transportation options across the state.

  • Provide more accessibility for EV drivers 

The bill invests $7.5 billion to build a national network of EV chargers  to accelerate the adoption of EVs in an effort to address the climate crisis while supporting domestic manufacturing jobs. 

Georgia can expect to receive $135 million of those funds over the next five years.

  • Help connect every American to reliable high-speed internet

Georgia can expect to receive $100 million to help provide broadband coverage across the state, including providing access to the at least 649,000 Georgians who currently lack it. And, under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, 3,187,000 or 31% of people in Georgia will be eligible for the Affordability Connectivity Benefit, which will help low-income families afford internet access.

  • Prepare more of our infrastructure for the impacts of climate change, cyber attacks and extreme weather events

From 2010 to 2020, Georgia has experienced 46 extreme weather events, costing the state up to $20 billion in damages.

Under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, based on historical formula funding levels, Georgia will expect to receive $22 million over five years to protect against wildfires and $24 million to protect against cyberattacks. Georgians will also benefit from the bill’s historic $3.5 billion national investment in weatherization which will reduce energy costs for families

  • Deliver clean drinking water to every American and eliminate the nation’s lead service lines and pipes. 

Georgia will expect to receive $913 million over five years to improve water infrastructure across the state and ensure that clean, safe drinking water is a right in all communities.

  • Improve our nation’s airports

Georgia would receive approximately $619 million for infrastructure development for airports over five years.

  • Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms responded to today’s signing by saying, “This is a tremendous win for the city Atlanta. We know in our communities we have crumbling sidewalks; we have crumbling bridges and just last weekend in the city of Atlanta our 911 system was taken down because we had a pipe that burst and then took out two back-up generators in our city.”
  • U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams (D) also voiced approval:
  • “We’re talking about things like our water infrastructure, removing lead from all of the pipes in this country so that we don’t have to worry about poisoning another generation of children,” said Williams. 

FOX 54 (Augusta): What the bipartisan infrastructure bill means for the Augusta area

  • President Biden signed the bipartisan infrastructure bill into law on Monday. The $1.2T legislation includes funding to help revitalize roads and bridges, improve transit and public transportation and expand broadband in rural communities. 
  • Officials say right now it’s unclear how much will be coming to the Augusta-Richmond County area, but Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis says the bill’s passage is a big win for the city. “I remember vividly in 2015, 2016, 2017, going to Washington for Infrastructure Week along with my colleague mayors from across the nation advocating for an infrastructure bill,” Mayor Davis says. “And while there was much discussion in Washington talking about infrastructure, we never had an occasion to celebrate. [On Monday] we had an occasion to celebrate.”
  • Over the summer, Augusta piloted three electric buses in the city.  Mayor Davis says they’ll be able to bring more in and purchase additional buses with the money from the infrastructure bill. “Those dollars have been directly allocated for those purposes,” he says. The mayor also says that money could go toward the city’s Green Augusta initiative which was launched earlier this year. They put an electric charging station at Diamond Lakes Regional Park and he says they hope to put more in around the city. 
  • Transit and transportation improvements are something Georgia Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock has been pushing for. Sen. Warnock visited Augusta back in September to tour the transit facility in Augusta Regional Airport and he recently secured $5M in funding to bolster clean-energy school buses. In a statement, he said:
    “From securing $25.5 million for Augusta-Richmond Transit and $13.5 million for the Augusta Regional Airport, to championing job-creating investments to green our yellow school buses and expand broadband access, to establishing I-14 as a high-priority corridor to help relieve local congestion and link the Augusta-Richmond area with other emerging technology hubs, I was proud to get so many good policies for Augusta in this bill. And I’m going to keep fighting to direct even more federal funds to Augusta in the next major package.”
  • Also included in the bill is $55B to remove and replace lead pipes from public schools – the largest-ever investment into clean drinking water. FOX54’s Hannah Cotter has been reporting on this story since April, when Georgia Senator Jon Ossoff launched the push to include it in the legislation. He says its passage will ensure clean drinking water for both students and families in and around the CSRA. “Clean water is fundamental,” he says. “I mean, look: this is America. Our kids shouldn’t be drinking water from lead pipes. And that’s why I championed this. We were able to unite democrats and republicans to include it in the bill and now this bipartisan infrastructure bill will have the resources necessary to remove those lead pipes in Augusta and across our state.” 

WRBL (Columbus): Senator Warnock speaks about the infrastructure bill

  • President Joe Biden signed the bipartisan infrastructure bill this Monday. Senator Raphael Warnock spoke with News 3 this afternoon about what the signing of the bill means for the state of Georgia.
  • Now that the bipartisan infrastructure bill has been passed, $1.2 trillion dollars will be spent to build back bridges, roads, expand internet access, and more. Senator Warnock advocated for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs act, allowing $65 billion to be invested into broadband. With this investment, the $65 billion will be divided into four ways. $42.4 billion will be granted to states, $2 billion will be given to rural areas, $2.75 billion for digital equity, and lastly $14.2 billion will be given for broadband subsidy for low-income families.
  • Warnock told News 3 he is elated now that this bill has been passed.
  • “Listen, it’s a great day, infrastructure week is finally here. This is an amazing piece of legislation and I’m grateful that the people of Georgia, because of the way they stood up, are largely responsible for what’s going to happen today. We are passing this bipartisan infrastructure bill, it’s America’s home improvement project, long overdue,” Warnock said.
  • Warnock said the passing of the bill will help improve the state of Georgia tremendously.
  • “There are billions of dollars in this bill, for public transportation. We’ve got $1.4 billion dollars for the state of Georgia, we’ve got nearly $9 billion to improve Georgia’s highways and roads, access points. $100 million for broadband, in a time where broadband is to the 21st century what electricity and electric lights were to the 20th century. You can’t live without it and I’m so delighted about all of the resources that will be delivered to Georgia here shortly,” Warnock said.
  • According to Warnock, there’s still a lot of work that must be done to get the funds to the local government so they can begin working on rebuilding the community. Warnock said it may be a while before the money makes its way into the community.
  • “In my view, it can’t come soon enough but know that I’m working every single day to make sure that these resources get to where they need to go and that they get there as soon as possible. In fact last week I pushed the FCC to make sure that hundreds and millions of dollars due to Georgia to address some of our rural broadband got there. They’ve been responsive and it’s more to come and so I say stay tuned, help is on the way,” Warnock said.
  • Last spring, during Senator Warnock’s tour to raise awareness about the importance of internet access in rural areas, he made a stop at Waverly Hall, Georgia, to discuss how affordable and accessible broadband has become an issue in rural and low-income communities. Even though the infrastructure bill has been signed, Congress is still discussing the soft infrastructure bill, also known as the Build Back Better Act.The Bill would allow $1.2 billion for federal programs to expand affordable and accessible broadband to rural communities such as Waverly Hall.
  • “I’m concerned about both access to broadband and affordability. We have to address both of those needs and that’s why I’m so grateful that we passed this provision of $62 billion in our country for broadband and employment. $14 billion of that were for digital equity and what that will do will provide people with subsidies so that they can get online. $30 a month subsidies and an edition to that in the upcoming Build Back Better Bill, I have a device for every American Act. Which provides $500 million to make sure that low-income Georgians can get a laptop, can get a tablet. So you have to be able to afford the connection and you need a device,” Warnock said.
  • Not only is the bill about providing broadband and rebuilding communities, but it’s also going to provide jobs.
  • “It’s about creating opportunities and as I move across the state, I talk to farmers who are frustrated because they can’t even farm efficiently without a broadband connection. So this infrastructure bill is about jobs, it’s about opportunities, it’s about building a clean energy future to strengthen our economy now in the wake of this pandemic. More importantly, to prepare us well into the future and Georgians played a major role in this. If they had not stood up in the way that they did months ago to send me to the United States Senate, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. So it’s a great day for America, It’s a great day for Georgia,” Warnock said.
  • Warnock said the passing of the bill came at a great time.
  • “I think it’s good news, and it could not come sooner,” Warnock said.

Axios Atlanta: What Georgia gets from the infrastructure bill

  • Billions of dollars are projected to head Georgia’s way over the next five years after President Joe Biden signs a roughly $1.2 trillion infrastructure funding package into law today.
  • Why it matters: Georgia is a vital logistics hub for the country — the world’s second-busiest airport, one of the country’s largest shipping container ports, a key junction of major U.S. interstates and rail lines — and who hates infrastructure?
  • The vote: In the House, Georgia Democrats split with their Republican colleagues. Georgia’s two senators, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, both Democrats, voted in favor.
  • Planes: The funding package includes more than $619 million for airports throughout the state, the White House says.
  • The Georgia Department of Transportation says the state’s airports would need even more funding to maintain and upgrade their facilities, the AJC reports.
  • Trains (and buses): Nearly 70% of the $1.4 billion in public transit aid would be earmarked for public transit agencies in metro Atlanta like MARTA, GRTA, and other services, according to Ossoff’s office.
  • Congress OK’d $66 billion to expand Amtrak’s busy Northeast Corridor and serve new areas. One map of Amtrak’s future proposed system includes new service from Atlanta to Nashville, Montgomery and Savannah.
  • And automobiles: Georgia’s roads will feel the love. The state will receive nearly $9 billion to fix roads and highways, plus $225 million to upgrade and replace deficient bridges.
  • In 2019, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave Georgia’s roads a C+ on its infrastructure report card, arguing that GDOT lacks the funding to adequately maintain its roadways.
  • Georgia will likely see $135 million to help build an electric-vehicle charging network throughout the state (along with an unspecified amount to update the state’s electric grid), and billions to swap out older and gas-powered buses for low- or zero-emissions vehicles.
  • Lightning round: Expect a minimum of $100 million to expand broadband in rural Georgia (plus funding for programs to help people living on low incomes get online), $913 million for drinking-water projects and other public buildings and $22 million to prevent wildfires.
  • In addition to the state-specific funding, Georgia will have access to programs to weatherize homes, address flooding on coastal areas and bridge funding for major transportation projects that would have a high return on investment.

WRDW (Augusta): How could $25M from infrastructure law help local projects?

  • A $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill signed by President Biden will help some of our roadways and bridges here in the area. That bill is sending $25 million to Augusta-Richmond County. And Georgia will be getting a total of $11 billion.
  • Augusta’s director of engineering says one of the big projects we could see could include an infamous Augusta landmark – that pesky Olive Road railroad overpass that’s a magnet for crashes.
  • If you travel through the medical district or downtown Augusta streets like Central Avenue and Reynolds are on the list of projects for Augusta.
  • On Reynolds Street in downtown Augusta, a pothole sits in the middle lane. Business owners like Eddie Butler believe the bill will help out with roads.
  • “Potholes obviously have an effect on suspensions we are would like improved roads so that’s a good thing,” said Butler.
  • Some of the major projects already in the works include Central Avenue that connects Paine College and the medical districts. The estimated cost – $45 to $50 million. Other key streets include revitalizing Ellis and Reynolds Street in downtown Augusta that has a cost of $35 to $40 million.
  • “Right now, I got around $350 million, seven or eight projects, and we can easily submit those under the Infrastructure Bill under the road and bridges part,” said Malik.

WSAV (Savannah): What $1.2T bipartisan infrastructure bill means for Georgia

  • Georgia Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock described the signing of Monday’s multi-billion-dollar bipartisan infrastructure bill as a huge step in the right direction — not just for coastal Georgia, but the state as a whole.
  • “This bipartisan infrastructure bill is going to make once in a generation investments that will strengthen our economy, help working families and push us in the direction of creating a green energy future that’s worthy of all of our children,” said Warnock.
  • The bipartisan infrastructure bill, or the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, includes upgrades to roadways and bridges, improving Georgia’s ports to help current supply chain delays, upgrades to flood mitigation efforts and expansions to rural broadband access across the state.
  • “I’m grateful for this once-in-a-century investment in the future of broadband, in public transportation,” Warnock said. “We’ve got some $1.4 billion for public transportation in Georgia in this bill, $30 million just for Savannah alone.”
  • Senator Warnock says some of these advancements can’t come soon enough, especially expansions to broadband internet. Currently, 10% of Georgians don’t have access to internet service, while roughly 40% of the state only has access to one provider.
  • “Broadband is now to the 21st century what electricity and electric lights were to the 20th century,” Warnock said. “You can’t even farm without broadband. When you’re talking about telehealth, when you’re talking about the digital divide that separates poor children from children with some means.”
  • The bill also includes an amendment that moves Georgia closer to expanding I-14 from Texas through Augusta, further helping connect schools and hospitals to more rural Georgian communities.
  • Georgians can expect to start noticing some of these improvements in early 2022.

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