Infrastructure Week is back
The Biden administration is using the annual Infrastructure Week to boast about implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the bipartisan law that turns 18 months old Monday.
Infrastructure Week, which starts Monday, has been marked for years by the business community, engineering interests, labor and other sectors but became a joke under former President Donald Trump, used by his opponents to mock his unsuccessful attempts to pass a major law to boost highways, ports and bridges.
“People talked about it forever. It became a punchline about Infrastructure Week,” Mitch Landrieu, Biden’s top coordinator for the bipartisan infrastructure law’s implementation, told reporters Thursday.
"Essentially, we not only have now Infrastructure Week, we have it every week," said Landrieu. "And it actually is going to go on for a decade."
The law was one of a suite of major legislative priorities passed during Biden’s first two years in office, when Democrats also controlled the House and the Senate.
It got some Republican support, but many in the GOP have sought to frame its implementation in a negative light, despite often hosting projects in their districts that have directly benefited from it.
Landrieu said the administration has announced more than $220 billion in funding so far from the $1.2 trillion law. That’s gone to 32,000 projects in each state, territory and Washington, D.C.
He sought to highlight stories from the hundreds of visits administration officials have made to places benefiting from the infrastructure law, like that of Deanna Branch, a mother and activist who spoke at the White House in February about lead pipe replacement and the impact on her children.
"It goes all back to just a real fundamental idea that the president has said that if you invest in America and you invest in people, you build a strong country. And everything fits into that prism, into that frame for this president,” Landrieu said. “And I think that we have succeeded in a really, really big way. We have a lot more to do.”
The law’s broad range of provisions also put money toward projects like electric vehicle charging infrastructure, electric school bus, wastewater treatment, canal locks, dams and nuclear power plants and hydrogen energy.
Landrieu is visiting Illinois and Iowa next week to celebrate maritime shipping infrastructure funding there through the Army Corps of Engineers.