Legislation Includes Historic Broadband Investment Based on Bennet’s BRIDGE Act, Other Bennet-Championed Colorado Priorities
Washington, D.C.— Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet released the following statement ahead of joining President Joe Biden at the White House for the signing of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The IIJA includes several Bennet-championed Colorado priorities, including a historic investment in high-speed broadband based on his BRIDGE Act.
“Over the last 20 years, we've allowed our infrastructure to crumble as nations like China transform their own. Meanwhile, Washington has spent $5.6 trillion on two wars in the Middle East and over $5 trillion to cut taxes for the wealthiest people in America. We're on the cusp of finally making major investments in the American people and in our country , and I’m grateful for the opportunity today to join President Biden as he signs this historic investment in our infrastructure into law.
“I look forward to building on this progress through the Build Back Better Act. With both of these bills, we can reaffirm the American people’s faith that our democracy can deliver change in their lives. I'm extremely optimistic that we will deliver and make these long-overdue investments in our kids and families, the fight against climate change, and our Western forests and watersheds. Let’s get this done.”
The IIJA includes key Bennet-led initiatives:
- The largest ever single federal broadband investment, consistent with Bennet’s bipartisan BRIDGE Act that he introduced with U.S. Senators Angus King (I-Maine) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) this year.
- $300 million over five years for the Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP) to address an estimated backlog of $200 million. Bennet has continued to push for increased EWP funding to help Colorado communities recover from wildfires, and earlier this year, Bennet and U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) introduced the MATCH Act to remove hurdles to securing funding through the EWP and help communities act quickly to mitigate damage while protecting their watersheds and infrastructure.
- The bipartisan Carbon Capture Improvement Act, legislation Bennet and Portman introduced earlier this year, which will make it easier for power plants and industrial facilities to finance the purchase and installation of carbon capture, utilization, and storage equipment, as well as direct air capture projects through the use of tax-exempt private activity bonds.
- The bipartisan Bennet-Hoeven amendment to formally authorize the United States Department of Agriculture’s Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership Initiative to restore forests and grasslands across public and private land.
- Robust funding for water infrastructure for Tribal communities, consistent with Bennet’s Tribal Access to Clean Water Act with U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
- Robust funding for western water infrastructure. In June, Bennet joined his colleagues in calling on Senate leadership to prioritize funding for natural infrastructure restoration, resilience, and reclamation, including major investments in water infrastructure. Bennet and his colleagues also urged the Biden Administration to include western water priorities in their infrastructure proposal.
- Bennet and Portman’s bipartisan Automatic Relief for Taxpayers Affected by Major Disasters and Critical Events Act to permit the Secretary of the Treasury to extend the tax filing deadline for all taxpayers affected by federally declared disasters, national emergencies, and terrorist or military action.
- $4.7 billion for programs to plug, remediate, and reclaim orphaned wells on Federal, State, and Tribal lands, consistent with provisions in Bennet’s Oil and Gas Bonding Reform and Orphaned Well Remediation Act introduced earlier this year. This will reduce methane emissions which will protect our climate, restore wildlife habitat, and create good-paying jobs.
- Bennet’s Enhancing State Energy Security Planning and Emergency Preparedness Act and the Enhancing Grid Security through Public-Private Partnerships Act, legislation Bennet introduced to protect the energy grid from cyber-attacks.
- An extension of the Secure Rural Schools program through 2023. Bennet has continued to support SRS and introduced legislation in February to reauthorize the program.
- Authorization for the Department of Transportation to return $28.9 million, plus interest, for a deposit that the Regional Transportation District made to secure a federal loan to redevelop Denver’s Union Station, which Bennet has supported.
- $3.7 billion for highway projects.
- $225 million for bridge replacement and repairs.
- $917 million to improve public transportation.
- $688 million for water infrastructure.
- $432 million for airports.
- $35 million for wildfire recovery.
- $57 million to support the expansion of an electric vehicle charging network throughout the state.
- A minimum of $100 million to help provide broadband coverage across the state.