Here is what a part of the $ 1 trillion infrastructure invoice, Pa.s and NJs, might purchase
In Pittsburgh, officials want to extend bus routes to connect more people to jobs in the center of the city. In northwest Pennsylvania, spending money on cleaning up the Great Lakes could boost ports business and tourism on Lake Erie. In Philadelphia, more low-income families could get subsidies for faster internet. In South Jersey, tens of millions would help complete a seemingly endless project to connect three major highways.
Elected officials, advocacy groups and transportation companies across Pennsylvania and New Jersey are already dreaming of the projects that could result from the $ 1 trillion Senate infrastructure package. The plan, which could pass the chamber on Tuesday, calls for $ 550 billion in new funding, ranging from road and bridge repairs to airport upgrades, expanded broadband internet access and public transportation.
“It will be one of those things that we look back on and say, ‘This was the rebuilding of the United States at that time,'” said Kathy Dahlkemper, executive director of Erie County.
The 2,700-page bill, which is one of President Joe Biden’s top priorities, contains few specific projects.
Much of the money would be distributed on the basis of funding formulas and competitive grants – the first major government investment in so-called hard infrastructure in more than a decade, though still less required than experts say. But the officials are already planning what they could use the aid for.
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Based on the formulas alone, the White House estimates that Pennsylvania would cost $ 11.3 billion in highway work, $ 1.6 billion in bridges, and $ 2.8 billion in local transit over a five-year period Receive. The bill could expand broadband access to 394,000 Pennsylvania and subsidize another 2.9 million.
New Jersey would allocate $ 6.8 billion for highways, $ 1.1 billion for bridges and $ 4.1 billion for public transportation. Among the priorities: $ 72 million in support of the $ 900 million project connecting I-295, I-76 and Route 42 in Camden County.
“It could double our infrastructure budget over the next four to five years,” said Barry Seymour, executive director of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, which is responsible for coordinating projects in Southeast Pennsylvania and South Jersey .
The commission estimates that over 30 years the region will need $ 150 billion to restore its roads, repair broken bridges and increase transit traffic. “The new bill won’t quite get us there, but it’s a positive move that moves projects forward,” said Seymour.
The bill is supported by around 70 senators. Democrats in the House of Representatives hope to approve it quickly – though passing there may depend on Democrats also taking steps toward a larger $ 3.5 trillion social program plan that meets progressives’ demands. Many Republicans fear that spending that much could be wasteful and boost inflation.
“It’s not an infrastructure bill,” said one reviewer, Rep. Fred Keller (R., PA). “It’s a bill that has a lot of things attached that have nothing to do with infrastructure.”
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Here are some of the ways Pennsylvania and New Jersey could use the money:
Pennsylvania officials expect $ 600 to $ 650 million in new highway and bridge spending in the fiscal year ended June 30.
“There is certainly more” [worthy] Projects when new money is available, ”said Larry Shifflet, PennDot’s assistant planning secretary.
About 13% or 4,217 of Pennsylvania’s bridges on state, municipal, and federal roads are in “poor” condition, says PennDot. And a state commission this month estimated an annual unmet need for highway repairs of $ 8.1 billion.
At the local level, the bill could fund projects like the $ 10.9 million replacement of two bridges around Quakertown, Bucks County – the Allentown Road Bridge over Licking Creek and the PA 633 Bridge over Umami Creek.
The bill provides a minimum of approximately $ 100 million to improve broadband access in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Different locations face different challenges: broadband is available in some areas but residents struggle to pay for it, while in others there is simply no broadband service.
The bill will fund both the expansion of pipes and conduits needed to connect people, as well as subsidies for services and equipment.
In Philadelphia, the poorest major city in the country, 23% of households had no internet subscription in 2019. This year, 37,000 residents received emergency broadband grants as part of the American Rescue Plan’s pandemic relief. The new bill extends this program.
“We are glad that the federal government is on board,” said Maari Porter, the city’s deputy chief of staff for political and strategic initiatives. “We’ve been beating this drum for some time.”
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Amtrak would receive $ 12 billion for new intercity services, including plans to connect Scranton, Reading and Allentown to New York.
“We have had no passenger traffic in northeast Pennsylvania since the 1970s,” said MP Matt Cartwright, a Democrat whose district includes Scranton and the Poconos.
Cartwright said the route would help the area’s many commuters to New York City. And in New Jersey, “they love the idea of getting Pennsylvania cars off their streets,” he said.
In Erie, Amtrak now only makes one stop during the day and shows up “basically in the middle of the night,” said Dahlkemper. However, Amtrak has plans for a new daily service linking the city to Cleveland and Buffalo.
There’s also about $ 30 billion to upgrade Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor line to increase speed on the 457-mile route from Boston to Washington. Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station is the second most important stop on the corridor, and officials believe the projects will also benefit New Jersey Transit and SEPTA, both of which operate on Amtrak routes.
Federal funding will help rural and small urban transit companies, but as usual, the vast majority of Pennsylvania’s $ 2.8 billion is expected to go to SEPTA and the Allegheny County Port Authority, buses and a small subway to Pittsburgh operates.
SEPTA has a backlog of infrastructure repairs expected to cost $ 4.6 billion, including new trains, trolleybuses, and buses.
In Allegheny County, Fitzgerald hopes the expanded bus service will bring more residents closer to the technology sector and major research universities.
The bill provides $ 1 billion to combat pollution, algal blooms and invasive species in Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes.
Both states could also benefit from $ 21 billion to rehabilitate gas wells, superfund sites and disused mines. New Jersey has 114 Superfund locations, most in the country, and Pennsylvania has 287,000 acres of land that the state says is in need of “reclamation” at an estimated cost of more than $ 5 billion.
Drinking water would become safer with a nationwide investment of $ 55 billion in projects such as the removal of lead pipes and pipes and the removal of man-made pollution.
It’s a significant investment, but it won’t eliminate all lead pipes, an effort Biden once valued at $ 45 billion, three times more than the bill. Still, it’s a step in the right direction, said Stephanie Wein of Penn Environment, a nonprofit research and advocacy group.
Philadelphia officials hope to receive a portion of the $ 25 billion allocated to airports to aid Philadelphia International Airport’s $ 1.2 billion to expand cargo capacity. The airport says the project would create 6,000 permanent jobs and 22,000 construction jobs, helping it compete for more of the region’s $ 53 billion in freight traffic.
“The ability to get into something with a significant [return on investment] I think that speaks to the spirit of the bill, ”said Shane Doud, the airport’s director of government affairs.
Doud also hopes some of the $ 5 billion spent on terminal upgrades can help replace obsolete baggage equipment and reduce security checkpoint congestion.
Part of the funding will target rural areas struggling with the decline of the coal industry and opioid addiction. The Appalachian Regional Commission would receive $ 1 billion to continue providing grants for vocational training, education, economic development and the fight against drug abuse.
The agency covers parts of 13 states, including 52 of the 67 counties in Pennsylvania. It is headed by Gayle Manchin, whose husband, Senator Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), is a lead author on the bill.
In rural areas, she said, “we still have areas that don’t have clean drinking water, that don’t have good sewage treatment, and that may not be the most popular topic of conversation, but … in this day and age” and older we should all have clean drinking water . “