“We have had infrastructure week after infrastructure week. And I am proud to say that we have delivered,” U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright said
PENNSYLVANIA — On Wednesday, U.S. Representatives Matt Cartwright, Dwight Evans, Susan Wild and Madeleine Dean joined PA Dems Executive Director Jason Henry for a virtual press conference, highlighting the local impact of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, which members touted will create new good-paying union jobs, revitalize our roads and bridges and bring high-speed broadband internet to communities that need it.
The Times-Tribune: NEPA to benefit a lot from Biden infrastructure bill
President Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill will mean smoother roads, sturdier bridges, less mine-scarred land and faster rural internet in Northeast Pennsylvania, a local congressman said Wednesday.
Oh, and maybe a passenger train between Scranton and New York City.
Democratic U.S. House members boasted about the infrastructure bill’s benefits in a conference call Wednesday and even needled former President Donald Trump without saying his name. Trump several times proclaimed a week of work ahead as “infrastructure week,” but never accomplished an infrastructure bill.
“We had infrastructure week after infrastructure week, but it didn’t get delivered and it sort of became a joke in Washington and across the country,” U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-8, Moosic, said. “But I’m proud to say that we have delivered on infrastructure in a big way.”
Cartwright said $66 billion — “the largest federal investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak” — will allow the nation’s largest passenger railroad to build the proposed Scranton to New York City route with three round trips a day, creating $87 million a year in economic benefits. Amtrak is studying the idea, but has not committed to build it.
“We’ll be able to bring broadband into every corner of rural northeastern Pennsylvania so it’s affordable and accessible, something … so critical because we rely on the internet more and more all the time,” Cartwright said. “We’ll even be able to support efforts to reclaim the more than 300 abandoned mine land sites … that have scarred the region of northeastern Pennsylvania for so long.”
Of course, no infrastructure bill would be an infrastructure bill without more money for roads and bridges. Rich Roman, state Department of Transportation district executive for Lackawanna, Luzerne, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming counties, said the bill will allow his district to get to a series of projects years earlier. The projects, the estimated costs and the dates for seeking a contract are […].
“These were projects that we had on our active portfolio for design, but they were out in the outer (later) years of our (12-year) transportation plan,” Roman said. “So we’re really excited to see this level of investment in our infrastructure and we’re looking forward to it being finalized and getting the final rules in place for what we need to do and how we’re going to do it.”
Delaware Valley Journal: Democratic Lawmakers Tout Passage of Infrastructure Bill
Delaware Valley U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Montgomery) called the newly-passed infrastructure bill “an economic engine” during a Democratic Zoom press conference touting the legislation.
Several Pennsylvania Democratic members of Congress joined the call Wednesday to take a victory lap over the passage of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The Biden administration says it will bring more than $15 billion to Pennsylvania over five years.[…]
In her remarks on the bill, Dean said her district is “an older ring suburb of Philadelphia which is crying out for this type of investment.”
The bill will bring $11 billion to roads and bridges to Pennsylvania: $100 million to broadband, 2.8 billion for public transportation, $355 million for airports, $240 million for weatherizing, and $1.4 billion for safe drinking water.
Congressman Dwight Evans (D-Philadelphia) said the bill will bring money for improvements to public transportation and add more jobs.
“It is very beneficial,” said Evans. “SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority) just settled a contract because of the American Rescue Act. And now the infrastructure…When you talk about SEPTA and what it means to the entire region…And all of us who are on this phone today all played key roles in making this happen, working with the president and vice president.”
“This is building on what we did before at the state level,” said Evans.
“It’s something everybody Democratic and Republican can be proud of,” said Dean.
Pennsylvania Capital Star: ‘A generational investment’: Pa’s Congressional Dems tout infrastructure bill’s benefits back home
A new rail line connecting Scranton to New York City. Repairs to the bustling Route 22 in the Lehigh Valley. Money for mass-transit, including SEPTA in Philadelphia. Expanded broadband that will connect rural Pennsylvanians to tele-health services. And money to pay for cleaning up so-called “forever chemicals” around a former military installation in suburban Philadelphia.
Those are just some of the projects that will benefit from the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that Congress sent to President Joe Biden’s desk last week, Democratic members of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation said during a virtual news conference on Wednesday.
“We all know, our roads, our bridges, our seaports, our water systems, so many need investment, they need to be rebuilt,” U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-8th District, said during the call organized by the state Democratic Party. “These are the things that make our country run, and they have fallen into disrepair. We have had infrastructure week after infrastructure week. And I am proud to say that we have delivered.”
Cartwright’s latter comment was a not-so-subtle jab at former President Donald Trump, who repeatedly declared “infrastructure week” in Washington during his four years in the White House, only to leave office without winning congressional approval of major new funding.[…]
“I’ve had a number of conversations with transportation in the Lehigh Valley, and Route 22 and the widening of it is an obvious one,” Wild said. “One of the things that people don’t realize is that the side roads,” are in equal need of attention, she added.
U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-4th District, said the aid Pennsylvania can expect to receive represents the largest infusion of cash since Pennsylvania lawmakers approved a more than $2 billion transportation funding package under former Republican Gov. Tom Corbett in 2013.
“That was my proudest vote in the Pennsylvania House, said Dean, who represented part of Montgomery County in the lower chamber from 2012 to her election in 2018. “This will go down as one of my proudest votes in all of public service.”
U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans, D-3rd District, who spent decades in the state Legislature before winning his House seat in 2016, touted the bill’s benefits for SEPTA and the dozens of other mass-transit agencies across the state.
“What that means is jobs,” Evans said.
“I can’t help but think of the jobs it will create Districts like mine and Matt’s [Cartwright] and Madeleine’s [Dean] will all see an influx of really good jobs,” she said. It will create investment and opportunity that turbocharges investment for years to come.”
Republicans such as Fitzpatrick who crossed over to vote with Democrats on the bill are now facing significant backlash within their own party for that support. Given the bill’s broad public support, “it’s quite frankly astonishing that more Republicans did not vote for it, but I am sure they will be celebrating when the money comes to their districts as though they did vote for it,” Wild added.
During a call with reporters Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright (D, PA-8) said it’s the biggest one-time infrastructure deal since President Eisenhower green-lit the interstate system — which in today’s money cost about $300 billion to build.
Cartwright noted Democrats are only just beginning to celebrate the deal, which emerged after being held up for months by progressives seeking to tie passage of it to the far larger spending bill known as the Build Back Better plan. The final details of that bill are still being worked out by Congressional negotiators.
“We’re stunned that we pulled it off,” Cartwright said. “We have just now got the champagne bottles open, and don’t worry: we’ll be celebrating.”
The Brookings Institution estimates the U.S. will be spending more of its GDP on infrastructure projects than it has in the last half-century once the deal is finalized — even without the Build Back Better plan.
U.S. Rep. Susan Wild (D, PA-7), whose district encompasses Allentown and Bethlehem, characterized the sweeping spending bill as an investment in keeping up or improving systems that have long been in disrepair.
“Multiple administrations have tried to get infrastructure through. It was a big quest of the Trump administration. But the administration that got it through is the Biden administration and it does indeed have bipartisan support,” she said.
The evenly-split U.S. Senate approved the bill 69-30 in August, while 13 Republican House members voted for it over the weekend against the wishes of party leadership. Wild said the deal wouldn’t have made it over the finish line without GOP support.
“All of this is going to ensure that the 21st Century is indeed made in America,” Wild added.
Once Biden signs the deal, which is expected to happen Monday, it’ll take time for all of that money to flow to states.
Democratic Congresswoman Susan Wild voted in favor of it, saying in part: “This is a once-in-a-generation investment in our national infrastructure and will turbocharge economic growth in districts like PA-07, securing key funding for communities across America to repair our roads and bridges, increase access to broadband and clean drinking water, and create good-paying jobs.”