Following the success of the recent bipartisan negotiations surrounding the American Jobs Plan, senators from both sides of the aisle have come forward to voice their enthusiasm for how the finalized provisions will direct funding to areas of need within their respective states. The bill passed in the Senate with a total of 69 for and 30 against, of which 19 votes in the affirmative came from Republican senators including North Carolina’s Thom Tillis and Richard Burr. Many of those living in states like North Carolina are in need of a breakdown on just how much of the $1.2 trillion in federal funding will be allocated to the state, and where.
While any number in the trillions is certain to raise eyebrows, many of the more fiscally conservative members of Congress have been quick to assure the American people that the spending represents a beneficial investment. Tillis, who was part of the bill’s negotiating group that included an even number of Democrats and Republicans, made sure to point out that the price tag wasn’t what it appeared to be on paper. “It’s a $550 billion bill, unlike what’s been reported in the press — $1 trillion-plus,” said the Senator, in reference to the fact that the other $600-plus billion had previously been approved. The focus of the new spending will be limited to “roads, bridges, broadband, public transit, the kinds of things that most Americans believe are true infrastructure,” said Tillis.
Of the new spending, North Carolina is expected to receive a little more than $9 billion in total. As a coastal state, North Carolina often bears the brunt of the damage from the many hurricanes, tropical storms, and tornadoes that plague the Eastern Seaboard, and is the third-most hurricane-prone state in the country behind Texas and Florida. Included in the federal package is money for shoreline resiliency, as well as another $440 million expected to come for bolstering the clean water supply. “We will get desperately needed money to be better prepared for the next big storm,” said Tillis, who touted the resiliency funding as especially important for the state.
Still, the vast majority of the funding– $7.2 billion of it– is going to the state’s roads and highways, of which over 3,000 miles are considered to be in poor condition. About $911 million will be allocated to building out the state’s public transportation system, which should hopefully lead to fewer vehicles on the road and lower emissions. Almost $500 million is going to the repair of bridges within the state, of which over 1500 are rated as in poor condition. Another $100 million is being directed to expanding the state’s broadband infrastructure, a welcome improvement for the nearly half a million residents who are currently without access.
Tillis is adamant that the bill is a “big win” for all residents of North Carolina, and should bring jobs in construction and manufacturing at the minimum without any tax raises to pay for them. “I am proud to have worked on this important legislation with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle,” said Tillis, who then praised Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema for her leadership in preserving the filibuster and preventing the infrastructure legislation from becoming a partisan process. “By requiring 60 votes to end debate in the Senate, the filibuster necessitates bipartisan compromise to pass legislation, denying both the far left and far right free rein to fundamentally bend America to its will.”