With President Joe Biden signing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (also known as the bipartisan infrastructure framework, or BIF) into law on Monday, it will largely be up to state governments to figure out how the funding is disbursed to their communities over the next few years.
The bill is expected to bring more than $6.148 billion to Kentucky coffers to be allocated as follows:
• more than $4.7 billion over five years to repair roads and bridges. In Kentucky there are 1,033 bridges and over 1,322 miles of highway in poor condition. Kentucky would expect to receive $4.6 billion for federal-aid highway apportioned programs and $438 million for bridge replacement and repairs under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The commonwealth can also compete for the $12.5 billion Bridge Investment Program for economically significant bridges and nearly $16 billion of national funding in the bill dedicated for major projects that will deliver substantial economic benefits to communities.
• $647 million to improve water infrastructure, particularly to replace lead piping.
• $391 million over five years in public transportation funding. Currently, 15% of transit vehicles in the state are past useful life.
• $204 million over five years to improve airports.
• $100 million to provide high-speed internet coverage across the state, and 1.4 million Kentuckians (33%) will also be eligible to apply for the “Affordable Connectivity Fund” to expand access to high-speed, affordable internet. Just over 5% of Kentuckians live in areas where, under the FCC’s benchmark, there is no broadband infrastructure.
• $69 million to expand the state’s electric vehicle charging network. Kentucky will also have the opportunity to apply for the $2.5 billion in grant funding dedicated to EV charging in the bill.
• $19 million to protect against wildfires;
• $18 million to protect against cyberattacks;
• and benefits from a $3.5 billion national investment in weatherization, which will reduce energy costs for families and small businesses nationwide.
But while 13 House Republicans joined most Democrats in getting the BIF through on a 228-206 vote, Kentucky's conservative Congressmen Hal Rogers, Andy Barr and James Comer were not among them.
Rogers (KY-5) denounced the bill as a "socialist scheme."
"We desperately need improvements to our infrastructure, especially in rural Kentucky, but the truth is that less than half of new spending in this bill goes toward real infrastructure projects, and this legislation is being used to coerce more members to vote for a far more destructive spending binge that puts our country on a fast-track toward socialism," Congressman Rogers said, referring to the near $2 trillion climate and social spending package the House passed Friday morning.
Barr (KY-6) complained that the bill was pushed through in the dead of night.
"I voted no to protect hard working Kentuckians from the largest tax, borrow and spend package in American history," Congressman Barr wrote in a Facebook post. "With historic inflation numbers and an emerging supply chain crisis, I will continue to oppose the $1.2 trillion tax hike on small businesses and families proposed in the President’s Build Back Broke Act. We can’t give up the fight to protect America from bankruptcy."
Comer (KY-1) said he voted no because most of the bill's funding won't impact his constituents.
"Less than 10% of the bill contained surface infrastructure, like roads and bridges, with significant money going toward things that do not affect Kentucky’s 1st District – like mass transit and green energy," Congressman Comer said, adding his displeasure that the BIF was tied to the social spending bill which he said "initiates their [House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Biden's] Green New Deal pipe dream and empowers the IRS to spy on the finances of everyday Americans."
Not surprisingly, Kentucky's Democrat Governor Andy Beshear celebrated President Biden signing the bipartisan federal infrastructure bill into law.
“The bipartisan infrastructure bill is going to be transformational for this commonwealth,” the governor said. “It’s going to help us build the infrastructure we need to ensure an economy that is on fire doesn’t just continue for three years, but for the next 30 years.”
Beshear noted that the state is already partnering with Ford Motor Co. and SK Innovation to build the nation’s largest electrical vehicle battery manufacturing plants at the Glendale megasite and that more electrical vehicle infrastructure is needed.
In addition to Kentucky lawmakers determining how the commonwealth's funding will be disbursed, the federal government also needs to do some work on disbursing the monies. Many programs like the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund or the Highway Safety Improvement Program are well established. Other initiatives, however, like a program to establish a national network of electric vehicle chargers could take a year or more to set up.