Wolf, Dems tout infrastructure law on its 1st birthday | Friday Morning Coffee

The state has so far landed $7.9B in funding for roads, bridges and more through the federal law

By: - November 18, 2022 7:05 am
PennDOT paving crews (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania photo)

PennDOT paving crews (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania photo)

You may not have noticed it, what with all the ongoing hubbub on Capitol Hill over the results of last week’s midterm elections, and the announcement by a Florida retiree that he plans to run for president in 2024, but the federal infrastructure law turned a year old this week.

Democratic pols from President Joe Biden to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., wasted little time touting the benefits of the law on the home front, respectively blasting out press releases detailing the commonwealth’s share of the $1.2 trillion law.

Pennsylvania has so far received $7.9 billion in funding for roads, bridges, and more, Wolf’s office said in a statement earlier this week.

That included money to expand Amtrak service in the state, infrastructure work at Philadelphia International Airport, and funds to replace and repair more than 7,540 miles of highway and 3,353 bridges in poor condition across the state, notably the Fern Hollow Bridge in Pittsburgh, which collapsed earlier this year.

Biden, who visited the bridge site last month, pointed to the construction work as evidence that “America is the only country in the world that comes out of crises stronger than we went in.”

An Allegheny County Port Authority bus involved in the collapse of the Frick Park Bridge on Friday, January, 28, 2022. (Pittsburgh City Paper photo).

Wolf offered a similar sentiment in the statement his office released this week, arguing that the federal bill “is really an investment in people. It’s an investment in safe travels to work, family, and friends; an investment in a secure supply chain, the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe.”

According to the administration, the state so far has received:

  • $5.2 billion for road and bridge projects,
  • At least $100 million for broadband and internet expansion,
  • $240 million for clean drinking water,
  • $614.8 million to improve public transportation,
  • $58 million for clean school buses,
  • $62 million to improve electric vehicle infrastructure,
  • $208 million for clean energy and energy efficiency projects,
  • $119 million for our airports,
  • $110 billion for our ports and waterways,
  • $1.1 billion to improve infrastructure resilience and prepare our commonwealth for floods and extreme weather events, and
  • $349 million to cap orphaned wells and reclaim mine lands.

In his statement, Wolf added that he was “grateful for [Biden’s] leadership and this bold investment to build a better future for all Americans.”

PennDOT paving crews (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania photo).
PennDOT paving crews (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania photo).

In a statement, Casey said the law filled in longstanding gaps in federal policy on infrastructure issues across administrations.

“This law has delivered billions to our commonwealth to improve crumbling roads and bridges, make public transportation easier and safer, expand high-speed Internet access, invest in clean energy, and increase access to clean drinking water for hundreds of thousands of people,” Casey said.

The federal spending, he added, has spanned rural, suburban and urban areas of the state, defeating a long held notion that the bulk of federal aid is channeled to Pennsylvania’s largest cities — Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

“From cities to rural towns and everywhere in between, we are tackling the climate crisis while creating good-paying union jobs and investing in Pennsylvania’s economy, all thanks to the infrastructure law,” Casey said.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.