Today, Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07) voted in support of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the bipartisan infrastructure bill that delivers on President Biden’s promise to Build Back Better. This legislation makes the largest, long-term investment in the country’s infrastructure in nearly a century, helping to grow the economy, create new jobs, and enhance the country’s competitiveness for the 21st century. It passed the House of Representatives today, 228-206, and now heads to the President’s desk for signature.
“In Houston and across Texas, we know the positive impact that rebuilding and reinforcing existing infrastructure, building in a more resilient way to protect our communities, and upgrading our transit systems can have,” said Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher. “The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act makes the investments we need now to build our communities and our country for the future. And as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, this bill will be critical to our recovery – helping to create new jobs and strengthen our economy. This bipartisan bill will help Houstonians, Texans, and people across the country, and I was glad to vote for it.”
“Throughout my time in Congress, I have worked to improve our regional infrastructure through thoughtful investments that respond to Houston’s continued growth,” she continued. “This includes repairs on roads and bridges, preparation for flooding and extreme weather events, and strengthening our electric grid. I am also glad to say it includes nearly $5 billion to fund plugging orphaned oil wells, which is based on legislation I introduced, the REGROW Act.”
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides direct support to communities upgrading their infrastructure. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave Texas a C- grade on its infrastructure report card. According to White House estimates, Texas is expected to receive the following through the bipartisan infrastructure bill:
- $26.9 billion for repairing Texas highways and more than $500 million for bridge replacement and repairs in the state. In addition, Texas can also compete for funds for major projects that deliver economic benefits to our communities;
- $3.3 billion over five years to modernize public transit, improve accessibility, and expand public transportation options, funding that could be used for local projects like expanded bus rapid transit and building out light rail;
- $1.2 billion for infrastructure development at our airports over five years;
- $100 million to help provide broadband coverage across Texas including providing access to the at least 1,058,000 Texans who currently lack it. 8,381,000—or 29%—of people in Texas will be eligible for the Affordability Connectivity Benefit, which will help low-income families afford internet access; and
- $2.9 billion over five years to improve water infrastructure across the state and ensure access to clean, safe drinking water.
The full White House Fact Sheet highlighting the local impact of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act on Texas can be found here.
Additionally, the legislation makes the following investments that would benefit Houston priorities:
- Expands the Department of Energy's (DOE) Carbon Capture Technology program to include front-end engineering and design (FEED) for carbon dioxide transport infrastructure necessary to deploy CCUS technologies;
- Directs the U.S. Energy Information Administration to develop a plan in collaboration with U.S. Geological Survey for the forecasting of demand for energy equipment, including equipment for energy production or storage purposes that uses minerals, such as lithium and cobalt, which are or potentially may be determined to be critical minerals;
- Provides $5 billion for a DOE grant program to reduce the likelihood and consequences of impacts to the electric grid due to extreme weather, wildfire, and natural disaster;
- Creates a program to develop advanced cybersecurity applications and technologies for the energy sector, a program to enhance and test emergency response capabilities of DOE, and a program to increase the functional preservation of electric grid operations or natural gas and oil operations in the face of threats and hazards; and
- Authorizes $4.7 billion for programs to plug, remediate, and reclaim orphaned wells on federal, state, and tribal lands and create energy jobs for skilled oil and gas workers, based on Congresswoman Fletcher’s REGROW Act.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) & Port Infrastructure
- Provides $7 billion to USACE for resiliency infrastructure projects, including set-asides for Coastal Storm Risk Management/ Hurricane and Storm Damage Reduction Projects, Inland Flood Risk Management Projects and Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Projects and targeting states that have been impacted by federally declared disasters over the last six years;
- Provides $9.55 billion to USACE for waterway infrastructure priorities, including $5.15 billion for backlogged construction projects and specific funding for repairing damages to Corps Projects caused by natural disasters; and
- Provides almost $17 billion for national port infrastructure and to reduce congestion and emissions near ports.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) & Flooding Resiliency
- Invests $12 billion in flood mitigation, including providing $3.5 billion for the FEMA Flood Mitigation Assistance program to provide financial and technical assistance to states and communities to reduce the risk of flood damage to homes and businesses through buyouts, elevation and other activities and $1 billion for the FEMA Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program to support states and communities undertaking pre-disaster hazard mitigation projects;
- Creates a grant program to assist research institutions, nonprofits, and institutions of higher education with research on new and emerging stormwater control technology to improve the effectiveness, cost efficiencies, and protections of public safety and water quality in their operations;
- Allows states to use National Highway Performance Program funds to increase resiliency to the impact of sea level rise, extreme weather, flooding, and other natural disasters; and
- Allows the use of Emergency Relief program funding for protective features designed to mitigate the risk of recurring damage or the cost of future repairs from extreme weather, flooding, or other natural disasters.