PHILADELPHIA - The U.S. Senate voted 69 to 30 today to adopt the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a major bipartisan package for transportation, clean water, renewable energy and broadband. Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey voted in support of the bill, while Senator Pat Toomey voted in opposition to the proposal.
PennEnvironment’s Clean Water & Conservation Advocate Stephanie Wein pointed to many of the bill's provisions as providing great benefit to the health and environment of Pennsylvania, including:
- $15 billion for removing lead pipes. This historic investment would help address the crisis of lead in drinking water across the Commonwealth, from the 20,000 lead service lines bringing water to Philadelphia homes to the 80% of drinking outlets in Pittsburgh that have tested positive for lead.
- $40 billion for other water systems and infrastructure. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave the grade of a D- to Pennsylvania's wastewater infrastructure, partially due to the Commonwealth experiencing 1,800 sewage overflows statewide. Pennsylvania's portion of the $40 billion can go a long way towards addressing these overflows.
- $7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging stations. This could help Pennsylvania meet the projected demand of 42,000 electric vehicles on the state’s road by 2030.
- $73 billion for electric grid and power infrastructure to help bring more renewable energy online and make our grid more modern and resilient.
- $66 billion for passenger and freight rail. For Pennsylvania, this could potentially include Amtrak’s newly proposed rail service connecting Scranton, Reading and the Poconos to New York City via passenger rail.
- $39 billion for public transit (the largest investment in public transit in history). This includes $2.8 billion specifically allocated to Pennsylvania for public transit over five years, according to White House estimates. SEPTA and Pittsburgh’s Port Authority would be the primary beneficiaries, with resources also flowing to Pennsylvania’s rural and small city transit agencies.
- $21 billion for environmental remediation. Pennsylvania’s portion of this funding could help address the Commonwealth’s 127 superfund sites and the state’s estimated 560,000 abandoned oil and gas wells.
- $7.5 billion in zero and low emission buses. SEPTA and the Pittsburgh Port Authority, as well as several school districts in Pennsylvania are already acquiring buses. Pennsylvania’s portion of these funds could help fast-track these efforts.
“The infrastructure we build impacts our health and the environment for decades into the future," said Wein "We applaud the Senate--particularly Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey--for recognizing that all Americans want clean air to breathe, clean, lead-free water to drink, and more options to get around."
The legislation now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives, which earlier this summer passed its own INVEST In America Act with funding for clean water infrastructure, lead pipe removal, and clean transportation
PennEnvironment is dedicated to protecting our air, water and open spaces. We investigate problems, craft solutions, educate the public and decision-makers, and help the public make their voices heard in local, state and national debates over the quality of our environment and our lives. For more information, visit www.PennEnvironment.org.