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NH leaders, stakeholders Laud Shaheen and Hassan for their leadership on historic infrastructure legislation

August 11, 2021

** Shaheen was one of the chief negotiators of the infrastructure package, led the bipartisan discussions on broadband infrastructure and water **

** Senator Hassan has led efforts to invest in passenger rail transport, coastal resilience and cybersecurity **

(Washington, DC) – On Tuesday, the United States Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of Law on investment in infrastructure and employment with a bipartisan vote of 69-30. The bill represents the largest infrastructure investment in our country’s history. This package would provide an investment of $ 550 billion in our country’s basic infrastructure priorities – including roads and bridges, railways, public transport, ports, airports, power grid, water supply systems and broadband. The bipartisan legislation is the result of months of negotiations led by Shaheen and in which Hassan participated, which will make solid investments for communities in Granite State. Shaheen was a key negotiator and led the broadband and water infrastructure arrangements. Senator Hassan helped secure key arrangements related to passenger rail transport, coastal resilience and cybersecurity. Hours after the Senate approved the landmark legislation, New Hampshire city leaders and stakeholders praised Shaheen and Hassan for their work in pushing the legislation through the Senate:

“I am grateful to Senators Shaheen and Hassan for their unwavering leadership in putting in place this historic infrastructure legislation to the finish line in the Senate,” said Joe Bonfiglio, business manager for the Massachusetts and Northern New England Workers’ District Council. “This investment will help create well-paying construction jobs for hard-working families and the members of LIUNA New England stand ready to help make this historic investment in our country’s infrastructure.

“The bipartisan infrastructure package that was passed by the Senate earlier this week is an investment in the community and the quality of life for residents of cities like Concord,” said Mayor Jim Bouley. “Thank you to Senator Shaheen and Senator Hassan for crossing the aisle to get there. The quality of our drinking water, the safety of our roads and the accessibility of high-speed Internet will improve thanks to this unique investment.

“We appreciate the work of senators on this bill and are encouraged by the bipartisan support,” said Mayor Charlene Lovett. “This long-awaited investment in our infrastructure will give communities like Claremont the resources to provide equal access to high-speed Internet, improve the resilience of our transportation network and expand access to passenger rail. This investment is directly linked to our ability to create economic opportunities, protect public safety and the environment. “

“I am delighted to see the Law on investment in infrastructure and employment pass the Senate with bipartisan support, and I appreciate the efforts of Senator Shaheen and Senator Hassan to make this happen ”, said Mayor Joyce Craig. “With this historic investment, our city will be able to create well-paying jobs and improve our roads, airport, rail systems and more, ensuring the prosperity of our community for years to come.”

“I am proud of the bipartisan compromise that Senators Shaheen and Hassan reached earlier this week to make investments in much needed infrastructure that will benefit our local communities,” said Mayor Andrew Hosmer. “The unprecedented investment in strengthening broadband will be critical for communities like Laconia as Granite Staters continues to rely on connectivity to work, learn and access key services remotely. “

“From much-needed upgrades to our traditional transport infrastructure, to broadband investments to bridge the digital divide, to advancing the development of clean energy resources, the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed by the Senate will have no effect. no doubt a significant and transformational impact in our region. . These investments will address the critical challenges facing New England, while creating jobs and driving continued economic recovery and growth. We are grateful to Senator Shaheen for her leadership in promoting this historic bipartite legislation, and hope that the House will quickly follow suit, ” said James T. Brett, President and CEO of the New England Council.

Shaheen was a key negotiator for the bipartisan task force, which included U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Susan Collins (R-ME), Joe Manchin (D-WV) , Mitt Romney (R-UT), Mark Warner (D-VA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Jon Tester (D-MT). In June, Shaheen joined President Biden and the bipartisan group of senators in announcing the framework of the package. Shaheen also joined members of the bipartisan group in the Senate to unveil the text of the bill. Shaheen was a key negotiator and led the broadband and water infrastructure arrangements.

Senator Hassan has worked to negotiate key provisions of the bill, including improving coastal resilience, expanding access to high-speed internet, strengthening future funding opportunities for passenger rail transport to connect Nashua, Manchester and Concord in Boston and strengthen cybersecurity.

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The Senate adopts the bill on historic infrastructures: CEG

The US Senate passed the Law on investment in infrastructure and employment August 10 by a large bipartisan majority vote, 69-30. Nineteen Republicans joined with 50 Democrats in passing the bill, which will now head to the House, though that chamber may not consider the bill until the fall, after its August recess. Construction industry associations praise the milestone bill, which, if passed by the House, will allocate $ 1.2 trillion for roads, bridges, railroads, public transportation and the electrical network.

Here are the statements released by industry associations so far:


“Equipment makers applaud the US Senate for passing a bold, bipartisan bill that will make a transformational investment in our nation’s infrastructure. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will create nearly 500,000 new jobs in the manufacturing sector over the next three years, including more than 100,000 skilled and family jobs in the equipment manufacturing industry.Investing in our infrastructure will also help us meet our greatest challenges so as to improve the quality of life of all Americans, to strengthen our global economic position and protect our planet, ”said Kip Eideberg, senior vice president of government and industry relations for the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM).

“We applaud the unwavering leadership and bipartisan work of Senate negotiators and committees to reach agreement through a collaborative and transparent process. Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Rob Portman have worked tirelessly to move the bill forward in the Senate and overcome a myriad of obstacles, and we are grateful for their stubborn focus on bipartisanship. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is not only a unique opportunity to rebuild our country’s infrastructure, but an opportunity to restore our economic competitiveness, improve the ability of equipment manufacturers to meet the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century; and improve the lives of all Americans. We urge the House of Representatives to put politics before politics and pass this bill as soon as possible.

“For years, equipment manufacturers have led the charge of a historic investment in our country’s basic infrastructure needs. for the benefit of all Americans. “


“AED welcomes the US Senate approval of the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act. For years, AED has advocated for Congress to work in a bipartisan fashion to rebuild our country’s crumbling infrastructure, and we are now one step closer to making it a reality. Not only does the bill fund vital projects across the country, it also includes a five-year surface transportation reauthorization that will provide long-term certainty for contractors and other ACN member clients. AED President and CEO Brian P. McGuire.

“I now call on the United States House of Representatives to immediately pass and pass the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act, sending it to President Biden for his signature. The equipment industry is more than ready to help rebuild this country, create economic growth, well pay for jobs and put the United States on the path to future prosperity. Any further delay is unacceptable. “


“The new infrastructure measure passed by the Senate today provides much needed new federal investments in a wide range of infrastructure projects. These investments will help generate new demand for construction services, equipment and materials. -compensating for career opportunities in construction and helping make our economy more efficient and competitive, ”said Stephen E. Sandherr, Managing Director of Associated General Contractors of America.

“Unfortunately, some members of the House want to delay action on the bipartisan measure until an unrelated partisan spending bill is passed. The last thing Washington should do is hold a bill hostage. Bipartite infrastructure law essential to partisan politics Delaying action on the infrastructure measure will hurt the economy and deprive workers of opportunities to start well-paying construction careers It’s time to put people back at work instead of paying them to stay home, which is why we urge the House to quickly pass the bipartite infrastructure bill and send it to the Speaker for signature.


“The strong bipartisan spirit demonstrated by Senate approval of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act sets the bar very high,” said Dave Bauer, President and CEO of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA ).

“The US economy and users of the transportation system will benefit most from the enactment of an infrastructure bill that combines historic investment levels with pragmatic policy reforms.

“The vote in the Senate is an essential step, but not the finish line.

“We will continue to work with the House, Senate and the Biden administration to help achieve an outcome that meets America’s transportation infrastructure needs today and into the future.”


The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) commends the United States Senate for passing the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), once again proving that the strength and reliability of systems d The infrastructure of our country is a problem that unites us all.

With this legislation, the federal government will restore its essential partnership with cities and states to modernize our country’s infrastructure, including transit systems, drinking water pipes, school facilities, broadband, ports, airports and more.

We applaud the Senate for putting American communities first in passing this bipartisan infrastructure legislation, and urge the United States House of Representatives to do the same.


“This bipartisan bill represents a giant step forward in improving access and mobility for the American public, putting our freeways and roads back in good shape, sparking continued innovation in the asphalt pavement industry, and securing good jobs. paid hundreds of thousands of American workers, not to mention improving their safety at work, ”said Audrey Copeland, President and CEO of NAPA.

“NAPA thanks the President and the Senate, especially those who are negotiating in good faith on behalf of the American people to pass a bipartisan infrastructure funding bill in a timely manner, allowing for much needed construction and maintenance of highways, roads and America’s essential bridges, “said James Winford, president of NAPA 2020-21.


“The United Steelworkers applauds the bipartisan work of the US Senate in passing a much needed infrastructure bill. Our nation’s critical infrastructure is long overdue for major upgrades, and this bill is an important step towards both making our communities safer and creating millions of good, life-sustaining jobs. family, ”said Tom Conway, International President of the United Steelworkers (USW).

“Steelworkers from all corners of our union are already providing the essential building blocks of a modern infrastructure, from the steel that goes into our bridges, to the pipes that carry our water, to the fiber-optic glass that we use. keeps connected and much more. .

“A global investment in infrastructure that relies on the goods and services provided by American workers will promote widespread employment growth and economic opportunity. Steelworkers and their families will benefit more from this investment as their workplaces and communities become safer and more efficient.

“As this bill moves through the United States House, we cannot allow the momentum to weaken. We urge Congress to continue working together to overhaul our physical and social infrastructure until they are finally meet our modern needs. “

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Murray, Cantwell, Crapo and Risch help Senate pass landmark infrastructure bill that would invest billions in Inland NW

WASHINGTON – After weeks of political wrangling that kept the Senate in session for a second straight weekend, senators on Tuesday passed a landmark bill to authorize some $ 550 billion in new spending and invest a total of more than $ 1,000 billion over five years in the nation’s aging roads, bridges, rails, pipes and other infrastructure.

Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch of Idaho were among 19 Republicans who voted for the bill along with all 50 Democratic caucus members, including Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray of Washington. Biparty legislation was negotiated by a group of moderate senators, five from each party, and would send billions of federal dollars inside the Northwest for repairs and upgrades. Democrats and many Republicans agree that they are long overdue.

Cantwell, who chairs the Trade, Science and Transportation Committee, said the transport bill’s provisions will help tackle congestion and spur economic growth in the region.

“Spokane’s commuters and the region’s growing manufacturing and logistics economies depend on the ability to move people and goods quickly to their destinations,” she said in a statement. “The investments in this bill will help reduce delays at level crossings in the Spokane Valley, keep key road projects like the North-South Highway on track, and provide resources to Spokane Transit as ‘it continues to expand its bus rapid transit network. “

Cantwell also highlighted the $ 66 billion the bill provides for passenger and freight rail transport, including $ 16 billion for Amtrak’s long-haul routes – like the Empire Builder that runs through Spokane on its way. from Chicago to Seattle and Portland – and shorter, state-backed routes, like the Cascades that connect Vancouver, BC and Eugene, Ore.

“Spokane International Airport will be able to compete for $ 5 billion in grants for terminal renovation projects,” Cantwell continued. “A new culvert removal and replacement program will tackle blocked salmon crossings under roads and railroads, and $ 3.4 billion will be spent on the Forest Service to reduce the risk of forest fires.” “

In a statement, Crapo said infrastructure investments are expected to counter the inflation that causes prices to rise and provide long-term benefits to Idaho residents.

“The bipartisan legislation we passed today invests in traditional and tough infrastructure projects to help keep pace with Idaho’s rapid growth,” he said, highlighting his investments in roads. and bridges, high-speed internet, and measures to make the West more resilient to drought and forest fires.

As the GOP’s first member of the finance committee, the panel responsible for revenue matters, Crapo also stressed that the bill would not raise taxes. Instead, it aims to pay for the investments by reallocating unused pandemic relief funds, various fees, and reinstating the Superfund tax on chemical manufacturers, which the law defines as a fee.

Critics, including many Republicans who voted no, accused supporters of the creative accounting bill and said it would not be fully written off. An analysis released by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office last week predicted the bill would increase the deficit by $ 256 billion over a decade, but that CBO score did not account for unspent COVID-19 relief dollars.

The spirit of bipartisanship brought by the infrastructure bill did not last long, however. On Monday, Democrats unveiled a budget resolution that would allow them to approve an additional $ 3.5 trillion over 10 years for a wide range of social programs and other investments they call “human infrastructure.”

This broader definition of infrastructure sees the lack of affordable childcare or paid family leave as major barriers to economic opportunity and well-being, on par with long commutes and slow internet connections. that the bipartisan bill seeks to remedy. The Democrats-only package includes an extension to monthly child tax credit payments that began in July, free community college, and grants to lower the cost of child care while increasing the wages of workers who care for it. provide.

Speaking in the Senate on Monday, Crapo denounced the Democrats’ $ 3.5 trillion budget resolution, calling it a “reckless tax and spending proposal” and making a clear distinction between the bill, which no Republican ‘is supposed to support, and the bipartite project’ material infrastructure ‘package.

Democrats plan to use a process called budget reconciliation to bypass the 60-vote majority needed to pass most laws in the Senate. Republicans used the same process in 2017 to pass a broad package of tax cuts. Democrats aim to undo some of these cuts for businesses and wealthier Americans, but President Joe Biden has vowed not to raise taxes for anyone who earns less than $ 400,000 a year.

Murray, the third Democrat in the Senate, issued five separate statements on aspects of the infrastructure bill, illustrating just how extensive the legislation is. After highlighting investments in broadband access, electric school buses, salmon salvage and more, she turned to the $ 3.5 trillion budget resolution.

“This is a significant investment in our physical infrastructure,” she said in one of those statements, “and then we will get down to work to ensure a truly historic investment in families and children. American workers by passing the budget resolution. “

The bulk of infrastructure funding would be distributed through a combination of formula-based allocations and subsidy programs. It is not yet clear exactly how much money each state will receive, but according to the White House, Washington would receive at least $ 4.7 billion for highways, $ 605 million for bridges, $ 1.8 billion for highways. transit and $ 71 million for electric vehicle charging stations. . Idaho would get at least $ 2 billion for highways, $ 225 million for bridges, $ 198 million for public transit, and $ 30 million for electric vehicle charging.

All states could also ask for billions more through grant programs. According to an estimate from the Cantwell office, Spokane International Airport would receive $ 32.3 million and Tri-Cities Airport $ 16.7 million in grants.

Risch, who prides himself on being the most conservative senator in the country, explained his vote for the bill as a way to curb Democrats’ ambitions for “hard” infrastructure, for which Biden had originally proposed. to spend over $ 2 trillion.

“Senators had two choices: this $ 550 billion package with no tax hike, or allow Democrats to pass the $ 2.5 trillion Biden proposal, raise taxes and add it to their next frenzy of social spending of $ 3.5 trillion, ”Risch said in a statement. . “On behalf of Idaho, I have chosen to support the lower $ 550 billion investment in physical infrastructure such as roads, bridges and broadband. I think this is the significantly more reasonable and conservative solution to the necessary infrastructure spending. “

In addition to the roughly $ 550 billion in new spending, the bill also renews a series of programs that will expire at the end of September, at a total cost of approximately $ 1.2 trillion.

Senators voted on several amendments to the infrastructure bill as it neared the finish line last week. An amendment, supported by 90 senators, would allow urban Indian health centers like the NATIVE project in Spokane to use existing funds to carry out major renovations, including modernizing air filtration systems and expanding facilities. waiting zones to allow social distancing. These changes, important in preventing the spread of COVID-19, have been impossible due to restrictive language in an existing law.

Shortly after the bipartisan bill was passed on Monday, the Senate began debate on the $ 3.5 trillion budget resolution. This kicked off a so-called “vote-a-rama”, where the chamber votes on non-binding amendments until 50 hours before Vice President Kamala Harris can cast the deciding vote to break. the expected equality 50-50 in the equally divided Senate. .

Senators, who have already lost part of their August annual leave due to the infrastructure vote, are eager to return to their home countries and are expected to strike a deal to shorten the 50-hour debate.

After passing in the Senate, both bills will go to the House, where Progressive Democrats have threatened to block the bipartisan infrastructure package unless the Senate also sends them the $ 3.5 trillion spending bill. dollars. The House will be out of session until September 20, when Democrats could pass the two bills and send them to Biden’s office for proclamation.

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U.S. Travel Industry Applauds Senate Passage of Historic Infrastructure Bill

The US Senate approved the bipartisan $ 1,000 billion infrastructure investment and jobs law, with Tuesday’s 69-30 vote met with applause from the travel industry.

The landmark bill would pave the way for one of the country’s largest investments in roads, bridges, airports, rail systems and other infrastructure projects.


In fashion now

“This is a big step forward towards a more modern and connected future for the United States, travelers and the American travel industry. The funding levels and investments provided for in the bill will help revolutionize the way people move and travel in the United States, and increase our global competitiveness as we recover from and welcome back the pandemic. visitors from around the world, ”US Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said in a statement.

“The bill makes critical investments to improve America’s airports, roads and bridges, and includes a down payment on projects to fuel the future of mobility, including electric vehicle charging infrastructure and the train. at high speed, “he added.

“The bill also establishes a key leadership role within the Department of Transportation to help coordinate travel and tourism policies and investments across all modes of transportation. US Travel commends the bipartisan group of senators and administration for their tireless commitment to making this infrastructure package a reality, which will put our industry and our country on the path to recovery and a stronger, more resilient future. for travel. “

The measure aims to spend $ 550 billion in federal spending on infrastructure projects across the United States and to renew existing programs that are about to expire. It provides $ 110 billion for roads, bridges and other projects, $ 25 billion for airports and the biggest funding for Amtrak since its founding 50 years ago, according to the New York Times.

Despite Tuesday’s vote, the bill faces hurdles in the House, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and some Democrats saying they will not vote until the Senate approves a separate bill on the social policy of 3.5 trillion dollars.

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The historic infrastructure bill authorizes the entire Senate

In a strong bipartisan vote Tuesday 69-30, the Senate advanced the bipartisan infrastructure bill and sent it back to the House. The INVEST in America law spends about $ 1,000 billion, including $ 110 billion on roads and bridges, $ 65 billion to expand broadband access, and $ 17 billion on ports and waterways.

In the days leading up to the vote, the American Farm Bureau Federation along with members of the Agricultural Transportation Task Force urged lawmakers to support the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which would increase infrastructure spending by $ 550 billion over five years.

“A comprehensive transport infrastructure bill, while popular, has long been elusive,” agricultural transport groups say in an Aug. 6 letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. The groups note that investments in transport infrastructure are necessary and, in many cases, overdue.

Following the affirmative vote, Mike Seyfert, President and CEO of the National Grain and Feed Association, member of ATW, said: and global markets. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will improve the efficient and cost-effective transportation of agriculture and food products, which will translate into substantial contributions and opportunities for U.S. economic growth and commerce.

Seyfert adds: “This bipartite agreement also includes a number of necessary and overdue arrangements designed to strengthen the resilience of the agricultural supply chain, including investments in cybersecurity and a pilot learning program to address the shortage of agricultural products. nationwide truck drivers, ”Seyfert said.

Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, also wrote to all members of the Senate to urge passage, adding that the package includes several provisions designed to strengthen the resilience of farms, ranches and rural communities.

After the vote, Duvall greeted the passage. “The pressing infrastructure issues facing our country are too important to ignore, especially in rural communities where modernization is desperately needed. “

“Expanding digital access to rural America is just as important as paved roads and strong bridges. Increased funding to bring broadband to the hundreds of thousands of farms that currently lack internet access will help farmers meet the demands of a growing world while using emerging technologies to build on best practices smart about the climate, ”said Duvall.

There have been serious concerns that Congress could turn to farmers to help pay for the infrastructure plan, including making changes to the strengthened base, which could impose devastating tax burdens. Fortunately, Duvall says it’s not in the cards at the moment.

“We thank the Senate for seeking solutions while preserving important tax provisions that allow farmers to pass the family business to the next generation,” said Duvall.

With nearly two-thirds of the West experiencing extreme or exceptional drought conditions and more than 90 active forest fires in the United States, a national coalition representing thousands of farmers, ranchers, water providers, Western businesses and communities stressed the importance of the Senate’s passage of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and urged the House to reflect water provisions in its own infrastructure package.

“With drought conditions continuing to worsen across the West, now is the time to invest and make timely improvements to our country’s water management portfolio. The various investments in water infrastructure in the West and our national forests included in this package will help farmers, ranchers, service providers and rural communities affected by wildfires, water scarcity and evolution. hydrology, ”said California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson.

To meet the critical water supply needs of the West, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides more than $ 8 billion to repair aging dams and canals; construct new surface and groundwater storage and transport facilities; finance water conservation and recycling projects; and improve watershed management and improve ecosystems.

It is important to note that the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act aligns with the solutions that Western water managers have been asking for for years and provides a balanced set of tools from which local and regional managers can. choose to best solve the water needs and challenges in their local communities.

“The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will improve the efficient and cost-effective transportation of agriculture and food products, which will translate into substantial contributions and opportunities for US economic growth and commerce,” said Duvall.

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Governor of Kansas: Historical Preservation Fund grants of $ 230,000


Governor Laura Kelly announces nearly $ 230,000 in grants from the Kansas Historic Preservation Fund

Topeka, KS (STL.News) The Kansas Historic Sites Review Board has announced that projects across the state are expected to receive nearly $ 230,000 in grants from the Historic Preservation Fund.

The Grants Committee reviewed 12 applications totaling $ 229,572 and presented its recommendations to the Kansas Historic Sites Review Committee last week.

“Historic preservation protects our history for the next generation, while increasing tourism activity and supporting our local economies,” Governor Kelly said. “I want to thank everyone who applied for these grants for their commitment to sharing Kansas’ unique history and creating opportunities for economic growth for their regions.”

The following projects are recommended as proposed, pending the allocation of funds by the National Park Service for the federal fiscal year 2021:

  • City of Lincoln – ADA Town Hall Improvement Plan – $ 17,500
  • Town of Newton – Children’s Historic Places Study Program – $ 5,822
  • Topeka Town – Topeka Old Town District Survey – $ 16,500
  • Douglas County – Douglas County Rural Preservation Plan – $ 20,000
  • Douglas County – National Register Nomination Assistance for Rural Properties – $ 30,000
  • Kansas Anthropological Association – Production of Kansas Anthropologist Volume 43 – $ 4,500
  • Kansas National Guard – Hiawatha National Guard Armory Preservation Project – $ 39,000
  • Kansas State University – Survey of Postwar Modernist Architecture in Manhattan KS – $ 21,750
  • Wyandotte County / Kansas City – Nomination for KCK Downtown Historic Shopping District – $ 12,500
  • Wyandotte / Kansas City County – Nomination for a Multiple Inscription Designation of Historic Churches – $ 18,000

Each year, the National Park Service provides the Kansas State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) with funds that partially fund its operations and salaries. A portion of these funds are channeled through the SHPO to Certified Local Governments (CLGs) and other organizations to fund historic preservation activities at the local level.

These interim grants help fund activities that will aid in planning for the preservation of our cultural resources, including the built environment and archaeological resources. Up to 60 percent of the cost of eligible activities can be funded through this program.

Activities include identifying and evaluating properties for potential listing on the National Register of Historic Places or the Kansas Register of Historic Places through surveys.

These activities also help communities assess their historic properties and develop preservation plans and / or register nominations. Listing properties on the registers provides formal recognition of their historical significance and qualifies them for financial incentives such as state and federal rehabilitation tax credits and the Kansas Heritage Trust Fund grant.

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Maryam Shah is a teacher, mother and wife. She is dedicated to publishing information provided by the United States Department of State, State Governors and more. She constantly monitors the web for the latest updates, quickly posting stories to help keep the public informed.

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Biden pushes Senate on ‘landmark’ infrastructure bill

WASHINGTON – Despite a hectic week in turmoil, President Joe Biden congratulated the Senate on Friday for bringing the bipartisan infrastructure plan closer to the passage, ahead of a key vote on the $ 1,000 billion package.

As Biden spoke from the White House, he compared the “historic investment” to building the transcontinental railroad or the interstate highway system – lofty themes he has already touched upon as he encouraged. the Congress. Public works projects launched will be fueled by well-paying blue-collar jobs, he said.

The President’s note of encouragement offers lawmakers a reset after frustrations mounted and spirits flared overnight as the Senate stagnated, unable to speed the process to completion. Senators will be back for another weekend sitting.

“This is a bill that would end years of stalemate in Washington and create millions of well-paying jobs, put America on a new course to win the race for the economy in the 21st century,” Biden said.

Public works spending “will not only allow us to rebuild but to rebuild better than before the economic crisis,” he said.

Decision time is near for Congress, and in particular the Senate, to make gains on the President’s infrastructure priorities – first with the bipartisan bill that is on track to be passed as early as this weekend, and quickly followed by the Democrats’ more ambitious $ 3.5 trillion budget plan that they plan to fend for on their own.

Senators had hoped to wrap up the bipartisan bill Thursday night, before many left to attend the Wyoming funeral on Friday for a colleague, former Republican Senator Mike Enzi.

But the Senate halted with new problems as senators worked late into the night on amendments and to counter objections from Republican opponents to the plan to speed up the process. A procedural vote has been set for Saturday.

“We have worked long, hard and collaboratively to complete this important bipartisan bill.” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., just before midnight. Announcing Saturday’s schedule, he said: “We really want to finish.”

Called the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the thick bill is a first part of Biden’s infrastructure program and would inject billions of new spending into roads, bridges, water networks, broadband and more. projects in virtually every corner of the country. If it is approved by the Senate, it will then go to the House.

The late-night session came to a halt as further debate emerged on proposed amendments to modify the 2,700-page package. Senators have dealt with nearly two dozen amendments so far, and none have substantially changed the framework of the public works package. With more than a dozen amendments to make, senators have struggled to reach agreements.

A long-awaited analysis of the Congressional Budget Office bill has also raised concerns, particularly from Republicans. He concluded that the legislation would increase deficits by around $ 256 billion over the next decade, although supporters of the bill argued that the budget office was unable to take certain into account. sources of income, including those for future economic growth.

Senator Bill Haggerty, R-Tenn., An ally of Donald Trump and the former president’s former ambassador to Japan, has said he opposes speeding up consideration of the bill because of its price tag raised.

“I could not in good conscience allow this to happen,” Hagerty said in a statement Friday morning. He said he was particularly concerned that passage of the bipartisan bill would pave the way for Democrats to quickly move on to their $ 3.5 trillion “tax and spending frenzy”.

The bill would raise about $ 28 billion over 10 years by updating the IRS reporting requirements for cryptocurrency brokers, just as stock brokers report their clients’ sales to the ‘IRS.

Senator Pat Toomey, R-Pa., And others who wanted to refine the definition of who has to fill out these IRS forms worried that crypto miners, software developers and others would be subject to the new reporting requirement.

Toomey warned that the provision, as drafted, could have “a chilling effect on the development of this technology, and that’s what concerns me the most.”

The White House weighed in late, suggesting it preferred a different approach from Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., And other senators.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates said the compromise amendment “would reduce tax evasion in the cryptocurrency market.”

Overall, the infrastructure bill provides $ 550 billion in new spending over five years above federal levels planned for a nearly $ 1,000 billion package, in what could be one the most substantial investments in roads, bridges, water networks, broadband and the country’s electricity network. in years.

If Senators complete their work on the bipartisan bill, they will turn to the much more partisan enterprise of Biden’s agenda: a $ 3.5 trillion proposal for what the White House calls infrastructure. human – help with child care, home health care, education, and other expenses that are Democratic priorities that Republicans have pledged to reject. The debate will last until the fall.

Schumer wants the Senate to pass both the bipartisan package and a budget plan for the bigger proposal before senators leave for a recess in August.

Associated Press writer Kevin Freking in Washington contributed to this report.

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Shaheen Announces Key NH Priorities Secure in Historic Infrastructure Package

02 Aug 2021

** $ 10 billion to fight PFAS contamination **

** Includes Shaheen legislation to end tax-threatening NH water infrastructure investments **

** Solid investments in broadband **

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) announced the key New Hampshire priorities she secured in the landmark infrastructure package, unveiled last night by Shaheen and her fellow negotiators. Shaheen is part of the bipartisan group that negotiates the Law on Investments in Infrastructure and Employment, legislation that would provide a $ 550 billion investment in our country’s basic infrastructure priorities, including roads and bridges, railways, mass transit, ports, airports, the network electric and broadband. In June, Shaheen joined President Biden and a bipartisan group of senators in announcing the framework of the package. Shaheen is a key negotiator and has led the broadband infrastructure and water arrangements.

“This historic legislation is a solid investment in our nation’s infrastructure and our country’s future, and it advances key New Hampshire priorities that I have long fought for. I am so happy to share with the families, municipalities and workers of Granite State that the conversations we have had over the months and years on these issues have resulted in meaningful legislation that will create lasting change in New Hampshire. “, said Shaheen. “During the negotiations on water infrastructure, I thought back to the countless discussions I had with parents worried about the safety of their children’s water due to PFAS contamination. I also thought of our towns and villages that have struggled to invest in critical water infrastructure due to the unfair tax imposed in the 2017 bill. And I thought of the urgent need to bridge the digital divide that has left too many communities, including those in New Hampshire, to slip through the cracks and struggle to keep up with medical appointments, businesses or distance learning, a problem exacerbated by the pandemic. This bill is not perfect, but it includes crucial provisions that will have a real impact in New Hampshire. I look forward to building on the bipartisan work we have done so far to get this bill through the Senate as quickly as possible.

Among the many priorities set in the bipartisan infrastructure package, Shaheen fought to include and supported the addition of the following measures:

  • $ 110 billion to repair roads, bridges and other major projects: Shaheen has successfully helped secure additional funding for small rural states like New Hampshire to replace and repair bridges through new dedicated grant programs.
  • $ 65 billion to boost broadband in New Hampshire and across the country: Shaheen led the negotiations on broadband arrangements with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), which will provide $ 65 billion in grants to states to support the deployment of broadband and other efforts to bridge the digital divide, which is especially critical in rural New Hampshire. The infrastructure package also builds on the Broadband Emergency Benefit (EBB) program by investing $ 14.2 billion to continue to help qualified households access affordable high-speed internet.
  • $ 54 billion to modernize hydraulic infrastructure, including $ 10 billion for the remediation of PFAS and $ 15 billion for the replacement of lead service pipes: Shaheen led negotiations on water infrastructure arrangements with Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT), which provides solid funding – $ 10 billion – to tackle contamination by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Shaheen has long been leading Senate actions on PFAS response, remediation and research.
  • $ 65 billion to invest in electricity and grid in the United States: Shaheen supported adding $ 65 billion to fund network reliability and resiliency measures in legislation. Infrastructure legislation also includes the bipartite principle Energy Infrastructure Act, which finances these priorities and supports a Grid Development Authority. The legislation strengthens efforts to improve energy efficiency through assistance with weather protection and improvements to federal and other public buildings. It also supports clean energy technologies and other sustainable energy solutions.
  • Shaheen’s Legislation to End Looming Tax Investments in Critical Water Infrastructure: Senator Shaheen led efforts to include key provisions in his bipartisan bill with Senator Murkowski (R-AK) that would set a measure in the 2017 tax bill that led to taxes on critical investments in water infrastructure in New Hampshire and across the country. The tax resulted in at least $ 1.15 million in new federal taxes for water infrastructure projects in southern New Hampshire. Shaheen’s bill addresses this issue going forward to help encourage water and sanitation utilities, local governments, and private developers to invest in water infrastructure projects and community development.
  • Shaheen’s legislation to help NH finance transport infrastructure projects: Senator Shaheen was successful in including his legislation with Senator Booker (D-NJ) that would establish a program to help states increase resources for highway and transit projects. The bill directs the Secretary of Transportation to establish a market for the sale and purchase of toll credits, which are accrued when states use toll revenues to invest in transportation projects that benefit the interstate system. This bill would allow states like New Hampshire to sell their excess toll credits to other states in this market to generate new revenue. These funds could be used for other transportation needs in those states. Shaheen got this in the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act, 2021, which cleared the US Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works (EPW) in May.
  • Support for a clean electricity network: The bipartisan infrastructure bill also contains key elements of Shaheen’s energy efficiency legislation with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) – the Law on Energy Saving and Industrial Competitiveness (ESIC) – which will help improve the energy efficiency and climate resilience of buildings and industrial facilities, as well as invest in clean jobs. Political experts from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) found that once fully enacted, the ESIC law through 2050 would save consumers more than $ 51 billion on their energy bills. energy and reduce carbon emissions by 1.3 billion tonnes, which is the equivalent of taking nearly 280 million cars off the road for a year. A previous ACEEE study also estimated that their legislation would add more than 100,000 jobs to the economy. The legislation also includes several other Shaheen legislative priorities, including the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Act, the Thermal Efficiency Act through Applied Technology (HEAT) and the Promote the American Energy Jobs Act. Together, these bills will foster innovation, energy efficiency and economic competitiveness for U.S. manufacturers and support the energy workforce. Shaheen added these provisions when the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted in favor of the Energy Infrastructure Act earlier this month.

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After reaching a deal, the tester is optimistic about adopting a “legacy” infrastructure package

Missoula City Council Member Jordan Hess, left, and Sen. Jon Tester discuss the importance of the infrastructure bill and its potential benefits for Montana. (Current file Martin Kidston / Missoula)

Senator Jon Tester said Thursday that he and a group of senators had reached a bipartisan agreement on a new infrastructure bill that had been in the works for months, one the Democrat called historic.

Although the full text of the bill has not been released, the package includes around $ 550 billion in new infrastructure investment – $ 1.2 trillion in total – including roads and bridges, the water, broadband and airports.

“This is a landmark bill that will modernize Montana’s aging infrastructure, create well-paying jobs and help us maintain our competitive edge over China,” Tester said Thursday. “This is great news for our state and our country, which have lived for too long on investments in the infrastructure of our parents and grandparents.”

The Senate voted on Wednesday to move the plan forward, which begins the process of debate and potential amendments. The bill does not raise taxes but amortizes itself through tax gaps and various clawbacks from previous legislation, Tester said.

“Putting this bill together has been difficult and there have been a lot of ups and downs,” Tester said. “Like most good negotiations, no one left feeling like they had everything they wanted.”

While the measure could serve as a victory for infrastructure advocates, its adoption is not yet a done deal. Its success in the House may hinge on a separate $ 3.5 trillion reconciliation bill demanded by more liberal Democrats.

This measure would invest in things beyond the traditional infrastructure included in the first bill, such as child care, paid time off and other social issues.

“Child care is something I hear a lot about in the state of Montana. It’s important, ”Tester said. “We have a long way to go with a reconciliation bill. I think there are a lot of needs there. It will depend on how it is paid and how the money is spent.

But at least in the Senate, the infrastructure bill drafted by five Democrats and five Republicans is expected to pass. According to national media sources, it would provide $ 110 billion for roads, bridges and major infrastructure projects, and around $ 70 billion for passenger rail transport.

It is estimated that $ 65 billion will go to broadband improvements and $ 25 billion to airports. The latter is essential in Montana as Missoula and several other airports expand their facilities to meet growing demand.

The bill would also provide $ 21 billion to the Superfund and Brownfield programs. Missoula used this funding to clean various properties of contaminants and ignite the redevelopment.

The tester expressed cautious optimism about the measure’s chances of success on Thursday.

“There could be a problem on the House side if, in fact, we don’t give the reconciliation package an effort to get it across the finish line. If it’s canceled and it’s not done, the House might not have enough votes to pass the infrastructure, ”Tester said.

“We must withdraw the traditional Senate infrastructure bill with a good vote. I think that helps pass it in the House. Then we have to start working on the reconciliation package.

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Historic Preservation Committee redefines role and seeks public input


The Town of Merrill Historic Preservation Committee has met monthly since February and has spent several months reassessing its role. Previously, according to the city ordinance, they were responsible for proposing and / or approving nominations for historic districts, houses and / or sites in the city, as well as holding hearings before designating them as such. They also had broad powers related to setting standards for properties designated as historic and regulating the construction, reconstruction, alteration and / or demolition of those properties, all in some detail. .
The demise of the TB Scott Mansion earlier this year prompted the committee to start meeting regularly to hopefully prevent the demolition of historic properties without specific committee review and approval and greater public awareness, and to also begin to play a more active role in promoting the preservation of the historic properties of the community.
Initially, Committee members discovered that they might have different visions of the Committee’s purpose, and it took some time for them to come up with a common vision to move forward, but during the meeting of the Historic Preservation Committee on July 7, the group considered a huge change to their previous role (s) and recommended that the ordinance be amended accordingly.
Now, the public will have the opportunity to provide their views at a public hearing hosted by and prior to the Merrill Town Planning Commission on Tuesday, August 3 at 6:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber at Town Hall in Merrill. [To attend remotely, call 225.800.2151 and enter PIN # 456 483 877#.]
A New Look at Historic Preservation
“In light of the recent demolition of many historic structures in Merrill, the Merrill Historic Preservation Committee has been activated to be a watchdog for iconic Merrill structures,” said Steve Sabatke, City Councilor and Committee Member of historical preservation.
“The intention of this committee is not to interfere with building owners, but to showcase Merrill’s heritage, instill pride in ownership and promote the beauty of our city. Therefore, the Merrill Historic Preservation Ordinance has been amended to help, advise and motivate building owners rather than restricting them, ”he said of the amendment being discussed. the public hearing.
Proposed changes to the ordinance
The public hearing will focus on the proposed amendment to the Town of Merrill Historic Preservation Ordinance. 105-314 to 105-322, which will change the scope and powers of the Historic Preservation Committee.
If this amendment is adopted, the main role of the Historic Preservation Committee will be to:
• Assign historic structure designations to properties, IF owner consents to designation.
• Recognize historic structures, sites and neighborhoods with an appropriate plaque.
• Cancel designations of historic structures to properties at the request of the owner.
• Review requests for demolition of historic structures and reject or approve them and issue a “historic permit” permitting demolition if demolition is approved.
• Create non-binding historic preservation advisory standards for structures that have received a historic structure designation.
One of the other major differences between the old ordinance and the proposed revised ordinance will be a new emphasis on historic properties by maintaining a “street perspective” which is defined as having a “general resemblance to the outward appearance of d ‘origin of the building or structure from the street or sidewalk’, which is radically different from the detailed list of requirements for buildings designated as historic previously.
Other important changes:
• The revised Ordinance states: “No property may be designated without the express written consent of the owner.
• The membership structure of the Historic Preservation Committee would no longer require that the composition of the Committee include a registered architect, a historian and a licensed real estate broker, but simply two aldermen and three resident citizens.
The intention of the changes
Summary by City Manager Dave Johnson. “Basically, the Committee has expressed an interest in exercising an advisory function rather than an executive function,” he said.
“The goal is to preserve historic structures without making their preservation too onerous for the owner,” Johnson said. “Some cities have historic preservation ordinances that specify the type of materials that should be used when working on a historic home, which can dramatically increase the costs of restoration or preservation. “
“We’re more interested in preserving the ‘street view’ of historic homes, that is, we want them to look old and authentic while being seen from the street.”
“This means that homeowners could install new energy-efficient, maintenance-free windows that are made from materials other than wood but that look like wood. They could replace the old wood coating that will no longer hold the paint with a maintenance-free coating that looks like wood, ”he explained.
“Anyone with a listed historic house and wishing to demolish the structure should apply to the Historic Preservation Committee,” he added.
The ordinance does not address “historic business structures” at this time, but may do so in the future, Johnson said.
The Historic Preservation Committee has also shown renewed interest in recognizing designated historic buildings with a plaque, prepared and erected at the request and expense of the City, where it is readily visible to passing pedestrians.
Provide a contribution
Anyone with ideas or comments on proposed revisions to the order should plan to attend the public hearing, in person or remotely.

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