The passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Funding Bill by Congress is a giant step forward for our nation and for the City of Milwaukee. We are going to see unprecedented investments in our neighborhoods, our roads, and other critical city infrastructure starting very soon. This will create jobs, improve our quality of life, and make our economy stronger.
President Biden today called this a ‘blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America.’ Nothing could be more Milwauke. This new investment will result in thousands of good, family-supporting union jobs to get the work done. I think it also means huge opportunities for Milwaukee residents to enter skilled trades.
The infrastructure bill will provide significant direct funding for our roads, bridges, and sewers, including our lead service line removal efforts. It will also help provide vital broadband affordability, and upgrades to our water and energy systems.
Some of the major highlights of the $1 trillion infrastructure bill that would have high impact on the city are as follows:
· Funding for roads, bridges and other major infrastructure
The bill will provide millions of dollars in funding for critical city road paving and bridge repair projects. The bill’s emphasis for local roads funding around a “fix it first” approach will allow for direct investments to improve city street conditions.
· Transportation safety
The bill will increase funding to our safe streets efforts to reduce reckless driving and improve safety for alternative modes of transportation.
Lead pipe replacement
The bill will provide tens of millions of dollars in funds to Milwaukee to support our lead service line removal efforts, reducing dangerous lead consumption through water pipes, improving health outcomes for Milwaukee children, and providing an opening to job opportunities for Milwaukee residents in the plumbing trades.
· Reconnecting neighborhoods
The bill will help fund the reconnection of disadvantaged communities that were divided by highway construction and other infrastructure.
· Rebuilding the Port of Milwaukee
The bill will provide funding for rebuilding critical port infrastructure, a major economic driver, to address repair and critical maintenance backlogs.
· Upgrading drinking water infrastructure
The bill will provide millions of dollars of upgrades to the Milwaukee Water Works infrastructure.
· Home broadband subscription affordability
The bill will enable thousands of Milwaukee families affordable access to internet services to assist with schoolwork, virtual work, and create access to information for job opportunities.
· Energy efficiency and renewable energy projects
The bill will allow funds for energy & efficiency updates to City homes, buildings and facilities, saving city revenues, among other benefits to families and businesses.
· Efficiency Improvements and renewable energy improvements at public school facilities
The bill will help MPS make energy efficiency, renewable energy and alternative fueled vehicle upgrades and improvements at public school facilities, saving money and reducing environmental pollution.
· Weatherization assistance program
The bill will provide funding to improve the energy efficiency of low-income households for thousands of Milwaukee low-income households.
While this legislation will dedicate a lot of funding directly to Milwaukee, we will also be eligible to apply for tens of millions more in competitive grants. I have already taken the first step in anticipation of this bill passing by successfully proposing and passing an amendment to the City Budget that adds a new Grants Manager position to help coordinate efforts across city government.
I am committed to capturing the maximum amount of grants available and bringing our federal tax dollars back to our city to be put to work on behalf of Milwaukee residents. This will be one of my top priorities as Acting Mayor.