White House teases billions for Mass. in infrastructure bill

Boston Statehouse

The White House in Washington, D.C. (Nexstar)

BOSTON (SHNS) – The proposal’s final passage is far from assured, but details are emerging about possible impacts in Massachusetts from a $1 trillion infrastructure bill that could get a U.S. Senate vote later this week.

According to a White House summary issued Wednesday afternoon, Massachusetts under the bill could over the next five years expect to receive $4.2 billion for federal-aid highway programs, $1.1 billion for bridge replacement and repairs, $2.5 billion to improve public transportation options, $63 million to expand electric vehicle charging networks, and $100 million to provide broadband coverage, including access to the at least 137,000 people here who lack it.

“For decades, infrastructure in Massachusetts has suffered from a systemic lack of investment,” the summary said. “The historic Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will make life better for millions of Massachusetts residents, create a generation of good-paying union jobs and economic growth, and position the United States to win the 21st century.”

The proposal, which has drawn bipartisan support among U.S. senators, has yet to emerge for a vote and its fate in the U.S. House is unclear amid reports about continued debate over the proposal’s size and funding sources and whether its ultimate fate hinges on a separate $3.5 trillion domestic spending bill. According to the White House summary, there are 472 bridges and more than 1,194 miles of highway in poor condition in Massachusetts, and commute times here since 2011 have increased by 10.9 percent on average.

The White House also pointed to areas of Massachusetts in need of broadband. “Broadband internet is necessary for Americans to do their jobs, to participate equally in school learning, health care, and to stay connected,” the summary said. “Yet 11 percent of Massachusetts households do not have an internet subscription, and 2 percent of people in Massachusetts live in areas where, under the FCC’s benchmark, there is no broadband infrastructure.”

Additional data on the impact of the bill in Massachusetts is expected to flow from the White House “over the coming days and weeks,” the summary said.

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