By Christian M. Wade
BOSTON — Billions of dollars in federal money is headed to Massachusetts under a $1 trillion infrastructure bill signed by President Joe Biden on Monday.
Biden said the measure will create jobs across the country by disbursing billions of dollars to state and local governments to fix crumbling bridges and roads, and expanding broadband internet access. The Democrat called the bill’s passage with Republican support an example of bipartisan cooperation.
“Too often in Washington, the reason we don’t get things done is because we insist on getting everything we want,” Biden said in remarks from the White House lawn Monday. “With this law, we focused on getting things done.”
Biden said the investments will help drive down rising inflation with Americans spending more for everything from food to gasoline and home heating oil.
Massachusetts stands to receive more than $9 billion from the spending bill over the next five years, including at least $4.2 billion for roadway upgrades and $1.1 billion for bridge repairs, according to the Biden administration.
At least $1.1 billion will be directed to improving water and sewer infrastructure and address outfalls that spew sewage into the Merrimack River, while at least $100 million will provide broadband internet coverage to rural communities.
Gov. Charlie Baker welcomed the bill’s signing and said the federal funds will help address many of the state’s pressing infrastructure needs.
“The bipartisan infrastructure bill will deliver a massive funding increase to Massachusetts, boosting our administration’s work to upgrade the commonwealth’s roads, bridges and public transportation systems,” the Republican said in a statement. “Grateful to see Washington work across party lines to get this bill done.”
Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Salem, called the measure a “once-in-a-generation” opportunity to make “long overdue investments” in infrastructure that people in Massachusetts have been demanding for years.
“This means $100 million to connect communities with reliable, high-speed internet; $1.1 billion to ensure families have access to clean, safe drinking water; $47 billion for resilience that strengthens our coasts and infrastructure from climate change and more,” he said.
“But to be clear,” he said, “our job isn’t done.”
The state will also get $2.5 billion for upgrades on its public transit system. Other funding would be devoted to airport upgrades and incentives for drivers to switch to electric vehicles.
Rep. Lori Trahan, D-Westford, said the state “will benefit from the creation of good-paying union jobs with quality benefits to support their families.”
“More than 1,000 miles of highway and hundreds of bridges will be repaired, meaning those same families can commute to work and school safely. Their energy costs will go down thanks to weatherization efforts that will keep buildings warmer during the winter and cooler during the summer,” she said in a statement.
“Communities along the Merrimack River will see improvements to their water systems to prevent millions of gallons of sewage from flowing into their most valuable natural resource and for many, their drinking water supply, each year,” Trahan added. “And that’s just the start.”
Both lawmakers are also attempting to drum up support for Biden’s $1.75 trillion “Build Back Better” plan, which is still pending before Congress. The measure includes provisions on child care and healthcare, prescription drug pricing, climate change and immigration.
Moulton said if the social spending bill is approved, the two measures combined will constitute “the largest investment in working people since the New Deal.”
Biden is mounting a full-court press to promote the infrastructure plan and providing localized details on what the measure would do to improve rail service, drinking water, broadband internet access and crumbling highways.
He’s scheduled to visit New Hampshire Tuesday to tout aspects of the new spending plan.
Topping the list of infrastructure needs in Massachusetts are aging roadways and bridges, many of which are in a state of disrepair, according to a fact sheet released by the White House.
The Biden administration’s Infrastructure Report Card gave the state a grade of C-, saying there are 472 bridges and 1,194 miles of highway in poor condition.
On Beacon Hill, lawmakers have approved spending bills that will divert additional federal funds and surplus money to meet the state’s infrastructure needs.