We’ve been hearing about the infrastructure bill a lot – before and after Congress passed it in November. And in the video above, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg explains how it'll affect millennials. But we had more Qs that need As. So we asked Buttigieg to explain the deets. What’s in the infrastructure bill? Will all neighborhoods benefit from it? And what are its immediate benefits?
Psst...You can also listen to this conversation on the Skimm This podcast here.
Can you Skimm the infrastructure law for us in 60 seconds?
"The big picture is this is going to improve our roads and bridges, our ports and airports, our trains and transit — everything Americans count on to get people and goods where they need to be.
"And we also recognize that infrastructure includes things like the electric grid, things like clean, safe, drinking water, things like getting everybody on the internet. And so there are resources for that in this bill too.
"It's a historic bipartisan victory. The most we've done in generations for American infrastructure. And my department is excited to get to work."
Most of these infrastructure updates will happen in the future. But is there anything we might be able to see or benefit from in a year?
"Yeah. For example, the dollars that we are able to get out to [the] local communities trying to improve transit, whether it's enhancing transit service. Or making it greener. A lot of transit authorities [are] trying to get electric buses. We're also investing in electric school buses right now.
"These are the things that take pollution out of the air. They can help reduce congestion and get cars off the road. But also just road improvements. There are so many roads and bridges that need work.
"Mayors, as I used to be a mayor, have a list, usually the length of their arm of things they would do tomorrow if they could. Well, now we have the dollars to help support those projects that are in many cases, ready to go."
People are concerned that the benefits of this infrastructure bill might not go to their area or neighborhood. How are you going to make sure the benefits are distributed equitably?
"One of the things I love about this bill is it really covers the entire country. Every state, every territory is going to see a benefit from this. Partly because this goes into the road and bridge funding formulas that we work with every state on. But also there's a 100% doctrine in elements of this bill.
"For example, [President Biden] said we're going to get rid of 100% of the lead service lines that take water to our kids. That means wherever you live, this bill is going to help you live free of fear about that lead affecting your child or family.
"Same thing with the internet. We're committing to making sure 100% of Americans have access to fast and affordable internet. So it doesn't matter whether you live in the middle of the big city, or in one of the most remote areas of the country. We are going to work to make sure that you get connected affordably and efficiently.
"From a transportation perspective every big and small community I go to has some major infrastructure need. And it can be anything from sidewalks to subways. These are exactly the kinds of things that we can do so much more of with the biggest investments that, again, we've seen in generations, provided by this bill."
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