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The Infrastructure Bill And Jobs Act Could Be A Big Win For Utah

Brent Pace

The federal infrastructure bill could have a huge positive impact on the state of Utah.

This bipartisan legislation has the potential to spur repairs to thousands of miles of Utah’s roadways, improve high-speed internet access, fix issues with long waits at intersections, help fight wildfire and drought concerns, and improve water access for the Navajo tribe.

The state could receive $2.4 billion for highways and $225 million for bridge replacements, with an additional $626 million for public transit and $36 million for electric vehicle charging stations.

Photo Courtesy Emily Jackson

Utah Senator Mitt Romney is a part of the team that negotiated the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act on the Hill in Washington, D.C. The bill has passed the Senate and the House with bipartisan support. Senator Romney has been a strong supporter of the legislation from day one, especially when it comes to the good it could do for his home state. The fast-growing Beehive State has more than 2,000 miles of roads and more than 60 structurally-deficient bridges in need of urgent repairs. Romney is also the person behind the Smart Intersections Act, which is a part of the greater infrastructure bill. This act would help communities replace outdated traffic lights and install technology across the state, which means much less waiting at red lights for Utah’s residents.

“Traffic congestion has increasingly become a problem which needs addressing in Utah’s cities and in many metropolitan areas around our country,” Romney explained. “[This] bill proposes a multifaceted solution to reducing traffic congestion and improving the safety and effectiveness of our roads, while also reducing fuel costs and air pollution.”

Photo Courtesy Thomas Konings

The bill could bring nearly a quarter-billion dollars in funds earmarked for water projects, including $214 million for running water on the Navajo Nation and $50 million for the Central Utah Project.

Though the legislation overall focuses on this type of hard infrastructure – which means more concrete – it also includes major energy sector projects devoted to alternative fuels and electric vehicles, address concerns around changes in the climate and reduce carbon emissions

Senator Romney encouraged bipartisan support for the good of Utah’s environmental and economic future. “I’ve pointed out to my Republican colleagues that they need to vote for this,” he said, “because if they don’t, the Democrats, given their majority in both houses, can do something on their own without any help from us.”“This is a once-in-a-generation investment. [This bill would] not only improve the system we already have,” he added, “[but] make sure we have the system we’ll need, given the growth of our state over the coming decades.”