White House pitches Mass. benefits of infrastructure bill

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (SHNS) – The $115 billion for road and bridge repairs in President Joe Biden’s jobs bill would help Massachusetts cut into the backlog of 472 bridges and more than 1,194 miles of highway in poor condition, according to the White House.

Ahead of votes in Congress, the Biden administration is working to sell its more than $2 trillion economic stimulus package by highlighting the state-by-state need for investment in everything from housing to drinking water. The proposal would be funded by new taxes on corporations.

By the White House’s estimates, commutes in Massachusetts have gotten 10.9 percent longer since 2011 and every driver pays $620 a year due to driving on roads in need of repair. Biden’s team also said public transit riders spent an extra 52.5 percent of their time commuting, with non-white households two times more likely to rely on public transit to get to work, and 23 percent of trains and other vehicles in the state past their useful lifespan.

Biden’s proposal would dedicate $600 million to transportation infrastructure, including $85 billion for public transit. While the White House’s fact sheet did not provide state-specific estimates of funding, it did calculate the cost of 14 extreme weather events from 2010 to 2021 at $5 billion in damages.

Gov. Charlie Baker and former Speaker Robert DeLeo were among the leaders in Massachusetts calling for major investments in climate resiliency, with plans to generate $1 billion over the next decade. The “American Jobs Plan” would make $50 billion available nationwide.

Other needs in Massachusetts flagged by the White House: $12.2 billion in additional funding over the next 20 years for clean drinking water, access to high-speed internet for the 2.5 percent of households in areas with no broadband infrastructure and the 45.6 percent of households with no choice in internet provider; and $1.39 billion to close the gap between what schools need for maintenance and improvement and build more child care facilities

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