Broadband, Roads, Ferries, and More – Here’s What a $ 1T Infrastructure Bill Means for Washington State

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President Biden is surrounded by members of the government and lawmakers on the White House lawn on Monday as the infrastructure bill is signed. (White House photo via Twitter)

President Biden signed the $ 1 trillion today infrastructure account which is expected to provide hundreds of millions of dollars to Washington state for broadband, roads, bridges, power grids, commuter trains and zero-emission buses and ferries, among other things.

At the heart of the bipartisan bill, signed at a ceremony on the White House lawn, is a significant investment in broadband equity, the push to improve high-speed Internet access in areas of the country that lack width. enough bandwidth for school or work.

The White House estimated that 8.5% of Washington state residents did not even have minimal broadband infrastructure. A similar percentage live in areas with broadband but cannot afford it. Federal funding could go to both. The state will receive a minimum of $ 100 million towards those goals, but will likely receive a lot more, perhaps in the order of $ 700 million to $ 1 billion.

Washington Senator Patty Murray said the money is absolutely necessary.

Washington state families will see the difference directly as more goods arrive from our ports to store shelves and people from all over our state will find well-paid jobs to rebuild our infrastructure, from repairing our bridges to replacing. of lead pipes, and everything in between, ”Murray said in a statement.

“Over time, communities will see this bill in action as families in Yakima Valley finally connect to high-speed internet, while Sound Transit expands light rail options in Puget Sound, while electric vehicle charging stations are built all over our state, and so much more. ”

Murray’s office said the infrastructure bill also includes Murray’s Clean School Bus Act which provides federal grants to help transition the nation’s diesel school buses to zero emissions. In addition, the invoice contains:

  • $ 5 billion in clean, zero-emission buses and $ 2.5 billion for electric ferries;
  • 17 billion dollars for the modernization of the port;
  • $ 71 million over five years to support the expansion of an electric vehicle charging network in the state;
  • $ 89 million to protect Puget Sound.

The pandemic revealed that internet access was lacking or non-existent for thousands of students across the state. In response, Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law legislation which allows Washington municipalities to offer direct-to-consumer broadband service, an effort to enable the roll-out of broadband service in low-profit areas shunned by private Internet companies.

According to White House figures, 1,409,000 or 19% of people in Washington will be eligible for the Affordability Connectivity Benefit to help low-income families afford Internet access.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee praised the measure.

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